Lonely Planet recommends Quintay as one of Chile’s Best Sights, a place to let your eyes drink “their fill, [then] retreat to dine on seafood stew to the sound of crashing waves.” We spent a few days there last summer and it was all those words you’d choose to describe a perfect place: quaint, rustic, charming, lovely. The village itself is nothing fancy, just a dusty street with what the locals need to live their lives, but once you descend the gravity-defying road down to the harbour it’s like dropping into Europe. The sea is bluer-than-blue, with waves crashing upon a sandy beach overlooked by soaring gulls and beside small restaurants peppered with plants and flowers. This is the place to spend a quiet afternoon dipping your toes into the icy water before visiting the Ballenera de Quintay, an interesting museum and a monument to Chile’s whaling past.
Lunch is a bit hit and miss during the peak periods when hordes of visitors descend thanks to the glowing reviews left by guidebooks (thank you, Lonely Planet!) but even with the crowds this rocky outcrop is pleasant. You can also walk to the Natural Pool (La Piscina Natural), which is a bit of a trek but worth it if you want a safe place to plonk your toddler.
Given it’s proximity to Santiago, Quintay also makes the perfect spot to visit for a mini-break. I highly recommend contacting Rebecca Stevenson, a British expat who owns a stunning groundfloor apartment in the area. It’s located inside the Santa Augusta complex that also boasts a playground, golfcourse, restaurant and swimming pools while also being smack-bang in front of a beach that comes complete with a cave some Chileans will remember from TV. Given that Rebecca’s apartment is furnished to perfection and set amongst immaculately maintained gardens, this is a no-brainer option for the summer holidays coming up. The place sleeps 6 and has a fully equipped kitchen as well as a BBQ. It’s a great option for those of you wanting a family break or a romantic getaway. Contact her asap by booking over the internet – it’s well worth the price and it’s in a great location to further explore one of Chile’s most dramatic and varied coastlines.
Note: this post has not been sponsored