Pan de Azucar National Park
For other uses, see Pan de Azucar
Pan de Azucar National Park is a national park of Chile. The park straddles the border between the Antofagasta Region and the Atacama Region. Its name, Parque Nacional Pan de Azucar, means "sugar loaf".
The park is located 30 km north of Chanaral and 180 km north of Copiapo. It was founded in 1985 and has an extension of 437.54 km (including 1.1 km of insular terrain). It is importance derives from the relative diversity of species.
The park can be reached most conveniently from Chanaral.
Take C-120 route that goes from Chanaral to Park's Management office (17.9 miles).
Route 5 - Panamerican Highway at km 1014, at Las Bombas, you can reach it through a secondary road.
A small gravel road leads along the ocean to the park, passing Playa Amarilla (yellow beach) and Playa Blanca (white beach) on the way. Many cactus species can be observed along the road. Some people make the tour by bicycle and spend the night at Caleta Pan de Azucar or camp on the mountains (the night can get uncomfortably cold because of the mist).
Isla Pan de Azucar
Isla Pan de Azucar is located 24 km farther. Humboldt Penguins breed on this island. The island can be reached by boat from the mainland but passengers are not allowed to leave the boat.
Caleta Pan de Azucar
Caleta Pan de Azucar (Pan de Azucar Cove) is a small fisher settlement who cater now to the local tourism. Formerly copper was worked here and freighted by boat. Divers can still explore parts of the wharf, the loading crane and other things below the water. From here the look-out point of Mirador 8 km farther can be reached. On the mountain slopes nearby an extraordinary fauna can be observed which stays alive thanks to the coastal mist.
North of Caleta Pan de Azucar
From the cove northward there is a gravel road which connects to the Pan-American Highway. Along the way there are numerous interesting geological formations.
Pan de Azucar NP is divided into two ecosystems: the coastal desert of Taltal and the steppe desert of the Sierra Vicuna Mackenna. The absence of rain is compensated by coastal mist, which is known locally as Camanchaca.
There are more than 20 cactus species in the area, mainly of the genus Copiapoa which can be also be observed in the Cactarium located in the Environmental office of CONAF in front of Los Piqueros Beach 4,96 miles from the park entrance. It is open for visits from Monday to Sunday from 8:30 to 12:30 and from 14 to 18 hours.
The Guanaco is the main mammal found in the park. Other mammals include Culpeo Fox, Chilla Fox and European Hare. The shoreline area is home to marine mammals, such as the Marine Otter and the South American Sea Lion. Among the birds are the Humboldt Penguin and Peruvian Pelican. Also reptile species of the genera Tropidurus and Callopistes inhabit the park.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Pan de Azucar National Park