Chile has kilometres of beautiful coast, but if you’re travelling by bus, much of it can be hard to reach.
That’s how we ended up in Los Vilos and even that was a bit tricky, involving two buses and a taxi ride. After an initial four hour bus ride, we changed at the market town of Ovalle, a pleasant spot and potential stopover. The market is huge and sprawling and a great place to buy fruit and vegetables.
The Gran Hotel there has fresh, bright rooms for £40 a night with a filling breakfast
After two more hours on a long distance bus, we ended up above Los Vilos, where we hailed a cab to take us down the hill to the centre.
This funny old town is charming but a bit scrappy. It’s named after an English pirate called Lord Willow who apparently washed up there in the 18th century and set up camp. The long, sandy beach is lovely but the ocean is quite rough and there are a few would-be pirates still ambling around, clutching beer cans. The general mood is friendly and fun – more charming than alarming.
There are lots of good local restaurants, selling delicious fresh fish and seafood and lots of pelicans swooping and diving. In the mornings everywhere is shrouded in sea mist but it soon burns off as the sun heats up.
There is little to do here except eat, relax and walk on the beach, So try to find a place to stay with a terrace where you can admire the view. We stayed at Mar y Sol, just above the main town and rented a small, bright apartment (£35 a night) whose verandah was perfect for sunbathing and enjoying the ocean air.