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The driest desert on the Earth Atacama Chile

Updated on August 13, 2013

Few of us know that Chile is not only the longest country in the world but the one that hosts the driest desert in the world. This desert was once named Atacama, the place that hasnĀ“t seen a single drop of rain for several years. So what is so interesting in this desert you would ask?

Atacama is one of the most unexpected beauty you could ever see in your life. The cold desert is famous for its majestic landscapes, rich in archaeological sites and unique wildlife. Despite the seemingly unbearable conditions for living (daily temperature throughout the year exceeds 36 C, at the same time at night it can drop to zero at a humidity of 0%), there are more than 160 species of cacti and is the desert is a home to around 200 species of animals, mostly - reptiles and insects.

Despite everything, the main attraction of this place is a so-called "blooming desert" caused by short-term intake of moisture associated with the arrival of moist air masses from the Pacific Ocean ( this usually occurs in September-October).

Small oases scattered across the desert, the memory of the ancient civilizations chinchorro and Aymara, and the traces of their cultures can be found almost everywhere in Atacama.

And of course night at Atacama are simply breathtaking, as if covered by a star blanket in the sky you wonder through the galaxies in nocturnal beauty.

Top places to visit

Tokonao town with an old church, the port city of Antofagasta, with its colonial mansions and the city's cathedral and the clock tower of Torre del Reloj, a nearby Moonlight valley with its fantastic landscapes, seaside resort of Los Bilos about Coquimbo oasis Matij the church (XVIII c.) are deffinetely worth your attention.

And of course Caldera with the church of San Vicente, Copiapo with Iglesia Catedral and the University of Atacama, the capital of the region of Iquique, with its famous beaches, numerous villas of the last century and the theater (there is also a duty free trade zone Zona Franca or "Zofri").

But the most recognizable Atacama picture is a sculpture of a Giant hand placed in the heart of the desert.

The sculpture was constricted by the prominent Chilean sculptor who embodied subjects, such as sadness, loneliness and injustice in his masterpieces. And Giant hand found its place in the Atacama Desert.

How to get:

The closest town to the desert is Antofagasta, if you want a safe drive you can order a tour right from your hotel. Although if you are looking for a real adventure you can rent a car leave by yourself, the only tip is to ask a local to go with you, because any place can get rough when you are far way from home.

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