The macrozone of Chile that is characterized mainly by its desert and semi-arid climate. It extends from the north of Valparaiso to the borders with Peru, Bolivia and Argentina. It has the presence of various geomorphological units, in which it is possible to find from coastal cliffs, mountain ranges, salt flats, important areas of mineral deposits: such as copper, saltpeter and lithium, to the highest concentration of the mountains of five thousand and six thousand meters of altitude of the Andes mountain range in Chile. Interestingly, the so-called "Norte Chico", presents an important sector without the presence of volcanoes in its Andean mountain range, this for the mountains located between the Copiapó River and the Aconcagua River.
Inhabitants of the North.
It is also the land of the native peoples: Aymaras, Atacameños, Changos, Diaguitas, and Quechuas. Where its main cities present very recognizable features of the heritage of the Spanish colonization, and where the main economic activity revolves around mining, the fishing industry, the small livestock of auquénidos and the agriculture of oases, in valleys and interior ravines.
Life in the desert.
The Atacama Desert and its clear skies are considered the best location worldwide for astronomical observation. It is also the driest "non-polar" place on the planet and in it is the ecoregion of "La Puna de Atacama", inside the city of Copiapó and extending to Argentina: a desert plateau of an average altitude of 4,500 meters above sea level, of diverse and undulating reliefs, where lakes are found, lagoons and extensive salt flats, as well as narrow ravines and meadows. Among its fauna we find Vicuñas, Alpacas and Llamas, various rodents, such as the Chinchilla, and other mammals such as Andean and mountain cats, the Puma, and the Culpeo fox. Of course also the presence of various birds, among which the Condor and the Flamingo stand out.
Inca ceremonial centers on the summits of the Andes mountain range.
These lands were also part of the "Qhapaq Ñan": the "Main Andean Road", the network of roads of more than twenty-three thousand kilometers with which the Inca empire strengthened its political and economic power between the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries, and that among other particularities allowed the development of ceremonial centers in the main summits of the highest mountains on the planet outside the Himalayan mountain range.
Ojos del Salado Expedition
The Nevado Ojos del Salado is the highest mountain in Chile (6,893 masl). It is also one of the "Seven Volcanic Summits", a challenge that seeks to ascend the highest volcano on each continent, and among which two of these summits - Mount Elbrus and Kilimanjaro - also correspond to the challenge of ascending the seven highest summits of each continent.
Located inside the Tres Cruces National Park, and being part of the border with Argentina, the ascent to Ojos del Salado involves the realization of an expedition that includes various trekking tours in northern Chile as part of the acclimatization process necessary for an ascent to high altitude. It is also an expedition that allows you to enjoy the observation of flora and fauna, for example in the area of Laguna Santa Rosa and Laguna del Negro Francisco.
One of the main characteristics of the ascent to high-altitude mountains in northern Chile is the possibility of using four-wheel drive vehicles to get around. In the case of the ascent to Ojos del Salado, depending on the road conditions and the skills of the driver, it is possible to arrive with the vehicle up to 5,800 meters above sea level.