The highest desert

The Puna is a desert plateau amidst the Andean range with an average altitude of 4000 metres, between Bolivia, Chile and Argentina. The Spanish conquerors called it “el despoblado” - the uninhabited place. It is home to the world’s driest desert – the Atacama – and the world’s most ancient microbes that survive in the most adverse conditions: in acid salt pools under high UV radiation and extreme temperatures. It is here where scientists study how life began on earth, and what it might look like on Mars …. The Puna is one of the few places in the world that man has not been able to modify and which is still as wild and as beautiful as it was millennia ago