CHILE'S QUAINT SEASIDE VILLAGE, ZAPALLAR
driving south down the chilean coast, the landscape drastically changes from flat coastal desert to hillside green mountains and crystal blue pacific ocean bays. approaching zapallar on a warm sunny day was uncannily reminiscent of driving down highway 1 towards carmel and big sur. this quaint seaside village has preserved natural beauty tucked away from any major roads and is full of history and character.
WHAT TO EXPLORE
known by many locals to be chile's most beautiful beach, for over a hundred years it has been a retreat for many of the country's economic and political elites (which explains the many historic and beautiful mansions). with only one night in this special place, we were itching to get to the beach explore ASAP. we dropped our bags at our charming hotel [scroll down for more on casa wilson], and past the small fishing boats as we walked straight to the beachside cafe (cesar's - a staple ). a few pisco sours later we were enjoying freshly grilled fish, shellfish and epic people watching (nearly everyone was chilean and we felt like the only tourists).
we doubled up on seafood and headed to el chiringuito for dinner, and peaceful night views over the bay. it wasn't enough time here, but this place is a dream for a beach vacation and really feels like you're stepping back in time.
WHERE TO SLEEP: CASA WILSON
"the most charming house in zapallar" was built in the early 1900s and only recently became a bnb. it was one of those places that when you arrive, you start to laugh because of how perfect it is – secluded and private, but walking distance to everything (no need for a car), views & vibes, vintage home furnishings & loads of character. we were obsessed. our time here was spent enjoying the sound of the ocean, walking to and from the beach, exploring the quiet neighborhood streets around us, and hiking up the hill for a perfect sunset spot.
HEADED TO CHILE'S CENTRAL COAST? HERE ARE THE DETAILS:
WHERE: zapallar, chile (central coast)
HOW TO GET THERE: 2 hour drive from santiago (we rented a car for about ~$50/day)
TIME OF YEAR: dec - march [note: january & february is the peak of the busy summer season, we went in march and had less crowds, but still perfect beach weather]
PRICE PER NIGHT: ranges from around $150 per night with breakfast included
ACTIVITIES AVAILABLE: beach days filled with body surfing (& surfing), frescobol, and lounging. horseback rides in the hills, boat rides to the islands, fishing trips, bike rides, hikes and trail runs.
Y O U M I G H T A L S O E N J O Y: