Iquique’s coveted Playa Cavancha: the best beach in Chile?

As summer draws to a close, Chileans, exchange students and expats are making their last few trips to the beach before pulling out their ski gear.  

If you’re even vaguely familiar with the English-language blogger scene in Chile then you’ve likely come across Emily, the 20-something Californian expat who writes the blog “Don’t Call Me Gringa.”
Emily has been blogging about life in Chile since 2007, and along the way has collected a troupe of loyal followers, won a number of awards – including the 2011 Top Expat Blog Award from – and been cited by major news publications in the United States and beyond.
Like most expats in the know, Emily had one goal on her agenda for March: get to the beach.
But if you were busy at work, studying, or short on travel money during those last days of March, you haven’t missed the boat yet. Though the leaves are turning golden and the nights are beginning to get chilly, weather in Chile’s capital continues to be balmy, hitting temperatures around 90ºF (32ºC) around midday.
With a long weekend coming up and great weather forecast, Easter weekend might be your last chance to hit the beach before pulling out your winter parkas.
And if you’re one of Don’t Call Me Gringa’s loyal fans, then chances are you’re making that trip to Playa Cavancha, Iquique, which Emily described as “the perfect Chilean beach” on one of her latest blog installments in late March.
Why? Our guess is that it might have something to do with the “delicious crab and cheese empanada” and the “creamy, fruity popsicles in flavors like mango, guava, cherry and quince” that were delivered to her as she sunned herself on this perfect white sand beach that sits at the feet of the city of Iquique, in the midst of Chile’s vast northern deserts.
Emily described the waves of Playa Cavancha as perfect, yet locals also rave about El Colegio, the reef break only 328 feet (100 mt) to the north of Cavancha that is known to be one of Chile’s great right-breaking waves.