After some time in AirBnBs and a hostel, we were missing our own little home away from home: our tent. So when we left Valparaiso, we had our mind set on visiting national park Pan de Azucar. Mainly because of the day hikes into the desert you can undertake right from your tent at the beach.
We had read that this was the only place on earth that has sea cacti. This sparked our interest because it seems like two extremes in one name for a species. They are unique because they feed on the moist of the mist that rolls in from the sea. So even without rain, they not only survive but also are in huge numbers and awesome varieties.
The best kept secret in the Lonely Planet
Since the park, and a very brief description of how to get there, is in our Lonely Planet, we were not sure what to expect. Was this going to be a backpackers party, a local getaway or just us and the desert?
It turned out to be a combination of the last two. We were in between two Chilean families in our camping spot with plenty of shade and a built in BBQ. The other 3(!!!) camping spots were either free or also a family get together.
The camping was laid back and well equiped, the fish in the little restaurants by the sea was delicious and we had a great time talking to Laura, our 9 year old neighbour. Since there were so little houses in the area, the stars were the brightest we have seen until now.
And the hiking? Not the most challenging, to be honest, but being completely alone the whole walk, in the middle of the desert, is just plain awesome. And again, we made sure we have some pictures to prove it.