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Chañaral Island: Ocean Paradise
Chañaral Island
The small community of Chañaral de Aceituno, located at Atacama Region southern extreme in Chile, becomes more famous by the day as it turns up on thousands of tourists travel itineraries. These seekers are interested in one thing: every year a variety of cetaceans pass through including orcas, pilot whales, southern right whales; Minke, Sei, and Bryde whales; humpback whales, fin whales and blue whales. What a splendid parade of animals, all in one place.

Just 130 km from La Serena, Chañaral Island, right across from the town’s wharf, rises up like a stone mastiff that appears to be deserted and static. In fact, it is just the opposite. The island overflows with movement. Mammals, fish and birds come together in unique harmony – heard, felt and smelled by all.

Upon the island rocks, just where the waves break, sea lions fight over the best spots and males bite to claim their territory. The babies and their mothers bellow to each other and turning up the sonic volume on the island. Also, we can see different types of birds such as Lile Cormorants and boobies, expert divers. Less sporty, but equally as daring, are the Humboldt Penguins. These elegant figures can be seen from the boat, as tourists are not allowed to disembark on the island. Penguins climb the steep cliffs, an enormous challenge for anyone so small – and they do not have any hands! During the trip, one is also likely to see pods of bottle-nosed dolphins who are very curious and playful, inspiring more than one smile aboard the boat.

Chañaral Island is a year-round paradise, but as with anything, it has a season during which it is resplendent. Between December and April, new visitors spring forth from the waters. Some are just passing through, while others will stay on longer. These guests come surprisingly close to shore and include humpback, Minke, fin, Sei and pilot whales in addition to giant blue whales measuring 30 elegant meters.

The only way to arrive to Chañaral Island by taking a boat from the wharf at Chañaral de Aceituno. The town can be reached by a 1.5-hour bus or car ride from La Serena. Crossing over to the island takes about 25 minutes, but the entire tour can take up to 2 hours.

Related News in Chinese: 智利--查尼亚拉尔岛:海洋天堂
  Source: Turismo Chile

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