The Most Beautiful Churches of Chiloé, Chile

Harry Stewart

Scenic and quaint, Chiloé boasts misty rolling hills, warm friendly people and a fascinating seafaring history. But it’s the island’s magnificent churches that really pull in the crowds, each with their own unique color scheme to provide a reference point for fishermen at sea. Around 70 of these marvels were constructed almost entirely from native wood in the Chilota architectural style, an attractive mix of European Jesuit form and traditional indigenous design which has earned UNESCO recognition. Did you know – Culture Trip now does bookable, small-group trips? Pick from authentic, immersive Epic Trips, compact and action-packed Mini Trips and sparkling, expansive Sailing Trips.

Church of San Francisco

The third oldest church in Chile, San Francisco was originally built in 1567 to evangelize the indigenous inhabitants of the region. Situated on the main plaza in Castro, Chiloé’s capital, the exterior was built in a neo-Gothic style and features a bright yellow galvanizad iron facade and two identical towers. Inside, ceiling buttresses stretch up to 100 feet (32 meters) and an image of the Archangel Michael battling against Satan adorns the back altar.

Church of Santa María de Loreta

Located on Achao, the biggest town on the Quinchao Island, the central wooden spire of the Church of Santa María de Loreta is a fine example of Chilota architecture. Built back in 1740 when the entire Chiloé archipelago was still under Spanish rule, this is the oldest surviving traditional church of the Jesuit era.

Church of Quinchao

The Church of Quinchao is the only other remaining traditional church of the Jesuit era, which is why its exterior is almost identical to that of Loreta. Built in 1880 just one block uphill from the sea, strong wind and rain has necessitated many restorations over the years, the most significant of which took place in 2006 and saw 80% of its timber completely replaced.

Church of Rilán

Located in the Rilan community near Castro, the church dates back to the early 19th century. Its prominent feature is a white, multi-tiered central tower in the typical Chilota style.

Church of Chonchi

One of the more colorful churches on the island, Chonchi features aqua-blue pillars and arches that heavily contrast against its beige steeple. This vibrant catholic church is also known as Church of St Charles Borromeo, the patron saint to whom it pays homage.

Church of Tenaún

Located in the town of Tenaún in the Dalcahue community, the word Tenaún means ‘three peaks’ in the region’s indigenous tongue. It’s not hard to guess how this blue and white beauty got its name.

Church of Caguach

Located on the island of the same name, the Church of Caguach had to be rebuilt from scratch after it was gutted by fire in 1919. This distinct red church features a single, block-shaped tower and is notable for its shingled facade. Built to honor the almighty Jesus of Nazareth, a huge festival takes place on August 30 which recreates his brutal last moments, complete with whipping, a thorny crown and a mock crucifixion.

Church of Our Lady of Sorrows

Right on the main plaza of the small town of Dalcahue lies the Church of Our Lady of Sorrows. Built at the end of the 19th century, the church is similar to others of the region if not for its bright white paint job.

Church of San Juan Bautista

Not far from Dalcahue is the Church of San Juan Bautista which was also constructed in the late 19th century. Its unpainted shingles give the building an interesting rustic effect.

Church of Vilupulli

Also known as the Church San Antonio de Padua de Vilupulli, this isolated unpainted construction sits all by itself in a paddock overlooking the sea.

landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Winter Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

Edit article