Moto Madness III: Valparaíso to Pichilemu in Chile

If you’ve been looking for some good beach riding, Chile has you covered. This long skinny country that resembles a chili pepper (thus its name) has both mountains and an endless coastline to explore. In fact, your beach ride will involve some mountains and passes if you are covering any real distance. Chile is amazing in the fact that the mountains literally crash into the sea… talk about some serious altitude change!

Ride from Reñaca to Pichilemu with the Gringos

Take a ride through the Chilean countryside and relax on the beach with us!

Reñaca

Reñaca was the Gringo basecamp for this month. Don’t ask us how we ended up in the Malibu of Chile… my guess is a heck-of-a-deal on AirBnb and minimal other research. We heard there was surfing… Anyways, we stayed and worked in this tiny weekend destination city. Strangely quiet during the week, but it would come alive on the weekends with huge crowds hitting the beautiful beach. Even on weekends though, it wasn’t nearly as busy as the popular beaches just south of us in Viña del Mar.

Food and drink

This little beach town is loaded with amazing restaurants. First things first, Machas a la Permesana and pisco sours. You can find them at almost any restaurant and you can’t really say you visited Chile without trying these 2 staples. There are several small beach restaurants located right on the Malecon, La Terraza de Alfredo has the best machas, but the pisco is fine everywhere… Also, forget your low carb diet while visiting, Chile literally consumes BILLIONS of dollars worth of bread every year and you’d do well to try the Hallullas and especially the MARAQUETAS wow they are good.

The gringos eat machas a la permesana and drink pisco sours on during the sunset on a beach in Reñaca Chile.
Machas at la Terraza, it’s right on the beach!

Our favorite restaurants

We pretty much exclusively ate seafood while living here, and boy was it fresh. Sushi – Sushi Deck had excellent fish and excellent prices but Sushi Home was a little better… and always packed! Pizzeria Siroco prepares some gourmet pies, including one with Salmon. Sounds weird, tastes amazing! If you gotta be ballin’ on a budget (like us) then you can always find some killer seafood empanadas at Empanadas Roldan. Head to the street shack version instead of the sitdown place though! For those of you with terrible Mexican food withdrawal… it’s also worth checking out El Patio Juice Bar for some burritos and other healthy delights.

A smiling gringo drinks a pisco sour with a table full of sushi in front of him.
Sushi and pisco sours

Beach, beach and more beach!

This place is all about the Playa, and you can find nice spots from Reñaca all the way into town in Viña del Mar. Viña is walkable from Reñaca but you can also take a short bus ride instead. You’ll find the stop right on the beach. Viña is a bigger city so you can find plenty more bars and restaurants there. This place also gets packed on the weekends and the beaches are loaded with friendly folks trying to get their tan on… one thing though… the water is freezing! It isn’t really much for swimming here, more of a quick shocking dip if you overheat while on the beach.

a beautiful sandy beach with waves crashing on the shore. The water is quite blue and there is a larger city in the background.
Beaches from Reñaca all the way to Valparaiso

Surf and sandboarding

There is some surf, but we didn’t see too many good days… and the good days were some quick rides a little above our skill level… We tried but as is usually our luck… good surf conditions evade us. Sandboarding was fun in the way that smashing your face into sand is! Check out our attempt. A nice hike and view from the top, but the boards are basically an enlarged skateboard deck with footstraps… you can’t turn so don’t bother trying, just go straight down until you crash and burn. You can find the boards to rent right in front of the Lider Express Con Con and they only cost 1,000CLP (about $1.50).

Las Dunas de Concón near Valparaiso, Chile
Views: 10, Sandboarding: 0

Lessons for next time

Staying in Viña del Mar or Valparaiso may have been a little more lively as Reñaca was almost a ghost town during the week. However, if you visit this area def go for at least a weekend in Reñaca to enjoy the dunes, beaches and chill vibes.

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