South America Drive

Matanzas, Chile. Where?

March 11, 2014

“I have died and gone to heaven. This place is a splurge for us, but it is so worth it. We are atop a cliff looking down at the ocean. The home is huge and well set up. Takes forever to walk from the bedroom to the kitchen. Only drawback? No internet. Found ONE place in town with internet! Guess we will spend time there. Good thing they have yummy Pisco Sours.”



Ahhhhh . . . . Matanzas . . . the one and only true splurge we did in 3 years.

Don’t get me wrong, we stayed in some absolutely lovely places. Villa Viamonte was one. Where we are currently at is another. But, the view from Matanzas tipped the scale. Unfortunately, the price was way above our budget.

DSC06830We justified our stay by cutting back before and after our time there. It was worth it. The only thing we might have wished for was warmer weather. But, we were in the off-season and could not have afforded it in-season.






The dogs spent most of the day looking out the windows.






We went for walks on the beach, of course.





In the distance, you can see the tiny village on Matanzas.


Matanzas, Chile is two hours from Santa Cruz. It is so small — only 590 people — that it is not even mentioned in our “bible” guide book. It is also about 100 miles from Santiago, but feels even more remote.

This place is famous from the time of the conquistadors. Spanish troops disembarked here before setting off to conquer what is now central Chile. Sir Francis Drake stepped off a galleon here. To this day, treasure hunters still dream of finding sunken Spanish galleons laden with treasure off the coast.

DSC07077-002There used to be a lake nearby known as a hotspot for windsurfing and kitesurfing. But, the lake dried up and the action moved to Matanzas. Today, Matanzas is best known as the place to come if you are learning to surf, windsurf or kitesurf with practically continuous winds. Just beware – the water is super cold.

I get the feeling many travelers would not even consider Matanzas unless they were surfers. It is too remote and comprised mainly of basic cabanas or casual hostels geared toward the surfer crowd. If this is not your style, you can find some lovely homes for rent at the edge of town; often, with foreign owners. In our case, the owners lived in Switzerland.

We are amazed, in traveling throughout South America, of the number of lovely homes that sit empty. They are the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th home owned by an individual. Sad to think these homes are only lived in a few weeks a year.

A meal at Suranzo

A meal at Surazo with a raspberry Pisco Sour.

Since we did not have internet at our home, we had to go into town. Luckily, we found what may have been the only place to have internet: Hotel Surazo. It didn’t hurt that the restaurant also had the best Pisco Sours. That is a drink made with Pisco: like a white brandy, made from grapes.



Sunset at Surazo.

Sunset at Surazo.

Both Chile and Peru call Pisco Sours their national drink. A Pisco Sour can come in in a number of flavors. My favorite: ginger. The fresh ginger root was blended into the sour making a spicy drink. My second favorite: Maracuya or Passion Fruit. Perhaps due to the shortage of Passion Fruit in Minnesota, this was a treat.



We felt quite a few earthquakes during our 3 weeks. We heard that an earthquake in 2011 sent a huge Tsunami crashing into Matanzas, wiping out many of the coastal abodes. The “new” homes still look pretty rustic. I guess they fit the ambiance.

IMG_0158Our home had incredible views of the ocean. The entire house had huge picture windows facing the water.














We woke up to the brilliant sun reflecting off the ocean waves. I cooked watching cormorants “fishing” and hawks diving within feet of our deck. And, I relaxed to the sound of the waves crashing on the rocks below. Nature’s giant sleep machine.


DSC07062The sky and water were continually changing from a gun-metal gray to a brilliant blue. Clouds formed and reformed, changing with the winds.





IMG_0145Sunsets went from orange, to pink to gray. The sound of the wind through the deck combined with the crashing waves, at times increasing the volume to the point you could not hear the person next to you. I spent many hours just watching the waves, sky, birds, seals, etc.



DSC06995For a couple nights, we were treated to the full moon over the water. This is only 3 out of one hundred pictures we took.







The moon setting, just as the sun was rising.


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