matthiashelder Check-Ins

Date Place Comment
June 18th, 2019 Capel Pisco Distillery

Came here for a tour and tasting. According to a staff member this is possible all day, every half hour. But somehow, she said we had to wait 45 mins ...? We asked if we could just do a tasting then. Not really, but she did offer us a small sip from one of their 40% piscos (for free). In the end, we didn't feel like waiting for the tour and decided to try our luck elsewhere. Place looked nice though, and includes a small museum. Unfortunately only possible to visit as part of a tour. Very cleans toilets!

June 18th, 2019 Destilería Artesanal Doña Josefa de Elqui

Did a tour in (heavily accented, but pretty decent) English, followed by a tasting of the two varieties they do. One is a 40% pisco aged in Chilean oak for 8 months, the other a 45% pisco aged in French oak for 18 months. Tour is free.

750ml @40% for 7000 CLP
750ml @45% for 9000 CLP
Flask-sized bottles go for 4000 CLP (both versions)
Minis cost 2000 CLP.

Fairly steep access road. In good shape, but not suitable for big rigs and/or rear-heavy front-wheel drive vehicles.

June 18th, 2019 Pueblo Artesanal Horcon

During low season (March~October), the artesanal market is officially only open on Thursdays till Sundays. We got here on a Tuesday afternoon, and found only a handful of shops showcasing their handicrafts. Place had a nice vibe to it. A few shop owners were practising their music instruments (to kill time). Not sure what it's like when it gets really busy...

June 18th, 2019 Playa La Cebada

We had a surprisingly calm night here, almost without any wind (which we weren't expecting after reading the comments). But... the next morning it started picking up.

We decided to drive up onto the pebbles, about 100m away from what is probably the actual location of the wild camp. Quiet, pretty clean, and just the sound of the waves. A handful of cars passed by and seemed to continue beyond the point of the bay.

Coming from the north, we took the entry at the bridge. Not sure if this exit is possible when you're heading north - there may be a road going under the bridge, but didn't check. Also, be aware that this entry has a 'Recinto Privado' sign, so technically it may not be legal to use it. We did not look for the other option.

The road is fine for 2wd, and probably big(ger) rigs too. Weather may change conditions though. It had rained quite hard 2 days earlier and the area nearer to the beach was a little muddy and boggy. Should definitely be no problem when all's dry.

Side note: not sure if the name of this place is correct. La Cebada is further north, and this beach is closer to El Teniente.

June 17th, 2019 Embalse Puclaro

They other spots nearby were more or less on the side of the road, so we drove until we ended up here. It looks like this is the parking area for the surf/kite shops. A stone wall prevents you from getting close(r) to the water with a vehicle, although currently the chain gate is fully slack on the ground, so you could actually go down with a car. If not, then perhaps you could park the car and take a tent down. Not sure if that's allowed - there was nobody around to ask. Plenty of fire pits (and rubbish) seem to suggest people come here a lot, probably in summer/weekends. The area is on a slight/flat slope, so getting anything besides a small tent level would we tricky. We decided to stick to the more level parking area. Quiet night, but some noise from a nearby construction site the next morning around 9am.

June 16th, 2019 Near the playa Blanca

Camping at this beach is not allowed (anymore). The information sign at the turnoff to this beach explicitly mentions this. In fact, camping inside the national park is only allowed at Playa Blanca. But... this area is close to the southern edge of the NP, so if you follow the dirt road further south (there are many spots, just not of the white sandy beach variety), you should be okay.

June 16th, 2019 Turnoff to beach spots

Although it's true what the last comment says, you may still be able to get away with camping in this area, just not on the white sandy beach in front of this turnoff...

At the turnoff, there's a map that shows the park boundary and your location. You'll see you're close to the southern border (in fact, if you came from the south, you just passed the park entry a few hundred metres back). We ended up taking this turnoff and followed the gravel road a little further south, up until the point we felt comfortable enough to argue we were no longer within park bounds.

There are many rutted tracks leading from this dirt road to nice spaces inbetween the granite rocks and close to the ocean. Some shacks around, and the occassional local collecting seaweed.

I'll reopen this spot, but close the ones located on the beach in front of this turnoff, where, unfortunately, you are indeed not allowed to camp (anymore).

June 15th, 2019 Road washed out

Still closed (road blocked with heaps of sand) and detour in place. I don't think it's open to 4x4 either, because the signage from Puerto Viejo says 'cerrado'.

As we were following the detour (coming from the north), we blazed past a handmade Puerto Viejo sign pointing into a dirt road. This may be the shortest way to the village, but I'm not sure about the condition of the road. We ended up following the main road, which is most likely faster anyhow.

June 15th, 2019 The Zoo Rock Garden

Stopped here on our way south but could not find a tourist map explaining which rock is supposed to look like what animal. The curious shapes are still interesting, but without any additional information they're just a bunch of weird rocks.

June 15th, 2019 Bahía Cisnes

It may have been the time of the year, but it looked like the beach was only accessible over an awkward sandy slope. Going down would be easy enough, but I highly doubt we could've made it back up. There weren't really any other tyre tracks leading to the beach elsewhere either. We decided to spend the night on the other side of the caleta.

June 15th, 2019 Caleta Cisne

This looked like a decent place, especially for big rigs, but unfortunately it was already taken by a huge motorhome. So we followed the dirt road a little further and ended up spending the night on top the peninsula. There are various spots, both high up as well as closer to the rocky shore. Windy, cold, but great views. Some chaps fishing off the rocks in the evening, but left when it got dark. A bit of trash around.

June 15th, 2019 Granito Orbicular Beach

We did some sightseeing here during the day. Interesting rocks!

It's located a few hundred metres from the main road and very windy (in our case). No-one else around, and small building all boarded up. With a car you can fairly easily drive down to the beachy area. Big rigs can opt to stay on the big flat area just on top of the little cliff close to the information sign.

June 14th, 2019 Centro Information Ambiental CONAF Parque National Pan de Azucar

Entry fee is still 5000 clp/adult. Park ranger did have change for a 20.000 clp note, but ymmv of course. Some information about local history and flora and fauna also available. Toilets too. Ranger very friendly and spoke a little bit of English.

In low season, you can also ask for the key to the gate at El Mirador here if you travel with someone with limited mobility. That way you can drive the 2.5km up to the lookout.

June 14th, 2019 WILD LOVE

We camped a little south of here, inbetween two rocky outcrops on the beach (4wd only). Just wanted to give a heads-up to future overlanders: the high-visibility/safety vest is no longer tbere, but the metal stake still is, and so is the white sign saying 'Azucar' (a little further away from the road). Just drive slowly and you can't miss it.

June 14th, 2019 Outside NP Pan De Azucar

We camped a little south of here, inbetween two rocky outcrops on the beach (4wd only). Just wanted to give a heads-up to future overlanders: the high-visibility/safety vest is no longer tbere, but the metal stake still is, and so is the white sign saying 'Azucar' (a little further away from the road). Just drive slowly and you can't miss it.

June 14th, 2019 Beach camp.

We ended up driving onto the beach and tucked our car inbetween two rocky outcrops slightly right of where you enter the soft sand. Nice spot, but in retrospect we probably should've headed left (south) to catch more sun at the end of this beautiful winter day, as it gets chilly fast in the late afternoon. Some evidence of previous campers, but fortunately little to no rubbish. Be careful of the ruts where other have gotten bogged; they can be quite deep. Also, someone dug a hole nearby, that you don't want to drive your car into.

June 14th, 2019 Sendero El Mirador

If the station at the El Mirador car park is unmanned (which will be the case in low season) you can go to information centre and ask for the key to the gate if you travel with someone with limited mobility. That way you can drive the 2.5km up to the lookout. It's worth a visit!

June 14th, 2019 Road to pan de azucar

The C-110 and C-120 are probably the best unsealed roads we've driven in 5 months time. Very smooth sailing!

You can probably drive into the park and do the highlights without purchasing a ticket (especially during the low season), but I'd urge you to please consider supporting Conaf by stopping at the park office and pay your entry fee. 5000 clp/adult.

June 13th, 2019 Ruta Nacional 1: The adventures road

I guess this road may have been in different shape in 2015. Right now, most of Ruta 1 along this stretch of coast is hard-top dirt, with some rougher gravel in various areas. The B-70 that connects to Ruta 5 (in the north) is even asphalted from the mirador eastwards. This Ruta 1 section is suitable for any type of vehicle, although the hairpin turns at the lower section of the B-70 may be a little tricky for very big rigs coming/going to Ruta 5. Plenty of fishermen to be seen along the way (at least way more than 20 people). It's a scenic, but also rather constant landscape. To be honest, if this falls under your 'most epic road trip' category, I kind of feel a little bit sorry for you. But hey, to each their own :)

June 13th, 2019 bluff/ riverside camping

We didn't see a bridge to go under, nor a river (probably because it's winter now), but basically just aimed for the right-hand side of the beach. We ended up just left of the rocky outcrop, on a relatively flat area suitable for a single vehicle (big rig might work, but will have to reverse out). A little bit of rubbish, but we've seen waaay worse. Lots of birds and some seals. No whales here in our case, but we did spot then further north along Ruta 1. Quiet night with ocean sounds.

June 13th, 2019 Cifuncho caleta de

Since Cifuncho is located on the coast northwest of this pin (follow the road to the coast and you should see it), I'm pretty sure thin pin has wrong coordinates attached to it. There are a few other wild camp pins already at Cifuncho, so it'd be safe to close/remove this one.

June 12th, 2019 stunning view of mountains in the clouds and the Pacific

I'm happy to say that a few years later this place still looks pretty much brand new. The view is great: looking down onto the clouds hugging the mountainous coast. Some workers busy with drilling into the rock opposite the mirador when we arrived. They left around 5pm and we hadn't seen them again when we left around 10am the next morning. A medium strong eastern wind in the afternoon and evening that quieted down overnight and picked up again the next morning. A fox came to say goodbye when we left.

June 12th, 2019 wild camping at the ocean

Indeed many tracks that lead towards the ocean. We stopped here midday for lunch. In this particular area you're surrounded by rocks, not visible from the road and far away enough to no hear any traffic. Unfortunately, there's also a huge amount of garbage around. It seems like a number of new houses are being constructed on the other side of the rocks, just south of here (pretty much where the other pin on the map is).

June 12th, 2019 pelican Island

This whole coastline is littered with pelicans, and a lot of other sea and wildlife. No need to stop at this particular spot. Ironically, there weren't any pelicans here when we passed by.

June 12th, 2019 The beach

We stopped nearby for lunch today and it seems like this open area is now being used to build a bunch of new houses. Depending on developments, it may make sense to mark this location as closed for future overlanders.

The nearby pin (just north) is inbetween the rocks and still looked like an option, but the shear amount of garbage around. We'd look elsewhere.

June 11th, 2019 Listen to the Sea Lions

There are many opportunities here to wild camp close to the ocean. We went a little further south than this spot, down to a sandy beach and slightly sheltered from the wind behind a rocky outcrop. Not visible from the road and plenty far to not have any light/noise from the sporadic traffic. Of course, loads of pelicans around and sea lions kept patrolling the coast to eventually end up an a nearby rock.

June 9th, 2019 Scotiabank ATM

This ATM wanted to charge us a fee of 5500 CLP on our Dutch debit cards. So we cancelled the transaction and went to Santander across the street. No fee there!

TLDR: if you find this ATM charges you a fee, try Santander across the street.

June 8th, 2019 Aduana Arica/Antofagasta

We just had to show the driver's passport, the Permiso de Circulación for the car and report the number of travelers. There's a poster on the Aduana's office saying what you can bring and what you have to declare (sorry, forgot to take a photo), but as far as I recall it didn't mention anything about fruits or veggies. We got a form stamped with our details and continued our trip north. No physical check at all in our case, and we didn't see any other cars in front of us being checked.

June 8th, 2019 Tranque Sloman - Old dam with generator house from 1911

Interesting stop along Ruta 5. Unfortunately the information panel is completely sun bleached. We had a walk through the old buildings, the sluice and dam. Quite a bit of garbage around, brokers glass and old metal, so be careful with kids.

I guess it would be possible to overnight too, either just inside or outside the fenced area. Not suitable for big rigs though. Cyclists may find shelter in one of the derilict buildings.

June 8th, 2019 Geoglifos Cerros Pintados

The collection of figures and symbols on the nearby hillsides are a great stop along Ruta 5. The visitor's centre is quite informative, even with the Google-translated English text. From the centre starts a 1km trail (one-way) with 3 stops with interpretative signs.

From the entrance gate, it's about 2.5km to the visitor's centre. It's where the pin on the map for a wild camp spot is located. But because of the gate and opening hours, I highly doubt overnighting is allowed. Forgot to enquire though.