Dolphins and Seabirds colonies near La Serena (3-4 days)
Just two hours north of La Serena, we will visit the Choros and Chañaral Islands, where thousands of seabirds and sea lions breed.
On the way to these spectacular places we will drive through the coastal desert where huge candelabra cacti grow. In this habitat, we can find groups of the attractive camelid mammals the Guanaco.
In the Chilean Spring, and depending on the winter precipitation, it is a good time to see the stunning blossoms of desert plants and bushes.
We will stay two full days in the little village of Caleta Choros, where most of the locals' activity is artisanal fishing.
Each day, we will sail to the islands, where are found amazing numbers of seabirds. Chañaral Island is the world's largest Humboldt Penguin colony with more than 5,000 pairs are breeding there!
We will have a great time watching these birds arriving at the colony.
On the cliffs, we will find thousands of cormorants, pelicans and boobies. Most of the species found here are unique to the Humboldt Current of the Peruvian-Chilean coast.
The Red-legged Cormorant is probably the most beautiful of all these birds. It has red legs and a yellow bill, green eyes circled by white spots, a white patch on a grey neck. What fancy dress for a cormorant!
But the cold waters of the Humboldt Current attract more than birds. South American Sea-Lions are present in great numbers here. We will see the huge males defending their harems on the rocky shore of these islands. South American Fur Seals are also here, and we will learn to distinguish them from the more numerous sea-lions.
Groups of Bottlenose Dolphins are often seen around the islands, and sometimes come close to play in front of our boat. Navigating side by side with these beautiful animals will be one of the highlights of our trip!
During migration (April-May and September-October), whales are often seen around Chañaral Island. In 2009, we spent more than one hour watching 3 Fin Whales who decided to stay close to our boat. Staying quiet, just watching these enormous animals, is definitely one of the most wonderful experiences of a life time!