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Surfing and Kite surfing in Chile - Surfing - Chile

With its consistently powerful surf, world-class swells and minimal chances of shark attacks, Chile is a great destination to ride the waves. There are ideal spots in the northern and central regions.


It is possible to surf practically all year round but April to October is generally thought to be the best period. The waves are at their most reliable, the water is as warm as it will get all year and the weather is still good. However, June to August can be a more difficult time when north winds whip up huge swells.


Northern Chile

In northern Chile, Arica is considered to have some of the most consistent surfing in the world. For world-class surfers like Shane Dorian and people of the international Billabong team, Arica is even viewed as one of the best surfing destinations in the world. Two rounds of the world surfing and bodyboard circuit and one round of the big wave surfing circuit are held in this area. It’s ideal for all levels of surfing, featuring great beginner waves all year round. Iquique is also well worth a visit: Playa Cavancha is its most popular beach, with some useful surf breaks along its rocky northern parts. Las Machas in the Atacama region is an exposed beach perfect for kite surfers. As a broad, unshaded beach, the swell can be very strong, reaching five or six feet.

Central region

The Central Region offers quite a variety of surfing destinations around Santiago. However, you may find the water in this region more polluted than other areas in Chile, because of the popularity of beaches like Valparaíso and Viña del Mar. Pichilemu is undoubtedly the Chilean capital of surf and the main destination for surfers looking for quality waves. Beaches La Puntilla, El Infiernillo and Punta Lobos have the best waves. The region has also produced a couple of Chile’s most talented surfers, Ramon Navarro and Diego Medina, who won the Billabong XXL Paddle Award. Thanks to its long waves and beautiful setting, Pichilemu is a must on any surfer’s map. Lessons and boards are readily available along the beach, and accommodation is easily found. However, it’s a good idea to avoid Pichilemu in February when the town gets overridden by Chileans taking their summer beach break here. Reñaca is also a popular beach in this region. Home to many surf championships over the years, Reñaca has a chilled vibe and some wonderful waves. It is easily accessible from Valparaíso, Viña del Mar or Santiago.

Southern region

In the south, 650 km from Santiago, Boca-Lebu, 2km from the city of Lebu, is a good place to practice surfing and body boarding.


Because of the cold current coming down from the north, the temperature of the water is very cold and can fluctuate from 10 to 20 degrees Celsius. As a rule of thumb, the further south you surf in Chile, the colder the water gets. A 3 to 4 mm wet suit is therefore a definite must, which will help maintain the body’s temperature and increase buoyancy. Booties, hoods and gloves are also highly recommended. All can be easily picked up from surf shops, either for rent or to buy.



Relative price: Budget

Travel Skills: None

Here are other activities in and around Chile that may be of interest: Lobos del Pacifico Escuela de Surf, Surfing in Arica, Surfing and Surfing on Easter Island.

By Abigail Foulkes
I`m living in Quito and working for Viva having just enjoyed three months traveling in South America. I love music and play the guitar and flute...
01 Jul 2009

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