The 2,500-mile Chilean coastline is well known for its fabulous beaches and resorts, so choosing the best one to plan your vacation around is no simple feat. We’ve broken down the best of the best; for a perfect mix of beautiful scenery, epic nightlife, and endless adventure, check out these.
Viña del Mar
Viña del Mar is the place to be if you have a little extra jingle in your pocket, otherwise you’re going to end up sorely disappointed. It’s one of Chile’s most popular resort destinations and is brimming with seafood restaurants and shops along the boardwalk. The only real downside is that the water here tends to be a little too icy to swim in.
For those of us who aren’t rolling in money, Concón lies just a few miles north of Viña del Mar and offers arguably more beautiful beaches at a more affordable price. Playa Negra, Amarilla, and Boca are all family friendly with calm stretches of water that are perfect for swimming as long as you’ve got a wetsuit on hand, or are willing to rent one.
Year-round warm weather and waters make Arica one of the best beaches in Chile’s northern region. The sandy ground here is perfectly sloped to accommodate a variety of water sports, especially surfing, and there are just enough amenities to make it feel comfortable but not too touristy.
If you live for the water and prefer wakeboarding to soaking up sun on the sand then Algarrobo is the beach for you. It’s well known for its ample opportunities for participating in aquatic sports, it’s home to numerous international competitions after all, and has perfectly calm waters great for swimming in. You’ll also find plenty of scuba diving and even penguins waddling nearby.
Rolling hills and brightly colored houses form the backdrop of this coastal port and beach city. There are 36 beaches in total around Valparaíso, but only five are actually inhabitable. Los Torpederas is your best bet, but be wary of the steep cliffs that drop off into the ocean here. Otherwise, it’s a great destination close to all the shopping and fun you could ask for.
Zapallar isn’t the greatest beach for swimming, but the scenery here might just be the best in all of Chile. The sand is brilliantly white and the surrounding shoreline is nestled against forested hills that seem to roll on forever. It’s a must-see for anyone in the area.
Bahia Inglesa looks like it popped straight out of a postcard. This northern beach is the perfect place to take advantage of warmer waters shallow enough to wade in while feeling like you’re somewhere in the tropics. The beach is fairly unique in that it’s surrounded by the dusty Atacama region rather than forest.
The coastal town of Reñaca is kind of Chile’s answer to Latin America’s numerous spring break destinations. It favors a younger, hipper crowd that likes to spend more time partying on the shores than dipping into the water. You’ll find plenty of stalls along the shoreline happily waiting for gullible gringos to pay too much for cheap goods, but that’s all part of the fun.
Isla Negra isn’t actually an island at all, but you’ll forgive the misnomer once you get a load of the magnificent views of the jagged coastline. It’s a fairly popular tourist town thanks to the epic beauty of the area that attracts people from all over South America, so rest assured that there are plenty of shops and restaurants to keep you satisfied during your stay.
While the city of Cartagena itself has somewhat lost its splendor over the years the beaches here are still a thrill to visit. You’ll find large crowds here on the weekends making for plenty of fun opportunities. You can ride along the shoreline on the back of a horse or explore the area’s sea caves that are said to have previously housed a band of pirates.
images courtesy Wikipedia (unless otherwise noted)