The Atacama Desert in northern Chile is the driest desert in the world – it’s so dry, even bacteria find it hard to survive here (the place is virtually sterile). I flew over the desert on a flight from Santiago to Calama, a mining town close to the Atacama desert (map). Calama is the main arrival point by air for visitors to San Pedro de Atacama, the main tourist hub in the Atacama Desert. The view of the Atacama Desert from the plane window was simply bewildering.
The views throughout the 1.5 hour flight were truly breathtaking – the mighty, snow-capped peaks of the Andes on my right and the Chilean coast with the dark blue expanse of the Pacific Ocean on my left. It was fascinating to see the many natural sand patterns 30,000 feet below intersperse with massive canyons which looked like giant cracks in the earth.
If you’re flying this route, it’s a difficult choice to make of where to sit: should you choose row ‘A’ for the coastal views or row ‘F’ for the mountain views? I’ll leave that up to you. 🙂
I can highly recommend a trip to this part of Chile – the scenery is absolutely unworldly. To get an idea of the stunning beauty of this region, please read my post about things to do in the Atacama Desert and the spectacular bus trip from San Pedro de Atacama to Salta (Argentina).
See more incredible views from a plane window.