6 Beaches in Chile that should be on your radar.

When it comes to beach destinations, Chile might not instantly spring to mind. But this long, skinny country has a coastline that stretches for more than 4,270 kilometres. And along this impressive length of Pacific Ocean shore, there’s no end of visit-worthy strands. If you want to add sand, waves and sea views that satisfy the soul to your South American trip, then plan a stop at one of these winsome beaches in Chile.


1. The coastal deserts at Pan de Azúcar National Park

This northern nature reserve straddles the border of Antofagasta and Atacama and features no less than 100,000 acres of beach. Four campsites offer the incredible experience of sleeping under the stars on impeccably white sand which is reason enough to place it high on your bucket list of beaches in Chile. Spread over more than 400 square kilometres, the park is home to a wealth of wildlife, including guanacos (wild cousins of llama), foxes, otters and pelicans. Take a boat trip from the fishing village of La Caleta around the Isla Pan de Azúcar to meet the park’s hundreds of Humboldt penguins.

Beaches in Chile: an aerial view of the coastline of the Pan de Azúcar National Park An aerial view over the coastline of the Pan de Azúcar National Park © Elisa Locci / Shutterstock

2. The golden stretches of Viña del Mar

Viña del Mar is Chile’s favourite upscale resort. It’s where wealthy Santiaguinos come to relax, with Playa las Salinas and Playa Reñaca two of the most popular beaches in Chile. Playa las Salinas is a good choice for beach-goers with children as it’s protected from the wind and strong currents by rocky headlands. While the waters are a bit rougher, you’ll find more of a buzz at Playa Reñaca. Backed by exclusive apartment buildings in the forested hills above, there’s more than a touch of glamour to the cafes and boutiques on its promenade. Visit in February (that’s high summer in this corner of the world), and you’ll catch the city’s International Song Festival, an event with the accolade of the longest running music festival in the whole of Latin America.

Beaches in Chile: Playa Salinas in Viña del MarA quite morning at the beach in Viña del Mar © Nataliya Hora / Shutterstock

3. The sands of time at Playa Anakena on Easter Island

While the majority of the coastline around the mystical and remote Easter Island is rocky, Playa Anakena is all soft white coral sands. Its calm waters make for idea swimming conditions and you’ll regret it if you don’t bring a bathing suit. Framed by swaying coconut palms, it’s hard to imagine a more beautiful setting for the island’s iconic moai statues, the enigmatic figures carved by the Rapa Nui people. With traces of human settlement dating from as early as 1200 CE, Anakena is thought to be the oldest inhabited place on the island. More modern signs of life include a handy car park right at the entrance of the beach as well as small kitchens serving local specialities such as tuna empanadas and po’e, a traditional dish made with pumpkin and flour.

Beaches in Chile: Anakena Beach on Easter IslandEaster Island’s iconic Seven Moai behind paddlers and loungers on Anakena Beach © Karol Kozlowski / Shutterstock

4. The comforting coast at Bahía Inglesa

Surrounded by the bone dry and desolate Atacama Desert, Bahía Ingles or English Bay is right up there with the most striking beaches in Chile. It takes its name from the 17th century British pirates who sheltered here, drawn to it no doubt by the same features that make it the most visited beach in the region today: its long stretch of white sand and warm waters bequeathed by the northern location. Those who want to do more than lounge on the sand can take part in all manner of water sports, from sailing and windsurfing to kitesurfing and kayaking. A little further to the south, Playa La Virgen is well worth a look too. It gets its name from a Virgin Mary-shaped rock formation, believed to protect the area.

Beaches in Chile: Bahía Inglesa in the Atacama DesertSunset and footprints on Bahía Inglesa in the Atacama Desert © abriendomundo / Shutterstock

5. The lovely littoral at La Serena

While the city is technically a couple of kilometres from the coast, La Serena is known as a beach city par excellence thanks to its proximity to a gloriously golden and long shoreline. Named for its landmark lighthouse, Playa El Faro is the closest beach to town, and it’s so big that even on hectic summer weekends you stand a good chance of claiming an isolated spot to lay your towel. Those with more time to adventure should head to the tiny island of Isla Damas to spend the day at Playa Las Tijeras. It’s one of three islands that make up the Humboldt Penguin National Reserve and a day on the sand will be nicely complemented by a boat trip to spot these charming creatures.

Beaches in Chile: incredibly blue waters at Isla Damas IslandWhite sand and rocky outcrops at Damas Island in the Humboldt Penguin National Reserve © Jess Kraft / Shutterstock

6. The black sands of Pucón’s Playa Grande

Pucón’s black volcanic beaches are scattered around the vast glacier lake of Villarrica. The most notable is Playa Grande which is overlooked by the snow-dusted cone of a still-active volcano. It’s walking distance from town and can get very busy in the summer, but its accessible location means a day spent on the dark sands can be matched with a tasty dinner and a spot of shopping for indigenous Mapuche crafts. Pucón is Chile’s adventure playground so consider taking a few days here to explore the region with guided hikes, mountain biking and rafting.

Beaches in Chile: a blacksand beach by Villarrica Lake in PucónThe enormous black sand beach of Playa Grande by Villarrica Lake in Pucón © Israel Hervas Bengochea / Shutterstock

Discover the best beaches in Chile for yourself with our new tailor-made travel service and enjoy a fully personalised trip planned by a local expert.


Top image: Anakena Beach © Karol Kozlowski / Shutterstock

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