When we first arrived in Pichilemu it was late and dark out, we were all tired peering out the windows of Gus Gus (the van) to look at where we ended up halfway across the world. There were restaurants and shops with their lights on. There was one restaurant we saw – I’m blanking on the name – but it was lit up with a cool sign and Nell immediately said “I want to go there!” What I didn’t realize until the day after is that the center of town was separated from Punta de Lobos and that Punta de Lobos had its own little center.
The center of Punta de Lobos is much smaller than the center of Pichilemu. We would usually go into town to attend our dinners at Rancho Salvitario (which were amazing). Or we would go into the produce vendors and buy fruit or vegetables for our breakfast and lunches. There was one hidden gem we found one night after dinner when walking around town. There was a little shop front bakery with homemade pain, cakes and other goodies. There were so many men stuffed into this small area cooking up so many different things. Along the wall was posters of women. The food that came out of there is unreal.
Kurt told us that we had to try the best fried empanadas for the best price in Punta de Lobos. The first day we tried to go they weren’t open because in Chile you can be open or closed during the most random times and people deal with it. Instead of getting our empanadas we had a funny interaction with the store next door and bought baggettes and fruit juices. The fruit juice was really just a blend of different fruits with water and ice so it wasn’t what we really expected. And then we hopped into the car with them and Ursa spilled hers all over the place.
When we finally made it to the fried empanada place we we’re so excited to eat! We had just surfed all morning and were ready to get down and grub. I ordered a crab filled empanada. It was so full, there was an insane amount of crab in this thing. So. Good.
We shopped in the center of Pichilemu one afternoon after surfing. Our first stop was empanadas. We went to this almost hidden hole in the wall of a restaurant. We parked in the back where there was an outdoor seating area a sea-saw, chairs, tables and ovens. We entered through the back of this small, narrow store front to order our empanadas. I ordered a crab empanada because thats what Kurt and Emmett said were the best. And crab is just so good. Once we got all of our orders in we sat outside and soaked up the sun. The cook came out a little bit after and popped our empanadas into the outdoor ovens.
My mouth is watering thinking of this fresh dough and melty cheese and crab meat. They came fresh out of the oven, cooked in front of us. I might’ve bitten mine too soon and burnt my tongue on it. We then decided that we had to compare these baked empanadas to fried empanadas.
Once we finished up our lunch we explored – we went to town twice so I won’t go into too much detail. Pichilemu seems old in a way to me. Its not very updated but its still very nice. It has your basics, liquor store, grocery store, tourist pop ups. The best day we went into town was for the farmer’s market.
The farmer’s market is giant in Pichilemu – it takes up two sides of an entire street. On the day we went to the market it was New Years Eve and we started off our visit by buying so many fruits and vegetables for our dinner. We traveled throughout the market and it was a little funny to me. At first there was fresh produce, and then it turned into clothing and handmade goods and then it turned into people selling old CDs and movies. I bought myself Chilean alpaca socks that are incredibly soft, Kat bought herself some CDs to play at the party, and Sean bought a knife for himself.
The one thing that struck me most about Pichilemu is that there is so much change happening. It is interesting that in Punta de Lobos there is so many developments. As you can see in the video above there are small inlets of housing that is all the same. I like the small unique homes that are still standing. Since Pichilemu is becoming so popular it is at risk of changing from more western influences. This area is a destination for people all around the world and so companies are taking advantage of this.
I believe that every community has the right to grow and change into a more urban area but only if they want to. There are people who wish that things will never change and others that thrive off of change. I think that as long as the sense of culture and originality is still there with the new changes then things may be okay. Our societies push to become more innovated and high in technology. Some people think of this as a horrible plague put onto rural, authentic beach communities, and some people welcome this with open arms to increase businesses and livlihoods.
My favorite piece I came back to the United States with was from a small store right next to the bakery. A young woman was running this store. There was beautiful jewelry and clothing in this small square of a store. On the back wall hung embroidered pieces of art that she had made. As a lover of all things plants, I picked out a small piece that had cactus and succulents set up on benches and stools. She was so happy that I had came into her store and I tried to express in my broken Spanish how much I loved everything in there. Its things like this that I hope prosper from the changing community but I hope that she never changes the authenticity I felt in her store. It was still more modern but these handmade embroidery pieces made everything seem right.