In northern Chile there is a 40,600-square mile strip of land that is known as one of the driest places on Earth. This area, known as the Atacama Desert, receives only 0.04 inches of rain per year! Even though this desert is very close to the Pacific Ocean, it gets very little rain due to the Andes Mountains blocking the rainclouds. Despite moisture, the Atacama Desert is filled with beauty and myths.
Why would travelers want to visit this arid place? Even though it is a desert, it is not completely devoid of life. Llamas, gray foxes and flamingos can be found close to oases and streams. People also are known to live in these areas. Visitors also come here to see the amazing Atacama Salt, which is surrounded by the Andes Mountains and overlooks large volcanos. There are also lagoons and geysers that would be of interest to the adventurous.
If you are curious how people could live in such a rough terrain, pay a visit to Tocanao. With a population of almost 550, residents depend on the oasis to deliver water for crops and to keep them hydrated. The architecture of Tocano is beautiful, as the area is known for its stone craftsmanship. The Church and Bell Tower of San Lucas is definitely a stop you will want to make. For a small fee, you can enter this historic Chilean church.
The Atacama Desert is a truly one of a kind destination. If you are looking for a unique experience, a trip to the driest place on Earth is in order.