Of several budget accommodations, the best central value is Hospedaje Mirador (Barros Arana 127, tel. 065/633795, maboly [at] yahoo [dot] com, US$9 pp–US$26 d with breakfast), an immaculate place on a pedestrian staircase overlooking the port; the more expensive rooms have private baths. A bit removed, near the modern art museum, Hostal Globe Trotters (Galvarino Riveros 1738, tel. 098/4970489, globetrotters [at] hotmail [dot] com, US$9 pp with breakfast) has been drawing the backpacker trade.
Hostal Quelcún (San Martín 581, tel. 065/632396, fax 065/638717, quelcun [at] telsur [dot] cl, US$9 pp with shared bath, US$26/33 s/d with private bath) has carpeted, centrally heated rooms with breakfast included.
At Hostal Casablanca (Los Carrera 308, tel./fax 065/632726, nelysald [at] surnet [dot] cl, US$15 pp, US$46 d with breakfast) the shared-bath singles are tiny—barely enough floor space for a backpack—but spotless, while doubles with private baths are substantially larger. Free wireless Internet is a big plus, the yippy toy poodle a big minus.
The waterfront Hostal Costa Azul (Lillo 67, tel./fax 065/632440, costazul [at] chiloeweb [dot] com, US$22/33 s/d with private bath) has cable TV in all rooms and includes breakfast.
One of Castro’s best-kept secrets is Hostal Casa Kolping (Chacabuco 217, tel. 065/633273, kolpingcastro [at] surnet [dot] cl, US$28/37 s/d), an immaculate and architecturally noteworthy place in a quiet location south of the Plaza, but enough people know that reservations are advisable. Off-season rates, about 25 percent lower, are a steal.
Set back from the street, on a knoll with views to the east, Hostal del Río (Thompson 232, tel. 065/632223, lola-1 [at] surnet [dot] cl, US$37 s or d) has large and well-furnished rooms with private bath and breakfast included. Parking is limited and awkward.
Decorated in attractive native woods, Hostal Don Camilo (Ramírez 566, tel. 065/632180, audiex [at] telsur [dot] cl, US$41/45 s/d) is good value. Half a block off the Plaza de Armas, rates for the smallish but tidy rooms at Hotel Chilhué (Blanco 278, tel./fax 065/632596, hotelchilhue [at] yahoo [dot] com, US$34/50 s/d with private bath) include breakfast.
Under the same management as the more elite Hostería de Castro, also embellished with native wood and carpeted floors, Hostal Casita Española (Los Carrera 359, tel. 065/635186, casitaespanola [at] telsur [dot] cl, US$41/52 s/d) is comparable.
Rates at Gran Hotel Alerce Nativo (O’Higgins 808, tel. 065/632267, fax 065/ 632309, hotelalerc [at] telsur [dot] cl, US$46/59 s/d) include private bath, cable TV, and breakfast.
Behind its hideous facade, Hotel Esmeralda (Esmeralda 266, tel. 065/637900, fax 065/637910, hesmeralda [at] telsur [dot] cl, US$25 pp with shared bath, US$55/74 s/d with private bath) has large modern rooms. Other amenities include breakfast, wireless Internet, parking, a restaurant, and a pool hall.
Traditionally, the Hostería de Castro (Chacabuco 202, tel. 065/632301, fax 065/635688, www.hosteriadecastro.cl, US$62/76 s/d) vies for the honor of being Castro’s best hotel. With IVA or cash discounts around 20 percent, this can be a good value.
Dating from 1910, a hotel only since 1986, the quirky Hotel Unicornio Azul (Pedro Montt 228, tel. 065/622359, US$76/90 s/d) was once a budget hotel, but steady improvements have driven prices upward. Rooms vary considerably in size, shape, and view, so don’t take anything without seeing it first.
© Wayne Bernhardson from Moon Chile, 2nd edition