The conquest of paradise travel blog

Pan de Azucar

El mirador

Mi hiking up

A cactus

The view from above

My bus left Caldera at 8.15 directions ChaƱaral, a small town by the see, about 30km from "Pan De Azucar" National Park. It was only an hour ride. I planned to leave my stuff at the bus terminal and go to the National Park for the day. I already had booked my bus for that night going to Calama and than to San Pedro. When I arrived at the bus terminal I was told that they had no luggage storage. Great! I was told by the girl in Caldera that there was.

So I went around asking if there was somewhere a place to store my luggage. Nobody new anything. I went to a hotel around the corner from the bus terminal and agreed with the owner that she would store my luggage and that I could have a shower for 1500 Pesos (equals around Eur2). Both of us where happy. Next I went down to the supermarket to get supplies for the day. When I had finished shopping I went on the search for the bus to the National Park. I was advised that I would get lucky just opposite of the bus terminal in front of a kiosk. While waiting for a bus to come, I started to speak with an Irish couple who were planning to camp in the national park.

They said they had to get supplies still and than they would also come to the national park. I waited on and an Agency bus arrived. I asked him if he was going to the park. He said that he was not going for one person only. I thought of the Irish guys. The agent said he is gonna take them around to do there shopping and than we would go to the park. So we did. It took quite a while and I was waiting most of the time in the bus. The agent said if he would get a group together he would go with canoes over to the island, penguin watching. However the Irish were not interested. There was a few more people getting on and than we went of to the park.

After registering at the Park Office and paying the entrance fee, I parted from the Irish, as they where going to prepare camp and I wanted to see some of the national park. The other couple that came with us to the park stayed at the beach, but I was eager to do some trekking, so I went straight through the dessert towards a small chain of mountains, I had to start at the most land inwards to be able to reach the Mirador, that was directly at the coast. I was at good pace and soon reached the foot of the chain. I found a small path that was leading up to one of the 1st and lower peaks. I started to climb. It was very windy so I didn't get hot. I reached the 1st peak within 15min and from there I was just climbing from one peak to the other. I trekked up and down the peaks for a couple of hours. At around 2pm I had my lunch at one of the highest peaks. It was a bit foggy but the view was magnificent. I went on. I arrived at a peak from where you could decent directly to the sea. I thought I had arrived at the Mirador. So I paused there and was surprised that I had gotten there that quick, as I had been told that the Trek should have been much longer. After pausing for a while. I decided to go back and look if I could find the Irish guys.

When I arrived at the bottom, I realized that I hadn't actually reached the Mirador, as it was further back and I had stopped to peaks before. Shit, well there was not enough time to go back now. So I walked back towards the entrance area and the campsites. I checked out a rock formation that reached like a peninsula into the sea and than I went to check the different Camp sides for the Irish couple. I checked the two most central ones, but I couldn't find them. It was already 4pm and my bus was going to leave at five. So I decided to just go down to the beach to catch a bit of sun. It was very nice and peaceful. There was hardly any people in the park. I just set there, watching the waves break on the beach. Than just before 5pm I got ready and made my way back to the tourist centre, where the bus was going to collect me and the couple that was staying at the beach.

We were dropped of in town at around 5.30. My bus out of town was scheduled for 10.30pm...I had about 5 hours to kill. I went for a little walk around town. There was not much interesting to see there. So I went to the hotel to have a shower. After having a shower I went to an Internet cafe to spend a couple of hours to update my website, as I hadn't been online for a few days. Than I went back to the hotel and asked the owner if she could recommend me a place to eat, that wasn't too expensive. She told me where to go and of I went. I found the place quite fast. The restaurant looked plain, but a good sign was that there were people already eating. I ordered a fish with rice, and as the woman from the hotel had promised, the food was great and cheap. After dinner I went for yet another walk around. As I had some more time to kill. The hour was getting closer and closer and I was getting tired. At 10pm I than went back to the hotel to pick up my stuff and went to wait the bus terminal. Once I had boarded the bus and taken my seat, I fell asleep at once.

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