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Have you ever wished to move to the sunniest place in the world where never again you’d have to deal with cloudy weather for days or weeks on end? A place where the skies are always blue and the temperatures are always high? Does such a place exist?
Let’s explore together the possible contenders for the title of the sunniest place in the world – but only inhabited places where you might live, not some place in the middle of a desert where no life can exist.
If you look at our ranking of the sunniest cities in the world and sort it by the number of overcast days, you’ll discover that the sunniest place in the world is Antofagasta in northern Chile.
Based on my research, there’s no place in the world that satisfies the criteria I use that gets fewer overcast days a year than this port city in South America. Antofagasta only gets 3 overcast days a year. Yes, that’s right—it’s 362 days of sunny weather.
Out of those 362 days of sunshine, 226.2 are clear days and 136.4 are partly cloudy days. According to timeanddate.com climate averages, Antofagasta features a pleasant, mild climate, with summers that reach 22-24 °C (72-75 °F) during the day and 16-17 °C (61-63 °F) at night. Winters are only slightly cooler, with daytime temperatures of 17 °C (63 °F) and nighttime temperatures of 12 °C (54 °F).
Antofagasta has over 350,000 inhabitants, making it a big city with all the conveniences you might need. It’s situated in the driest desert in the world, Atacama, and borders the Pacific Ocean. Chile is one of the wealthiest countries in South America, placing 11 on our list of the best sunny countries to live.
So that’s your answer about the sunniest place in the world. But there’s one caveat: while Antofagasta gets in total the highest number of days with sunshine, it’s not the place with the highest annual number of clear days, that is days with less than 20% cloud cover.
The Sunniest Place in the World Based on the Number of Clear Days
If you’d like to live in a place that gets the highest number of clear sunny days, that place is Aswan in Egypt with 330 annual clear days (that’s 74 more than in Antofagasta), followed closely by other destinations in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Pakistan.
The big challenges with these places is that they’re extremely hot in the summer (or even year round) and that for an average expat, moving to this region and adapting to the local culture could prove to be difficult. But for a more adventurous and flexible individual accustomed to heat they’re still an option.
Next on the list is Mexicali in northern Mexico on the US border, with 278 clear days. It gets 8 overcast days a year, which means 357 annual days of sunshine. If for some reason you don’t like Antofagasta and the Middle Eastern countries or Pakistan aren’t for you, Mexicali could be an alternative—if you’re willing to accept extremely hot summers with daytime temperatures reaching 42 °C (108 °F).
The next best option in Mexico is slightly cooler in the summer (38 °C / 100 °F) resort town Puerto Peñasco with 248 clear days and 355 annual days of sunshine. The town is also very close to the US border and is the closest beach for the residents of Phoenix, Tucson, and Yuma. Speaking of Yuma, it’s next on our list with 273 clear days and 356 annual days of sunshine. However, the problem of extreme temperatures remains, with unbearably hot summers when you won’t be spending much time outside during the day, if any.
The Sunniest Place in the World With Comfortable Temperatures
Don’t like Antofagasta and the other options don’t work for you because of the extreme heat, but still want to live in the sunniest place in the world?
Then consider Honolulu, HI, which gets 347 annual days of sunshine. Average daytime temperatures in the hottest months reach 31 °C (88 °F) and 27 °C (81 °F) in the cooler months, which is hot, but definitely bearable and for some maybe even perfect, particularly when compared to the previous scorching hot destinations. The sacrifice is that it only gets 156 clear days, with 191 days of partly cloudy weather. Another problem is that it’s one of the world’s most expensive cities. But for some, the trade-offs are more than worth it.
Still looking for more options? You’re a picky one, aren’t you? Here are the five next best options:
- Mendoza, Argentina, with 346 annual days of sunshine (257 out of which are clear sunny days), featuring summers with daytime temperatures of 31 °C (88 °F) and mild winters with 16-18 °C (61-64 °F) during the day.
- Recife, Brazil, with 343 annual days of sunshine (154 out of which are clear sunny days), featuring summers with daytime temperatures of 30 °C (86 °F) and the cooler season with 26 °C (79 °F) during the day.
- Puebla, Mexico, with 342 annual days of sunshine (204 out of which are clear sunny days), featuring a climate of little variance throughout the year, ranging between 20-24 °C (68-75 °F) during the day.
- Arequipa, Peru, with 342 annual days of sunshine (221 out of which are clear sunny days), featuring a similar to Puebla climate of little variance throughout the year, ranging between 21-25 °C (70-77 °F) during the day.
- the islands of Fuerteventura (for example, Corralejo) and Lanzarote (for example, Arrecife) in the Canary Islands, Spain, with 342 annual days of sunshine (75 out of which are clear sunny days), featuring summer daytime temperatures of up to 30 °C (86 °F) and the coldest months with temperatures that reach 22-23 °C (71-73 °F).