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+ Super consistent
+ Lots of long left pointbreaks
+ Big wave options
+ Great countryside, laid-back people
- Cold water year-round
- Rainy winters and windy
- Lack of night entertainment
- Hard access to some spots

Valparaíso & O'Higgins, Chile, SOUTH AMERICA

Punta Lobos, Alex Williams

Surf Spots

El Claron
La Boca
Las Salinas (Valparaiso)
El Quisco
Playa La Castilla
Cartagena - Las Cruces
La Boquilla
Punta Topocalma
Pichilemu - La Puntilla
Punta de Lobos

The Surf

Pichilemu is probably the most famous surf town in Chile, situated in the south of this zone, which combines Region V and VI in the numerical naming system of Chile. Because both Valparaiso & O’Higgins encircle the Región Metropolitana de Santiago, it is also the most populated, with plenty of weekend warriors making the 120km trip to the beaches from the capital. Long lefthand points begin to appear in the southern corners of the bays along with some strong beachbreaks along the Vina del Mar stretch up to Ritoque, where surfing started back in the early ‘70s. This area is where most city folk will get their first taste of surfing, before heading south to the more challenging setups of Pichilemu, where the awesomely long and handsome lefts of Puertecillo, La Puntilla and Punta de Lobos await in a coldwater goofy-footers paradise. This is the most flexible and accessible zone in all of Chile with something for everyone and is the heart of the growing Chilean surf scene.

When to Go

S to SW and even due W swells appear from Antarctica lows, with sizes varying from 2-18ft (0.5-6m) year-round. The dominant wind comes from the S varying from 32% of the time in June to 55% of the time from Oct through to Feb. The winter period of May-July also gets a lot of NW-NE winds (30-40%), which is unheard of further north. The remainder of the year sees a light S or SW pattern. This means that the north-facing coves will often be offshore, favouring lefts. Mid to high tides are the go at most spots. The tidal range of 6ft (2m) is significant, but it’s hard to find a tide table.

dominant swell S -SW S -SW S -W S -W S -W S -W
swell size (ft) 4-5 5 6 7-8 6 4
consistency (%) 80 80 90 80 90 60
dominant wind S -SW S -SW N -S N -S S -SW S -SW
average force F4 F4 F4 F4 F4 F4
consistency (%) 73 66 55 56 66 73
water temp (C) 17 16 14 13 13 15
wetsuit 3/2 3/2 4/3 4/3 4/3 3/2
Viana Region - 760,000

6,435km (4,020mi)

GMT -4h

Travel Information


Looking at the vegetation reveals a mixed climate of mild Mediterranean and wet Oceanic. Due to the relatively low latitude, winter is a period to avoid because of cold temperatures, frequent showers and changeable weather. It is possible at this time to snowboard in the mountains, 4hr away. Sunshine levels vary from 2-3hr in winter to 8-9hr in the summer. Summers are dry and quite warm, but the coast is sometimes shrouded in mist. The Humboldt Current cools the water year round and it rarely exceeds 17°c (62°F).


Pichilemu and other coastal resorts get crowded during the summer with visitors from Santiago (the capital). There are 3 nightclubs in Pichilemu (cover charge around $5) but Valparaiso and Cartagena are lively. Don’t miss the Andes and the volcanoes.


Nothing really. Strong rips make getting to the line-up difficult when it’s big. Otherwise the locals are cool, crowd pressure is low, rocks are well covered with seaweed and the numerous seals are curious, but harmless. The only trouble is smog and urban hassles in Santiago.


You can have your board fixed in the main surf hubs and get a leash or wax, but don’t expect too much. Bring all necessities. Locals will expect you to sell your gear. It seems that Chile is waking up now that the Pinochet era is over.