Chile is a super consistent surf country that is almost entirely untapped by surfers. North of the capital, Santiago, the landscape quickly changes to that of the Atacama, the driest desert in the world. The Pan American highway skirts the edge of the Atacama and can be used to reveal some of the treasures of the desert: perfect reef breaks. Arica and Iquique are two cities in the Atacama, 400km (250mi) apart and both are the home of great waves. Most of the waves along this coastline break close to the shore as cylindrical barrels slamming down hard onto shallow reefs full of urchins. It's often big and gnarly and many of the spots are more suitable for bodyboarders or the most skilled of surfers. Fortunately, there are channels, which enable safe paddle outs to most line-ups. The city of Arica is located on the magic Alacran peninsula, which is packed with classic spots. Between here and Iquique are potentially hundreds of world class spots that can only be reached by 4WD. Iquique itself contains a handful of excellent reef breaks in a kilometre long stretch. When looking at the waves from the shore it's easy to be deceived by the size, what appears to be 4ft (1.5m) is actually 6-8ft (2-2.5m)! All these waves face the main coastal road, and when the swells are big, crowds are guaranteed to gather and watch the show.