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Parque Nacional Pan de Azúcar
Parque Nacional Pan de Azúcar Review
A national reserve that stretches for 40 km (25 mi) along the coast north of the town of Chañaral, has some of Chile's most spectacular coastal scenery. Steep cliffs fall into the crashing sea, their ominous presence broken occasionally by white-sand beaches. These isolated stretches of sand make for excellent picnicking. Be careful if you decide to swim, as there are often dangerous currents.
Within the park you'll find an incredible variety of flora and fauna. Pelicans can be spotted off the coast, as can sea lions, dolphins, sea otters, cormorants, and plovers (similar to sandpipers but with shorter beaks). There are some 20 species of cacti in the park, including the rare copiapoa, which resembles a little blue pincushion. The park also shelters rare predators like the desert fox. In the pueblo of Caleta Pan de Azúcar, a tiny fishing village, you can get information from the ranger kiosk run by CONAF (Corporación Nacional Forestal), the national forestry service.
Offshore from Caleta Pan de Azúcar is a tiny island that a large colony of Humboldt penguins calls home. You can hire local fisherfolk to bring you here. Negotiate the price, which should be around 5,000 pesos per person if you can get enough people to make up a group of ten. About 10 km (6 mi) north of the village, Mirador Pan de Azúcar affords spectacular views of the coastline. AnOTHER=30 km (19 mi) to the north is Las Lomitas. This 700-meter (2,296-foot) cliff is almost always covered with the camanchaca (fog), which rolls in from the sea. A huge net here is used to catch the fog and condense it into water.
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