Lake Puclaro is a windsurfing and kitesurfing paradise with guaranteed wind. In the summer season its beautifully warm and sunny, and the atmosphere down at the beach is amazing. People come from all over the world to spend the day on the lake, meet the resident locals and explore into the valleys of the Andes mountains. Gualliguaica is part of the Elqui valley which is known for some of the clearest skies in the world for astronomy, beautiful desert landscapes, pisco and wine production, and of course the culture of the people who live here.
Wind and Weather
Northern Chile is hot and dry, with around 320 sunny days a year. In the summer, temperatures generally range between 27-32C with evenings being a little chilly due to the air coming down from the high mountains in the area. We get constant wind due to thermal effects and the Venturi effect in the Elqui Valley, which results in 20-30 knots in the summer (September to May), and 15-25 knots in the lower season (May - September). In the winter, the temperature ranges from 10-15C with a lot more cloudy days than in the summer.
During the summer months, the wind will pick up from 10 AM until noon, which is perfect for beginners or lesson. By noon, like clockwork, the wind is blowing strong, and all levels of kitesurfers are hanging out at one of the quinchos (huts) on the beach and can surf until sunset.
Chile has a great bus (the big busses) system that will take you pretty much anywhere. There are also smaller networks of commuter buses and "collectivos" which are cheap taxis that will pick people up until it’s a full car. Gualliguaica is a tiny town, and the beach Is always only a few minutes away by foot. If you have a lot of equipment and gear to move, Hotel Puclaro offers shuttles to the beach and a pick up at the hotel for its clients. Most people will offer rides to people walking to the beach if they have room in their cars as well.
Food and Drink
Gualliguaica was initially located in the middle of the valley, and when they built the dam in 2000, they had to move the town out of the area that would become flooded. When it moved, they designed a new housing system and that businesses could only out of someones private land. This means that we only have a few small stores with basics and snacks. The hotel just started the "Wind Food Truck" which is open on the beach during peak season and caters to the hotel guests. There are also a couple of people who sell street food down by the beach on occasion. During the summer months, a lot of the schools will host BBQs on the beach. If you are looking for a bigger restaurant, Vicuña has a nice variety and is only a 10min drive away.
There's a lot of gathering down at the quinchos on the beach at night. The windsurfing quincho has had some pretty fantastic BBQs, which are a lot of fun. There are plenty of bars and restaurants in Vicuña, which are just a 10-minute drive away.
We are right in the Elqui Valley! There are many companies in the area which all offer tours and will pick you up from their main bases in Vicuña(10min drive from Gualliguaica) and drive up to the observatories. The valley is also known for wine, and pisco (a grape brandy and Chiles national alcohol - mainly served as pisco sour with lemon or a piscola with coke) production and is full of wineries and distilleries that all offer tours. Many companies offer hiking, biking, horseback riding and sightseeing tours throughout the valley. All of the small towns are all very historical, and all offer many artisan shops and stories from the past.
Not so much in Gualliguaica, I'm sure the hostels have wifi, but there is no public access to wifi down by the beach.
Hotel Puclaro- a small hotel with cabins and rooms (rooms for two or three people that only have a bed and a bathroom). There is a communal quincho for all the guest to use to cook and eat, as well as hang out and get to know each other.
Chilean peso (CLP)
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Where are the Best Kitesurfing Beaches in Gualliguaica?
The beach in Gualliguaica is the common launch spot on Lake Puclaro. The beach is set up with quinchos from all the schools who are more than happy to hang out and enjoy the day, as well as fabric patches laid out to protect the kites when they're not in the water. Middle peak season can get busy especially on holidays and weekends, evening sessions and surfing during the week will always guarantee you plenty of space on the lake and a good time.
- Wind: Cross-on from the right
- Waves: Not really waves but chop, in the middle of the lake you can get some swells up to a meter
- Shorebreak: No
When is the Best Time to go Kitesurfing in Gualliguaica?
The windy months to go kitesurfing in Gualliguaica are January, February, March, April, May, September, October, November, December