Pichilemu is a crossbreed of a sleepy fishing village and an international surf Mecca. Pichilemu is not quite on the gringo trail, but visitors from Chile and abroad quickly take to this rapidly growing town. Getting around is really easy, the people are friendly, the prices are reasonable, the beaches are big and easily accessible, and every year there are more interesting restaurants with varied cuisine. Due to it being the #1 surfing destination in Chile there is a delightful mix of international visitors and Chilean tourists. There is not much by way of luxury accommodation, a few high-end places, several mid-range and lots of not-so-nice but cheap places (especially outside of Jan and Feb).
Pichilemu is 3½ hours by bus from the Terminal Alameda in Santiago, or 2 hours by bus from San Fernando. Make sure to take the bus via Melipilla from Santiago, it's much shorter than the San Fernando/Santa Cruz Route.
Getting to Pichilemu by car is fairly easy and faster than the bus.
It's easy to get around Pichilemu in taxi, colectivo taxi, walking, and on bike.
Five national monuments of Chile are located here:
- Agustín Ross Cultural Centre and Park.
- Estación Pichilemu. The wooden railway station.
- El Árbol tunnel.
- Caballo de Agua.
Also, a part of the town is declared "Zona Típica" ("Traditional Area" or "Heritage Site") by the National Monuments Council.
Surf in the Pacific Ocean — this is what the town is all about.
- Surfing Classes (Puntilla and Punta Lobos). Both beaches have several surf schools. You can take classes that include rental and snacks with professional surfers, or rent equipment and attempt the waves on your own. US$15-20.
- Pichilemu Language School, Calle Anibal Pinto 21 3rd floor (in center next to stoplight and Copec station), ☏ . M-F 09:00-19:00. Spanish and English language school. They teach English to the locals and have an extensive Spanish program for foreigners. The atmosphere is relaxed and intimate, but it's very much a professional institute with the ability to certify Spanish undergrad courses for US college students and prepare others for the DELE exam. Students can take a few private classes to help them with the travels up to months of intensive group and private study.
- Hike, and Bike, and Wine Tours, Pichilemu and Santa Cruz. At the Pichilemu Language School you can get information about mountain biking in Pichilemu and Hike, Bike, and Wine tours in nearby Santa Cruz (Colchagua Valley, 75 minutes drive from Pichilemu). Most tours finish with wine tastings in one or two of the wineries.
- Big Wave Surf Contest. Several times in the year there are contests held at Punta de Lobos. Every April/May there is a big-wave paddle-in international contest.
- 18 Septiembre Celebrations. Pichilemu goes crazy for the fiestas patrias. There are traditional games, food, music, and dancing all day and all night.
Must buys in Pichilemu: Completos and Empanadas! Also you can find cool weavings, ceramics, and wood sculptures at stores in the center.
- Kiosco Polita, Central Pichilemu, Calle Aníbal Pinto with Calle J. J. Aguirre (first kiosk of the crafts fair, in front of the former "Discotheque One", now "Botillería One" liquor store). 11:00/12:00-01:00. Mini-wood surfboards, dogs and souvenirs made with shells, all made by local artisans. "Trenzas" are hot every summer. Owner is bilingual, and goes by the name of Alicia.
- Casa de las Empanadas, Calle Aníbal Pinto. 10:00-03:00. Best empanadas in Pichilemu, a must. CLP$1500-2000.
- La Roca Restaurant, Av, Comercio 2865 (a few km south of Pichilemu center on the road towards Bucalemu), ☏ . A good restaurant with a view over the ocean.
- Casa Roja, Avenida Ortuzar 215 (in the center of town), ☏ . 12:00-16:00 and 20:00-00:00. Italian food and seafood, pizzas, pastas, and great pisco.sours.
- DonBuri, Federico Errazuriz (On the corner near Calle Ortuzar, ocean side). Thai food and sushi.
- 1 Cabanas Buena Vista, Cerro La Cruz (corner of Calle Norte and Calle Pichilemu) (tell any taxi - de la piscina por arriba), ☏ . Check-in: 13:00, check-out: 14:00. Quaint cabins with English/Spanish speaking owners in a beautiful and quiet setting on the hill outside town. A 15-min walk from beaches and center. Cabins are fully equipped and have great views, a fire pit, gardens, terraces, and organic chicken eggs.
- Surfarm Pichilemu, Cahuil (Take a taxi from Pichilemu to Cahuil and tell them to head to the Ex-Fondo Cahuil. You'll see a sign for the Surfarm.), ☏ . Check-in: 12:00, check-out: 18:00. Beautiful new, clean hostel right outside of town. Located on the beach with English/Spanish/German speaking owners. Fresh, homemade breakfast.
- Bucalemu is a village by the sea south of Pichilemu. The road from Pichilemu to Bucalemu has been paved.