For most of the year, Chile’s Atacama Desert is barren and lifeless but, come the rainy season, the world’s driest desert transforms into a majestic pink wonderland.
The eruption of colour, known as ‘desierto florido”, is caused by a rare springtime bloom of wildflowers that covers every hillside.
This year’s pink explosion is the most drastic of the past 18 years due to heavy storms that hit northern Chile in March killing 28 people.
“The Atacama region was punished, but also blessed by the phenomenon of a flourishing desert, something that happens only after the rains, this time brought about by El Niño and climate change,” Daniel Diaz, National Tourism Service director in Atacama, told EFE, the Spanish news service.
The flowering phenomenon normally only occurs once every to 7 years, but this is the second time this year it’s happened.
“The intensity of blooms this year has no precedent,” Diaz said. “And the fact that it has happened twice in the same year has never been recorded in the country’s history. We are surprised.”
The flowered spectacle is expected to last through November and attract more than 20,000 tourists.