With over 2600 miles of wave-rich Pacific Ocean coastline, Chile is a wave-kiters paradise. There are countless wave spots and the best about them? Pretty much all spots are totally uncrowded. Chile’s untouched nature creates a spectacular environment and if you follow the simple recipe; eat-kite-sleep-repeat, then you will have the perfect kite trip. Matanzas is a tiny authentic fishing village beautifully situated on the hilly coast just 100 miles from Chile’s capital of Santiago. Its single main street runs parallel to a long black volcanic beach, lined with some really good restaurants, a number of accommodation options and a few shopping facilities. During the week the town is super quiet, but come the weekend it’s pumping with people from Santiago flocking to the coast to enjoy the sun, beach and ocean. The area around Matanzas is ‘in’ and many wealthy Chileans own their piece of paradise with spectacular architect-designed holiday homes in the hills. Surrounded by several top kite spots, Matanzas is the perfect base for wave kitesurfers. During the Chilean holiday season (Jan-Feb) it can get busy, but throughout the rest of the year the village is quiet and offers a lot of space on the beach and in the waves. Head south out of Matanzas to Pupuya, the most friendly kite beach which is also the home to the stylish La Lobera Kite Club, a kind of Caf. del Mar for kiters. An interesting architectural structure made out of a lot of glass and wood offers superb views of the spot from the restaurant and bar. And for those seeking more adventure, there are many unknown kite and world-famous surf spots like Punta de Lobos along the deserted coastline.
CLOSEST AIRPORT: Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport (SCL) aka Santiago International Airport.
DISTANCE TO LOCATION: An hour and a half from the airport.
TRANSPORT TO LOCATION: It’s possible to explore Chile by public transport due to a good bus network, however, you would need a lot of patience and time, plus you would miss out on seeing/kiting a large number of spots. A rental car is definitely the way to go. I suggest Chilean Rent a Car (www.chileanrentacar.cl) with a wide range of different vehicles in their fleet, several depots and the best prices.BEST SEASON: September-April is the high season with Surazo south winds best in November-December. Swell runs all year long but is the smallest in January/February.
WIND RANGE: 20-25 knots, but often more!
WATER TEMPERATURE: 53°F to 64°F depending on the season, 5/4 full suit with booties and hood recommended. Days can be warm, nights are always cool.
LOCAL RULES/SAFETY HAZARDS: Familiarize yourself well with wave etiquette and respect the local windsurfers (there are heaps more windsurfers here than kitesurfers) due to strong cross-off and often pretty gusty wind. If you are not so confident or experienced in cross-offshore conditions, head to Pupuya, about a mile south of Matanzas. This beach offers a lot of space with a cross-onshore wave playground for intermediate and advanced kitesurfers, and a small waist high lagoon with knee-deep water perfect for beginners to make their first steps and good strapless freestyle conditions when the waves are small.
LODGING RECOMMENDATIONS AND COSTS: For the budget minded traveler, the Roca Cuadrada Hotel offers clean rooms directly on the beach with dorm beds starting at $25/night. Check out Airbnb, or go straight to www.centineladematanzas.cl to book an architect designed villa directly on top of the cliffs at the spot of Roca Cuadrada with private access to the beach starting at $100/night. Alba Hotel Boutique, starting at $130/night, located right on the beach in Matanzas with a yummy restaurant that’s reasonably priced is also a nice choice. For high-end beachfront accommodations, checkout OMZ Hotel which offers rooms, cabins and camping amidst modern architecture with ocean views. The cabins feature a hot tub with double rooms starting at $150/night.
Kite Chile – www.kite-chile.com
THE ONE THING EVERYONE MUST DO: Drink a Pisco Sour at sunset at one of the restaurant/bars along the beach or take a bath in a typically Chilean outdoor ‘hot tub’—a round, wooden bathtub, heated by fire to warm up after long sessions in the ocean—ideally to be combined with a Pisco Sour for the ultimate indulgence.
WHY GABI STEINDL RECOMMENDS THIS SPOT: Chile is simply mind-blowingly beautiful with a wide number of high-quality surf breaks, most of them really uncrowded! It’s easy and safe to travel to—I explored many hundreds of miles in a little camping van. As one of the richest countries in South America, Chile offers a high standard of food and accommodations. Mother Nature displays her beauty and energy in Chile on an epic scale (especially if you venture down to Patagonia!) and I’d happily do it all over again.
Tkb’s Getaway Travel Guide is chock full of destinations like this. Whether you’re looking for a kite mecca, flat water spot, wave spot, best of both worlds or trips, tours and clinics, we’ve got you covered with a collection of locations to satisfy any type of kiteboarder no matter what they are looking for on their next vacation.If you’re already a Tkb subscriber, log into your account to view the entire Tkb Getaway Travel Guide for free.