Pichilemu is a small surfing town about three to four hours south of Santiago by bus. I went a few weeks ago with some startup chile friends and it was beautiful. It was just the break I needed from the heat of Santiago in the middle of the summer. There were huge beaches, big waves, warm sun, great food and interesting people.
We stayed at an awesome hostel, right on the beach, about five minutes walk from the town center called Pichilemu Surf Hostel. The owner is a Dutch guy who bought the land about 20 years ago for $12,000 and built the hostel himself. He had to completely rebuild in the last year after a tsunami wiped out his beach front property after the huge earth quake from a year ago. Many buildings were damaged in Pichilemu and a few were killed, including a few tourists. We saw the evidence on a beach where the only thing that remained of beach front restaurants was the floor.
The seafood was phenomenal and cheap. Fisherman hauled their catch in and came right up onto the beach to sell their catch. They were selling 3 whole fish, cleaned and filleted for $2. They has fresh shrimp, crab, barnacles, conger eel and even a little shark. We stopped for a super fresh white fish ceviche on the beach for about $2 and later that night shared a pastel de jaiba, which is sort of like a crab/cheese casserole. I had fried conger eel, which is really a white fish that tastes sort of like cod. It was truely awesome food.
We watched the sun set over the pacific each day and then drank cheap beer and wine either by a fire or at one of the local bars. We met new friends at bars and everyone went to the beach to drink, play music and have fun until 7am. It was my kind of town and I wish I could have stayed for longer. If you like to cook and go to Pichilemu, rent a cheap cabin with a kitchen and take advantage of the amazing seafood!