Atacama Desert! Natural beauty and unique biodiversity
Atacama Desert! Natural beauty: The Atacama Desert is one of the most isolated places on earth. Located in northern Chile, it stretches 1,000 km from the Strait of Magellan to the Bolivian border.
It is renowned for its spectacular scenery, unique wildlife and extreme climatic conditions. There are red sand dunes, snow-capped volcanoes, salt lakes, deep canyons and lunar landscapes. And despite these challenges, the Atacama Desert attracts many visitors every year.
Atacama Desert! Weather conditions:
The Atacama is also known as the “Desert of Death”, as it is considered to be one of the driest places on Earth. It covers an area of around 105,000 square kilometers and stretches for over 1,000 kilometers along the Pacific coast.
Unlike the African Sahara, the Atacama Desert is characterized by low humidity and extreme temperatures – at times, temperatures can be very low at night and very high during the day.
Annual rainfall is extremely low, averaging less than 1 millimetre per year. Although the desert landscape is predominantly sand, there are also rocky areas, deep ravines and mountains that form an integral part of its topography.
The arid climate of the Atacama Desert is what gives it its unique characteristic and appeal. The low humidity contributes greatly to the absence of clouds over the desert and the exceptional visibility that can be found there. Thanks to its dry climate, the desert is an ideal place to observe the stars and planets, thanks to the clear, limpid night sky it offers.
Due to its proximity to the Pacific Ocean, the desert offers an abundance of marine life, with a wide choice of fresh fish to meet local dietary needs.
What to do in the Atacama Desert
The Atacama Desert is known as the most arid desert on the planet, and is located in South America, between Chile and Peru. It has been depicted in films and documentaries, which makes it unique. But what can you do when you visit the Atacama Desert?
Explore the mountains and go hiking:
First of all, a visit to the heart of the Atacama Desert begins with an exploration of the region. The main attractions are the majestic mountains that surround the desert and the scenery that unfolds at every step.
Many tourists trek through the arid, sandy terrain to admire the splendid sunsets over the hills and cliffs. You can also explore the oases that border the desert, or wander among the ancient ruins that have stood on the land for thousands of years.
Activities and water sports:
While visiting the Atacama Desert, you can enjoy a wide range of sporting activities. Water sports such as windsurfing, scuba diving and even surfing are available for those looking for a little more thrill.
Cycling to your heart’s content:
Cycling enthusiasts can also hire bikes and explore the spectacular scenery of the Atacama Desert. The trails are excellent for hiking or biking, where you can admire magnificent panoramas. It’s also possible to spend an unforgettable moment enjoying the cultural spectacles offered by the region.
Attend local shows:
Traditional shows such as Andean dance, Chilean song and even theatrical performances are organized throughout the Atacama Desert every year. Folk music and ancestral customs are an integral part of this community’s rich culture and traditions.
Last but not least, amateur astronomy in the Atacama Desert cannot be ignored. Considered one of the best places in the world for stargazing, astronomy is a very popular activity here.
Local astronomy clubs often organize star-gazing evenings with specialized instruments, to take full advantage of the Atacama desert’s night skies.
For those who want to go further afield, guided excursions to more remote sites are also available to see a greater number of intense and fascinating celestial objects. Those looking to discover a magical place should definitely consider a visit to the Atacama Desert.
How do I get to the Atacama Desert?
The first step in getting to the Atacama Desert is to find a flight from your destination to Santiago, Chile, the country’s capital. Once you’ve arrived at Santiago’s Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport, you’ll need to take a bus or cab into town. Most airlines offer direct flights to the Atacama Desert from Santiago. Once at your destination, you can take a bus to one of the desert’s main towns: Calama or San Pedro de Atacama.
Once you’ve arrived at one of the main towns in the Atacama desert, you can rent a car and drive along the winding roads to the most incredible sites in the arid landscape.
You can also reach these sites using a local transport service. There are also organized excursions that can take you to the best spots in the Atacama Desert, such as the giant salt flats or the salt lagoons.
For those wishing to extend their stay and take full advantage of this natural wonder, there are many different types of accommodation available in the Atacama Desert: from luxurious boutique hotels to rustic traditional houses, from campsites offering panoramic views over the arid landscape to locally-built canvas huts, from organized tours guided by locals to self-guided tours to explore the region at your own pace.
Where to sleep in the Atacama Desert?
Once you’ve arrived, it’s vital to find somewhere to stay, especially if you’re planning to stay for several days. Fortunately, the Atacama Desert offers a wide range of accommodation to suit all tastes and budgets.
Travelers can choose from a large number of hotels located close to the desert. These hotels are generally equipped with all the modern comforts you need for your stay, including restaurants, bars, swimming pools and spa services. They also offer modern, well-appointed rooms, with everything you need to spend a pleasant few days.
Another great option is home-stay accommodation. You can arrange a stay with a local family who have lived in the area for a long time and will be delighted to share their culture and traditions with you.
You’ll also find specialized hotels offering unique and authentic experiences in the heart of the Atacama Desert.
For those wishing to immerse themselves completely in the desert’s natural environment, there’s an even more original option: rustic cabins! These small wooden structures are ideal for those who want to take full advantage of the surrounding nature while remaining close to essential amenities such as drinking water, Internet access and modern sanitary facilities.
Atacama Desert! Natural beauty
Today, the Atacama Desert continues to enjoy considerable popularity as a unique tourist destination, with its incomparable natural beauty and varied landscapes. Thanks to its arid climate and favorable conditions for astronomical observation, this magical place continues to fascinate more and more visitors each year, who come to admire its unique splendor while enjoying a variety of fun activities.