In a letter dated October 8, 1545, Spanish conquistador Pedro Valdivia wrote: "Of all the lands of the New World, the port of Papudo has a goodness above any other land. It's like God's Paradise: it has a gentle temperate climate; large, resounding mountains; and fertile lands."

Today a jumble of apartment buildings and vacation homes detracts from the view Valdivia once admired, but the beaches and coast north of town remain clean and pleasant. You can still find bits of that history in the quiet resort town. Glorious old homes still appear interspersed among the smaller, newer houses. A palm tree–lined promenade runs through town between the beach and the main road, and is lined with vendors selling snacks, toys, and souvenirs. Up the hill in the town proper, a pleasant tree-lined plaza offers capriciously painted park benches as well as permanent chess tables.

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