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!
The Concon Dunes, are located along the coast of Chile, just north of Valparaiso.
These impressive sand dunes are sandwiched between two cities on the Pacific coast and framed by city skyline in either direction.
But standing on the massive dunes, you can still escape into nature and feel a sense of quiet, even if you can see the high rises at the edge of the dunes.
Concón is a city on the coast of Chile, just north of Valparaiso and Vina del Mar. It’s a popular resort town, known for its beaches, boardwalk and night life.
But it’s best known for the impressive sand dunes that rise from up the Pacific Ocean.
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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.
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, or even the top if you have the energy, and take in the phenomenal 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.
*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!
While the Dunes are worth a visit anytime of the day, they are spectacular at sunset.
We visited several times, hoping to see a fantastic sunset, but unfortunately every time we were there, it clouded over by sunset.
It was still a great memory though, although no fantastic sunset pictures.
Visiting the Dunas de Concon
The Concon Dunes are sandwiched between Concón and the town of Renaca. It’s about a 30-45 minute drive from Valparaiso, and can even be done as a (long~1.5hr) day trip from Santiago.
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.
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!
If you’re visiting Chilie, make sure to put the Dunas de Concon on your Chile itinerary!
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 (I needed to do laundry!), but I honestly can’t recommend it. We quickly moved to a hotel in nearby Vina del Mar, but you can find some good options (if you’re not booking last minute like we did, in Concon).
The Novotel Vina del Mar is located about 20 minutes away in Vina del Mar and is fantastic option for families. 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.
Another great choice in Vina del Mar is Hotel Diego de Almagro. 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.
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.
If you’re considering or planning to visit Chile, check out posts below for information or inspiration!
- Visiting Chile with Kids: a 14 Day Itinerary
- 16 Things to Do in the Atacama Desert
- Things to Do in Santiago with Kids
- 7 Things to Do in Valparaiso
- Emiliana Winery – A Kid Friendly Wine Tour in Chile
- 9 Gorgeous Photos that will Inspire you To Visit Chile