Isla Pan de Azúcar

Norte Chico

The subtriangular-shaped Isla Pan de Azúcar lies a tantalizingly short distance offshore, its base often shrouded by camanchaca (thick fog) at twilight. It is home to about 2000 Humboldt penguins, as well as other birds, otters and sea lions. The island is a restricted area, but local fishers approach the 100-hectare island by boat for up-close-and-personal views.

Launches charge CH$6000 to 12,000 per person (depending on number of passengers, with a 10-person minimum) from Caleta Pan de Azúcar; with a lack of visitors in the low season, it can be difficult to go on a trip, unless you're willing to hire the entire boat yourself. Round-trips take 1½ hours, and run from 10am to 6pm in summer, and to 4pm in winter. You'll have to sign up at the bay kiosk and wait for the next tour. Note that it is more difficult to round up enough people during the week; prepare to wait longer or pay more.

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1. Pan de Azúcar

1.42 MILES

The cold Humboldt Current flows up the desert coastline, bringing with it its peppy namesake penguin and abundant marine life. The worthwhile 44,000…