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Chiloé Island

Chiloé Island, Los Lagos Region, Chile
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Chiloé Island is one of the Southern Hemisphere’s most mysterious realms, with a tradition rich in sorcerers, witches, and mythological characters that still frighten locals. Take, for instance, local tales of the ghost ship Caleuche that haunts fogbound fishermen; or those of Trauco, an ogre who lies in wait to snag innocent women. Real-life notable sites on the island include sixteen wood-frame churches, now on the UNESCO World Heritage list; Castro’s houses, in the gaily colored traditional style, sitting on stilts right over the water; and the Puñihuil penguin colony, where you’ll find Magellan and Humboldt penguins in cohabitation. Other must-dos include Chiloé National Park and the Sunday artisanal crafts fair at Dalcahue that attracts makers from surrounding islands. Delicious local specialties include a dish no visitor should miss: curanto, a dish of shellfish, chicken, potatoes, and pork that is cooked over hot stones in a pit. (The cooking process is a party in itself.)