This year, the Blooming Desert, in the Atacama region of Chile is promised to be one of the best in history because of the large number of unusual rains that have hit the region this past March. I decided that I could not pass up the opportunity to see it with my own eyes.
As you know, I have a job that can become quite demanding but in the blog I have proposed myself to show you that this should not stop you from traveling as much as you can. so here I write everything you need to know to go see the Desert Flowered in just 1 weekend.
Friday (day 1)
As soon as the work day was done, I left quickly to the airport of Santiago where I had flight to the city of Copiapó at 18:57 hrs. There are currently three airlines flying to this destination and my choice was a low cost flight. I only had a carry-on suitcase, which saves time from having to deal with baggage claim.
I arrived in Copiapó at about 8:15 p.m. and went to the module of the rent a car company where I had a reservation. Contrary to what you might think, renting car in this area is quite cheap (prices from $ 15,000 Chilean pesos per day, which is about 25 dollars) and you gain the freedom to travel as you like.
Once I was handed the car, a KIA Rio, I headed towards Playa “Las Machas”, on the side of Bahía Inglesa, where I had a reservation of my first accommodation (20 minutes from the airport). From there I ate and had a beer watching a sky with the most stars I’ve ever seen. Then it was off to get some rest for energy.
Recommendations day 1:
- If you are traveling in low cost airline do not forget to follow the rules of carry-on luggage. Remember that these airlines win when we make mistakes exceeding the measurements of carry-on luggage.
- If you decide to rent a car, do not hesitate to do so in advance, this mainly for 2 reasons; the first is that there are good discounts if you book in advance and the second is that on that day, the people who wanted to rent couldn’t because there wasn’t enough cars. In that sense I saved time, money and a bad time.
- The requirements for renting a car generally include being of legal driving age, having a valid driver’s license and a credit card that they can use as collateral. When receiving the car do not forget to check it well so that later they do not charge anything else.
- Regarding the type of car don’t worry, for me at least it was not necessary to rent a 4×4. I walked along many unpaved roads and there was no drama, obviously always driving with caution. It would be ideal if the car is not low-lying, and it is useful to carry a mobile device charger for the car.
Saturday (day 2):
The plan was to leave early in search of the blooming desert, so at about 8 am. I loaded myself with a nice breakfast have enough energy before leaving. Before leaving the road, I stopped in Bahía Inglesa to investigate why it is being syndicated as one of the best beaches in Chile and I was lucky enough to enjoy this practically empty beach.
Certainly at times the color of the sea makes you think that you are in the Caribbean (until you dare to put one foot in, of course). It is definitely a place I plan to return to and I think this season is ideal to do, between August and November, before the peak season starts, and with an equally sunny climate.
The phenomenon of the Blooming Desert is occurring in several areas of the region, but a particular image made me excited: to find the carpets of flowers called “Pata de Guanaco” small flowers of an intense fuchsia color.
I got tips that I could see them in all their splendor about 60 kms away in the opposite direction to the coast, arriving at the crossing to Nantoco but taking the reverse route C-397 which was a dirt road from where it was necessary to travel about 7 km more or less away from the coast. So I went there, and well, the pictures speak for themselves. Here on the map I show you the exact point I’m talking about:
Along with the flowers you will be able to see lots of lizards, desert cows an
d, what most attracted my attention without a doubt, to see that among the flowers there are lots of shells of sea snails, 60 kilometers from the coast! Which certainly makes us realize how much the geography of this place has changed over the years.
After enjoying this place for a long time, filling me with that powerful energy of nature and taking advantage of taking good photographs, I left for my second lodging in the city of Copiapo. Here I rested, ate and -re-charged batteries for the next day.
Recommendations day 2:
- Respect the trails. When approaching the areas where the blooming desert is reaching its peak, follow the trails and do not tread for any reason. Do not hinder the development of the flowers nor that of their seeds for an upcoming flowering. Leave the car where the tracks are.
- Do not forget the sun block, in the north of Chile the sun hits strong and more when you are enjoying nature. Use sun block.
- If, like me you are prone to being insect bait, use some repellent hopefully biodegradable. You will see that along with the flowers develop a lot of insects in this seasonal ecosystem (yes, something stung me, I have no idea what).
- If you consume some food take your trash and for no reason leave cigarettes in the area. Let’s keep this place remain free from the disasters that man causes.
Sunday (day 3)
With the satisfaction of having seen what I thought was the best of the blooming desert, I wanted to dedicate this last day to know another of the points of interest of the region. The beach “La Virgen” another of the syndicated as the best in Chile, so after breakfast I prepared to drive to the area.
I had heard that the blooming desert phenomenon was also developing on the coastal roads of the Atacama region but I did not pay much attention. What surprised me on the way to “Playa la Virgen” and from there towards Puerto Viejo, I came across the landscapes that I show below, again nature leaving me speechless.
From La Virgen beach, the caretaker of the entrance told us to follow a path that led to Puerto Viejo as you can see from the images I took above. I took this road from the parking lot of the beach immediately to the left and you have to follow precarious signposts on the stones, but the footprints are well marked and the road is not difficult.
When arriving at Puerto Viejo, I made the mistake of taking the road that on the map below that will look like C-302, there is no warning that this road ahead was cut by the March flood, so I had to return . I had to take C-358 again, then return me by C-324 and take C-318 towards Bahia Inglesa.
Already with the satisfaction of having filled my senses with these visual beauties, I decided to go and taste the seafood which the area is known for, I returned to Bahia Inglesa to relax in one of the restaurants on the seashore. Particularly in one they offered live oysters which is one of the outstanding seafood in the area, and therefore had to try them.
After eating, I took the route to the airport which took about 20 minutes, I returned the car in the corrals of the airport and waited for my flight back to Santiago at 18:30 hrs. With the happiness of having disconnected from my routine, having been faced with a unique natural phenomenon, and proving once again that Chile has a lot to offer.
Recommendations day 3:
- Return the car with a full tank of gasoline. I returned it with just one less line and charged me disproportionately for this fault.
- Take advantage of trying the local food. The Oysters are an excellent choice for the area. If you don’t like them raw, certainly it is worth eating them Parmesan-style, cooked with cheese and white wine.
I hope this article has helped you to organize and realize that even with little time you can enjoy the wonders of Chile and this phenomenon which, this year is being seen in spectacular way! Would you dare to go see?
The Atacama desert is one of my dream places to visit!!! Stunning pics 🙂
The beaches here are pure perfection! & you’re right about staying on the paths–so important to preserve the flowers and not disturb them!
Heard so much about this beautiful place – stunning photographs!
Those flowers and vegetation in the desert are beautiful! The map areas with the flowers marked are also very helpful did you make those? Thanks for sharing this guide!
How gorgeous! I’ve never heard of the blooming desert, but now I so want to go!
It’s nice to hear that you have a job outside of travel and still find the time to do it. I’m in the same boat right here =)
The flowers are nice but Bahía Inglesa is what got me! I am all about the water!
Wow this looks like such a gorgeous place, those flowers look amazing! This is such a comprehensive guide, thanks for all this info!
Wow, I’ve never heard of these blooming deserts! The flowers are so sweet. A day in the desert followed by oysters, what a splendid way to spend a weekend.
Ah-ma-zing! Love everything about this., especially the photos and maps. So helpful because sometimes all we have is one weekend and have to make the best of it