See This Chilean Desert Filled with More Than 200 Species of Flowers

The Atacama is set to become the country's 44th national park.

Editor's Note: We know COVID-19 is continuing to impact your travel plans. Should you travel now, be sure to familiarize yourself with the CDC’s latest guidance on domestic and international travel as well as local requirements, protocols, and restrictions for both your destination upon your arrival and your home city upon your return. Be safe out there.

When you think "desert," you might not think of a vibrant field of over 200 flower species, but that's exactly what you'll find in Chile's Atacama—at least, every few years. 

Simultaneously known as the "sunniest place on Earth" and the "planet's driest non-polar desert," according to Time Out, Atacama is often barren as you might expect. But every three to five years, the area can produce hundreds of flower species to create a totally different landscape. You'll also find lava fields, salt flats, and abandoned mineral mines when the flowers aren't in bloom.

It's such a destination that Chilean President Gabriel Boric is pouring funds into researching its ecosystems and protecting the desert. Part of that plan is naming it the country's 44th national park.

And while we don't yet know the exact boundaries, they likely won't cover the entire space—as it stretches a whopping 41,000 square miles between the Pacific Coast and the Andes.

"We are committed as Government to start the process of creation of the Desierto Florido National Park," Boric said, according to Travel Tomorrow, noting that the plan "is a way to advance in this path of sustainability. There are more than 200 species of flowers and an exquisite fauna that must be protected." 

abriendomundo/Shutterstock

Want more Thrillist? Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, TikTok, and Snapchat.

Megan Schaltegger is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist.