10 places that will make you want to leave immediately for Chile, heading to the Atacama Desert.
The Atacama Desert, in the north of Chile, is by far the driest place on the planet. There are areas of the Chilean desert where rain has never been recorded since the days when mankind began to record these phenomena, which makes the Chilean desert a unique place in the world.
The Atacama Desert stretches from southern Peru to northern Chile, between the Andes and the Cordillera of the Coast. During the 800 the area was the object of contention between Chile, Bolivia and Peru due to the mineral wealth of the region from which iodine, copper and sodium chloride are extracted.
The Atacama Desert is not just an expanse of barren land: there are volcanoes, pink flamingos, expanses of salt, turquoise lagoons and mysterious abandoned mines. Atacama is also ALMA, the most important astronomical project for the study of stars, planets and galaxies on Earth.
The ecoregion hosts three protected natural areas: the Pan de Azúcar National Park, the La Chimba National Reserve and the Pampa del Tamarugal National Reserve.
What To See In The Chilean Desert?
Below you will find 10 places in the Atacama Desert that will make you want to buy a ticket for Chile or Peru.
Huacachina, in Peru, is a spectacular oasis that rises around a surreal lake surrounded by dunes hundreds of meters high. Huacachina is located on the edge of the desert and is frequented by lovers of trekking on the dunes and the sand board.
Hand Of The Desert
The hand of the desire to is an enormous sculpture that interrupts the arid landscape along the route 5, in Chile. A huge hand in the void symbolizes the inalienable solitude of the human condition.
Termas De Puritama
Clear water in the middle of the desert gushes out at the Puritama spa. The pools can be very crowded on weekends. There are changing rooms and kiosks, but it is better to bring food and drink with you.
Hotel Alto Atacama
The Alto Atacama hotel is an eco-sustainable property with natural pools and spa in the reddish landscape of Atacama. The desert lodge is a short distance from the archaeological ruins of the Quarcha Pukarà.
In San Pedro de Atacama, after driving in a dry and flat atmosphere, you will suddenly encounter a magnificent lagoon, peace, a white expanse of salt and colorful wild flowers.
Quebrada De Jere
The city of Toconao is explored in 5 minutes, has beautiful views and a rather tourist market. The path that starts from behind the city, along the Quebrada, seems to follow a secret garden with flowers of all kinds and an ancient Eden of fresh fruit and beauty.
Reserve Of The Phenicotteries
The flamingos reserve of the Atacama Desert is crowded with pink flamingos, but there are also many tourists, considering being in the middle of the desert. Get away along the path in search of tranquility and a surreal light that floods the flat rocks.
Valley Of The Moon
The Valley of the Moon is located 12 km from San Pedro. Here Atacama is a lunar expanse of sand dunes. It’s too hot so the best thing is to explore the Moon Valley at night during full moon treks.
Salar De Tara
The Salar de Tara can be reached in 4X4 from San Pedro de Atacama on a beautiful and challenging journey in the middle of nowhere. Once you arrive you will find yourself in the most bleak and surreal of landscapes and you will feel like you are in a Mad Max movie.
Salar De Atacama
The Salar de Atacama is the largest salt pan in Chile, bordered by the Andes and numerous volcanoes. It contains 27% of the world lithium reserve.
WHEN TO GO?
The climate in the Atacama Desert varies little with the months. Only in places where the altitude is high can we speak of winter and summer with average minimum winter temperatures reaching 10° and maximum temperatures of 28°.
Throughout the rest of the desert every period is very hot and torrid and potentially good for visiting Atacama.
On average every five years, but with a statistically variable period between three and seven years and difficult to predict, in December and January, the Atacama Desert becomes the thriving desert. The phenomenon is linked to the climatic fluctuations caused by El Niño, which generate a strong warming of the waters of the eastern Pacific Ocean leading to an unusual increase in precipitation. The expanses of sand of the Atacama Desert suddenly explode with colors and flowers.
The climate of the Atacama Desert is the driest in the world. The Cordillera of the Andes and the Chilean coastal chain block the clouds and the humidity coming from the Ocean and from the Amazon basin creating a perennial area of high pressure.
In the highest areas of the interior of the Atacama Desert, the altitude causes enormous temperature differences between night and day, which reach 30°C (5° at night and 40 during the day).
Along the coast the temperatures remain fairly constant between the hottest months (January and February) with 27° / 24° of medium maximum and the coldest (July and August) with 18° / 16°.