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How To Visit Mano del Desierto in Chile


There is a hand emerging from the ground in the middle of Chile’s Atacama desert and visiting it might be one of the best experiences of your life. Read on to find our how to visit Mano del Desierto, Chile's best kept secret!

What is Mano del Desierto

Mano del Desierto is am 11 metre high sculpture of a hand protruding from the ground, created by chilean artist Mario Irarrázabal. Inaugurated on 28th March 1992, the sculpture was commissioned and financed thanks to contributions from the Corporation Pro Antofagasta.

Different interpretations of the meaning of Mano del Desierto have been discussed during the years. Some say it’s the city saying goodbye to the traveler, while according to others the sculpture aims to express how small and vulnerable humans are on this planet, an interpretation which we embrace. Made of reinforced concrete, the hand blends in perfectly with the surrounding colours of the chilean desert, giving the impression of perfectly belonging to the earth from which it is born. Another similar hand sculpture has been created by Irarrázabal and is located on the beach in Punta del Este, Uruguay.

Where is Mano del Desierto

Mano del Desierto is located seventy five kilometers south the city of Antofagasta, the second biggest city in Chile. The sculpture is three hundred meters off the side of Route 5 North, a highway that runs through the desert connecting various cities to Antofagasta. The closest point of reference is the Ciudad Empresarial La Negra.

How to get there

There are two ways to reach Mano del Desierto. You can visit it with an organized tour, which will pick you up in Antofagasta and take you back. Online you will find several options and prices range from 70 to 100 dollars for tours of different lengths (check out these agencies: Atacama Stars, Pachamama Tour, Budeo Tour). For a budget friendly and customized experience, you can make your way with your own vehicle as we did. Rent a car for a day at the Antofagasta airport (between 30 to 40 dollars). From the airport take Route 1 and then join Route 26 towards Santiago. After thirteen kilometer join Route 5 for seventy kilometers. You will see the sculpture on your right.

So now you had a peek into the secret of Mano del Desierto and we hope you are captivated enough to go see this impressive art piece for yourself!

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