I just keep looking at the second photo and still can not believe we climbed those rocks.
When we got back to the town we parked the car we sat down for a drink at a belgian beer bar. Of course instead of beer I had a sangria. The waiter was superb, he made a total jerk out of me by making me believe that in order to reach the ladies room I have to take the elevator. I pushed several times the button to call the lift when finally he told me I just have to push the door and enter. I was practically rolling on the floor laughing when I found out he has taken me for a fool.
For all my bartender friends out there: is anyone familiar with macaronesian gin??
Since the 1800s, Santiaguinos have flocked to Viña’s beaches to escape the city’s summer heat.
If you don’t mind a crowd (and the towering condominiums), the beach and accompanying boardwalk offer a variety of treats: sunning yourself on a stretch of sand, a seaside artesanía (handmade crafts) market, and smaller stands with refreshments and ice cream.
Vendors wander the beaches selling cuchuflis and dulces. You can watch sand sculptors turn tiny grains into octopi, buffaloes…even characters from the Simpsons.
Since the roads can be congested, a bus from Santiago is most convenient. The ride from the University of Santiago station takes an a hour and a half, and you arrive in Viña, a twenty-minute walk from the beach.
Pan de Azucar is a beachside national park located in the Atacama Desert. Though technically too small to be considered a town, it’s too pretty not to be on this list.
Bring your tent and for 3,500 pesos a night you can sleep under a cabana at Piqueros with a view of the beach to the west and the stark beauty of the Atacama to the east.
Or for even less, camp in the more crowded, party-friendly sites at Piqueros Norte and La Caleta. La Caleta is the “town” in Pan de Azucar, with two restaurants and a mini-market for stocking up on essentials.
Once you’ve had your fill of beach fun, take a boat tour for 5,000 pesos (about $9) to the island where 5,000 penguins have taken up residence. The boat gets close enough to see rows and rows of them, the juveniles still puffy with feathers and the couples standing together in the shade.
You can also hike up to the mirador for a killer view of the desert plain as it spreads out against the coastline.
San Alfonso del Mar, the largest swimming pool in the world. Photo: Kyle Pearce
Located to the south of Valparaiso and Viña del Mar, Algarrobo’s tall waves and expansive sand provide a peaceful respite from the crowds, especially the farther you wander from downtown.
Rent kayaks, swim in calm waters, and take a ride on a raft, all within a protective alcove that makes the ocean look like a lake. Near the private condominium resort San Alfonso del Mar, walk for miles on the beach and lay out in relative isolation — a delightful alternative to normally crowded Chilean beaches.
While you’re there, take a peek at the resort, which claims the Guinness Book of World Records title for largest swimming pool in the world.
Located 100 miles northwest of Santiago, Cachagua is a small town with a two-mile beach and not much else.
If you want to relax and enjoy the sun and the waves, Cachagua is the perfect spot. If the water is too cold to your taste (and it will likely be, thanks to the Humboldt current coming from Antartica), take a boat to the nearby rocky island Monumento Isla Cachagua to observe the Humboldt penguins that nest there from September to April. Horse-ridding and surfing are also very popular activities.
Five miles north of Cachagua is Zapallar, a secluded small town that is the favourite destination of the weathly inhabitants of Santiago.
Don’t let Zapallar’s population scare you away and enjoy the beautiful coastal trail that provides a view of the ocean like no other. The beach is usually quiet, so it’s great for those in need of tranquility; however, the water is still very cold.
Valpo, as it’s affectionately known to locals, is a place of details.
Every corner, every nook offers something different and new: a clothing flea market, a gigantic mural, a purple house, a rustic restaurant with unobstructed views of the ocean, a coffeeshop that serves black coffee and refuses to offer Nescafe (instant coffee is ubiquitous in Chile).
It’s a city that must be walked. Take the ascensor accessed from Esmeralda Street and wander Cerro Concepcion, where you’ll find Café Concepcion on Papudo. The restaurant — and the hill for that matter — has a spectacular view of the bay.
Near the main plaza, order buttery Mil Hojas ice cream at Vitamin on Avenida Pedro Montt #1746.
Today was probably the best day of my life I guess, or at least very close to it. We decided to go for a little lazy beach time to La Caleta (the hippy beach I visited recently). Natalia said she knows the way to go there so we followed her. There were altogether the 4 of us Natila (Poland), Ryan (Australia), Olivier (Belgium) and myself (representing Hungary) a very international group.
At the beginning it was nothing special, just the usual sandy rocky path but after a while we reached the rocks near the beach. There was a gap where we had to jump from one rock to the other, that looked quite scary. The boys did it well, I was a little scared to do it, but solved it finally. Unfortunately Poland could not make a safe landing she was injured on the leg.
After this we kept on going and climbed the rocks that seemed to me as an impossible mission. The belgian guy (imagine someone who was born in the second most plain country in the world) arrived in his flip flops and fulfilled some parts of the project barefoot - I kept telling myself if he can do it I also should (I had my sneakers on me providing a more comfortable but still not safe feeling).
Finally and unbelievably we succeeded in getting to the beach after going through three or four heart attacks and being close to shitting in my pants.
And the day was far from being over. More adventures coming in the following posts.