PHOTO: Chile has some pretty spectacular beaches along 3,700 miles of coastline. (Courtesy Flickr/Hector Melo A.)
With more than 3,700 miles of Pacific coastline, it’s no wonder that Chile is known as having some of the best beaches in the world despite the fact that it is a mountainous country with one of the driest deserts in the world—the Atacama Desert.
With a coastline that extends from the Antarctic in the South to southern Peru in the north, visitors to Chile in search of some sun and fun will not be lacking for choices.
Here’s a quick rundown on some of Chile’s best beachside retreats:
Cifuncho, Taltal. Calm water, bright sunshine and a desert landscape make this a unique beach adventure. It’s a great place to swim, and thanks to great fishing, enjoy some of the freshest seafood around.
La Virgen, Caldera. Travel almost 5 miles down a dusty dirt road and you will come to what many consider to be Chile’s best beach. Here, warm waters are set against a dramatic mountainous backdrop. Be aware, however, that this beach is only equipped for day-trippers.
Las Piscinas, Bahía Inglesa. Families flock to this popular beach resort thanks to calm turquoise waters and a full range of services. Suspend your geographical knowledge for a second and you might even think you’ve landed in the Caribbean.
Playa Blanca, Llanos de Challe. Located in the Llanos De Challe National Park, this beach is known for its powder white sand and hiking trails. Visitors in the spring are treated to a stunning display when the “flowering desert” comes to life.
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Las Tijeras, Isla Damas. Fans of the Polar Bear Plunge may enjoy swimming in these chilly waters that serve as home to a large colony of Humboldt penguins, but for most the attraction lies in the chance to see spectacular wildlife up close. Charter a boat to go snorkeling with the local dolphins or take a tour of the island and its resident penguin population.
Totoralillo, Coquimbo. Popular among summer beachgoers, this beach features calm, turquoise waters, plenty of dining options and best of all for budding surfers, a surf school.
Puertecillo, Navidad. It’s not easily accessible, but beachgoers who make the trek are greeted by a spectacular black sand beach and perfect waves for surfing. This remote beach appeals to those seeking an active vacation as there are plenty of opportunities for hiking, yoga and other outdoor activities.
Caleta Cóndor, Mapu Lahual. Soak up a dose of traditional Chilean culture while you soak up the sun on this southern beach. It’s located in Chile’s Lakes Region in the territory of the indigenous Huilliche people, who offer homestays in addition to the chance to sample some local cuisine.
Anakena, Isla de Pascua: You might have the feeling that you’re being watched at this Easter Island beach thanks to the two platforms of moais that sit facing the ocean. This beach is perfect for those looking to mix a little bit of ancient culture with time spent lounging on the beach.