The 1960 earthquake destroyed the port, the railway, the town hall and some palafitos, but Castro rebounded and turned itself into an easily digestible destination that's navigable on foot. Perhaps the greatest single attraction is simply walking down the streets and around the central plaza, soaking up all of Castro's curious energy, but it's also Chiloé's best place to see palafitos. From the street, they resemble any other house in town, but the backsides jut over the water and, at high tide, serve as piers with boats tethered to the stilts. This truly singular architecture – technically illegal – can be seen along six areas in town. The postcard view from land is the Puente Gamboa Mirador just west of centro.
Castro offers a variety of affordable choices, mostly along San Martín and O'Higgins, their immediate side streets, and the eastern end of Sotomayor, which turns into the wide concrete staircase called Barros Arana with a high concentration of hospedajes (budget accommodations). Numerous boutique and top-end offerings are housed in palafitos, especially on Ernesto Riquelme and on Pedro Montt.
Castro is Chiloé's gourmand haven – nearly all of the island's best restaurants are here. With excellent sandwich bars and innovative restaurants, Castro is a small city with a big appetite, and the quality and creativity here outshines even much of the Southern mainland.
Drinking & Nightlife
Nightlife is a strong word, but Castro is home to several spots for nocturnal diversions, including the trendy Almud Bar in the center and a new cozy craft brewpub, Pioneras Casa Cervecera, just outside town in Nercón. For caffeine fiends, you'll also find the finest coffee on the island, if not Southern Chile, here.