Pichilemu – Chile (the Center)
Pichilemu is a surfer’s paradise: sick waves, laid back charm and a great party scene. A sleepy surfer town most of the year, it really steps up a notch in the summer months when crowds pour in for the wild beaches and even wilder beach parties. But there is more than just the waves…
During the day, meander through the town visiting the street markets (a great vegetable and fruit market on Wednesday & Friday mornings), San Andres de Ciruelos church and museum and the beaches in the town. Along the beachfront is the old promenade, former casino (with changing art exhibitions) and the pretty gardens designed by local legend Agustin Ross Edwards who tried to turn the town into a resort for Santiago’s rich. Don’t miss the small chapel underneath the Ross Park: carved out of the rocks, it is a strange homage to the Virgin Mary and molten candle wax.
For more solitude and a cool crowd, head 6km out of town to the famous Punta de Lobos – where the surf really picks up and the beer bottle clink at sunset. This picturesque rock peninsula creates an ideal barrier from the wind and one of the world’s greatest surf rips harvesting waves of 15 meters, attracting top surfers and hosting championships in October and December. This is also a great place for whale spotting and bird watching and it is on the way to the Cáhuil salt flats (17km from Pichilemu), heated baths, large lake (with exotic flora) and some great trekking (20 mins from the centre). For an adrenaline hit, try canopying across the beach, taking kitesurf or surf lessons.