Punta de Lobos, Chile

Photo: Hotel Alaia

Today was a good day. An exhausting day, but a really good one. You’ve been up and moving almost as long as the sun. You’ve fit in as many activities as possible since you want to try everything possible. Plus you’re already putting together a plan for tomorrow. It looks like someone has fallen in love with Punta de Lobos.

You’d never heard of Punta de Lobos when you started planning this trip to Chile. You quickly discovered that some people call it the next Tulum. Others know it as a surfing mecca with one of the best left-hand point breaks on the planet. While many Chileans desperately wish they could keep their favorite escape a secret from the rest of the world.

Punta de Lobos is a three-hour drive southwest of Santiago. It used to be a sleepy fishing village where 150-foot cliffs dropped down to gray-sand beaches along the Pacific coast. Pichilemu, to the north, became a beach resort first. Wealthy Chileans cooled off in the chilly water during the hot summer months. The sea is rarely calm along Central Chile, though. When surfers caught on, the area became the birthplace of Chilean surfing. The World Cup surfing circuit now lures the best surfers in the world here each year.

Photo: Hotel Alaia

You’re not a surfer. You weren’t going to pretend that you knew what you were talking about. But you wanted to learn—or at least attempt—how to pull yourself up on a board and ride even the smallest wave. So you started looking into Punta de Lobos. You quickly discovered that there’s a lot more to Wolves Point than surfing. It’s an artsy town with in-home art galleries and frequent craft fairs. It’s a slow-food destination focused on hand-caught seafood. Hearty red wine comes from the nearby Colchagua Valley. Plus a new design hotel recently opened amid the sand dunes.

If you were to create a surf lodge, it’d look exactly like Hotel Alaia. The sustainable hotel was named after a round-nosed, square-tailed board that was first used in ancient Hawaii. It has a panoramic view of the wild Pacific Ocean from the cozy lounge, the warm restaurant, and 12 freestanding bungalows that meld into the landscape. It also feels like a surf shack on the edge of the world with wooden boardwalks meandering through the dunes down to the beach. The low-key vibe fits the landscape perfectly.

Then there are the activities. Surfing is the main one, of course. There’s plenty to keep you occupied when you aren’t on the water, though. You can start the morning with yoga at sunrise. It’ll loosen you up for the full day ahead. A rock-climbing wall and a skate park are right at the entrance of the hotel. It’s a good spot to try stand-up paddleboarding, kiteboarding, and windsurfing while you’re feeling adventurous. Wood-fired hot tubs, to relax tight muscles, stand near the pool. Wine tastings are held by open fireplaces in the sea-to-table restaurant. While nightcaps are taken by the bonfire. It looks like there are many good days ahead of you.

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