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Wildflowers in Bloom at Chile's Atacama Desert—the Driest Place on Earth | Frommer's EL GUILLE! / Flickr

Wildflowers Now in Bloom at Chile's Atacama Desert, the Driest Place on Earth

The driest place on earth is currently blanketed in purple wildflowers.

Northern Chile's Atacama Desert typically gets a measly 0.6 inches of rain in an entire year. Nevertheless, every five to seven years—usually along with El Niño weather patterns—multitudes of beautiful mallow flowers fill the arid landscape with a surreal expanse of color. It's like finding a botanical garden on Mars (it so happens, by the way, that Atacama frequently plays the red planet in movies and NASA simulations).  

What makes the current flowering in the desert unique is that it's about three years too early—the phenomenon last appeared in 2015, when the photo above was taken. But the northern part of Chile received unusually heavy rain and severe flooding in May of this year, resulting in the Atacama's premature display.


[????????/????????] Deserto com flores? Sim! ???? Apesar de sustentar o posto de deserto mais seco do mundo, quando chove acima do normal na região o Atacama pode ficar ainda mais lindo: cheio de flores. O fenômeno conhecido como "Deserto Florido" ou "Tapete de Flores", quando acontece, ocorre entre o final de agosto e o começo de setembro. A última vez que ocorreu foi em 2015, e esse ano está especialmente florido - o mais intenso em 2 décadas! ???? . ???????? ???????? ???????? Flowers in the desert? Oh, yeah! ???? When it rains more than usual, it may occur a phenomenon called "Flowering Desert", from the end of August to the beginning of September. The last time was in 2015, and this year it's especially intense! ???? . ???? Atacamaphoto . . . . . . . ???????????? #viagensemenus #atacamadesert #desiertoflorido #chilegram #floweringdesert #gothere #tlpicks #instatravel #globetrotter #travelgram #worldtravelpics #officialtravelpage #worldplaces #worldtravelbook #worldcapture #pagextreme #wowplacestogo #awesome_shots #bestdestinations #places_wow

A post shared by ???? Travel more.????Eat well. (@viagensemenus) on Aug 31, 2017 at 4:38am PDT

If you'd like to see the flowers for yourself, you'll have to hurry—though they do tend to stick around longer than other blooms elsewhere in the world. Atacama is expected to maintain its floral glory into early November.