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(Video: Camila Romero I. / Editing and Photography: Verónica Aguirre L. / Text: Romy Hecht M.)

Puertecillo evidences a central problem of the landscape: how to connect natural systems with urbanization processes.

Located in the community of Navidad, in the Region of Libertador Bernardo O’Higgins and 160 km southeast of Santiago, Puertecillo is a beach encircled by cliffs and rocky areas of Cupressus macrocarpa that, to date, is an enclave for Surfing, Kitesurfing, Windsurfing and Bodyboarding. Until December 2013, access was rather restricted to vehicles that could circumvent the “La Cuchilla” road or to those arriving on foot, horse or motorcycle from Cuesta Polcura.

However, the development of the real estate project Punta Puertecillo (1) allowed unrestricted public entry through the road built to access the new development. However, the project has not been without controversies (2) due, first, to the closure of the access roads to the beaches of Los Lobos, Secreto, Topocalma and Caleta Tumán in pursuit of the execution of the new southern access; second, to the initial restriction of use of the coastal edge by athletes and collectors and dryers of cochayuyos and shellfish; third, to the installation of the development in the only area free of flood risk according to the delimitation established by the Coastal Edge Inter-Community Regulatory Plan of 2010; and, fourth, the reaction of the community to the potential demographic impact of a town lacking minimum services or equipment, such as garbage removal.

(1) The official project site <www.puertecillo.cl> does not offer details of the characteristics of the development project but rather a general description of the management plans of the coastal, forestry and gorge edge, the mechanisms of water supply and sewage solutions, and the architectural and civil engineering standards and regulations.
(2) See, among others, the articles by Juan Pedro Sabbagh,”El Proyecto Inmobiliario queAmenaza a Puertecillo” (The Real Estate Project that Threatens Puertecillo) (Nov 20, 2014) in Ciper: Centro de Investigación Periodística (2015) <http://ciperchile.cl/2014/11/20/el-proyecto-inmobiliario-que-amenaza-a-puertecillo/> and “Proyecto de Jorge Gálmez en Puertecillo Desata Conflicto, e Interesados Alegan Incumplimientos” (Jorge Gálmez Project in Puertecillo Unleashes Conflict, and Interested Parties Allege Breaches) (June 7, 2015) in Economía y Negocios, El Mercurio (2015) http://www.economiaynegocios.cl/noticias/noticias.asp?id=151501

The truth is that Puertecillo clearly exhibits the meaning and importance of the notion of the inter-relationships of landscape: it is useless to have extraordinary natural systems if they cannot be appreciated by anyone or if their inhabitants do not have basic services, favoring just those few who can seasonally enjoy the place. The same goes for urbanization systems unable to recognize the preexistence of the site where they are located. Considering that the place’s isolation ended before the construction of its southern road, the challenge then is to ensure that the condition of direct and unipersonal encounter with the coastal system, regardless of whether it is surfed or not, prevails over private interests.

DIRECTIONS: From north to south there are two alternatives to access the beach by vehicle: crossing the town of Tumán, at kilometer 7 of the Pupuya-El Manzano road (Route G-894), you reach the Tumán slope, also known as “La Cuchilla.” Entry of vehicles with 4-wheel drive is suggested given the narrowness and verticality of the road, which reaches in its final section about 70º of slope. An option for all types of vehicles is the entrance to Hacienda Topocalma, about 5 km on the way to Tumán, a road that also allows you to reach La Punta (El Rincón) and Topocalma beach. Both alternatives cover approximately 18 km distance from the main road.

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