Nicknamed the Ciudad de los Tres Pisos (City of Three Levels) for its sheer hillsides and steep streets, San Carlos de Chonchi (population 4,588) was one of Chiloé’s first Jesuit missions, thanks to its strategically central location. Not founded officially until 1767, the year of the Jesuits’ expulsion, it managed to keep its own spontaneous street plan and avoid the imposition of the regulation Spanish colonial grid, which would have played havoc with its hilly topography. It is 23 kilometers south of Castro.
In shared offices, Cruz del Sur and Transchiloé (Pedro Montt 233, tel. 065/671218) have frequent services between Castro and Chonchi; taxi colectivos to link Castro (US$1) are also frequent. Buses from Castro that are bound for Cucao (Parque Nacional Chiloé) stop at Chonchi’s Terminal Municipal (Alonso de Ercilla s/n).
© Wayne Bernhardson from Moon Chile, 2nd edition