Punta del Lobos / Chile
We knew the waves in Punta del Lobos can be some of the heaviest in the area, so we opted to stay in Pichilemu, ten minutes drive down the road, for more accesssible waves (for me). We did visit Punta del Lobos and I wish we stayed there a few days or for a few months. If seeking the “work in a surf hostel for a summer” kind of adventure, this is the place to do it. Punta del Lobos is a seaside community that reminded us, though far removed, of the salty and small-scale creativity in our hometown of Rockaway Beach, NY.
Big waves, 2-3 meters high, role in smoothly around a 50 meter cliff that juts out into the water. Perched on the cliff, no guard rails of course, you can easily watch the surfers below. Ramon Navarro, big wave surfer who grew up a fisherman’s son in Punte del Lobos and now a Patagonia ambassador (featured recently in The Fisherman’s Son documentary), put Punta del Lobos on the radar for advanced surfers. As commercial interest increases in the area, Ramon and his Save the Waves foundation work to safeguard the wave, the marine and coastal ecosystem, as well as the heritage of the local fishing community.
Just before tourist season, all the little rustic summer bungalows are creeking open their doors, new eco-friendly, ocean-facing hostels built in solid geometric shapes were newly under construction. We saw a few cute little surf shops, one with a wooden draw bridge (Mana Nui) and one built out of a shipping container (near La Sirena), both had great branding (coming from the NY surf scene, this is key!).
At a glance…
- Do go surf! If you’re new, practice in the whitewash or try surfing at Pichilemu. If you’re intermediate to advanced then have fun! Ask some locals first before heading in, as we heard it’s easy to get washed up onto the rocks if you don’t time your paddle out.
- Sleep at La Sirena Insolente. Definitely a perfect access spot for the beach and worth a few nights, whether you surf or not.
- Shop thoughtfully crafted beach accessories at Mana Nui. Right on the beach there was a little hut that looked like you could rent wetsuits and boards from, maybe even snag a lesson.
- Don’t stay inland if you’re an ocean lover (all the hotels in the area have a view of the ocean), stay on the beach, near the break.
- Learn more about Ramone Navarro’s environmental efforts in Punta del Lobos (here).