Other than the poles, Chile’s Atacama Desert is the driest place on Earth. Deserts are sometimes defined as environments that receive less than an average of 250mm of rain in a year – the Atacama receives less than 1mm each year.
As a result it is almost entirely without greenery, shade, cities or pollution. For landscape photographers, and idle dreamers, the setting is inspiring, with wind-sculpted canyons and salt lakes providing a backdrop that not only looks Martian but is actually used to test Mars rovers in simulations. Atacama is also one of the world’s foremost stargazing centres, with three major international observatories taking advantage of its clean air and huge night skies.