Thursday, January 09, 2014

Patagonia Part 2: Pichilemu, Chile

I won't lie, I had never heard of Pichilemu and would not have ended up there without a recommendation from a friend. Pichilemu is known and Chile's best surf town. Although I don't surf, I enjoyed a couple of days on the beach in the cooler weather. If you aren't a surfer, you probably won't need to spend more than a couple days here. It's a small town, off the tourist path (unless you're from Santiago wanting to get away from it all), but a pretty nice place to hang out.

Pichilemu, Chile
First of all, Pichilemu is an easy three-hour bus ride from Santiago. It was really nice to get out of the city, and even better to go to a beach! Probably the most frustrating thing for me about this trip was finding my Hostel, Hostel Casa Verde. While the directions on the website aren't exactly wrong, I don't think the distances are right. Also you feel like you are walking right out of town, and I kept turning around, thinking I must have passed it! Other than that though, it was a great place to stay (more on that below). I didn't arrive until evening, so I didn't really do anything once I got to the hostel!

I started the next day with a run on the beach. I'm not a huge runner, but the cooler temperatures and the beach got me out there! It was really nice, although I forgot how tiring it can be to run on the sand! After going back to the hostel to shower, change, and pack a backpack, I went back down to the beach and spent pretty much all day walking up and down the beach-I walked for miles! I bought a couple huge empanadas at Empanadas del Diablo, which is where I found out that Chilean empanadas are closer to calzone size than the little empanadas I was accustomed to! But I had a little picnic on the beach anyway, and continued my miles of walking! Later that evening, I joined up with some friends from Paraguay for a delicious dinner at the place they were renting. It was fun to see them! Unfortunately, that meant I missed the wood-grilled pizza at my hostel that night! Normally that's my favorite way to get to meet fellow travellers. So when I arrived back, I popped in for a slice of pizza and a beer anyway.

The next day I spent more hours wandering the beach, this time in the other direction! South of town is a popular surf beach, and some rocks called Punta de los Lobos, although there aren't sea lions there anymore. I relaxed, read on the beach, watched the surfers, and took lots of pictures, and had some lunch at a restaurant out there. That evening, I joined up with Kristi and Matt and their friends again for dinner. I made my garlic red wine mushrooms, and Matt grilled up some freshly caught fish they bought on the beach! Matt's brother made a delicious salad and of course, there was red wine to be had! Afterwards, I taught them Polish Poker, only I sort of forgot the rules, so that's why the cards might not be turned over in *exactly* the right order. We had fun, and played with coins from at least 4 different currencies.

The next morning, although Kristi and Matt were staying to do more surfing, I felt that I had seen what Pichilemu had to offer me, and I was anxious to move on and continue south.

If you surf, or want to learn, do that. Otherwise, it's a cute town to poke around, but there's not a lot here aside from the beach. It's definitely worth it to head down to Punta de los Lobos though, so pretty!

I'd give Hostel Casa Verde 4.5 stars! Pros: nice breakfast with variety and usually a hot egg dish and TONS of fresh fruit! Hammocks and beach view, clean, really comfy beds and pillows, nice owner, "green" building. Feels new and it's obviously the owner's pride and joy. It's a great place to relax, but a little bit of a walk to town. My only "con" would be that the owner nicely made me a cup of coffee 2 of the 3 mornings when I woke up , but after that it was instant. It takes me more than a cup to get going. On the 3rd morning he was out of coffee. That made me kind of sad. Otherwise, he was great, willing to arrange rides, tours, equipment rental, or whatever!

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