We arrived in Pichilemu around 3pm on a hot Saturday afternoon, having driven for a good couple of hours through the mountains on the north of the Central Valley.
Pichilemu is a small costal city renowned for its surfing. The architecture is oddly reminiscent of Melbourne or Marin County. Small, single storey houses with a garden set back from the road. All facing (or trying to) out on the Pacific. My morning run along the coast reveals a big Edwardian hotel now under refurbishment set on a cliff with the inevitable pristine park next to it (perfectly mowed grass and pine trees).
This is most definitely a tourist town, filled with shabby surf stores, a small arcade, two (adjacent) go kart tracks, B&Bs and shops selling all kinds of classic sea-side tat. The two main streets are filled with cheap restaurants (pizza, empanadas and pollo al brasa). Andy says it’s reminiscent of Skegness.
There are multiple camp sites around Pichilemu. We opt for the Eco Camping site to the south of the town. It’s quiet, immaculately clean and a stone’s throw from the surfing beach. For 5,000 CLP a night pp we have access to a rather big kitchen, hot water and endless wifi.
On our first night the only other people on the site are a Chilean couple, who spend a good couple of hours trying to help us fix our fridge and give us a lot of advice on where to go and where to buy the last remaining bits and bobs. There’s also a group of Swiss people in massive camper vans (a couple in their late 60s, their son and his girlfriend) who have travelled down the Atlantic coast of the continent and are now making their way up to Alaska.
On our second night a German family of three pull up next to us on the now deserted site. They are carrying mountain bikes, a drone and have a perfectly organised van. Over a bottle of wine we bond over alpine MTB trails (“we” might be an exaggeration here – I could barely follow), skiing and our next plans. We are all travelling south. We pull our resources together and share dinner (and more wine) and spend a lazy morning around camp together before we head off for the long drive to Port Mont. Telephone numbers and emails exchanged, hopefully we will see them soon.