With more than 6,000 kilometers of coastline, Chile is a fantastic destination to take a beach vacation. Even if you spend most of your time inland exploring the country's diverse landscapes, you should try to spend some time at the beach during your trip. The beaches in Chile vary significantly, from picturesque coves to busy tourist beaches. Here is a traveler's guide to some of the best beaches in Chile to help you plan your visit.
Pan de Azucar National Park
According to Rough Guides, the best beach in Chile is at Pan de Azucar National Park. This national park straddles the Atacama Desert and Antofagasta, covering more than 100,000 acres of beach. There is a combination of golden beaches for relaxation and rocky outlets to explore. It is also a fantastic place for wildlife spotting, including Humboldt penguins, pelicans, otters, foxes, and guanacos, which are a species related to llamas. The beach at Pan de Azucar National Park also has four campsites, so you can enjoy a night under the stars on the beach.
The Culture Trip recommends Bahia Inglesa as one of the best beaches for those who want to relax. It is also a hot spot for watersports enthusiasts, as some of the watersports you can enjoy at this beach include kayaking, windsurfing, sailing, and surfing. Bahia Inglesa is a beach in northern Chile that has beautiful white sands.
Vina del Mar
Close to Santiago, Vino del Mar is an upscale resort town that boasts some of the best beaches in Chile. The two main beaches in the town are Playa Renaca and Playa las Salinas. The former is a busy beach that is popular amongst tourists, although the waters are a little rough. On the other hand, Playa las Salinas is a popular family beach that has rocky headlands that protect beachgoers from the wind.
Playa El Faro
Although the city of Serena is a couple of miles inland, the beach associated with the city is considered one of the best in Chile. The beach is called Playa El Faro, and it is a busy beach with a lighthouse. However, there are some isolated spots along the beach if you want to relax in peace. Many people who visit this beach then take a boat trip to the Isla Damas to see the Humboldt Penguin National Reserve.
Playa Grande is the most notable of the black volcanic beaches that surround the glacier lake of Villarrica. It is probably one of the most visually appealing beaches in Chile due to the contrast of the black volcanic sand against the backdrop of the snow-capped peak of an active volcano. This beach is within walking distance of Pucon, a town that is home to some outstanding restaurants. Therefore, you can spend your day on the beach and then enjoy an evening meal in the nearby town.
A fine example of the diversity of the beaches in Chile is Playa Chorrilos in the Atacama region. The gray sandy beach is lined with rugged cliffs that create a dramatic and photograph-worthy landscape. There are spectacular views across the beach and the South Pacific Ocean from the top of the cliffs. Hikers enjoy walking along both the beach and across the clifftops. It is not really a beach where you would go to relax, but it is definitely one worth visiting just for its beauty.
Playa Le Virgen
This beach is so-called because of the rock formation along the beach that people claim looks like the Virgin Mary. Many people visit the beach just to see the rock formation, but there are plenty more appealing factors about this stretch of coastline that make this a beach worth visiting. The soft, fine sand is some of the nicest in the country for barefoot walking along the beach, and the blue-green waters are dazzling. You will find this four-mile stretch of beach just south of Puerto Viejo.
Many people who take a vacation in Chile spend some of their time on Easter Island, usually to see the magnificent stone statues that were carved by the Rapa Nui people. However, the coastline of this beautiful island is also worth exploring, so make sure you leave some time in your itinerary to go to the beach. Most of the coastline is covered in cliffs and other rock formations, although there are some sandy beaches. One of the best beaches on Easter Island is Playa Anakena, which has white coral sands fringed by coconut palms. The waters along this beach are calm, so they offer the perfect conditions for swimming. It is also a popular place for diving. Along the beach, there are some small eateries serving local specialties.
Caleta Condor Beach
The indigenous reserve of the Huilliche community is one of Chile's quieter areas, so it is a great place for those who want to relax on a beach that is not overcrowded with tourists. It takes a bit of effort to reach the Caleta Condor Beach, as you must trek the dense greenery that lines the beach. However, it is worth the effort as the white sandy beaches against the glistening azure waters are a stunning sight. In most instances, you will find yourself alone on the beach to admire your gorgeous surroundings in peace.
Zapallar is a town in the Petorca Province that is a couple of hours' drive north of Santiago, Chile's capital. Tiny fishing villages surround it, and it is home to some of the best beaches in Chile. If you want to go surfing or try other watersports, then the best beach near Zapallar is Agua Blancas. Those who are more interested in finding a quiet spot to watch the wildlife should go to Maitencillo Beach, as it is home to various bird species.
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Written by Dana Hanson
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