The town of Dalcahue is just 20 minutes from Castro in Chiloé. Its name is Huillche for "places of dalcas," referring to the boats built by the first inhabitants of this archipelago. It's best to visit Dalcahue on a Sunday so that you can go to the crafts fair, which features the work of local artists and musicians. Here you'll find classic colorful woolen sweaters, scarves and hats, as well as baskets, wood carvings, traditional food and sweets.
The main attraction is the Nuestra Señora de Los Dolores Church, which is covered in larch shingles. Built by Jesuit missionaries in 1849, it's one of 16 Chiloé churches that have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Don't miss the painting behind the main door, which depicts Jesus Christ among the mythological figures of Chiloé.
The Ethnographic History Museum tells the story of the Chnos and Huilliches, the original native peoples of Chiloé. You can learn all about their way of life in one of the traditional houses on stilts that they inhabit and see examples of their crafts, instruments and ceramics along with photographs dating back to the 19th century.
Dalcahue also has hotels and restaurants and is on the way to Quinchao Island, where you can visit the picturesque towns of Curacao de Vélez and Achao, which is home to the area's oldest church.
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Buses depart Castro for Dalcahue every 15 minutes or so. There are also buses from Puerto Montt and Ancud. From Dalcahue, you can take ferries to Quinchao Island and then take the highway to Achao and Curaco de Vélez.