It’s a textbook destination for the #LiveTheLife.TV project. It has it all. A place not really on the standard surf travel map. I lived the dream at one of the world’s best pointbreaks for nearly a decade. Now setting up a new life I don’t need to escape in the SW of France, so if I travel to surf, well there needs to be something more than just good waves. We have been running a surf travel guide for 10 years so we are never out of options for places to explore. So why are we keen to fly half way around the world to a place like Pichilemu ? It is known to have cold water year round (current cools the water so it rarely exceeds 17 degrees, usually around 13 to 15°), winters are rainy, it gets windy and most spots are hard to access. They do have worldclass wine, long pointbreaks, laid back people and the waves are super consistent. And last but not least, there’s the Andes. (Video)
Anyway, let’s get me started with introducing the two places we think stand out. Prime location accommodation featured on our surf travel guide, the Alaia Hotel and the Surf Lodge Punta De Lobos. Obviously the two places where I would start my journey. I’ll feature them in detail in a follow up article about Pichilemu. For now I do what I usually do when I start to plan a surftrip, I re-read the info in the Stormrider Guide, google the town I’m focused on, read travel stories, day dream with visuals of perfect waves (shot on the best day of the year) and turn to Tripadvisor to find who’s on top of the game. Not surprised to see both the Alaia and Punta De Lobos featured. But can I find some other places I would want to visit and possibly include in the LTL Travel Collection 2017 ? And will I find waves that are user-friendly enough for me so I don’t end up sipping wine in front of a big open fire ?
Picture below: Surf Lodge Punta De Lobos. The lodge offers a swimming pool, sauna, wellness and has a surf shop. The restaurant serves fresh local dishes with a fine South American wine menu. Sure looks like I’ll have a hard time to get out of my comfort zone. But I’ll find a place to keep me warm if I do.
Pichilemu is a stunning beach town fronting a seemingly never-ending series of sandy coves and rocky headlands, all backed by miles of pine forest. The huge, long, rolling waves attract surfers from all over the country and the town of Punta de Lobos, about five miles to the south, has become the site of an international surf competition each June. So far, so good. What’s next ? Yes I turn back to Tripadvisor to see if I can find other places to stay that can match the picture perfect setup that both Alaia Hotel and the Surf Lodge offer. An article in the New York Times turns my attention to 8 al Mar. A trendy bed and breakfast next to the ocean with a charming “hippie-chic” atmosphere. It has 8 rooms with transparent balconies to enjoy the panoramic view that stretches from the Morros of Punta de Lobos until Topocalma. But above all, really good reviews. I like what I see when I visit the site. Sounds like a match. Just lacks some high res pictures. Perfect for a romantic getaway with the love of my life. Take some lifestyle shots. She will like the fact they offer yoga session on the beachfront wooden sundeck.
After visiting the 8 al Mar facebook page I get some other suggestions, curated by Mark Zuckerberg’s crew. The first one I check is the Playa Lobos Pacific Houses. The site is not available in English so I get to practice my Spanish skills. (Update: I found them on AirBNB)*. Love the architecture and for sure, Mark’s crew did a good job suggesting this place to me because I’m loving it. Luckily I can ignore the other places and move on with my research. Even the number one place on Tripadvisor does not come close to the places I found so far. (8 al Mar is ranked 3th on Tripadvisor) But the number 2 is pretty nice, the Cuarzo Lodge is a good match. It’s what we are looking for at LTL. Let me quote: “You will find a different tourism with environmental awareness, alternative therapies and spiritual pleasure. To others you can enjoy a cuisine with local produce and organic vegetables grown by us.Start your day with a yoga class, a healthy breakfast and finish sharing a campfire in a privileged environment! A magical place where valleys, rivers and sea merge. Area known worldwide for its waves and unforgettable landscapes.”
* Since March 2009, the name Airbedandbreakfast.com was shortened to Airbnb.com, and the site’s content had expanded from air beds and shared spaces to a variety of properties including entire homes and apartments. This is when we started to use the site and became fans. They recently started advertising to the surf travel market and it looks like they signed a deal with the WSL. In this editorial we will always check out the best AIRBNB listings to complete the overview of places to Live The Life. A good example is this private house that sleeps 6 people (3 bedroom). So if you’re a group of six you could pay as little as 55 euro per room for this designer beachfront eco villa in Pichilemu.
I’m sure you get the point, I’m hungry to discover Pichilemu. Chile , with 4300 km of coastline, has so much potential I almost forgot to check winery-hopping options. Chile is considered one of the wine countries of excellence in the new world. The Colchagua Valley is one of the premier tourist destinations. Chile’s Casablanca and San Antonio Valleys are increasingly capturing attention as producers of outstanding cool-climate varietals, especially Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Syrah. Innovative winemakers, cutting edge technology, and a privileged terroir nurture the grapes to yield excellent results: crisp whites and spicy reds. I’m all set to go and taste the good life, I already know what we’ll bring back home, priceless experiences and a Montanita
But not before we fly to the Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa. The hotel was used extensively in a Hollywood film. Edith, a Rapa Nui, is a most gracious host, even when she is busy planting more trees, flowers, etc. Bill, an Australian, is one phenomenal tour guide. Since he worked on the film “Rapa Nui” he researched the history and culture thoroughly. His knowledge is impressive.
Easter Island, a Chilean territory, is a remote volcanic island in Polynesia. It’s famed for its archaeological sites, including some 900 monumental statues, called moai, created by its early Rapa Nui inhabitants during the 10th-16th centuries. The moai are carved human figures with oversize heads, often resting on massive rock altars called ahus. Did I mention warm water ?
Few people know that the sport of surfing has played just as significant a role in the island’s history. When the early settlers sailed to Rapa Nui from Polynesia, life on the lost island was all about living off the sea, and evidence indicates that crude surfboards were constructed for travel and fishing. But it was only in the early 1990s that the island found its way onto the surfing radar.
Set in Easter Island in Chili, a meeting place surrounded by the Rapa Nui culture and habitat. Rooms are ‘cave’ inspired and curved, organic spaces, made of noble and natural materials like cypress trunks, clay and volcanic rock. Guests can immerse themselves in the Rapa Nui habitat with state-of-the-art technology to control water and electricity consumption while minimising noise and electromagnetic fields. Rooms do not have TV. Watching Edith’s brothers and family doing wood carving is a great experience. Many of their carvings are incorporated into the gardens, patio decks, table legs, etc.
As a part of our company mission and vision we are committed to improving the social and cultural conditions of the local communities. Besides worrying about the human capital, we take care of the environment and our surroundings. This is why we have different sustainability and recycling policies.