Value for Society

Blooming in the desert: discover one the most unique roads in the world

Operating a section of the Vallenar-Caldera Highway, through our concessionaire company Valles del Desierto, make us privileged witnesses of the Atacama Desert blooming in Chile, a unique event that only happens every five to seven years when rainfall is unusually high.

Sacyr Concesiones

The Flowering Desert, locally known as “Desierto florido”, is a phenomenon that takes place in the Atacama Desert, where practically overnight the desert on the driest place on Earth turns into a garden of flowers. Recognized as national natural heritage site by the Chilean Government, it is aspiring to be declared a Patrimony of the Humanity by the UNESCO.

As you can imagine, this miracle of nature deserves to be protected and it comes as no surprise we were chosen to help in doing so, given our successful track record in lowering our carbon footprint while enhancing environmental preservation in the development of all our infrastructure projects.

During these months, Sacyr avoids the use of heavy machinery to prevent any disruption to this super flower bloom phenomenon that attracts a significant amount of wildlife. Other key factor to successfully respect the environmental uniqueness of the site is anticipating any construction work months before the commencement of Desierto Florido. Operation and maintenance activities include preventive measures such as the reinforcement of road barriers and animal crossing points.

In collaboration with the Ministry of Public Works and environmental associations, Sacyr intensively contributes to spread information within the local community and worldwide tourists attracted by this unique phenomenon. 

Desierto florido constitutes an important boast to local economy in the region of Atacama. As the number of visitors significantly grows during the blooming period, we face a great challenge to secure specific measures to protect flora and fauna. 

Based on a responsible communication philosophy, Sacyr springs into action. For weeks, our toll booths are much more than toll booths: they are transformed into information points so drivers are provided with further details about this natural phenomenon, as well as recommendations to drive safely while protecting wildlife.

When it comes to sustainable protection, we take this responsibility very seriously. It’s our strategy, our rooted business model. Simply, this is the way we do things, as they should be done.


Species of native plants

Abundant rain triggers the germination and flowering of native plant species that have been hidden for years.