Pichilemu really came into existence under the guidance of Agustín Ross Edwards who envisioned a European resort along the Chilean coast. He bought the rights to have a train come directly from Santiago and built a fantastic casino and hotel. The casino closed down a long time ago and cannot be reopened due to a law saying there can only be one casino per region with the closest being in Santa Cruz. Pichilemu still remains a popular destination, mainly for young surfers though will still be packed in summer with beach lovers.
Pichilemu is one of the more relaxing places to go to spend time on the beach or even surf. Because of the abundance of foreign surfers you will find that it is a very easy to meet people. There are a few nightclubs in town although it is much more likely that you will end up drinking cheap beer with an eclectic group of people somewhere on the beach at a makeshift party.
Where to Stay
There are a number of hostels in the town with low prices if you are travelling alone, however, we know of more than a few surfers who have met locals and arranged their own accommodation. This normally involves sleeping in a tent on someone's land and working for an hour or two a day helping around the farm. There are also many cabins called cabañas in Spanish, all along the coast that are great for groups or families. We stayed at Hotel Chile España which has always been given top marks.
When to Go
All summer long. We don't recommend that you start your trip here, as you might get sucked into the relaxed vibe and forget to leave and explore the rest of Chile.
Remember that even in the summer the cold current coming from the South is brutal and a wet suit is an absolute necessity.
El Campeonato Nacional de Surf, the nation's surfing championship takes place only a few kilometres south of here at Punta de Lobos. Check the schedule to plan your trip accordingly and make your reservations early.
What to Do
Surf, and then surf some more. If you're not into catching the waves (and freezing your butt off at the same time), then you may want to just hang out down on the beach, check out the old casino building (from the outside) and the park next to it.
If you are feeling romantic you can just snuggle up to your loved one on the beach and watch a splendid sunset... or get drunk.
There is a large Plaza (square) called Plaza Arturo Prat that has a view of the beach.
NOTE: We were in Pichilemu a month before the 8.8 earthquake and the subsequent Tsunami wiped out part of the city including Plaza Arturo Prat.
Where to Eat
The best thing about Pichilemu is that you can eat very cheaply. The main road has a couple of blocks where shop after shop offer hot chips (french fries), chicken and empanadas. The empanadas come in every variety imaginable and a few more.
There is a restaurant called La Pica del Negro, well actually two of them with the same name, one in front of the other, where you can get a good meal. They are not cheap but worth a little splurge. It's a place where the locals recommend visitors go.
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