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El Norte Grande Travel Guide

  • Photo: Peter Guttman/
  • Photo: Inga Locmele / Shutterstock
  • Photo: Peter Guttman/
  • Photo: Peter Guttman/

Plan Your El Norte Grande Vacation

A land of rock and earth, terrifying in its austerity and vastness, El Norte Grande is one of the world's most desolate regions. Spanning some 1,930 km (1,200 mi), Chile's Great North stretches from the Río Copiapó to the borders of Peru and Bolivia. Here you will find the Atacama Desert, the driest place on Earth—so dry that in many parts no rain has ever been recorded.

Top Reasons To Go

  1. Valle de la Luna Within the Reserva Nacional Los Flamencos lies the Valle de la Luna, a place most visitors to northern Chile will not want to miss. This magical moonlike landscape, filled with dusty gray desert sand dunes and deep valleys, is one of the top places in Chile to watch the sunset.
  2. Flora and fauna Yes, the Atacama Desert is one of the driest places on earth. But head to the Chilean Altiplano, just a few hours east of Arica, and you'll find an abundance of fauna and, depending on the season, flora. Pink flamingos dot the edges of volcanic lakes like Lago Chungará on the Bolivian border, and slender brown vicuñas—treasured for their fur, the finest of the American camelids—run in small herds through the sparse grasslands.
  3. Pristine beaches Pristine sands line the shore near Arica and Iquique. They are packed during summer months, but outside of these you just might have the beach to yourself.

When To Go

When to Go

In the height of the Chilean summer, January and February, droves of Chileans and Argentines mob El Norte Grande's beaches. Although this is a fun t...

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