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Take a photo with Hand Sculpture

The city of Antofagasta, the isolated center of the copper mining industry in Chile, commissioned Santiago's native sculptor Mario  Irarrázabal to create a monument that celebrates the emptiness of the Atacama Desert. The city unveiled the result in March 1992: four outstretched fingers and a thumb over an iron frame made of concrete. This a 36-foot-tall hand sculpture is bigger than an American Football's goalpost! Unfortunately, the sculpture is continuously targeted by graffiti, which requires frequent maintenance and cleaning. A sister sculpture (La Mano de Punta del Este) can be found on the other side of the continent in Uruguay. 

I think it is important to note that at the end of the day this sculpture is literally "a hand in the desert" so it requires less than half an hour to visit. To get there remember that this place is both connected to Route 5 from Antofagasta, Route 26 or Route 28. The Mano can be found between 1309 and 1310 mile markers. From either direction it is easy to reach and can be seen well in advance. If you're driving out for a visit, make sure you've got a sunscreen, plenty of water, and a full gas tank. Take care, driving in the seemingly endless salt flats can have a wearisome effect and don't let the monotony trick you into driving too quickly; too many fatal accidents have occurred in the desert, as evidenced by dozens of skeletal wrecks and shrines along the road. 

Editorial credit: Yudina_Elena /


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