The Dunas de Concon, or Concon Dunes, are an impressive site to see in Chile. And in a country that is filled with spectacular scenery, like Patagonia and the Atacama Desert, that’s saying something!

Massive sand dunes known as the Dunas de Concon chile with apartment buildings in the background.
Dunas de Concon

Where are the Concon Dunes

The Concon Dunes are found along the coast of Chile, just north of Valparaiso. They take their name from the town of Concón, which is a popular resort town, known for its beaches, boardwalk and nightlife.

But the town is best known for the impressive dunes that rise up from the coast, creating a stunning sight.

The town has expanded right to the edge of the dunes, but the moment you step onto the sand and start to walk up the massive dunes, you’ll escape the busy town and feel a sense of quiet. Even if you can see the high rises at the edge of the dunes.

Why Are the Dunas de Concon Unique?

The Concon Dunes were created about 25 million years ago and are considered quite unique, as the various climatic and other geographical factors that created their formation may not be reproduced today.

But what I found most interesting and unique was that the sand dunes don’t reach right to the Pacific Ocean. Instead, the massive dunes stretch down towards the ocean, stopping at a cliff that separates the sand dunes from the ocean. 

In 1993, the Dunas de Concón was declared a “Sanctuary of Nature” although not all of the 50 hectares are protected. Developers have bought up parts of the unprotected land and constructed apartment buildings at the edges of the dunes.

View of the Dunas de Concon with apartments at the edge of the Concon dunes

What to Do at the Concon Dunes?

The Concón Dunes are mainly a tourist attraction, although you will see locals sandboarding and walking amongst the Dunas de Concon, as they are known to locals. 

Walking, or rather hiking, the dunes is challenging but well worth it! The hard work pays off when you reach a crest of the dunes and take in the stunning views. If you have the energy, continue up to the top for even more spectacular views.

And while walking was a bit challenging, running (and sliding) didn’t seem to be a problem for my kids! The boys loved jumping and sliding down the sides of the dunes, and could have rolled and played there for hours.

two young boys running in the sand at the dunas de concon (concon dunes chile)

Pro Tip: If you have young kids, try to dress them in shorts with no pockets. Otherwise, you will probably bring a whole pocketful of sand back to your car, and even wherever you are staying!

The Concon Dunes are also a popular spot for locals to practice sandboarding. It looks like a lot of fun and I would have loved to try (non-locals can rent boards), but we will have to come back when the boys are a bit older!

three people carrying boards and walking up the dunas de concon after sandboarding - sandboarding concon dunes is a popular thing to do along the coast

Sandboards can be rented across from the shopping center parking lot, if you want to try sandboarding like a local!

Whether you want to try sandboarding or just walk along the dunes, it’s a great place for the whole family to enjoy!

When to Visit the Concon Dunes

While the dunes are worth a visit any time of the day, they are especially spectacular at sunset.

We visited several times, hoping to see a fantastic sunset, but unfortunately, every time we were there, the sky clouded over by the time the sun set.

Even though I didn’t get any fantastic sunset pictures, it was still an impressive sight to see and an experience that my kids absolutely loved. In fact, the dunes were one of the highlights of our Chile Itinerary.

How to Get to the Dunas de Concon

The Concon Dunes are sandwiched between Concón and the town of Renaca. It’s about a 30-45 minute drive along the coast from Valparaiso, and while there are plenty of things to do in Valparaiso, it’s worth taking a half-day trip up the coast to see the dunes.

Concon can even be visited as a day trip from Santiago, although it’s about a 1.5-hour drive from the capital city.

There’s no official parking area for the Concon Dunes, but you can park at a shopping center across from the dunes or on the streets between the apartment buildings. There are plenty of trails leading into the dunes, or if you are parking on the side streets, the dunes will be right there.

Where to Stay Near Dunas de Concon

There are quite a few accommodation options near the dunes. This area of the coast is a popular vacation spot and there are options from resorts to hotels or even apartments. We stayed in an apartment, but I honestly can’t recommend it and we quickly moved to a hotel in nearby Vina del Mar.

The Hotel Diego de Almagro is located about 20 minutes away in Vina del Mar and is fantastic option for families. It’s a 15 minute walk from Playa Acapulco and close to the downtown area and the many restaurants. Parking is included and it’s a short drive to either Valparaiso or Concon. Rooms are clean and spacious with hardwood floors and the beds are really comfortable! Breakfast is included and there’s also a pool, but what made our visit great was how the staff were friendly and excellent with kids.

Another great choice for families in Vina del Mar is the Novotel Vina del Mar. It’s close to the Acapulco Beach and for those that prefer a pool, there’s an outdoor one onsite. Family rooms are available but even the regular rooms are quite spacious. Breakfast is included and the hotel is a short walk from many restaurants.

If you’d rather stay in Concon, the Radisson Blu Acqua Concon is an excellent choice. Located right on the beachfront in Concon, it’s easy walking distance to everything in Concon. Rooms are spacious and some have ocean views. Breakfast is included and there’s an onsite restaurant for other meals if you don’t feel like going out. There’s also a spa and an outdoor pool (open seasonally) and onsite parking is included.

Final Thoughts: Visiting the Concon Dunes

The Concon Dunes are an impressive sight and such a fun place to visit with kids. Let the kids run through the sand, try sandboarding or just take a walk along the dunes to see the spectacular views. However you choose to spend your time there, you won’t regret it.

If you’re visiting the coast of Chile, be sure to put the Dunas de Concon on your itinerary!

pin image for this post - visiting the concon dunes chile

For more information and inspiration on visiting Chile, be sure to check out these posts:

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