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“Nice day out from Copiapo” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Pan de Azucar National Park

Pan de Azucar National Park
Chanaral, Chile
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Ranked #1 of 3 things to do in Chanaral
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Attraction details
Top Contributor
123 reviews 123 reviews
26 attraction reviews
Reviews in 55 cities Reviews in 55 cities
107 helpful votes 107 helpful votes
“Nice day out from Copiapo”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 30, 2013

Bit of a drive to get here from Copiapo (but the only nearer town is Chanaral, and you certainly wouldn't want to stay there), but once you get beyond Chanaral, the desert/coast scenery gets more interesting, with a couple of very pretty, secluded beaches. The best reason for visiting is a boat trip round Isla Pan de Azucar, home to the northernmost colony of Humboldt Penguins (as well as sealions, pelicans, etc). To reach the island, drive about 30km beyond Chanaral (on the coast road), past the first 'inhabited' beach, and over the headland to the next beach. Then find your willing fisherman! We were a little surprised that even though there were 4 people wanting to go at noon, the fishermen wouldn't set out till three. Still, there was a cafeteria on the beach, so could wait with a nice cold drink and a snack. Makes sense, I suppose, if the penguins are at sea feeding during the middle of the day and don't return till late afternoon... so just don't expect to do it in a hurry! We also had the excitement of the boat's engine dying once we reached the island (you don't actually land, just sail close to it), and taking 40 minutes for them to get it restarted. If the worst had come to the worst, it wasn't that long a swim to the nearest beach...

Visited April 2013
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69 reviews from our community

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San Francisco, California
Top Contributor
119 reviews 119 reviews
27 attraction reviews
Reviews in 62 cities Reviews in 62 cities
77 helpful votes 77 helpful votes
“Worth a visit but not a detour”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 22, 2013

To reach this park, you have to drive through some rather dreary parts of the desert and the dreary town of Chanaral. From the entrance to the park to the beach or camp sites, its about a 30 minute drive - 4 wheel drive not required. I visited in May which is fall/winter. I saw only a few other people while I was there. Some of the beaches have white sand and a wicked surf. There are some camping sites and a few rustic cabins for rent. The highlight was stopping at the guard shack/tourist information site just before Caleche where there are some rustic restaurants. The young man staffing the place was very knowledgeable and eager to share information about the park, the best hikes, etc. He even lent me binoculars to watch a pair of dolphins in the bay. His enthusiasm for the place really changed my mind about my visit. If you are in the area and have the time to explore, you will enjoy it, otherwise head further south to Bahia Inglesa.

Visited May 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Groningen, The Netherlands
Top Contributor
62 reviews 62 reviews
11 attraction reviews
Reviews in 35 cities Reviews in 35 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
“Special place”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 2, 2013 via mobile

We spend 2 nights in a cabin here withv a view over the island. Wonderfull relaxing place. There are some nice hikes in the park or you can ask a fisherman to guide you around the island to see penguins, sealions and more birds. Gorgeous views from the Mirador!!

Visited March 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Top Contributor
55 reviews 55 reviews
10 attraction reviews
Reviews in 40 cities Reviews in 40 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
“Best Beach in Chille”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 9, 2013

Seculded. Relaxing. Great waves for body surfing.
I spent 2 days here and it wasnt enough. The 3 campsites are right on the beach. The campsites cost 3500 to 5000 per person. The cheaper for a bit of ground to pitch a tent, the expensive one for a table and wind and sun cover (i recommend this one as there are no trees). The nearby town has all supplies needed to camp and even a small resturant on the campsite.
The national park is just a desert, no trees etc but this place is worht it if tou want to sit on a a beach and do nothing

Visited January 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
17 reviews 17 reviews
7 attraction reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“Go to see the penguins.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 22, 2012

If you haven't seen penguins, go! The fishing boats (5000 pesos each) out to the islands go at random times, but sit and have a drink, and you might get on one. Minimum 10 people.

We stayed in a cabana, 50m from the seashore. Could hear the waves all night and there was a lovely patio to sit out on. The birdlife all along the beach was superb.

campingpandeazucar@hotmail.com or granatacama@gmail.com to book a cabana. We spent weeks trying to find these!

The cabanas were basically equipped (no kitchen knife in the one we had and only one wine glass) but were beautiful with the bedroom overlooking the Pacific and a lovely ensuite bathroom. Electricity is from a single solar panel and you can't plug anything extra in. Bring matches, a penknife (with a tin and bottle opener) and a torch. The bed linen was very luxurious. Don't expect hot water all the time or a state of the art shower - you are in the middle of nowhere!

If you are bus/taxiing in, bring all your food with you and don't expect to buy anything in the Park. The restaurants in the fishing village are good and very reasonable but if you want breakfast and to do your own thing, bring it with you!

A car would have been useful, but as we were only there for 3 nights, we could do all the local walks.

We were handed a tsunami leaflet on arrival and this was somewhat unnerving.

Chanaral is heavily polluted and we are glad we didn't stop there for long.

Visited January 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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