Surfing in Chile

Chile’s waves are among the best in the world. You just need to come and see, letting them wash over you.


The sea is a permanent part of the Chilean landscape. The country has a 4,300-km coastline and over the last 30 years daring young people have explored the different corners where waves form tubes or else crash violently against sand or rocks. These are ideal places for surfing.

In the north, the tides are characterized by their strength and the permanent winds, creating short tubular waves with a rock bottom. In the center-south there are point waves that are long, perfect and strong. The best season is spring-summer, but you can see national and foreign specialists practicing all year long.

Several fixtures on the world surfing championship have been held on the coasts of Arica and Pichilemu The most famous wave riders in the world – such as Kelly Slater, Peter Mell and Andy Irons – have come to this country, one of the top ten among surfing destinations according to the magazine This ranking was confirmed by the Tow-In tournament held in Punta de Lobos with giant waves over 5 meters high ridden by experts who garnered admiration and international attention.


Surfing spots or areas spread by word of mouth among the lovers of the sea. The communion between athletes and the ocean is both powerful and magical. Below are a few details to keep in mind.

El Gringo: This world-class wave is in Arica, which hosts an event on the ASP professional circuit every year. El Gringo breaks both right and left over sharp rocky areas, making it for experts only. Its power and tubular shape have earned it the nickname South American Pipeline. It is easy to find but hard to enter: you have to do so via a thin channel and it is recommended that a local surfer take you.

El Colegio: This is the most classic wave in Iquique. It is formed opposite the coastal road in the city center, around 100 meters north of Cavancha. It is easy to find and ride for surfers with a certain amount of experience, though without forgetting that the bottom is rocky. The best thing is to ride it during low tide.

La Cúpula: Perhaps the best wave in the Norte Grande, a left-breaking one with a rock bottom exactly two km south of Antofagasta. A first-class session is guaranteed at low tide. The place is pristine, far from the crowds and with the desert as a backdrop.

Totoralillo: White sands and turquoise-colored water stand out the most in this beautiful Caribbean-style beach. Totoralillo is located 15 km south of Coquimbo. It is a peninsula with at least three breakers, all surfable. The most popular one is the south wave that breaks over a rocky area opposite the breakwater for the Tikitano cabins.

Matanzas: This wave can be found 200 meters north of the picturesque town of Matanzas and according to experts it is the longest and most tubular one in the country. Matanzas is a left-breaking wave that breaks over the sand. The entry is difficult and risky but satisfaction is guaranteed. Lodging is available in Matanzas itself and in a small nearby village called Navidad.

Topocalma: A few kilometers from the Litueche coast is the entrance to the Topocalma Hacienda. You need special permission to enter. The estate has kilometers and kilometers of perfect waves, including El Secreto, El Falso, Topocalma, Tumán, and Puertecillo. The last of these is most well known. While not the best, it is the most constant and protected from the wind. Topocalma is for experts as well as recent converts and is located 45 km north of Pichilemu.

Punta de Lobos: This is the Chilean wave that is best known around the world. The landscape is captivating and the area was recently declared a Marine Sanctuary. It is a left-breaking wave that runs for almost 1 km, recommended for all surfers, though the sea is particularly cold in this area a couple of kilometers from Pichilemu.

Buchupureo: The southernmost of the country’s most popular waves. The wave in Buchupureo, an attractive village that has remained apart from civilization for centuries, is a perfect left-breaking one that breaks over a sand bar at the outlet of a small estuary. You can reach Buchupureo from San Javier to enjoy a point break wave surrounded by impressive beauty. Located 480 km from Santiago.