Pan de Azucar

pandeazucar

Introduction

This amazing desert park has over 43.000 protected hectares, being one of the main conservation sites in northern Chile. Humboldt penguins, condors, guanacos, foxes, sea lions and other great variety of animals can be seen here on their natural environment. Its dessert landscape full of different cactus presents a contrast of colors that few places can deliver. It has a privileged view of the sky during the night as well. It is without a doubt a must-see of northern Chile.

Map

Red: Mirador trail

Green: Las Lomitas trail

Purple: Aguada Los Sapos trail

Blue: Quebrada Castillo trail

Brown: Costero Pan de Azúcar trail

Access

The park has 3 access points:
1. Route C-120, 27,1 km from Chañaral
2. Route C-112, which can be taken along Route 5 at km 1014
3. Route C-110, which can be taken along Route 5 at km 968

In order to explore the park it is ideal to have a car, although there is the possibility to take a bus from Copiapo to Chañaral (CLP 10.000), and once in Chañaral negotiate a price with a taxi driver for a trip to the park. The entrance fee for foreign adults is CLP 5.000 and CLP 1.500 for children.

The Park

The park has 5 trails: Mirador, Las Lomitas, Aguada Los Sapos, Quebrada del Castillo and Costero Pan de Azucar. These trails can be traveled by foot or on bicycle, although it is necessary to have a vehicle to reach the starting point of some of the trails.It is also worth visiting the Pan de Azucar island, which is located 2 km from the coast of the park. It is possible to negotiate with the local fishermen that live in Caleta Pan de Azucar for a trip to the island.
Vista al parque y a la isla Pan de Azúcar - Sendero Mirador
View of the park and Pan de Azucar island - Mirador trail
Mirador TrailThis trail starts in the CONAF (branch of the government in charge of national parks and protected areas) information center and can be done walking or on bicycle. The trail covers a distance of 2,5 km to the Mirador sector, and has an expected time of 3 hrs (round-trip). It has a medium/low difficulty with a certain degree of slope. The altitude is 180 masl at the starting point and 317 masl at the end. During this trail you can see groups of guanacos, foxes and a wide variety of cactus. As a precaution you must always follow the trail, since heavy cloudiness (typical of the area) can make visibility difficult.Las Lomitas TrailThis trail has a distance of 30 km. In order to do this trail it is necessary to advance during most of it on vehicle, where only the last 4 km section is suitable to do it walking. The trail starts in the CONAF information center, then continues over route C-120 and afterwards over route C-112 along the Pan de Azucar gorge.After parking your vehicle near the Las Chilcas gorge the walk starts along it, covering a distance of 8 km (round-trip) where you will reach the Las Lomitas sector. There you will find a viewpoint where you will be able to enjoy a great panoramic view of the park. Along this trail it is possible to see a great variety of flora and fauna, in addition to the hillsides of the cliffs. A truly amazing sight.
Quebrada los Sapos - Sendero Aguada Los Sapos
Los Sapos gorge - Aguada Los Sapos trail
Aguada Los Sapos TrailThis trail starts, like the aforementioned trails, in the CONAF information center and can be done both walking or on bicycle. It covers a distance of 2,5 km (5 km round-trip) and has an expected time of 2 hrs, presenting a certain degree of slope. Here it is possible to see different types of thicket as well as communities of azonal vegetation.Quebrada del Castillo TrailThis 3 km trail (6 km round-trip) has an expected time of 2,5 hrs and starts in the Playa Blanca sector, ending in the El Castillo sector. It has to be accessed by route C-120. The trail goes into the interior of the park and presents the chance to see a dessert landscape filled with cactus and animals in their natural environment.Costero Pan de Azucar TrailThis trail goes from Caleta Pan de Azucar to the Piqueros beach along the coast. You can also walk along the beaches north of the cove, having around 5 km of beaches in total.In Caleta Pan de Azucar (a fishermen's cove) you can find groups of fishermen selling their products, and you can enjoy delicius pastries, fresh fish and seafood for a convenient price.
Caleta Pan de Azúcar al atardecer
Evening in Caleta Pan de Azucar
Pan de Azucar IslandIt is possible to visit this island by negotiating with the local fishermen for a boat ride. This is a beautiful island where you can see Humboldt penguins, sea lions and different species of birds. The cost of the boat ride is around CLP 50.000 to CLP 65.000 per boat, having each boat a capacity for 10 people.
Isla Pan de Azúcar
Pan de Azucar island

Precautions and
Recommendations

avatarotros
1. Best season: Whole year.2. Water: Always have on hand a bottle of water to hydrate yourself while doing the trails. Campsites have water suitable for drinking.3. Food: Buy food in Chañaral. However, we recommend not leaving the park without enjoying the local pasties and sea food in Caleta Pan de Azucar. Delicious and for a convenient price!4. Clothing and gear: Bring light clothing to use during the day and warm clothes to use at night, due to the drastic change in temperature.5. Physical condition: The trails are relatively short and none require more than a single day walk, therefore is not a requisite to have an excellent physical condition.6. Trash: DON'T leave any kind of trash or garbage in the park. Also don't interfere in any way with the local flora and fauna. Be a responsible backpacker and contribute to make sure nature is well cared for!