On Pacific shores

Matanzas: Much more than just a classic Chilean wave

While known as a surfing mecca, Matanzas, which also boasts perfect wind and kitesurfing conditions, is home to world-class architecture and accommodation. 

Monday, August 13, 2012 Category: Tourism - Sport
Hotel Surazo in Matanzas. Photo courtesy of Felipe Cantillana / Hotel Surazo / Facebook. Hotel Surazo in Matanzas. Photo courtesy of Felipe Cantillana / Hotel Surazo / Facebook.

With nearly 3,000 miles of coastline (4,830 km), Chile has no shortage of beaches. But if you’re looking for a spot to unwind that’s off the beaten track, but close enough to civilization, look no further than the town of Matanzas, a 2.5 hour drive southwest of Santiago.


Professional surfers flock to Matanzas to experience the beach’s legendary waves, but Matanzas is also worth a visit for its unique accommodations and relaxed atmosphere.


Small-time town, big-time waves


The town of Matanzas is comprised of just one quiet street running alongside the ocean. Only around 100 people live year-round in this charming, modest village, making it the perfect escape from the bustle of Santiago, or the crowds of more popular beaches like Viña del Mar.


But this little beach also features a unique selling point: its wind and waves. The combination makes Matanzas one of the best windsurfing and kitesurfing locations in the world. The spot is famous among surfers in Chile for its left-point break and laid-back atmosphere.


For professional windsurfer Klaas Voget, who filmed a stunning windsurfing video in Chile earlier this year, Matanzas is a special place.


“Matanzas is one of the best spots, including the beaches north and south just nearby. . . the wind is really strong and constant here in summer.”


World-class waves – and architecture


Not a surfer? No problem.


A night (or even just dinner) in one of Matanza’s unique lodgings is worth the trip. While modern resorts and condos have popped up on other beaches throughout Chile, the innovative buildings of Matanzas stand out for their stylish, natural aesthetic.


Chilean-based architects (and surfers) Felipe Wedeles and Jorge Manieu have designed multiple homes and hotels in Matanzas that almost seem to blend into the scenery. Constructed of wood and glass, these structures complement the natural beauty of the region and transcend typical indoor vs. outdoor constraints.


Hotel Surazo is their incredible 11 room hotel in Matanzas. Surfers can rent equipment and take lessons, and those with more relaxed ambitions can enjoy the ocean view from a wood-fire hot tub.


On a tighter budget in Matanzas, grab dinner or a drink at the Hotel Surazo to get a feel for the scene, but rent a cabin or campsite at Olas de Matanzas. Up to five people can share a nice campsite with hot water and electricity for US$58 (CLP28000) between September and April, and US$40 (CLP20000) between May and August.