Surfing in Chile

Surfing guide to Chile,

Chile has 1 main surf areas. There are 23 surf spots . Go explore!

Overview of surfing in Chile

Chile, found on the Pacific side of South America, is one of the longest countries in the world. The coastline is varied, similar to certain areas in Spain or Portugal, and offers an almost unlimited amount of surf set ups. The climate is similar to California, but a little colder, especially when heading further south. The surf is highly diverse, from big wave points to heaving reefs to peaky beachbreaks there is something for everyone. The vast coastline as well as the exposure also makes Chile a year long destination, although the surf is generally better during the Southern Hemisphere winter. Don’t forget to enjoy the rich culture and incredible food that Chile has to offer, not to mention the incredible natural landscapes.

The Surf

Chile has plenty of surf due to it’s length and exposure to the South Pacific. Similar to a place like Vancouver island, the coastline is rugged and full of nooks and crannies begging for the right swell to hit.

From the big waves of Punta de Lobos to the beaches of Renaca, there will be something for every skill level. That being said, the remote nature of many of the best breaks and the cold water might exclude absolute beginners. Chile is one of the most consistent surf destinations as well, offering year round surf.

Top Surf Spots

Arica (El Gringo)

This is one of the gnarliest reef breaks in the world. It is often likened to Pipeline in its nastiness. It is both a right and left and breaks over extremely shallow rock with a sketchy entry and exit onto land. All that being said, its gaping barrels give those interested all the reward they need. Take care and have fun! Learn more here.

Punta de Lobos

This is one of the premier left hand points that holds size in the world (sorry Uluwatu). This spot never gets too big, and the local crew have built a reputation for being hard charging and very skilled. The left hand break turns on during the winter months in the southern hemisphere. Bring a big board and have some fun! Learn more here.

Pichilemu

This is a particular point in the area of Pichilemu which houses many good spots. The surf here is excellent and often groomed to perfection by the sand placement. This spot serves up long left hand walls perfect for perfecting a rail game both front or backside. Respect the locals and have fun! Learn more here.

Accommodation Information

The level of luxury in Chile is highly dependent on how close you are to a major city. The closer you are the easier it will be to find high quality resorts or hotels. The further away you are the best you’ll be getting is hostel or camping. That being said in the more built up surf towns there are usually good options for solo or group travelers to stay in.

The Good
World class surf
Variety of waves year round
Cheap and the locals are welcoming
The Bad
Some parts are very rural
Waves can be difficult to get to
Cold, especially far South
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Getting there

Surf Regions

Chile can be divided into three regions: North, Central, and South. Northern Chile is full of deserts and flat landscapes. The waves here are either gnarly flat rock reefs or expansive beachbreaks. The swells here are very consistent as it has good exposure to Northern Hemisphere swells in the summers. Central Chile has more small towns and is a little more built up. The climate is Mediterranean and it boasts both mountains and plains. The waves here are very diverse and you can find something for anyone. Southern Chile is much more remote and colder. There are many unexplored islands and it has potential for absolutely massive swells. This is the area to go for an unexplored surf trip.

Access to Surf and Location

Most people will be flying into Santiago, the capital. From here your best bet is to get a car. A 4wd will be more than necessary if you plan on going to the more remote ares of the country. However if you plan on staying in the more built up towns a regular car will do just fine. There are buses and public transportation available, but these will not always be able to take you to the coastal town of your choice.

Visa and Entry Exit Information

Visa availability does depend on your country of origin. Make sure to check the government site for more details. Visas are generally required for most nationalities. A common and easy entry point will be the Santiago international airport.

The 23 best Surf spots in Chile

Overview of surfing spots in Chile

El Gringo

9
Peak | Exp Surfers
100m long

La Cupula

8
Left | Exp Surfers
150m long

Piedra Del Lobo

8
Left | Exp Surfers
100m long

Colegio

8
Right | Exp Surfers
150m long

Andromeda

8
Right | Exp Surfers
50m long

Punta Gruesa

8
Left | Exp Surfers
100m long

Punta Una

7
Peak | Exp Surfers
50m long

Intendencia

7
Left | Exp Surfers
150m long

Surf seasons and when to go

The best time of the year to surf in Chile

Lineup Lowdown

The lineups in Chile are generally quite welcoming. This is good for most visitors. That being said, make sure to respect the locals and let them have the set waves, especially at more popular or premier spots like Punta de Lobos.

Surf Seasons

The best time to score top quality surf in Chile is the Southern Hemisphere winter. That being said year round there is still potential for solid swells and good conditions. Because the coastline can be so curved and gnarled, there is usually somewhere that is offshore on any given day.

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Chile surf travel guide

Find trips that fit a flexible lifestyle

Activities Other Than Surf

Beyond the thrilling waves, Chile offers a multitude of activities that cater to every traveler’s interests. For those seeking cultural experiences, the rich tapestry of Chilean cuisine, influenced by both indigenous and European flavors, provides a delightful culinary journey. The country’s world-renowned wineries, particularly in the central valleys, offer tours and tastings that are a treat for wine enthusiasts. History buffs will find a wealth of historical sites and museums, especially in cities like Valparaíso and the capital, Santiago. For the adventure-seekers, the diverse Chilean landscape presents endless opportunities: trekking in the majestic Andes, exploring the mystique of the Atacama Desert, or even skiing during the winter months. And for those who seek a glimpse of urban life in Chile, cities like Santiago and Valparaíso boast vibrant nightlife, arts scenes, and shopping experiences.

Language

Spanish is the lingua franca of Chile, a language rich in local dialects and expressions. For non-Spanish speakers, this might pose a challenge, but it’s also an opportunity to immerse in the local culture. In popular tourist destinations and surf communities, English is relatively common, though not universally spoken. Learning a few basic Spanish phrases can greatly enhance your interaction with locals, making your experience more authentic and enjoyable. Language schools and informal language exchange meetups are available in major cities for those interested in deepening their language skills during their stay.

Currency/Budget

In Chile, the Chilean Peso (CLP) is the currency in use, and understanding its conversion rates is crucial for budgeting your trip. The cost of living can vary significantly; while some areas are quite affordable, tourist hotspots and major cities may be more expensive. Accommodation, food, and travel expenses are generally reasonable, but it’s wise to budget extra for surf equipment rental, lessons, and unexpected travels. To manage your expenses better, consider dining at local markets or eateries, using public transport, and opting for shared accommodations or surf camps. For the best deals and experiences, don’t hesitate to ask local surfers or fellow travelers for their recommendations.

Cell Coverage/WiFi

In Chile’s major cities and popular surf towns, you’ll find good cell coverage and Wi-Fi accessibility, making it easy to stay connected. Many accommodations, cafes, and public areas offer free Wi-Fi, though the speed and reliability can vary. In more remote surf locations, cell coverage can be spotty, and Wi-Fi may be limited or unavailable. For extended trips or in remote areas, consider purchasing a local SIM card with a data plan, which is relatively inexpensive and can be immensely helpful for navigation and staying in touch. Always plan your travel routes and necessary communications in advance when heading to off-the-beaten-path surf spots.

Get Going!

Chile presents a unique blend of breathtaking natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and exceptional surfing experiences. From its vast coastline offering waves for every level of surfer to its vibrant cities and serene landscapes, Chile is more than just a surf destination; it’s a journey into diverse experiences. Whether you’re paddling out to catch the early morning waves, exploring the dunes of the Atacama, or enjoying the local cuisine, Chile promises an unforgettable adventure. Its welcoming people, diverse landscapes, and a culture that’s both fascinating and heartwarming make it an ideal destination not just for surfers but for anyone looking to enrich their travel experiences. So pack your board, a sense of adventure, and come to Chile for the waves and stay for the wonders that unfold beyond the beach.

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