Activities in Zapallar, Chile

Zapallar invites visitors to just state at the ocean vistas which abound throughout the town and in most hotels and rental property homes.   The Pacific Ocean is breathtaking.  Hear the sound of the waves, the smell of local flowers and the ocean, and take in the vibrant sunsets.

“La Rambla”, a very well maintained coastal path with bridges, paved sections, and incredible views of the ocean.  This path stretches (with some incomplete sections) from the cemetery to Cachagua’s beach–nearly 4hrs of marvelous walking end-to-end!

The coastline has a paved beach/coast walk-way called “la rambla” which can be walked for miles in both directions north and south of town.  At times the rambla is not complete, but safe passage along the shoreline is achieved by walking over various boulders.  If you start at the Cemetery to the north of town, you could walk for ~4hrs south through Zapallar town, to Cachagua, and onwards along the Cachagua beach until it reaches an impassable tide.

Here are some of the highlights of any visit to Zapallar.

  • The beach is always there, rain or shine
  • Walk the Rambla (walkway) around the bay of Zapallar, to the right side to Isla Seca and to the left side past Mar Bravo
  • Climb Cerro De La Cruz on the left side of bay and see the calaton (blowhole) in the rocks on the far end
  • Rock-climb Isla Seca on right side of bay
  • Stroll around the streets of town
  • Go to Mar Bravo for sunset or to see the waves when the surf is big
  • Complete the partial rock-hop-hike from Zapallar all-the-way to Cachagua, or a partial hike from the rambla north from Cachagua Beach, passing Isla de Penguinos (Penguin Island) to the small beach of Las Cujas. Continue past this beach to get to the beach of El Pangue.  This is a world-class walk with unparalleled beauty.
  • Take the walk between the Cemetery to Zapallar
  • Hike the ridgeline between Zapallar and Cachagua on the El Tigre trail.
  • Once you have been in Zapallar for a while, go to the Hotel Isla Seca and look at the fasinating old pictures of Zapallar hanging on the walls.  There are also old pictures in the hallways of the Municipalidad.
The beach of Cachagua

12 thoughts on “Activities in Zapallar, Chile

  1. Hola, I am considering a day trip to Zapallar / Cachagua to see the Humboldt penguins in early October. I read that it is possible to hire a fisherman boat from Zapallar to see the penguins up close, but I cannot find any information on the internet, and I am worried about not being able to find a fisherman boat on arrival (I only have one day / one afternoon in the area).

    At the time of the year (early October), do you know whether fisherman boats will be easy to find? Will sailing be cancelled frequently due to rough seas? Do you know if any fisherman boat take advanced reservation? Could you put me in contact with them?

    I read that Humboldt penguins live on the Isla Los Pingüinos Cachagua all year round. Is that right?

    Thank you very much.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes the penguin collony is almost always there on Isla Penguinos in Cachagua, but sometimes they are off fishing themselves and fewer remain. On busy days there are 100s easily seen from the shore in Cachagua along the area of the coastline that faces Cachagua beach. Zapallar may indeed have fisherman boats for hire, but definitely no website or even formal phone based booking. I have seen some scuba activity companies set up formal operations seasonally and on weekends, they would be more reliable than the fisherman. What dates are you trying to do this… ? I’ll ask a relative who lives there if she knows…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks for the prompt reply! I will be there on 1 October 2018 which is a Monday. From the photos on Trip Advisor it seems that the penguins would be tiny dots when viewed from the shore of Cachagua, that’s why I am trying to look for a boat hire. Thanks in advance!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. My family friend says that yes, it is possible to arrange at the fisherman boat area by Chiringuito restaurant. Will depend on ocean, certainly not possible if rough weather. Try calling Chiringuito restaurant and ask them if they can connect you with someone (you’ll need to speak Spanish) closer to date of your trip. You are right that pnguins are small from shore, more interesting if you are in a boat closer to them.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Thanks for the ideas! I will check out the various options! Do you know how I can contact Carlos Allende in advance (before I travel to Zapallar)? Thanks again!


  2. Hi there,

    thanks for the tips. we will be there late jan early feb 19 and looking for some salsa/tango classes.

    would you know?

    many thanks


    1. Not really part of the scene in this area; if there are dance classes not likely to be tango or salsa, which are generally not danced in Chile. Cumbia is a very popular dance…


  3. this website is amazing! thank you for taking the time to give such detailed information. I am going this weekend. Do you know how I could contact Carlos to see if he’s available for a penguin boat ride?


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