Pichilemu surfing capital of Chile. Cold water and nice vibes.
After five amazing days in Santiago with our Chilean friends Nikole and Hernan we made up our minds and decided to keep going South towards Torres del Paine with several stops on the way. Our next stop was a small surf place Pichilemu surfing capital of Chile, nevertheless its small size.
Pichilemu, a nice beach town
The town is located 200 km from Santiago and in season (January-February), specially on weekends, gets very busy. Pichilemu is a relaxed place with nice vibe and friendly people, a good place for chilling out on the beach, riding waves and trying local seafood. The sea is quite cold even in the mid summer it’s not a big deal if you go for a quick refreshing swim but for surfing you’ll need a wet suit. Long sandy beaches around the town are very nice. Along the main beach there are many shops, food stands, restaurants and coffee places as well as places renting umbrellas, chairs, beach tents etc.
Warning! Be careful coming to Pichilemu for a day or two you risk to get stuck here for longer. It happened to us we came for two days and left one week later.
Things to do in Pichilemu
The waves are really good here, for surfers with different skills level. From easy and small beach breaks on the main beach (Playa las Terrazas); easy to paddle out, sand bottom, shallow, the only one drawback it gets very crowded. To bigger and more difficult point breaks, one of the best at Punta de Lobos, 6 km from Pichilemu.
Board rental CLP 4000/$6 per day, wet suit CLP 4000/day. There are three surf schools on the main beach, one lesson CLP 10 000/$15 for 2 hours including gear rental.
As I already mentioned beaches in Pichilemu are very nice and long, soft sand, clean, no sea week or any rubbish. The main beach Playa las Terrazas is always full if you seek some privacy check the beaches on the other side, on the way to Punta de Lobos, they are always empty. Sometimes it can be a bit windy with some swell in the sea so be careful when go swimming.
The beaches here are perfect for running in the morning or late afternoon when it’s not that hot. Pichilemu is a good place for bird watching, you can see many sea birds right on the beach; pelicans, seagulls, albatrosses, curlews etc.
Vineyards and cellars
Not far from Pichilemu, an hour drive, in a small town Santa Cruz you can find some of the best vineyards in Chile. Unfortunately you can visit them only with a tour, no independent visits. Tours leave from Santa Cruz (main square) several times a day (during summer holiday), at 10.00 and 11.00 am and after lunch. To visit one vineyard with tasting costs CLP 12 000/$18 per person. Bus Pichilemu – Santa Cruz CLP 3500/$5 (one way).
We decided to skip this activity, if you add up bus tickets and the tour price you’ll get unreal CLP 20 000/$30. For this money you can buy 4 or 5 bottles of very good Chilean wine and taste them on your own! Apparently the area is very beautiful so if you have money why not?
Accommodation in Pichilemu
There are many hotels, guest houses and hostels but like everywhere in Chile they are expensive. A bed in dormitory starts from 12$, private single 30$, double 40$. Many locals rent out their places for longer period so if you’re planning to stay for a couple of weeks it’s better to ask around.
The cheapest option that we found was camping La Caletilla (av. Costanera), CLP 5000/$7 per person (4000 in low season). The location is good, across the road from the beach. Camping has everything necessary; hot showers (from 7.00 to 11.00 am and from 7.00 to 11.00 pm), toilets, kitchen (CLP 1000/$1,5 per day per tent for using gas stove), wi-fi in the kitchen area. Every tent place has a table, benches, fire-place, outlet and light. Every night the owner makes a big fire all guests gather around, family atmosphere, great place for meeting people. If you don’t have a tent, sleeping pad or sleeping bag you can rent everything here.
Food places in Pichilemu
Average price for a meal, fish/meat with a side dish, in local food places CLP 3000/$4,5. A sandwich with fries and cool drink from CLP 2200/$3,2, delicious pies with meat, cheese, fish or chicken (quite big) – 1500-2000/$2, street mariscal (sea food salad in lemon juice) – 1000/$1,5, street ceviche (raw fish with lemon juice and herbs) – 1500/$2. Prices in restaurants start from CLP 5000/$7,5 per dish.
We ate a lot of street ceviche and mariscal good and cheap. Most of the times we cooked for ourselves. There is a big supermarket not far from the beach, many grocery shops, bakeries and butcher’s. Prices in the supermarket are very similar to the prices in Santiago.
According to our Chilean tradition we hitchhiked. We started in Santiago, it was easy and fast, never waited for long. We got some interesting rides from a football player, a designer and a photographer, stopped to feed street dogs, got useful tips and had a great time. Hitchhiking in Chile is a wonderful way of making friends and meeting locals, people are super friendly!
If hitchhiking is not your cup os tea you can take a bus. Several companies have bus services Santiago – Pichilemu, buses leave every hour or so, price from CLP 5000/$7,5. For more details go HERE.
At the end of our staying in Pichilemu we met a cool Franco-Chilean couple Paula and Michel they invited us to join them for a trip to Siete Tazas (check our article Siete Tazas a secret paradise). Absolutely amazing place in the mountains, two hours drive from Pichilemu, it’s quite popular in Chile but unknown outside the county.
Budget for 7 days per person: accommodation – CLP 35 000/$47; street food – CLP 4500/$6; shopping – CLP 27 600/$37; other – CLP 2000/$2,7.
Total: CLP 69 100/$93 or CPL 10 000/$13,5 per day.
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