The Atacama Desert stretches 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) parallel to the Pacific Ocean with the Andes Mountains on its west side. It is considered the driest desert on earth, yet somehow boasts beautiful and contradictory displays of water. Nearby lays the town of San Pedro de Atacama once center to the Paleolithic culture. Impressive rock fortresses on steep mountains encircle the green valley, making it truly a unique and stunning sight to visit.
Located only about an hour away from San Pedro is the Los Flamencos National Reserve where some of the most spectacular arrays of wildlife exist. Home to the dark blue lagoons, flamingo flocks and many other bird species it is an ornithologist’s paradise. The Atacama Salt Flat is also a must see and highlight of the region. It is the largest salt flat in Chile with large volcanoes and reflecting salt crusts dominating its landscape.
At the other extremity of the Atacama Desert lays the coastal city of Antofogasta. A product of the mining boom that hit in the 19th century the metropolis has since developed as a year-round beach resort thanks to its long coastlines and mild climate. Rather searching for an adventure amongst the multicolored geological formations of the region, visiting the El Tatio geyser field at sunrise, or simply relaxing in the sun, the Atacama Desert is truly a spectacular place. It is a unique experience to view the vast plains composed of dry terrain yet boasting so much natural beauty and life.