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Chile / North / The Atacama Desert  



Atacama Desert, geographically located in what is known as “El Norte Grande” (The Big North), in which the desert village San Pedro de Atacama has established itself as a vantage point for many excursions. Known worldwide as the driest desert on earth, Atacama Desert comprises of a vast territory involving important archaeological, natural and cultural riches.

A rich archaeological tradition can be found there, Cerro Pintado Geoglyphes and Quitor and Lasana Pukaras confirm how highly developed native towns were by that time.

In Chile’s modern history, Atacama Desert has played an important role in the nation’s development to such an extent as to be a truly silent witness of the glorious past nitrate industry once had. The living testimony expressed by some nitrate offices is the symbol of a no longer existing life which still remains alive in Chile’s memory.

Aridity and dryness in Atacama Desert contrast the fertility found in valleys and oases (such as Azapa Valley and Pica Oasis). Flora and fauna are also an important part of the desert landscape. Protected species in Lauca, Isluga and Surire Salt Flat national parks and monuments symbolize part of the wonderful attractions nature has given this region, where life – despite its inhospitable scenario – has managed to successfully continue.

Desert and Altiplano constantly captivate the visitor due to its diverse geography: Valley of the Moon, portraying its particular rocky shapes, takes this scene to limits out of this world; Atacama Salt Flat and El Tatio Geysers featuring surrealist characteristics rise among the calm thermal waters such as Camina’s as a kind of heavenly paradox which contrasts the endlessly startling reality.

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