Traditional living in Chile’s beautiful island of Chiloé

How to stay in a traditional stilted ‘Palafito’ house on Chile’s biggest island — without spending an arm and a leg.


Rising up from the tranquil water, the sturdy wooden poles supporting Chiloé’s traditional stilted houses, or palafitos, have become an iconic image in their own right making this beautiful and isolated island in southern Chile famous around the world.

Built to protect houses from the rising and falling tides in towns along the coast, palafitos are a popular place to stay for visitors keen to experience the island from the comfort of traditional houses. A recent La Tercera article chose a selection of the best palafito accommodations on the island.

The Palafito Cucao, positioned at the side of the serene lake of the same name only 300 metres from the Chiloé National Park, is perfect for relaxing and disconnecting from city stress or travel fatigue. Surrounded by unique, native vegetation this palafito’s serene location is perfect for a range of activities including trekking, horse riding and kayaking, all of which are offered by the hostel.

“Live above the sea and understand a part of the meaningful culture of Chiloé” — this is the concept promoted by owners of Palafito Sur Hostel, a refurbished old palafito that comes with all the necessary facilities for a relaxing vacation. Located in the island’s beautiful capitol Castro, this palafito sits a comfortable 10 minute stroll from the town center in the traditional fishing neighborhood Pedro Montt.

Also located in Castro, Palafito 1326 offers both modernity and the traditional interior of wooden walls and floors in a bright, light environment that offers visitors high quality facilities in a beautiful location. Internet access, large terraces, central heating and double glazing mean your stay above the sea, with views over Castro’s famous bay, will be in maximum comfort.

El Palafito Hostel stands out for its high quality service in a unique space. Its rooms enjoy outstanding views over the Castro fjord and the Gamboa river, both surrounded by the island’s unique fauna.

The last two recommendations are both perfect for relaxing and appreciating the architecture of Chiloé, its charm, light and sunsets.

The spacious Palafito del mar boasts six double suites and one triple, all with their own terraces enjoying sea views while its sister hotel El Palacito has four apartments each with its own kitchen area and a sea-view terrace, perfect for families.

Contact information for all hotels mentioned is listed below.

Palafito Hostel
Address: Ernesto Riquelme #1210, Castro, Chiloé
Tel: 5665531008

Palafito Sur Hostel

Address: Pedro Montt #465 Castro, Chiloé
Tel:56 65 536472

Palafito 1326
Address: Ernesto Riquelme 1326, Castro, Chiloé
Tel: 5665530053

Hotel Palafito Cucao
Address: Parque Nacional Chiloé, Cucao, Chile
Tel: 065 971164
Cel: 09 84034728

Palafito del Mar y El Palacito
Address: Pedro Montt 567 Castro, Chiloé
Tel: 56 65 631622