The Republic of Chile is one of the most exotic places to visit in South America with its rich forests, lakes, beaches, twisting islands and volcanoes. Apart from its captivating natural beauty, Chile is also very popular for its exquisite cuisine which features an assortment of beef, seafood, fruits and vegetables.

Chile also has some of the best beaches in the world and has the longest coastlines coming in at 6500km. Its west coast has 3,000 miles of Pacific coastline with diverse beaches of white sand, clear blue waters, black-sand beaches and high waves that are perfect for surfing.

The summer months in this Spanish speaking country are December, January and February.

If you’re planning a trip to Chile, here are the best beaches in Chile:

Vina del Mar 

Source: Instagram @faundezlafarga

This is the most popular resort in Chile and it is located north of Valparaiso, a UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) port city. Also known as the “Garden City”, it provides the perfect escape in summer with wide beaches that are perfect for relaxing or taking a leisurely stroll. Vina is a real hotspot for tourists with enough cash to spare. It has several seafood restaurants and shops along the boardwalk. The Vina del Mar Song Festival is also held here annually and it is an event that music lovers will enjoy. The only downside to this beach is its icy water which makes it a bit difficult to swim in, but beyond that, it’s an awesome place to visit.

Concon

Concon is a coastal resort on the north of Vina del Mar and is more affordable. It consists of three main beaches which are Amarilla, ideal for bathing and has excellent sand and quiet swell; La Boca, ideal for fishing, body boarding and surfing; and Playa Negra. Most families enjoy hanging out at Playa Negra because of its fine sand, calm water and free parking. Concon beaches are ideal for swimming and other water sports. Concon is also famous for its numerous restaurants that offer mouthwatering delicacies with seafood and tender meat

Zapallar

Source: Instagram @jovanarakezicphotography

Zapallar is one beach that offers by far, the best scenery in all of Chile. While it’s not exactly great for swimming, it has brilliant white sand and is surrounded by a shoreline nestled against an expanse of forested hills. This exclusive beach resort has large weekend houses and fancy apartments. The picturesque fishing ports offer some of the freshest seafood delivered to your plate straight from the seabed. Zapallar caters well to tourists and the wealthy residents of Santiago.

Arica

Photo by: Katalina Reyes

The year-round warm weather and water in Arica makes it one if the best beaches in the northern region of Chile. While it is not a touristy kind of place, the sandy ground with its perfect slopes accommodates various water sports including surfing, scuba diving, swimming, paragliding, fishing or even hiking on the sand. Arica has two beach resorts; Laucho-mania and La Lisera. Featuring crystal clear waters and fine sands, Laucho-mania has many beach bars with a variety of exotic drinks for visitors and exquisite cuisines like prawn risotto. On the other hand, La Lisera is a family friendly beach with a bathing resort where people can jog along the shore, hike, cycle or even work out.

Algarrobo

Photo by: Matt Hintsa

Nestled on the south of Vina del Mar and Valparaiso, the tall waves and expansive sand of Algarrobo provide a serene and peaceful escape from the crowds, especially if you decide to wander farther from downtown. Its protective alcove makes the ocean look like a lake and visitors can treat themselves to swimming in the calm waters, riding on a raft or simply go kayaking. It is a delightful alternative to the usually crowded beaches in Chile. Sunbathing and scuba diving are other things you can enjoy here, and you might even see penguins waddling around nearby.

Valparaiso

Surrounded by brightly coloured houses and rolling hills, this beach city and coastal port is a hit with many tourists. Out of the 36 beaches in Valparaiso, only five of them are actually inhabitable including Caleta Abarca, Las Torpederas, Playa Amarilla, Los Lilenes and Las Salinas. Of all these beaches, Las Torpederas is the best, but you have to be mindful of the steep cliffs that drop off straight into the ocean. Valparaiso is a place of details and varieties; a rustic restaurant with clear views of the ocean, a clothing flea market, a coffee shop that serves rich black coffee and a gigantic mural.

La Serena

For those who prefer to be in a serene beach environment, La Serena is the place to be. Located in San Juan in the northern region of Chile, it’s a great spot for those who love surfing. However, due to the waves and rip currents, it is not advisable to swim in the water. There are other interesting side attractions in La Serena that makes the beach town a favorite amongst locals and visitors alike. You can take a stroll or relax on the broad sidewalks; visit the popular Mercado La Recova where you can buy food, handmade jewelry, clothing and musical instruments.

Isla Negra

photo by: Sarah Richter

With magnificent views of the jagged coastline, it’s no wonder that Isla Negra is quite popular amongst tourists and locals. The epic beauty of this beach attracts visitors from all over South America and beyond. Though it is not an island as the name implies, this tourist town is perfectly dotted with sand and rocky beaches. Isla Negra is also best known as the home of famous Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda, who lived there at his Casa de Isla Negra residence for many years till his death in 1973. The house is now a museum and it is well visited all through the year, especially during summer.If you are planning a fun family getaway or honeymoon to South America, a summer visit to Chile’s exotic beaches won’t be such a bad idea.