“A cloudy day is no match for a sunny disposition”. – William Arthur Ward
On a free morning in Santiago, we decided to take a break from hiking in the Andes to go the other direction and explore Chile’s stunning coast. Given Chile’s tremendous length (from north to south, Chile extends 4,270 km/2,653 miles), Chile has an extraordinary amount to see along its shores. Ranging from the driest deserts of the Atacama in the north to the craggy terminus of the Andes in the South, Chile’s rich geographical diversity is bound to inspire and soothe the soul.
Our fantastic hiking guide Nico from Coigüe Expeditions had laid out an entire itinerary for us to visit the coast ourselves. Like many middle-class Chileans, Nico grew up spending his summers along the coast where his family owns a summer home. Over recent years, the area has witnessed a huge real estate boom and today these once tiny coastal towns are home to some of Chile’s wealthiest elite.
We left Santiago a little past nine heading west towards the Chilean Coastal Mountain Range (Cordillera de la Costa) that runs parallel to the Andes separating the lush Central Valley of Chile from the sea. I was amazed how quickly the landscape changed from the verdant green valleys to the arid, sparsely-vegetated rolling mountains. As soon as we reached the mountains, we were instantly engulfed in coastal fog and a big temperature drop from the high summer heat of the Central Valley.
A little after eleven, we reached the small oceanside town of Cachagua where we followed the road to the beach and parked our car in the public lot. Unfortunately, the fog had not lifted which I found a little disappointing. It was still incredibly beautiful yet I could only imagine how much more beautiful it would be with the sun out. My dad however was secretly pleased that it was cloudy because he had overdressed and would have been roasting if the sun was out.
We followed a narrow path down to the beach and I took in the smell of the ocean air. There was a gentle breeze and the mesmerizing sound of the waves lulled me to peace. I instantly pulled out my camera and took a few pictures of the shoreline. It was too bad it was cloudy yet perhaps the weather kept the people away. We had almost the entire beach to ourselves save the pelicans and sea gulls hovering overhead.