One of Earth’s Most Extraordinary Places: Chile’s Atacama Desert

Chile‘s Atacama Desert is truly something else. It’s one of the highest and driest places on earth, and the landscape is literally and figuratively out of this world. The fact that life exists here at all is a miracle given that the most important resource, water, is in very short supply. Despite the arid and inhospitable landscape — or maybe because of it — a vast and varied ecosystem thrives.

Families will not believe their eyes. From massive sand dunes to red Mars-like vistas, from smoking volcanoes to lakes with the brightest blue water you’ve ever seen, Atacama is a visual feast with all of the adventures that go along with exploring such a place. Sand surfing, swimming in desert oasis hot springs, and stargazing in the clearest place in the world are all part of the Atacama experience.

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Here’s just a small taste of surreal and extraordinary moments from our trip to the Atacama Desert. Click on the first photo to open up a slide show of the images. It’s easy to take amazing photos when this unbelievable place is the subject.


Relevant Links:

Why visit Chile with kids

Beyond Patagonia: A great 10- to 14-day Chile itinerary with kids

3 fantastic family hotels in Chile

South America family travel 101: Our best insider tips

Editor’s Note: Photos by Amie O’Shaughnessy.

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