Superlative in beauty and scale and at times utterly wild, Chile is a truly unique South American nation, where you can venture from desert to glacier and from pristine coastline to soaring mountaintop—and the beaches are no exception. Here’s your guide to the best beaches in Chile, whether you’re interested in surfing or sunbathing.
Best for Untouched Sands
Playa Blanca inside Parque Nacional Llanos de Challe has white sand and is one of the country’s most pristine beaches. Playa Blanca is a small black-sand beach with sweeping views of the volcano and shallow waters for swimming. There’s no sign; the beach is accessed down a small passageway on the right side of the road. Look for vehicles parked along the street, particularly on weekends, when it’s a popular picnicking spot.
Best for Surfing
Punta de Lobos near Pichilemu has six-meter swells and is considered the best left point break in the country.
An urban sprawl of tourist cabins and pricey condos connects Pichilemu with Punta de Lobos, a beach and town 4km south. Consistent swells up to six meters produce a steep left point break, considered the best in Chile. From the cliffs above, various trails lead down to the beach, where there are plenty of surf schools renting equipment and offering surfing and kitesurfing classes. The road continues to the end of the headland, where a parking lot plays host to hip food trucks and craft stalls in summer and on weekends. The beach is also suitable for swimming and fishing.
North of Valparaíso, picture-perfect Playa Cachagua has glorious white sand and azure water. It lies across from the Monumento Natural Isla Cachagua, an island with 2,000 resident Humboldt penguins—bring binoculars if you want to see them. The beach is a good spot for surfing, although you’ll need to bring your own gear, as there’s nowhere to rent
White sands and palm trees make Anakena on Rapa Nui the country’s most tropical paradise.
Described as the “cradle of Rapa Nui civilization,” Anakena, a palm-fringed sandy beach in the middle of the northern coast, is the island’s most picturesque and traditionally Polynesian spot. Thanks to the aridity of the sand, it is an archaeologically valuable site, helping experts draw more accurate conclusions about the dates of the Polynesian arrival.
According to oral history, Anakena is where Hotu Matu’a, the first Rapa Nui king, originally set foot on the island. A tropical paradise of white coral sand, warm water, and coconut trees, this beach is where most visitors head to sunbathe or swim. A lifeguard is usually here in high season. The waters are calm and ideal for swimming, with temperatures of 18-24°C. Just above the beach, palm-roofed shacks do a roaring trade in empanadas, ceviche, and fruit juices.
Best for Sunbathing
The white sand of Playa Las Machas just across the bay from the town of Bahía Inglesa is perfect for swimming and basking in the sun.
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