With such an enormous coast line and some of the most consistent swell in South America, Chile has countless waves to be ridden. The country is generally divided into three sections: north, central and southern. North of Chiles Capitol Santiago, is the start of the Atacama. The driest dessert in the world. This stretch of coastline can be accessed by the Pan American Highway where you can find an abundance of great waves. Mostly shallow urchin filled reef breaks with powerful barrels suited to body boarders and advanced surfers.
Central Chile is by far the most densely populated are in Chile with two thirds of the population living there. You can expect the most crowded peaks here. Dominated by lefts due to the swell direction and alignment of the coast with rocky reefs as well as heavy beach breaks.
Southern Chile is the most unexplored coastline due to the heavy swell, cold water temperatures and lack of infrastructure and access to surf spots. Hiring a guide who knows the where to go and when to be there is highly advisable. Great for those who really want to go exploring where most surfers will never go.
Surfing by season
Chilean summers run from December to February. The weather remains mild along the coast but can definitely rise to much higher temperatures further inland enjoying Mediterranean heat with very little humidity. With rare flat swells it is considered to be the best time to travel to Chile.
March to May provide fairly good surf, warmest water of the year and school has restarted so fewer crowds. Southern Ocean storms have started up which will bring in the swell we’re all looking for. Sand banks will have settled over the summer meaning more consistent peaks.
Huge swells arrive here from June to August and therefore surfing the Chilean coastline is mostly left to those with many years of experience in these waters. Heading north in this time of the year will yield the most possibilities.
Spring brings changeable conditions. Hard to predict what is going to happen. It needs to be taken week by week. Check your charts and hope for the best. Swell ranges from flat to absolutely enormous.
Totoralillo Bay - Just to the south of La Serena. Breaks left and right over a rocky reef point. Rides are up to 100m.
El Faro Beach - South of Lebu Bay. Short and intense. Breaks to the left. This will hold up to 15ft swell. Rocky reef. Empty line ups.
Punta de Lobos - This wave means business. Can hold over 30ft. 2 miles south of Pichilemu
El Mejoral - When it’s working El Mejoral can provide amazing tubes breaking left and right. Watch out for the rocks. Due west of Santiago.
Where to stay
Surf Lodge Punta de Lobos– A great place for anyone to stay at while in the Pichilemu area. With classes for all levels or surf guiding to show you where you need to be. With a pool, places to chill and a couple lovely fireplaces you can’t go wrong.
If you’re travelling to Chile between May & September - the northern region of Chile is where you want to head. It is renowned for its hard breaking waves and long lasting tubes. Between September & March the southern-central region of Chile offers a surfer the opportunity to surf extremely high quality left-hand points that break over sand/volcanic rock bottoms. Chile is not known for it’s tropical waters, so a thick steamer is essential for most of the country. Depending on when you go, you can find warmer spots towards the north of the country near Peru.
Chile has over 4000kms of coastline and due to the constant low pressure systems produced within close proximity, and the deep water trench just off the coast, the surf size is consistent and powerful. The chilly waters of Chile can be brutal to surf, however, here you can find some of the best breaks on the continent. The north coast is best, particularly near Arica near the Peruvian border the waves are quite strong. Tubes can be found further south near Iquique, and good waves can be found all the way south to La Serena, although a wetsuit is essential.