Great Escape: Touching History On An Island Outpost


Miles off the South American, the undulating hills of Chiloé Island are cloaked in mist and legend. Numerous small-scale, agricultural outfits, colorful wooden palafito stilted homes, and iconic wooden churches are reminders of a proud history and fiercely independent culture. It feels like you’ve arrived at the edge of the Earth. The people of Chiloe Island have long been a seafaring lot and the architecture on the island strongly reflects that heritage. The island is home to numerous UNESCO World Heritage Sites, most notably the unique wooden churches with insides reminiscent of the hull of a ship. Besides mussels and fish, wool is an important export. I suggest visiting a local market and picking up some of the softest sweaters and blankets you’ll find anywhere.

There are not many places to stay on the island. Tierra Chiloe is by far the most breathtaking. True to the style of the region, the architecture of Tierra Chiloe focuses on the natural beauty of the destination and its natural resources. The hallways smell like Chilean linga wood. In nooks around the property, local artists are featured with work depicting daily life and Chiloean myths. Outside, the smell of eucalyptus mingles with wood-burning stove. The entry drive is made of crushed mussel shells.

Tierra Chiloe is the only five-star hotel on Chiloe Island and the perfect place to retreat for long hikes, evenings by the fire, and for some of the freshest food in the world.

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