Many of you asked how our Christmas was in Chile, so here’s a little update on that. In short, we spent Christmas on the beach, an unusual thing for us in the northern hemisphere.
The idea of spending Christmas on the beach
We stayed in Pichilemu, which is a small town on the coast, about 3 hours south of Santiago. We found a Couchsurfer who runs a hostel there and even though he wasn’t in Pichilemu himself during Christmas, we could stay in his hostel for free. (Yuhuu!)
Pichilemu in Chile
Pichilemu is famous for its huge waves that makes it the number one surfers paradise in Chile. The city beach is already a pretty good spot for surfing, but there are other beaches nearby that are even better, for example Punta de Lobos where international surfing world championships are also organised. (Here’s a video about a guy surfing the Punta de Lobos waves.) The weather was mostly grey while we were there and we felt the need for a serious rest after being on the road in the last months, so we didn’t venture anywhere else than the city beach.
But short walks did take us around town, for example to a small natural reserve, Laguna Petrel. It’s right next to the sea and it hosts an impressive 1/4 of all bird breeds that live in Chile. Because of its proximity to the sea the lake water mixes with the sea resulting in a slightly salted water (we didn’t test it).
Days of Christmas on the beach
Surprisingly, there wasn’t much of a Christmassy atmosphere in Pichilemu (nor in other towns we visited before Christmas): no decorations on the streets or in supermarkets, no one wished the other “merry Christmas” when bidding goodbye, shops were open on Christmas and Boxing Day as usual.
In our hostel that handful of people who stayed didn’t do much on THE day: one washed his car, another guy was just drinking beer on the couch. We went to the fish market early morning to buy a merluza, the most local fish (for me) and collect a recipe from the fish seller lady. We also stocked up with a lot of veggies for a special oven bake and with 1 kg of manjar (the Chilean dulce the leche – if you don’t know what it is, read our post here).
On THE day, which is the 24th for Chileans, there were hardly any people on the streets but they didn’t seem like celebrating with the family behind closed doors either. The next day then we found the whole town on the beach. The weather was really not good though: about 20 degrees and cloudy. Well, spending Christmas on the beach even if it’s not beach weather…
Pichilemu beach town
Pichilemu didn’t make a big impression on us. In the so-called shoulder season (just before the high season which starts in January, the summer of the southern hemisphere) many of the businesses were closed and it seemed like a boring town. However, I can imagine that surf lovers find their satisfaction in this surf themed paradise.
Do you sometimes spend Christmas away from home? How do you deal with it? Give us your tips in the comments below!