Waters at the end of the world
Beaches of Chile
More than just tranquil seaside paradises, Chile’s shore expresses the very essence of the Pacific’s cold, pounding surf. But the long Chilean coast also harbors some ideal seaside retreats for sand and sun.
Thursday, May 26, 2011
With some 4,000 miles of coast (6,400 km), Chile’s beaches – some tucked alongside desert cliffs, others in remote Patagonian inlets – are uncountable.
Generally speaking, beaches become more comfortable for sun-bathers toward the north, where endless sun and warm temperatures keep the water comfortable. Of course, there are exceptions even as far south as the Bío-Bio Region, and far-flung Easter Island is one of the best destinations for seaside fun in all of Chile.
Here is This is Chile’s selection of Chile’s best beaches:
Just over 50 miles (85 km) north of Antofagasta, the two beaches at Hornitos are best known for the warmth of their white sand, which averages about 83° F (28° C) throughout the year. The beaches of Los Hornos and Punta Hornos also provide access to some of Chile’s warmest waters, and a large population of sea turtles. At the far north of the park, visitors can set up tents at the Camping Municipal.
Less than 30 miles (44 km) south of Taltal, also in the Antofagasta region, this beach is poised to become a major tourist destination along the Chilean coast. The wide clean beach, crystalline waters and gentle surf is perfect for bathing, fishing, and water sports. This is also an ideal place to try Chile’s freshest seafood, brought in directly from the beach by the many fisherman who ply these waters. Accommodation options are various, with campsites, hotels and hostels available in and around Taltal, or cabins nearer the beach.
Ideal for a family trip, this beach just 20 miles (35 km) from the popular resort of Bahía Inglesa is a short drive toward the coast from the Atacama capital of Copiapó. Fine white sand and clear, turquoise water are La Virgen’s calling cards, its calm tides making it an idea place to bathe in peace surrounded by stunning Atacama landscapes. Infrastructure here is also particularly strong, with bathrooms, showers and restaurants within easy reach. Nearby sand dunes now host activities like sandboarding that are quickly gaining in popularity among visitors.
Chile is full of beautiful beaches, but none is more paradisaical than Easter Island’s most popular seaside spot. With the vast expanse of the Pacific stretching toward the horizon in all directions, Anakena runs into the heart of the Pacific, with tranquil waters and perfectly mild, sub-tropical temperatures. The beach is fringed by verdant hillocks, stands of palms, and the island’s iconic maoai statues. A mere 11 miles (18 km) from Easter Island’s only town, Hanga Roa, Anakena is easily reached by vehicle, moped, or bicycle, the last of these taking roughly two hours over bumpy, hilly tracks.
Less popular than Anakena, Ovahe is known by some as the favorite beach for Easter Island residents. Fine, rose-colored beaches and turquoise waters make this one of the island’s loveliest and most unique places for bathing. Located a half hour from Hanga Roa, the beach is best for adults as strong tides can make it unsafe for young children.
Located on Isla Dama across from Punta de Choros, about 71 miles (114 km) northeast of La Serena, this beach is considered part of the Humboldt Penguin National Reserve. Quiet, transparent waters make this beach ideal for relaxing, while the pristine waters also make it an ideal site for scuba diving. And of course, the unique Humboldt Penguin can be seen in great abundance elsewhere in the reserve, one of the region’s top attractions.
White sand and emerald waters characterize this charming little peninsula nine miles (14 km) south of Coquimbo. Swimming, fishing, scuba diving and surfing are all popular activities here, along with, of course, sunbathing. Campsites and cabins are both available in the area, as well as restaurants.
Located between the towns of Tongoy and Guanaqueros south of Coquimbo, this 1600 ft (500 m) long beach is a popular family destination and known as one of the loveliest spots in the region. Swimming, fishing, and diving are all available here, while cabins or camping at the official Playa Blanca camp grounds are your best bet for accommodation.