Atacama Desert, Chile, is the driest non-polar location on Earth. The expansive land covers 105,000 square kilometres beside the pacific coast, west of the Andes mountains. At a glance, the arid and cracked red earth may seem like a wasteland – but, on rare occasions, the desert transforms into a truly beautiful floral display.
The arid land receives less than 1.5cm of rain annually, with some years seeing zilch. In those occasional damper years, seeds, which lie just beneath the earth’s crusty surface, come to life, transforming the desert into a field of floral beauty.
The flowers usually emerge every five to seven years, but this lot have arrived just two years after the last desert blossom, with this year’s crop boasting a new array of colours likepurples, whites and yellows and featuring over 200 native plant species.
New flowers are sprouting up daily, with some plants taking longer to germinate than others.
The date of the next bloom is unsure, so botanists are flocking to study the stunning surrounds – with tourists not too far behind.
If you’re keen to witness the natural wonder, get to the desert soon – they won’t be around forever. The best way to get to San Pedro is by flying to neighbouring city Calama from Santiago, then take one of the many local bus services from Calama to San Pedro for around $10.
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