|Arrive: 02/21/13 7:00 AM||Depart: 02/21/13 4:00 PM|
Castro, with some 20,000 inhabitants, is the capital of Isla Grande de Chiloé and an island of dense forests and undulating hills. Between the Isla Grande and the mainland, the Golfo de Ancud and the Golfo de Corcovado are dotted with many smaller islands of archipelagic Chiloe. The distinctive character of the island has been influenced by 200 years of isolation from the mainstream of Spanish colonial development as well as its dependence on the sea. Castro is especially noted for its variety of styles in housing including the palafitos, which are dwellings built on stilts above the water. It also has a splendid cathedral, several museums and a renowned handicraft market, all of which make Castro an attractive place to visit. Its isolation has encouraged self-reliance and also a friendliness toward visitors that has changed little since Darwin remarked more than a century and a half ago, "I never saw anything more obliging and humble than the manners of these people."