Regions of Tarapaca and Antofagasta (first and second regions respectively), the Big North
region is a land full of contrasts.
It is a zone where the dryness and barrenness
of the Atacama Desert is broken by the fertility and lushness of its
valleys and oases (such as Azapa
Valley and Pica Oasis). It is a zone with a wide biological
variety of flora and fauna, whose most important samples are protected
in the national parks of Lauca, Isluga and Surire Salt flat.
The geography of the desert and the high plateau
are continually fascinating: the Valle de la Luna, with
its incredible rock formations; the 300 thousand hectare Atacama
Salt flat, the impressive Tatio Geysers; or the
numerous thermal springs, like Mamiña.
It is also a land full of archeological and cultural
wealth. The geoglyphs at Cerro Pintado and the
pukaras (fortresses) of Quitor and Lasana, are indicators of the degree of
civilization attained by the original peoples of the area. More recently,
the saltpeter works, such as Maria Elena, bear silent
testimony to their magnificent past. And the religious feast of La Tirana
is perhaps the event most representative of the mixture between the pagan and
Catholic traditions here.
Every city and village of the region is an inheritor of
this past. There are many towns such as San Pedro de Atacama and Putre,
surrounded by kilometers of desert, whose pace and rhythm of living differ
widely from those
cities located along the shoreline, such as Arica, Iquique, Antofagasta and
also Calama, created
because of the mining activity at Chuquicamata, the biggest mineral pit in
It is a region that you can explore in many
It has all the necessary facilities and infrastructure to receive visitors.