If you have toured areas with rainforests, snows, and the “Greenlands,” for a while and you would like a change, then the desert may be the right option for you. The Atacama Desert in Chile is one of the most exciting places that one needs to visit. Here are a few reasons for you to add it to your list of must-go-to places.
What is the Atacama?
The Atacama Desert is an arid stretch of land that sits in-between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes mountain ranges. The massive stretch of land (41,000 square feet) is part of a range of picturesque mountain ranges, hills, and valleys. The land, which the desert is a part, contains very active volcanic mountains, other stretches of sandy deserts and anything else that you would find in an arid landscape.
Although deserts ideally receive less than 250 mm rainfall per year, the area stands out because it gets far much less amount of rain every year: 1 mm. Thus, the Atacama is the second driest part of the world after the North Pole.
One would expect that with the almost no rainfall kind of climate, the temperatures in the desert swing abnormally; however, this is not the case. A temperature range of about 104°F and 41°F makes the place ideal for holidaying.
Why Visit the Atacama Desert Chile?
There are many things to do in the Atacama. Firstly, the place has an exceptionally idyllic scenery. It is always uplifting to spend quality time in a serene environment. The desert, in general, provides one of the best feelings, whenever there is need of being alone and soul search.
The Atacama Desert is the ideal place for you that dream of being in the “middle of nowhere.” It can be amazing to roam the sandy deserts, gaze at the mountain ranges and explore the numerous salt lakes in the place.
Secondly, the San Pedro de Atacama provides an excellent destination for tourists. The small town, which sits on the foot of some of the expansive and scenic plateaus in the region, is one of the best tourist attractions in the world, thanks to restaurants, places to visit and other features.
While in the town, you can visit the expansive Los Flamencos National Reserve, which is one of the best national parks in Chile, you may also choose to explore the entire landscape, the world is yours! Besides, the town has many Food and Drink outlets including Baltinache, Adobe, Blanco and La Casona. Whereas most of the establishments in the region serve local Chilean foods and drinks, some have international items on their menus.
Thirdly, you can take a road trip to Bolivia and other neighboring places. The trip to nearby areas can be as breathtaking as adventurous. One has the chance to watch some of the hardy mammals that inhabit the desert, the most notable one being the viscachas. The vicunas and alpacas, other rare desert-inhabiting animals, are also said to be a standard feature in the region.
Moreover, the road to Bolivia passes through some of the pictorial plateaus and mountain ranges. While traveling to or from Uyuni, a small enclave in the region, one can have a clear view of the salt flats in the desert region.
How to Get to the Atacama Desert
Traveling to the place is easy. Several airlines, including LATAM, operate regular flights from major cities to Santiago. It is even easier to get to the region from Calama, a small mining town. Most hotels in the area help visitors travel from the city to the desert quite easily.
Leading tour companies have special packages for individuals or pairs who wish to travel to the place. The packages, which range from about $3,000 for a four-day trip to the area, usually cover accommodation in some of the best apartments in San Pedro de Atacama. Additionally, there are several Atacama vacation rentals where you can stay during your trip.
You can check for the best months to visit the desert; however, it is ideal for international tourists to flood the region in late autumn and summer. It is during these times that the temperatures in the area are bearable and the skies are clear enough for stargazers.
Besides, if you would like to take a plunge into some of the salt lakes in the region, then you need to time your visit between the months of October and November or March and April when the temperatures are permissible.