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Monday, June 24, 2013

A Near Catastrophe on the Island of Chiloe

Magellanic penguins
Magellanic penguins (Photo credit: lexusinabasket)

Dripping wet I hesitatingly walked through the big wooden doors of what looked to be someone's vacation home. Once inside, I was greeted warmly by the owner of Hostal Lluhay, the place that would be my home for the next week. Like every seasoned traveller out there, how I ended up here was story of travel plans gone amuck.  It was my near catastrophe on the island of Chiloe

I had heard and read many glowing reviews about the Archipelago islands of Chiloe and they made it to the list of some "must see destinations".  It also benefited me to read the experiences of people like Stephanie aka "The Travel Chica" who wrote this blog  "Slowing Down in Chiloe"  If you wish to see pics of Chiloe, reading her blog would your best resources because I didn't have the skill and resources to take pics that would have done Chiloe any justice.

Curanto (Photo credit: Lisa de Vreede)

Chiloe has a very different history than the rest of Chile. It is the only place that didn't go through colonization. You can see, feel, taste the difference just looking at the architecture and tasting the food like Curanto, a mix of mussels, clams, and different meats. It used to be cooked by hot stones underground but nowadays restaurants recreate the meal using pots in the kitchen

 These islands are an incredibly cheap place to crash while you are travelling, even in high season it is cheaper than the rest of the country. Although I enjoyed the mountain of cash I was saving being here during off season, I wasn't able to enjoy some of the things Chiloe is famous for, like the penguin colony near Ancud.  Castro has several churches made entirely out of wood (no metal or nails AT ALL) and have been declared world heritage sites by UNESCO.

And I would have enjoyed indulging in this unique piece of history but unfortunately when I arrived at the church to look at it, inside there was a group of unhappy looking people surrounding a little wooden box with some unfortunate person inside. So for now you'll have to settle for looking at other people's pics who didn't have the misfortune of showing up at the church on the day of someone's funeral :(

Church of wood in Chiloe
Church of wood in Chiloe (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are tremendous benefits to travelling off season. You can often get a nice big room with cable and private bathroom at discounted prices. In restaurants the food comes faster to you because often you are the only one there and the staff is eager please the few paying customers that come through their doors during the off season.

However there are some cons to travelling off season. One of the being when hostel decide to close for a few months without any notification on the website. Got to the hostel I had planned and there was a sign on it that they were closed June/July.  Caught another cab and tried another highly recommended hostel, closed too.  The cab driver had left so now I was standing in the rain, 7:30 at nite on an island with one piece of luggage the size of Kanye West's ego....

I stood on the street waving my hands to any taxi coming by. No one was taking the bait. Relentless I continued to wave my hand until finally 10 mins of standing in the rain, a taxi finally stopped. I explained my situation, that the hostels I had planned to stay at were closed and told him to take me to ANY fair-priced good hostel. After making a few calls he confirmed that one was open and they had room.  And that, ladies and gentlemen is the story of how I ended up at the door of Hostal Lluhay dripping wet from head to toe.

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Amorous Alpacas

Amorous Alpacas