If you really want to rough it, come to Pichilemu - a famous surf spot 350km south from Santiago, and stay in the Natural Surf Lodge.
Pichilemu is a small and mostly unattractive town, kinda the Brighton of Chile, it is famous for one thing - surfing. It is the home of the famous Punta de Lobos, a 300 meter long finger of rock and cliffs pointing straight into the ocean and creating the best breaks and barrels along the Chilean coast. It is the home for national championships and according to Chileans it is the best surfing spot along the Pacific coast of South America. I'm not a surfer, but man they might be right...
Other than surfing, Pichilemu can offer beautiful ocean and landscape views, amazing sunsets and the feeling of tranquility we all need sometimes. Once you spend a few days here you get drawn into the careless pace of local lifestyle and the wave craze, and you won't want to leave.
There are plenty of options for accommodation. There are rooms to rent and cabañas in abundance, ranging from very basic to luxurious. We stayed in a modern style conversion of open plan house, called Natural Surf Lodge. The owners, a 30 year old couple Martin and Rosemary, originally from Santiago, bought the place couple years ago and refurbished it with the help of Gonzalo - younger brother of Martin who happens to be an architect.
The place looks, feels and smells modern architecture. Combination of local stone, wood, concrete and glass, green and fully self-sufficient approach to water and electricity, make it seem like it came into life straight off the pages of Gonzalo's thesis. Don't get me wrong, it's not a perfectly polished structure, it is clearly hand made and not everywhere by professionals. The wood work is not perfect, the fixtures and hand made furniture could be done with more attention to detail, but all these deficiencies combined with the amazing attitude of our hosts made the place even more appealing. You can't help, but not feeling at home almost immediately.
Martin is in import/export business, so he is not always around, but Rosemary and Gonzalo are usually there to help the guests. Not that much help is needed. From the moment you check-in the house is yours to use. Breakfast is served every morning by their lovely maid, and it is hands down the best breakfast you will get anywhere. Freshly made smoothies, pancakes or waffles, muffins, fruit, healthy bread and cereals... everything you need to get the day started off on the right foot. There is no lunches served, but guests are always welcome to use the well equipped kitchen. Rosemary is a trained chef, and she has her kitchen in perfect order, there is everything you need in there to cook up a feast. Most of the nights it is an option to have a dinner at the lodge, deliciously cooked by Rosemary, or to head out to one of the local restaurants.
Martin and Rosemary live in a house attached to the lodge, Gonzalo stays in a "love shack" behind the main building. When not surfing or working he is always happy to socialise with the guests, arrange a BBQ, or take you to Punta de Lobos and give surf lessons.
Life is tranquil in Pichilemu, it would be as slow and sleepy as some of the Greek islands if not for the waves. Big waves.