Chungungo, Región de Coquimbo
Chungungo is a remote village located 65 km north of La Serena and 24 km from the town of La Higuera, the communal capital. It is characterized by its rural tranquility, and is composed of families dedicated mainly to artisanal fishing.
The community is best remembered for his colorful past when the El Tofo iron mine was still active, in which trains discharged the ore at the dock of the “Dársena”, located west of Cruz Grande.
In their heyday, the homes had free electricity and news was disseminated through the mobile microphone called “Galgo”, which made the journey from the town to El Tofo, up the narrow road in the ravine, and then down to Route 5, following the route to La Serena.
The abandonment of the mineral installations happened in 1978, leaving at the moment only the ruins, besides the school and the port captaincy.
In the evenings you can clearly see the stars, and you can see an even more wonderful sights from the old Chungungo beach or the beach of El Temblador. In summer, you can see watch the meteor showers behind the hills of El Tofo.
This town receives hundreds of tourists in the summer, attracted by the ruins, the town and the beaches, where they practice various activities such as hiking, diving, fishing, among others. In addition, one cannot ignore the fact that Chungungo is located near Damas Island, which – along with Isla Choros and Isla Chañaral – forms part of the Penguin National Reserve of Humboldt, a zone protected by CONAF, in which it is possible to see a community of dolphins.
Humboldt Penguin National Reserve
The Humboldt Penguin Reserve is located in the Atacama Region, Huasco Province, Freirina County, and in the Region of Coquimbo, Elqui Province, La Higuera. It was created on January 3, 1990.
The national reserve is composed of three islands: Chañaral, the largest, in the Atacama Region, and Choros and Damas islands, belonging to the Coquimbo Region.
The Marine Reserve, managed by Sernapesca, looks out for the protection of species of fauna such as the Humboldt penguin, yunco, chungungo, lobo de un pelo, among others. And in it is possible to observe bottlenose dolphins and the sporadic presence of sperm whales as well. As far as the flora is concerned, there are 59 species of vascular plants, among which: yellow yellowfin, lilies, cactus (Eulichnia acida), can be found.
The environment, ecosystem and biodiversity of this Reserve will be strongly impacted by the Puerto Cruz Grande Project.
The threat: Puerto Cruz Grande
Puerto Cruz Grande is part of a set of mining projects that consider the exploitation of one or more iron ore deposits located in the Coquimbo Region and / or the Atacama Region. At present, these deposits are in the stage of exploration or geological prospecting.
The objective of this project is the construction and operation of a mining port, which has the berth and facilities necessary for the reception, storage and shipment of mineral bulk. This port would allow for the shipment of 13.5 million tons of ore per year and will be effectively located in the town of Chungungo.