Summer in Chile: there is life (and beaches) after shopping – LA NACION (Argentina)

Maitencillo, en la cresta de la ola
Maitencillo, on the crest of the wave. Photo: El Mercurio/GDA

Like Viña del Mar, but without the crowds fibrous and tanned Reñaca in the summer. As The Serena, but without the desert in the backyard. In Zapallar, Papudo and Cachagua, and the forests and the mountains collide with the sea of the Pacific and you can walk without having to dodge people as in the shopping mall. Golden sands and gray, mansions and cottages of any category, of luxury and of such type lodge.

Are more than ten beaches that are scattered in this axis family of rest in which it is usually to shelter the political and business elite in chile. Several of them have, in addition, to the argentine as their main foreign tourists.

Javiera Montes, undersecretary of Tourism of Chile, told that they are expected to arrive between December and march, more than 2.7 million foreign tourists. Of them, 1.7 million will be argentine. In 2001, they were 900 thousand.

In dimensions and appearance, the differences between Vine and La Serena are giants. While Vineyard has almost 300 thousand inhabitants, in Maitencillo are little more than 2000, Papudo has 5000 and something more and Zapallar is around 7000. Instead of buildings you can enjoy pine forests and cabins, and if there are two supermarkets is because holiday-makers drove that exist. The cars arrive in summer or on long weekends, and the first and only atm of Papudo will be one year in December. They do not have these destinations with casinos, stadiums, airports, or universities, such as the spas chilean traditional. What there is, in abundance, is peace of mind.

This circuit beach party for the south in Maitencillo and reaches the north of Papudo. They are 170 kilometers from Santiago (two hours by car) and 75 km from the Vineyard by the coast to the north (45 minutes by bus). In the summer, there is direct transportation from the bus terminal of Santiago, Viña and Valparaiso. It also serves to reach Quintero, a port that is a little more to the south of Maitencillo.

Maitencillo, quiet and active

What can you do on this beach? All. There is good food, clubs, two schools of paragliding, three surf, a boardwalk, ideal for jogging and the bike, a resort that looks out from a plateau across the cove and hundreds of cabins that is it better to rent ahead of time, because is the fights.

Maitencillo has seven beaches, all very different, united by a promenade very lively. Playa Chica, Los Pocitos (ideal for children), The Fan (where you get tourist information), Aguas Blancas, Playa Grande (ideal for body boarding and surfing, like The Range) The Cove and The Pine trees. This latest and White Water, together with the neighboring Cachagua and Zapallar, are also good for fishing from shore of croakers and flounder.

For rent, the offer is very varied, but the common practice is to search for cottages and apartments. The cabins are the option for young people and a list of providers with direct contacts offers on the web page of the municipality ( Prices start from us $ 65 a day and most of the cottages are for four person minimum. Some have a capacity for ten.

Zapallar, a dos horas en auto desde Santiago de Chile
Zapallar, a two-hour drive from Santiago of Chile. Photo: THE NATION / Mercury/GDA

Around the axis Maitencillo-Papudo can go horseback riding for low prices on the beach and in the hills and forests of the sector. For three thousand chilean pesos (4 dollars and a half) there are half-hour strolls that you can take in the beach or in the equestrian Club Calá Vicuña of Cachagua, where there are also riding lessons and tours for large groups with a guide. On the beach there are also surf schools, at least three. The most traditional is the Maitencillo Surf Camp, which also has a hostel. The particular class an individual part at $ 34 and when it is a group, low to $ 22 per person. There is equipment to rent.

To try something different you have to be returned to the plateaus that push to Maitencillo against the ocean. There work three clubs that offer paragliding flights (also classes) on the bay. The cost of being suspended in the sky at 700 feet off the ground, feel the wind and see the resorts as if it were Google Earth, is between the 66 and $ 105 in the Club and School Air Free, the oldest and the most popular. The club Paragliding Maitencillo also has a high demand.

Another sector very appealing in the summer is where are the soccer fields, beach volleyball, beach football and tennis, White Water. In January, arman tournaments between the tourists themselves. In that same area there is a bicycle rental and you can ask for rides in a zodiac boat or kayak.

If there is something that characterizes the Maitencillo and its surrounding area is the gastronomy. Santiaguinos who understand food say that this is one of the few areas in which you can try chilean food typical. Recommended: Caballito de Palo (meat pickled), The Unicorn, Blue (seafood), Puntamai and The Hole, which has a terrace to the beach and the best empanadas. For breakfast are Coffee Ayén and The Chungungo.

Cachagua and Zapallar

A few kilometers away from Maitencillo to the north are Cachagua and Zapallar, each with its respective beach. Here the level is more exclusive, go up a couple of stars and you get to encaramar the luxury. Zapallar, for example, you don’t even have in their plans to promote tourism, because their audience is captive, and physically the place can’t expand more. Would that blow up a couple of hills around.

A very sought after and a good option is to book in the House Wilson, a bed and breakfast historic of the place where the window will open and the sea seems to enter the room. «Every year there is more demand and each year reach more foreign. The New Year is fully booked», says the owner, Samuel Moreno, who also emphasizes the location of the house, on the first line facing the sea, between the trees. «The idea is to feel as at a friend’s house? a friend of mine who has an incredible house on the beach,» adds Moreno.

Oscar Munoz, Product manager of Travel agency El Corte Inglés, account that this area is preferred for its peace and quiet for rest and family life. The gastronomic stands out the snack bar and The Caesar, both renowned for their seafood dishes, and proximity to the beach. The hotel offer is associated with small hotels, cabins and rental departments. The English Court has a trade agreement with the Isla Seca, Zapallar, a boutique hotel with luxurious rooms and the restaurant Dry Island, are also recommended.

Nathalia Lillo, advises travel and co-founder of Gali Travel, sum in this offering at the Hotel Casa Zapallar, which is recognized for its architecture and has a warm pool. In Cachagua, Lillo recommended Cabins Cachagua, 200 metres from the beach, with swimming pool and private gardens. In high season the rental part in the $ 180 per day.

The Club de Golf Cachagua, which has one of the best courses in South america, charges a fee of $ 100 to enter between the 15 December and 15 march. The other is in Maitencillo, at the Marbella Country Club, within the Hotel Marbella Resort.

In front of Cachagua is in addition to the Isla Cachagua, a natural monument (you can’t go, except for scientific purposes) that can be observed from the continent and where they live, penguins of Humboldt and Magellan. That is why it is also known as The Island of the Penguins.

Papudo: the pop-up

If they were saturated Maitencillo, Cachagua and Zapallar, can continue four miles to the north and get to Papudo. It is the place of greatest growth in the area and has diving schools, a yacht club, restaurants, there are more possibilities for rental, and the beaches of two kilometers.

In the last four years the construction of buildings next to the sand and summer houses has greatly increased the supply of beds. The place is not as expensive as Zapallar and Cachagua, and there are not so many people as in Maitencillo. The accommodation is in apartments or condominiums in the first line of the beach. Then comes Lomas de Papudo and, in addition, the inhabitants of the village tend to lease their homes. For four people, in high season, the prices are between 80 and 120 dollars, depending on the closeness to the sea.

Lorena Huidobro is a chilean and visit regularly Papudo. He knows his corners and arenas. To eat, recommended to The House of Caesar and The Maison des’re crazy those (cuisine, ask for the menu beach). The Yacht Club is also open to the public. Here there are gourmet food and a very good price, in a sector with view to the sea for the general public. Two must-haves: empanadas of Banana, Beach front Girl of Papudo, and The Ice cream shop, in the sector of The lagoon.

To go to the beach with your family, the best opening hours in high season is 15 hours. At 11 of the morning nor is there a lot of people, but tends to concentrate quite a haze. At 17: 30 is the time in which the beach begins to boil people. Towards Punta Pullay is the most quiet and private of the arena.

To go out in the night, the only night club is in the basement of the Bar Costanera, in front of the beach. The other place that becomes a dance floor is The Maison des’re crazy those.

To buy fresh seafood and prepare it yourself, it is the fishing terminal of Papudo and also the fish The Pirate. Important: the only line of buses to and from Santiago is Tur-Bus.

useful data

How to get

Bus from Santiago: buses depart from the terminal San Borja (San Francisco de Borja 184, Santiago; T: 2 2776 0645). The lines Pullman Bus ( and Condor Bus ( made daily trips between Santiago and Maitencillo, which last for two hours, for 6700 chilean pesos. To Papudo comes only Tur-Bus ( and it costs 6500 chilean pesos each section (a little less than ten dollars). Depart from Terminal Alameda (Av Libertador Bernardo O’higgins 3750. From Viña del Mar, at the Terminus of Avenida Valparaiso 1055 (T: 32 275 2000) are the same companies and also Pacific Sun.

Where to sleep

IN PAPUDO. Condo Lomas de Papudo 2. Av Papudo 1200 (Cel: +56 9 9282 7500). Departments for four to seven persons, equipped with kitchenette, washing machine, cable TV, parking, swimming pool, games, terrace, quinchos and security. Is charged per night, without hours of input or output. Just bring sheets and towels. December: at least 65,000 chilean pesos. January: 75.000 chilean pesos. February: 85.000 chilean pesos New Year 120.000 chilean pesos.

IN ZAPALLAR. House Wilson. Francisco de Paula Pérez 191, Zapallar ( email: Cel: +56 9 974 3964). Bed &Breakfast for two to four people. Cottage for six people. In December are two nights minimum. Rooms between 400,000 and 440,000 chilean pesos (between 590 and 650 dollars).

IN CACHAGUA. Cabins Located Right Next. Avenida del Golf s/n Cachagua, commune of Zapallar. T 33 277 1039 Cel: +56 9 9221 5422. Start from $ 180 per day in high season (cabin for four people). Mail:

IN MAITENCILLO. is an agent member of the Chamber of Commerce and Tourism of Puchuncavi, commune to which it belongs Maitencillo. They have rentals of all types. Aparthotel Maitencillo ( offers standard rooms and superior to 2, 4 and 6 people. High-season rates ranging from 61.000 chilean pesos to 89.000 chilean pesos per room. Access South To Maitencillo Lote B-1. Reservations T: 32 277 0029 Cel: +56 9 9100 2095 / +56 9 9645 4951 / +56 9 9381 8179.

Cabañas Hermansen. Avenida del Mar 592, Maitencillo. T: 32 277 1028 Cel: +56 9 9539 4362 ( Of 2 to 6 people, in high season, based on the 82.000 chilean pesos per cabin and reach 155,000 chilean pesos, minimum two nights. Offer like activities, diving, surfing and yoga.

Hotel Marbella Resort ( KM 35 carretera Concon, Zapallar, Maitencillo. The family suites have up to three bedrooms. Offer programs with paragliding, golf and wellness T: 32 279 5900

Where to eat

The Poolside Snack Bar. Caleta de Zapallar. Restaurant of fish and seafood. Conger eel fried flounder butter, crazy may with green sauce or cake crab is what most recommend. The view has no comparison. Average consumption per person: 15,000 pesos chilean T: 33 274 1024

Caballito de Palo. Maitencillo. Traditional cuisine of chile. Route F. 30E s/n, sector El Rungue. T: 32 279 1254. Must try the ribs with potatoes escabechadas.

The unicornio azul. Seafood in Maitencillo. Avenida del Mar 1350. T: 32 277 1413. Machas and clams with green sauce, or the paila marina.

Puntamai. Fish and seafood in Maitencillo. Avenida del mar 1366. It is advisable to book before. T: 32 277 1958.

How to move

Bikes in the Avenida del Mar Maitencillo or in the hotels and cabins. There is local transportation in the summer. A trip between the Maitencillo and Zapallar lasts 10 minutes, and in the same avenue depart buses of approach particular. On average for the trip (flight) costs three dollars per passenger. There are also tours to Papudo.


Maitencillo has a single avenue, the Avenida del Mar. It concentrates all the activity t-shirt, bike rentals, kayaking, surf lessons, horseback, etc, In the 3860 Avenue of the Sea, on the beach, White Water, is the centre of tourist information of the Chamber of Commerce, where offer from the traditional paragliding, surfing, rural tourism for Puchuncavi. T: +56 9 9276 3099 Avenida General Velasquez, s/n Cerro Tacna, Maitencillo. Flights of 15, 020, and 30 minutes in two-seater, with an instructor. Between 40,000 and 60,000 chilean pesos. Cel or wsp: +56 9 8803 5533 Between 22 and 34 dollars per class, depending on whether it is group or individual. On the beach The Range of Maitencillo there are at least four surf schools.

Diving: The best is in Papudo. The Yacht Club is home to the Orange Dive Center ( Cel: + 56 9 5012 3246.

Shopping: Without going through Santiago. In Maitencillo, on the Route F-30 E, is the Hardware store Higuerillas. Are thousands of square feet of materials and tools, but they are very well stocked electronics ( at prices similar to those of the shopping on James T: 32 275 2900 / 32 275 2901 / 32 275 2902.

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