Each summer, the resort town of Zapallar about 40 miles (60 km) up the Pacific coast from Viña del Mar more than triples in size as families arrive from the Metropolitan Region for the season. Since the early 20th century, Zapallar’s forested hills and verdant trails, its crescent-shaped beach and peaceful Pacific inlet have made the town one of Chile’s most exclusive summer resorts. In the months of January and February the town’s fixed population of 7,000 swells to as many as 30,000, bringing daily events to the otherwise quiet seaside retreat and adjacent resort towns of Laguna, Cachagua and Catapilco.
Zapallar will offer the widest variety of events, including wine tastings, art exhibitions and open-air theatrical and musical performances throughout the summer. According to Sergio Calvo, communications officer for the municipality, the town will host as many as four different events on any given day, all of them free.
From the Jan. 15-28, the municipal theater will host an exposition of works from the Society of Chilean Sculptors. Works by sculptors Pilar Landerretche, Jesús Gonzaléz and Lorenzo Moya will bring the season to a close from Feb. 19-28. These are but two of eight traveling expositions that will pass through the area between the beginning of January and the end of February.
Throughout the summer, Zapallar’s beach and La Paz Park in the forested hills will present concerts and films. Santiago’s Universidad Andrés Bello will present its Camerata Choir in La Paz Park and also contribute an exhibition of works by Rembrandt, from Jan. 26 to Feb. 9 in the secondary school in nearby Calchagua, and from Feb. 10-23 in Zapallar.
In the resort of Laguna, just south of Zapallar along the coast, an international artisan’s fair including craftspeople from Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Guatemala, Paraguay and Egypt will run through the end of February with presentations and workshops offered each Saturday.
The series of events will cater to adults and children, with special performances and presentations designed for younger audiences and expositions of contemporary art for the adults passing their summers here. Come March, Zapallar and its environs will be as tranquil as ever, but for summer 2010 this stretch of Pacific coastline will become as much a hub for entertainment as it always has been sun, sand and a bit of relaxation.
This post is also available in Spanish