CALETA CHAÑARAL PROGRAMME
Atacama Region, Chile
Caleta Chañaral is a small fishing village on the coast near Chanaral Island a biological preserve. It is located on the southern edge of the Atacama Desert 140 km north of Coquimbo. Not only is this area astonishingly beautiful but it harbours great species biodiversity. It is easy to observe a large variety of marine and terrestial flora and fauna, typical of the coastal desert climate. Because it is a protected area, the fauna is remarkable.
Different species of whales, dolphins, sandpipers, plovers, cormorants, diving petrels, burrowing owls, foxes, guanacos and reptiles are easily observed. Participants are often delighted with sightings of the Black-faced Ibis whose distributional range begins just a few kilometers further north. This species is abundant in farmland areas of southern Chile, however, in Caleta Chañaral it is possible to spot this striking bird at the seashore while it feeds on small invertebrates among the kelp. The flora in this area is also amazing, and it is possible to find many species of the Cactaceae family such as the rare and endemic cacti of the Genus Copiapoa.
Chañaral Island just off the coast is part of the Humboldt Penguin National Reserve. The island harbours breeding colonies of Humboldt Penguins, an endemic species of the southern Pacific coast, colonies of sea lions, Peruvian Booby, cormorants, pelicans, the scarce Southern Sea Otter, and much more.
Caleta Chañaral is a favourite destination because of the unbelievable experience of such close contact with wild fauna.
This 3-day programme starts in Coquimbo and includes: private transportation, all meals and drinks, lodging, boat ride to the island, and experienced biologist guides. A visit to the Mamalluca observatory is an optional addition, entrance fee included. This programme is available throughout the year. Whales are only present during late spring and summer, however, dolphins are present year round. We recommend this programme for whale watching, birdwatching and photography.