Home The World The Hand Monument in the Atacama Desert, Chile

The Hand Monument in the Atacama Desert, Chile

by pureinspirationalenergy

The Atacama Desert covers 1,600 km (994 square mile) on the west coast of South America covering most of northern Chile. The desert is surprisingly home to over 1 million people and a very unique culture of dry weather farmers and alpaca herders. It’s also famous for its copper mines, and Chile is known to be the world’s top copper exporter, having exported an estimated 5.7 million metric tons of copper in 2020. 


Over 25 years ago in Antofagasta, the center of Chile’s copper industry, commissioned Mario Irarrazabal to create a monument to salute the stars and passerby in the Atacama Desert. The sculpture was completed and unveiled in March 1992: a portion of a hand reaching out towards the stars.

You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.
Albert Camus

Located an hour south of the city, there isn’t much around but sand and small hills for miles. The monument attracts many  tourists and locals looking to leave their mark with graffiti, and every six months a team is sent out to scrub away all the graffiti art and debris that is left around the site. It’s definitely an amazing site appreciated by all who come to visit and brings income to the city from the influx of tourism.

If You’re Visiting The Hand of Atacama

The hand itself is 75 kilometers (46.6 miles) south of the main city of Antofagasta so its quite out of the way in the middle of the desert. Public transportation to the area isn’t common to find, so the best way is by a personal vehicle or a taxi charging a range of prices. When planning a trip to visit the hand, be aware that road signs are a rare sight out in the desert and most passerby give vague directions from reports, so be sure you have a good set of directions and a plan before heading out so you don’t get lost. I found a video featuring the monument at around 1:57.

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