Stargazing from the extra-terrestrial landscape of Chile’s Atacama Desert will have you wondering what else is out there.
The breathtaking expanse of this high desert plateau, set firmly between the Pacific Coast and the Andes Mountains, is characterised by a seemingly inhospitable luna-like landscape of salt flats, volcanoes, geysers and hot springs. Some parts of the Atacama Desert have not seen rain in more than 400 years, which makes it astonishing that Indigenous Atacamenos built their stone walled villages and thrived in this harsh environment over thousands of years.
Today visitors stay in camps and luxury lodges, all harmoniously blended into the landscape. Cultural relics remain in San Pedro de Atacama, once a quartz and copper mining town where adobe buildings line narrow roads. It’s an oasis for visitors and the stepping off point for an enormous range of activities. Explore ancient ruins and the craggy valleys of nearby Atacama Salt Flats, the Valle de la Luna (Valley of the Moon) and the El Tatio, the world’s highest geyser field. Start the day before dawn to witness the spectacle of 80 geysers billowing hot steam into the cool sunrise. Have your camera at the ready to capture the magnificence of hundreds of beautiful pink flamingos, as they gather in water only a few feet deep in the Los Flamencos National Reserve, and take the challenge of climbing the sand dunes in Valle de la Muerte (Valley of Death). Don’t let the name put you off, while the effects of slipping sand underfoot and high altitudes can be hard going, the reward at the top of the 330 foot high dune, is an incredible 360 degree view of the most stunning, alien landscape.
From lunar landscapes NASA use to test Martian rovers, to a place where astronomers study our solar system, at days end as the sun slips away, indulge in some of the best stargazing in a night sky filled with stars that you can almost reach up and touch.
The driest desert on Earth, after rare rainfall, the southern Atacama Desert bursts into life exhibiting exotic flowers and stunning colours across hundreds of kilometres. The phenomenon is known as the Desert in bloom.
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Breathtaking colours of the landscape and incredible night sky.