About 16 kilometers north of the Río Aconcagua, a paved road heads west to Quintero, a working-class isthmian beach town that once was Lord Cochrane’s hacienda (Maria Graham was Cochrane’s guest during the 1822 earthquake). Before turning inland to Quillota and La Campana, Darwin rode here to see “the great beds of shells, which stand some yards above the level of the sea, and are burnt for lime.”
A few kilometers south of Quintero, the hamlet of Ritoque is the place where surfing started in Chile.
In a state of advanced but apparently arrested decay, the architecturally distinctive Hotel Monaco (21 de Mayo 1500, tel. 0322/930939, US$9 pp with shared bath–US$23 d with private bath) is an economical choice, but there are several others. Like Concón, Quintero has a score or more of seafood picadas, lining 21 de Mayo, for family-style dining.