This laid back surfing town is on my list of favorite places. I loved the views, the vibe and the food. Getting there was a bit of a challenge because the roads weren’t well marked, if
you don’t have a gps make sure you print directions. Leaving the airport head toward Maipu to 78 toward San Antonio.
The town has numerous restaurants, shops and a couple of very nice parks. It is a friendly place and a nice place to walk around. It gets windy here so bring a sweatshirt or buy one at one of the surf shops. The beaches are made up of black sand. Overlooking the main beach there are several stand selling fresh fish and cups of ceviche. The surf shacks offering lessons seem to outnumber the hotels.
The bank is the only place to exchange dollars and their ATM only takes Mastercard. Avoid Friday’s, payday, unless you don’t mind waiting in long lines. There is another ATM at the market near the main beach and it takes all cards.
US passport holders will pay $160 for entry visa. The visa is good for as long as the passport is valid. All hotels we stayed in breakfast & WIFI were include. If you rent a car be specific about the fuel you want (mas barato / cheapest) if you are not they will fill the tank with the most expensive gas. Tipping rate is 10% at restaurants. Don’t buy liquids in airport near gate, you will be checked again upon boarding so any water you bought will be tossed!!! Exchange rate for this blog $1 USD = 479 CLP
If you take the costal road through town up and around pass the Surf Hostal and a couple blocks from the restaurant Costa Luna on the right is where we stay. 8 del Mar is more of a B & B and I loved it. A bit of luxury in this low key beach town. It is owned by a local couple and they could not have been more helpful. It is set up on its own bluff with stunning views of the rocky coast and the pounding Pacific. You can fall asleep to the waves crashing on the shore. The architecture is beautiful. The atmosphere is relaxing and comfortable a perfect oasis to return to at the end of the day. The modern rooms all face the ocean and have balconies, beach towels, robes, safes, flat screens and if you need anything Claudia will do everything she can to get it for you. One of the 4 hot tubs filled with ocean water is the perfect place to watch sunset. We took breakfast, it’s included, on the sundeck. Prepare for a feast. They have an honor bar in the community living room where the prices are reasonable. The owners of this place seem to have done everything right; from the way they built and decorated the hotel to the way they treat their guest it is first class. The cost for such a wonderful place to lay your head or just to hang out and catch some rays is about $200 usd / 100,000 CLP.
Walking distance from the hotel is Costa Luna, we liked it so much we ate there twice. It overlooks the ocean and the deck is a nice place to watch the sunset. Check the hours it is not open all day. Dinner opens at 7pm. Food was excellent. For 1 lomo saltado, 1 fresh fish and rice w/ calamari squid ink, $24 bottle of wine and two waters we paid 37,500 CLP about $63. Service was great too.
In town there are several places that sell empanadas. We went to Casa de Empanadas where they offer 34 different types to chose from and they are huge. We bought 1 chicken & cheese, 1 meat, cheese & mushroom and a diet coke at 6,600 CLP.
For lunch one day we went to the Surf Hostal it is right up the street from Costa Luna and has the same view. The food was ok. They offer pizza and sandwiches. I don’t have an example of prices.
There are some nice drives in the immediate area. Minutes south of town is Punta De Lobos. This is a beautiful spit of land jetting out over the water where you can drive to the tip, park, pull up a rock and watch the surfers down below. The waves can be so clean and big here that there’ll be up to 50 people in the water. The rocky coast, with the blue of the water and the town in the distance makes it a nice place to chill. Before you arrive at the point there is a large black beach down below. This is where the less advanced surfers tend to take to the water and on the beach there are about 4 shacks offering surf lessons.
About 13 Clicks south is the town of Cahui. In this town you will find salt for sale, many make their living extracting salt from the sea. There is a nice river/Lagoon here. There’s a beach, you can swim here or take a boat ride. Via a dirt road you can go on to El Copao or Panul. These villages are known for making and selling pottery. If you stay at 8 al mar they have a great map that will guide you to these nearby areas.
ON WAY BACK TO SANTIGAO: We stopped for lunch in wine region. We went to Vino Bello in Santa Cruz. This was a very scenic route to take. The lush green vineyards and the snowcapped mountains made the commute an easy one. The restaurant was on the way and the food was excellent. They have inside and outside seating. Outside the view is of the vineyard. Food is Italian, service was wonderful and it was just a great experience and a good way to break up the drive. We had a salad w/ fried cheese, pesto pasta, 2 cokes and a water. The price was 16,900 CLP.