Let’s get one thing straight: deserts are awesome! Anybody who has also been to one or more will have to tell you the same.
I’m proud to say I have stood on the sand in several of the world’s deserts, some more famous than others, and all of them have had a profound effect on me. Everybody should experience a genuine desert environment at least once in his or her lifetime.
If you’re in North America, you really want to go to the desert in Arizona (avoid the gila monsters). If you swing by Latin America, you absolutely have to check out Tatacoa and La Guajira in Colombia. You can camp out, meditate, eat cactus candy or drink cactus wine, visit the observatory (in Tatacoa) and if you’re lucky, dine on freshly caught desert lamb for dinner.
And if you go to Arab lands, you will probably find yourself at some point in Dubai, in which case you want to check out the amazing Dubai Desert Safari. This is a luxury trip, with all the bells and whistles, and it takes up an afternoon and evening of your time. In the space of these several hours, you will get to go in a buggy over the sand dunes, get to a “camping” area, ride a real live camel, drink the local coffee, get covered with henna if you wish, eat a delicious BBQ dinner, watch the belly-dancing show, and go back to the comforts of civilization. The best of both worlds, some would say.
Another desert in North America that is often overlooked is in Mexico, even though it’s the biggest desert on the continent. In the Chihuahuan Desert travelers can find many different species of animals and plants. It is one of the most ecologically diverse deserts in the world.
In any case, when you are in the desert at night, even if there is no observatory, you want to look up at those stars! Desert environments are incredible for looking at the night sky, and the best part is that there are hardly ever any clouds to block your view of the firmament. Do not miss this opportunity!
One more pro tip: Try to get desert honey if at all possible on these trips. Desert honey is, to my taste buds, always the best kind of honey you can get. The vegetation in a desert is super complex and has lived for a long long time, and this always shows up in the flavor of the honey.
So there you have it, many different ways of doing the desert. At any rate, don’t pass it up. You will thank me for taking this little bit of travel advice, trust me, you will.