Best Surf Spots in Chile

February 27, 2013 by

Best Of Lists, Local Recommendations, Things To Do, Unforgettable Experiences

The access at Pichilemu is off a rocky point, or after a long paddle in. Photo courtesy of avodrocc via Flickr.

You’d think that a country with 3,000 miles of coastline would have some great surfing. And you’d be absolutely correct. Chile is known for having the longest left break in South America, and hosts a big wave surfing championship in Pichilemu’s Punta de Lobos when the weather’s right.

Here’s the breakdown on the best surf spots in Chile broken down by Northern, Central and Southern Chile, plus two on Easter Island.

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North

These spots vary from intermediate to expert, with many shallow spots and rocky bottoms.

  • La Isla is best in December and has medium swells, is left-barreling and has a long ride.
  • El Buey breaks left and right, and occasionally barreling, best for experts. This is an empty line-up.
  • El Gringo is for experts, a short ride, with a hollow barrel. It’s also very shallow.
  • Totorolillo (closer to Coquimbo) has three point breaks, two right and one left, and is best surfed from March to June.

Central

  • El Mejoral is north of Algarrobo, has a rocky bottom and some boulders at the entrance/exit. It’s a left hand barrel, good for intermediate surfers, and uncrowded.
  • Pichilemu has three main surf spots, Infernillo, El Puntillo and Punta de Lobos. Infernillo and Punta de Lobos are best for experts, with Infernillo being shallower than Punta de Lobos. They are both left and barreling, and when the surf is big, Infernillo is difficult to exit. Punta de Lobos hosts the big wave competition, and when the surf is big, it’s huge. Not for beginners. El Puntillo is home to the longest wave (longest left break) in Chile, and in fact, in South America. It has strong currents and frequent riptides.
  • Reñaca, which is very close to Viña del Mar, is the most crowded break in Chile, and has a sandy barrel. It is best surfed from October to December. Slightly further north, in Ritoque, you’ll find fewer crowds.
  • Puertecillo has private access only and is south of Santo Domingo. It’s a hollow barreling left.

South

Here cold water rules the day, and in general, you won’t find many locals surfing.

  • As you might guess from the name, El Toro (La Bestia) (The bull/beast) is one of the roughest. It doesn’t break often, but is excellent when it does. It is tow-in only, and accessed from near Coliumu (not Coelemu, which is inland).Curañipe has a left hand barrel, and you will definitely be alone here, though it is surfable.
  • Lebu, which is south of Concepción is barreling, a left-hand break, and extremely cold water. The ride can be long, 100-200 meters.
  • Puerto Maguillines is at the northwest side of Chiloé and is good for intermediate surfers. It’s hollow and has a 150-300 foot ride. There are usually some people here, but crowds are not a problem.

Easter Island

There are two main surfing beaches here.

  • Mataveri, which is hollow and barreling, with up to a 900-food ride. It’s at the far south wast of the island, and is rocky, with difficult entry and exit. This is for experts.
  • Moto Hava is accessed from the harbor, and has a short ride. It is often crowded with beginning surfers and boogie borders, and is on a shallow reef.

If you don’t know how to surf and are itching to try, there are schools in Arica, Concón, Reñaca, Pichilemu, Maitencillo, Papudo, on Easter Island, and others.

- Eileen Smith

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