In February, there are a number of traditional festivals that take place in the archipelago of Chiloé, in southern Chile. They feast on the most important indigenous customs in the area. Here we tell you about five events that bring together locals and visitors in Chiloé.
Similar to a sacred ritual, these festivals celebrate contact with nature, and have evolved from rural people’s agrarian and Christian traditions. They are the perfect occasion to celebrate the way of life, traditions, and culture of the “Chilotes”, or people who live on the islands.
Before you start planning, it’s important to know the different festivals that are celebrated on the cluster of islands that make up the Chiloé Archipelago.
These events are a great opportunity for foreigners and city dwellers to disconnect from stress, interact with locals, and get to know the area’s common ancestral practices.
Quehui (26 and 27 January)
This place is made up of two beautiful islands, and the celebration lasts two days. Boats leave daily from the cit of Castro to both spots.
The trip takes about an hour and a half from the city. On the way, you can admire the archipelago’s breathtaking group of islands and inlets along the Lemuy waterway and around Chelín Island.
Stands are placed in marquees offering a large variety and quantity of deliciously-prepared food. It’s also possible to appreciate traditional customs and the Chilote folklore.
Nercón (26 and 27 January)
This village is very close to Castro, about five kilometers south. Its name, which means “between humps,” comes from the Huilliche language. The area has seen a rapid increase in tourism and housing.
This traditional festival is held in the last week of January: like the others, it known for its wide range of culinary treats and recreational games for the whole community.
La Estancia (February 3)
Located 36 kilometers from Castro along an unpaved road, La Estancia is known for its agricultural produce that is sold in Chiloé’s markets. This rural musical festival, held on the first Sunday of February, consists of country and folk music accompanied by local food and drink.
Llau-Llao (February 9 and 10)
Six kilometers north of Castro, the Maja Chilota (Chilote cider) festival takes place, in which villagers work collectively by tipping apples into a hollow tree trunk and beating them with sticks to release the sweet cider.
Castro’s Festival Costumbrista and Biodiversity Fair (February 13-17)
This major festival of traditional customs takes place in Castro, one of the largest towns on Chiloé’s main island. The event presents traditional products and cultural activities from all over the archipelago. It’s one of Chiloé’s most important festivals as it brings together more than 120 stands displaying handicrafts and local food.
There is a boom of traditional celebrations in the first months of the year in Chiloé when the weather is better. Check out these festivals to see which ones suit you best. Although some are small and short, visiting the different events will allow you to discover new places in stunning Chiloé Archipelago.