Angelmó is one of the most typical and picturesque places in the city of Puerto Montt, gateway to the Chilean Patagonia; its seafood market and the colorful wool and wood handicraft stores are part of the history and traditions of southern Chile.
The origin of the colourful fishing cove dates back to the seventeenth century when the fishermen and the inhabitants of the Greater Island of Chiloé, and the myriad of smaller islands of the Chiloé Archipelago, established this as a place where they could land with their boats and trade their products. The small harbour is located a few kilometres west of Puerto Montt in a channel behind Tenglo Island, a place protected from the wind and the waves.
Over time, taking advantage of the abundance of seafood available in the region, food stalls were installed to prepare and serve seafood meals to the fishermen and the women selling a variety of items including dozens of varieties of native potatoes from Chiloé, elephant garlic, dried and smoked seafood, home-made liquors and artisanal cheeses. That subsequently led to the development of a market for handicrafts made of wood and wicker, and all sorts of garments made of coarse wool.
Indian (Mapuche) dolls with baby are a very popular souvenir for tourists visiting the market.
The story goes that the name of Angelmó cove derived from a deformation of the name of Doctor Angel Montt, nephew of Manuel Montt, president of Chile between 1851 and 1861. Doctor Montt, owner of the land surrounding the cove, generously assisted the natives with their health problems. When he died he bequeathed his land to the fishermen so they could expand their activities.
Dried-smoked shellfish, wicker items, garlic and seaweeds on sale at the market in Angelmó.
In addition to the fishing village and the craft shops, the sector has retained its port atmosphere and today is the site of arrival and departure of thousands of tourists who board or disembark from dozens of cruise ships that travel in the summer to and from Argentina around Cape Horn or the Strait of Magellan, or take the ferries to the islands and channels of Patagonia.
Dried shellfish, wicker items and garlic, on sale at the market in Angelmó.
Among the main attractions of Angelmó are the numerous palafitte restaurants which main offer is, of course, a wide array of seafood dishes. Especially famous is the "pulmay". Pulmay is a hearty stew composed of a variety of shellfish (clams, mussels, prawns, scallops and giant barnacles), chicken, sausages, smoked pork chops, onions, cabbage, garlic and potatoes. Other typical dishes are raw sea urchins, mixed seafood hotpot, cold shellfish salads, baked salmon, dip fried hake and several other fish varieties. Prices are very reasonable, generally ranging between 6 and 12 dollars.
Vacuum-packed frozen and smoked fish and shellfish are available for travelers and visitors to the Angelmó fishermen's market.
Next to the restaurants there is a market focused mainly on the sale of local products. These include fresh, frozen or smoked seafood, cheese, butter, jams, honey, seaweeds, dried-smoked shellfish on strings, apple cider, and home-made liqueurs prepared with wild fruits and berries.
At the handicrafts’ market one can buy handmade loom weavings, wooden cooking utensils and wicker items, garments made with 100% natural or dyed lamb wool yarns, and a variety of ponchos, hats, scarves and wool socks. Haggling is a normal part of business interactions and you can always buy something you do not need at an irresistible price.
General view of the city of Puerto Montt, Chile. The Angelmó Cove Fishermen's market is about 2 kilometres from the downtown area of the city.
The beauty of the place has been documented by numerous plastic artists. Among them, the most famous is Chilean painter Arturo Pacheco Altamirano who frequently visited the cove and immortalized in his paintings the boats and fishermen of Angelmó in the early 1900s (see video above).