Travelrific® Travel Journal

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Absolute Desert

By Linda Tancs

The Atacama Desert is a 600-mile strip of land from Peru’s southern border into northern Chile, the driest non-polar desert in the world. So dry, in fact, that some stretches have not seen a drop of rain in over 400 years. But for all its aridity, don’t be fooled into thinking this is just some barren dust bowl; the oasis is teeming with native cultures, soothing hot springs and pluming geysers. That’s particularly true at San Pedro de Atacama, where just a short distance away you’ll also find the largest salt flat in Chile and volcanoes beckoning in the distance. Late June is a perfect time to visit because of the numerous festivals leading up to Saint Peter and Saint Paul Feast Day on 29 June. San Pedro lies at around 7,500 feet above sea level; take precautions against altitude sickness.

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