Solid glassy lefts, dirt roads, minimal crowds, and beautiful scenery. Just a handful of ways to describe surfing in southern Chile. With hundreds of miles of coastline, the potential for surf is infinite.
Drive along this wild and rugged coast, and you’ll pass numerous coves and headlands, hosting all with potential for epic surf on the right swell. Southern Chile is also never short of swell, and during winter, 8-10ft corduroy is not uncommon.
As long as you don’t put the hours in on the road, putting on a wet wetsuit and freezing cold temperatures, Chile provides the adventure surf trip of a lifetime. So let’s dive in and find out everything you need to know about the area…
Southern Chile - Surf Overview
Consistency – There’s always something to surf in Chile
Wave Types – Left-hand points and beach breaks
Crowds – Minimal (Excluding well-known spots like Pichelumu)
Wetsuit – 4/3, boots & hood
Hazards – Rocks, cold, locals
How To Get Around Southern Chile
A car is the only way to maximize your trip to southern chile. While there are buses between Santiago and various coastal towns, without a car, you’ll be stuck to these towns and be limited to where you can surf.
I’d highly recommend hiring a car for the airport in SANTIAGO and hitting the road from there. I hired my car from RentalCars.com (Europcar) and picked it up straight from the airport in Santiago. You can also check out Kayak for rental car options.
If you want to see firsthand what surfing in Chile is like, check out my YouTube video from my trip there in September 2022.
Southern Chile Surf Spots
Southern Chile has a wealth of epic surf spots; you only need to open Google maps to discover the potential. I won’t name all the spots here as I’ll let you go on your adventure, but here are some of the more well-known spots…
Punta De Lobos
The most famous surf spot in Chile! Situated on the edge of Pichilemu, Punta De Lobos frequently receives solid swells, and the cliff is a safe and awesome spot to watch hard-charging 10ft board-toting chargers ride such waves.
On smaller days, things get more user-friendly, and the point transforms into a long, slopey left that meanders down the point. A super fun wave for all abilities.
An hour north of Pichilemu lies the small town of Puertecillo, hosting a fun, playful sand-bottomed left point. Depending on the sand bank, the waves can get good here, and although I only surfed it 2-3ft, I was alone and still had a wicked time.
The city of Constitucion is 3 hours south of Pichilemu, and despite its lack of natural beauty, the coast here boasts a handful of epic waves. Head along the coastal road and you’ll pass a number of potential setups, all with their own little intricacies and personalities.
Further south is one of the jewels in the crown of surfing southern Chile. A fast, powerful left point that frequently pumps out amazing waves. When I arrived at Buchupureo, the waves were cooking and reminiscent of what I imagined Chile to be like. Glassy 4-6ft lefts, reeling down a black sand point. It was like something outta the movies. (I’m looking at you, Psychic Migrations).
Tips For Surfing Southern Chile
For any surf trip in Chile, be prepared for the cold, because for the lack of a better description, it’s fucking freezing. As you head south from Santiago, things get steadily colder in and out of the water. Bring plenty of rubber (meaning wetsuits and accessories), not of the latex kind, a warm coat, thick socks, and anything to keep you warm while getting changed in cold car parks during dawn sessions.
If you’re serious about chasing waves in the region, you’ll be doing a tonne of driving. While most of the roads are good, there are plenty of potholes and areas where the road abruptly turns to dirt.
Hire a good car, make sure you’re favorite music is downloaded, and be ready to burn some petrol. You’ll be rewarded with epic waves somewhere along the coast.
Turning up at some spots, you’ll be greeted with a private road sign. This only happened to me once, and I don’t speak Spanish, so I turned around. But if your heart is set on a particular spot, it might be worth asking the local farmer if you can check the surf.
Due to its remoteness, many spots in the area are uncrowded, so be respectful of the locals. While surfing at one spot, I was filming using my GoPro and was told I wasn’t allowed to film. Which is understandable, as who wants a random foreigner turning up at their favorite spot with a GoPro hanging out their mouth?
Best Places To Stay When Surfing In Chile's South
There are several small coastal towns you could base yourself during this cold water surf adventure. But by far, the best base is Pichilemu. A relatively large surf town famed for hosting the renowned big wave spot Punta De Lobos, a wave that regularly exceeds 8-10ft but in between these days, it just adds itself to the list of other user-friendly long left-hand points in the region.
You’ll want to base yourself there, and the town offers everything you need, from great cafes and restaurants and a variety of accommodations to suit all budgets. I stayed at Sirene Insolente hostel, just a few hundred meters back from the point at Punta De Lobos.
The hostel is epic with super friendly and helpful staff, clean, comfortable beds, a co-working space (perfect for digital nomads), and even a surf school and surf shop on site. Couldn’t recommend the place enough.
While Chile may not be one of the world’s cheapest surf destinations, camping makes it affordable. However, during winter, the place is fricking cold; we’re talking single celsius digits all night and morning; the array of open land and various campsites dotted along the coast makes the area perfect for camping. If you’ve got all the equipment (which I didn’t), you have the ultimate freedom to drive around and camp at the closest place to the surf.
Surfing Southern Chile - Summary
If you’re looking for a true cold water surf trip, Chile is somewhere you’re guaranteed to score solid waves. Surfing in southern Chile is a cold treat and a must-do surf trip for any keen surf adventurer.
The swells are solid, the water is cold, and there are enough epic setups and potential for surf to last a lifetime, let alone one trip.
Fly to Santiago, hire a rental car, and hit the open road. If you’ve got camping equipment, there are plenty of places to camp along the coast, but if you’re looking for a great bade with hot showers, a cool vibe, and somewhere to get some work done, check out the Insolente hostel in Pichilemu. If you have any questions about the area, please let me know if the comments. Happy surfing!