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Sunday Photos: The Atacama Desert In Chile

Sunday Photos: The Atacama Desert in Chile

One of our best trips ever was a three week trip four years ago to Chile and Argentina. We left just after Christmas and our first stop after Santiago, Chile was four nights in the Atacama Desert located in northern Chile. We stayed at Tierra Atacama – a luxurious resort which only added to our appreciation of the area.

The desert here is beautiful in a desolate kind of way. There is plenty to do – including lots of hiking and nature tours, bird watching and visits to the town of San Pedro. In hindsight I wish we’d had a week.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Atacama Desert here are a few interesting facts:

  • The Atacama Desert is the driest place in the world. The average rainfall is 15 mm per year. Reportedly some weather stations in the Atacama Desert have never seen rain.
  • The desert sits on a 1000 kilometre strip of land east of the Pacific Coast and west of the Andes.
  • The landscape of the Valley of the Moon is reportedly just like that of the moon.
"The Moon Valley in the Atacama Desert"

The Moon Valley in the Atacama Desert

"Interesting to see the scale of the vehicle against the background"

The Moon Valley is so dry and desolate looking

"People walking the paths through the salt flats"

Giant salt crystals in the Moon Valley

"The car is dwarfed by the landscape"

The car is dwarfed by the landscape

"Sandboarding happens on these slopes"

Sandboarding happens on these slopes

"Views out to the mountains of Bolivia"

Views out to the mountains of Bolivia

"Interesting rock formation in the Atacama Desert"

Interesting rock formation

"Phenomenal rocks patterns above the road on the way to San Pedro"

Phenomenal rocks patterns above the road on the way to San Pedro

"Another view of the road through the Atacama Desert in northern Chile"

Another view of the road

"Walking on salt to the salt flats in the Atacama Desert"

Walking on salt to the salt flats in the Atacama Desert

"Quite the contrast in colours between the desert and the mountain"

Quite the contrast in colours between the desert and the mountain

"Salt, water and flamingos - not quite what I expected in the Atacama Desert"

Salt, water and flamingos – not quite what I expected in the Atacama Desert

"People walking the paths through the salt flats in the Atacama Desert"

People walking the paths through the salt flats

"The desert close to the Bolivian border"

The desert close to the Bolivian border

Other posts from this part of the world you might find interesting or helpful:

Have you ever been to the Atacama Desert? Does a trip there interest you?

Leigh McAdam

 

 

 

Leigh McAdam is a Calgary based writer, author, photographer and social media enthusiast with over 57,000 followers. Her blog: HikeBikeTravel is frequently cited as one of the top travel and outdoor adventure blogs in Canada.

Author of Discover Canada: 100 Inspiring Outdoor Adventures
Co-author of 125 Nature Hot Spots in Alberta

This Post Has 24 Comments
  1. Wow! If these are the ones that didn’t make it, I need to hunt for the original post to see the ones that did!

  2. Oh! I’ve heard of the Atacama Desert and seen it on tv, Leigh! I think the show was on Discovery if I remember right. NASA did some testing down there for the Mars project. This post was soooo cool. You know me, always checking out links and I went to the one for Tierra Atacama. That place is amazing! I would have never in the world thought that a hotel/resort THAT gorgeous and upscale would be there. Awesome pictures btw 🙂

    1. @Mike The Tierra Atacama was an outstanding place to go. It was a splurge but worth every penny. It’s where I learned to love Pisco Sours. I hadn’t appreciated NASA did work down there but it makes sense.

  3. It’s nice to go through old photos sometimes, no? 🙂 I was here almost exactly one year ago – the Valley of the Moon was phenomenal. And the nearby volcanoes too. Really an amazing corner of the planet.

  4. We bussed through the Atacama Desert a few years ago. I loved the moonscape and stark beauty of the area – even though it took DAYS to get through. It’s a stunning area.

    1. @Lisa I have now been to South America four times and each time was one of the best trips of my life. Where to start – with kids the splurge id Ecuador and the Galapagos. Northern Argentina is drop dead gorgeous and very beautiful – with fantastic places – think Governor’s mansions starting at $100/night. I have Patagonia followed by the beaches of Uruguay in my sights for my next big trip.

    1. @Freya Chile deserves a long trip especially since the Atacama Desert isn’t exactly an easy place to get to.Hope you make it but maybe it will be the other end of the country in Patagonia.

  5. I love the huge landscapes shown by the dwarfed car. That is what I loved about Eastern Turkey from Erzurum to Dogubayazit and then to Kars, the landscape is quite vacant and the vistas large. The desert would be somewhat scary I think.

    1. @Jan I guess if you ran out of water the desert could be a nerve wracking place to be but if you’re prepared it offers beauty on the grand scale – just like Turkey by the sound of things.

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