Thursday, August 15, 2013
To Iquique via Tocopilla
Leaving San Pedro de Atacama, the drive back to the coast was uneventful and after crossing the high passes through the Andes was again desert like until our descent into the coastal town of Tocapilla. From Tocapilla heading north, the white sand beaches are well known for superb surfing. We had intended to spend the night in Tocapilla but decide to try one of the more quiet beaches out of town. Just 15 kilometers north of Tocapilla, there is a small bay called Punta Guanillos but although the view from the side of the road looked out onto a rocky reef with hundreds of seabirds wheeling around, there was no access off road and we did not want to be parked right at the road’s edge. We are now on route 1 which is very similar to California’s Pacific Coast Highway and the coastline is a combination of small bays and rocky points. Just after we pass through a tunnel, we see a possibility for the night. A small playa called La Cuchara has an access road that looks easily navigable for the motorhome and we can see some fairly wide flat area for overnight parking. Perched on a rocky point on a low cliff above the water, it is ideal for us. Far enough away from the road to be quiet and isolated enough that Winston can run with no-one to bother him. Even though since the kidnapping, we keep quite a close eye on him. The area was surprisingly clean also which was an added bonus. It has been quite a long drive day for us and we are proud we have made it this far as we really want to get to Iquique. And it really did stay quiet overnight. The next day after letting Winston have lots of run time over the rocks and up the cliffs, we were off again. As we drive north, we pass a Caleta Paquita. This small beach is well known for its resort “Spoon”. A fabulous place with glistening white sand and a golf course. Of course it is a gated community and we doubt they would let us in with the motorhome. From there, we pass another luxurious resort spa at Playa Blanca which looked as though it had a plethora of seafood restaurants to eat at. We are now close to Iquique and decide if we find no where to park for a few days we will come back to Playa Blanca. However we have shopping to do and need an internet so we are hoping to be closer to town. Once in Iquique, we cruise the Costanera (coast road) and close to the center of town we find a parking lot just above the beach and there are about 5 motorhomes parked there. Popular place and perfect for our needs. We are close to town for shopping and have good beach access for letting Winston off leash to run. Iquique is supposed to be a nice town with interesting history so look forward to spending to some time here.