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"Atacama Desert" Chile Things to Do Tip by mad4travel

Chile Things to Do: 347 reviews and 637 photos

  Typical Atacama scenery
by mad4travel

The atacama desert is the driest desert in the world

Its area is 181,300 square kilometers in northern Chile. It is made up of salt basins (salares), sand , volcanoes and lava flows, and is more than 20 million years old and 50 times more arid than California's Death Valley.

It has an annual rainfall of 1mm per year! Amazingly a couple of weeks before I was there it rained quite a bit and it had leached salt out of the rock so everything was white and looked like snow or frost - very weird.

San Pedro de Atacama will most likely be your base for a trip to the Atacama (see separate tip). Things to do there;

Go for a hike and watch the sunset in the valley of the moon
Vist the El Tatio geysers
Check out the local villages
Visit the Salar de Atacama and its population of flamingoes
Laze around San Pedro and treat yourself to an ice cream!

You can fly from Santiago to Calama and then get the bus to San Pedro about an hour away.

I really enjoyed this area. There was lots to do, fantastic scenery and although it was hot it was not too oppressive. Oh yes and try the empanadas in the restaurants in San Pedro for lunch - delicious!

Review Helpfulness: 2.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Apr 16, 2008
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