The rebirth of Chiloe’s stilt houses

A must-see in Chiloe is to visit – and hopefully spend the night – in stilt houses, architectonic heritage that depicts the way of living of the zone’s first indigenous people that improved the way of living onshore until they reached the point of constructing Wood houses with larch wood shingles that they placed over docks with thick pilings. Nowadays, and as testimony of this, they are located in two sectors: at the entrance of the city (Pedro Montt street) or in the Gamboa neighborhood in Ernesto Riquelme street.

Prior to the construction of the Panama Canal, ships had to sail through Cape Horn and the first port after Punta Arenas was Chiloe. It was for this reason that islanders built in front of the sea these houses in response to this commercial peak, however, in 1936 a major fire that started in Castro destroyed an important number of these structures. In 1970, there was an attempt to make them disappear due to the shape they were in, which was rejected by a citizen’s movement.

Young entrepreneurs took a chance on their preservation, and this is how in 2008 the first stilt hostel was opened for business. Currently, four are operating as small hotels, but there also coffee shops, workshops and artisan cooperatives.