Atacama Region facts for kids

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This article is about the Atacama Region; for the desert, see Atacama Desert.
Atacama Region (III Región de Atacama)
Region of Chile
Laguna Santa Rosa, Región de Atacama.JPG
Laguna Santa Rosa, Atacama
Flag of Atacama, Chile.svg
Coat of arms of Atacama, Chile.svg
Country  Chile
Provinces Chañaral, Copiapó, Huasco
Capital Copiapó
 - coordinates 27°22′S 70°19′W / 27.367°S 70.317°W / -27.367; -70.317
Highest point Nevado Ojos del Salado
 - elevation 6,893 m (22,615 ft)
 - coordinates 27°06′34″S 68°32′24″W / 27.10944°S 68.54°W / -27.10944; -68.54
Lowest point Sea level
 - elevation m (0 ft)
Area 75,176.2 km² (29,026 sq mi)
Population 312,486 (2015)
Density 4 /km² (10 /sq mi)
Intendant Miguel Vargas Correa
ISO 3166-2 CL-AT
Atacama , in red, in Chile
Atacama , in red, in Chile
Website: Official website (Spanish)

The III Atacama Region Region (Spanish: III Región de Atacama) is one of Chile's 15 first order administrative divisions. The southern portion of the Atacama Desert is in the region; the rest of the desert is in the other regions to the north (Norte Grande natural region).

The capital of the region is the city of Copiapó; it is at 806 km (501 mi) north of Santiago, the capital of country.


From 1843, Atacama was a province of Chile but in 1974, with the creation of the Regions of Chile, it became one of those regions.


The Atacama region borders the Tarapacá region to the north, Argentina (provinces of Catamarca, La Rioja and San Juan), on the east, the Coquimbo region on the south and the Pacific Ocean on the west.

The highest mountains of the region are: Nevados Ojos del Salado, 6,880 m (22,572 ft) high, and Nevado Tres Cruces, 6,753 m (22,156 ft) high; they are in the Andes, in the border with Argentina.


As of 2015, there were (estimated) 312,486 persons living in the region, for a population density of 4.2 inhabitants/km².

The largest city in the region is its capital, Copiapó, with 125,983 inhabitants (2002 census).


The Atacama region is divided in three provinces: Chañaral, Copiapó and Huasco.

Atacama Comunas
Atacama Region - Provinces and comunas
Provinces Capital Code Comunas Area
Copiapó 03101 4 Copiapó 16,681.3 129,091
03102 3 Caldera 4,666.6 13,734
03103 5 Tierra Amarilla 11,190.6 12,888
Total of the Copiapó province 32,538.5 155,713
Chañaral 03201 1 Chañaral 5,772.4 13,543
03202 2 Diego de Almagro 18,663.8 18,589
Total of the Chañaral province 24,436.2 32,132
Vallenar 03301 9 Vallenar 7,083.7 48,040
03302 6 Alto del Carmen 5,938.7 4,840
03303 7 Freirina 3,577.7 5,666
03304 8 Huasco 1,601.4 7,945
Total of the Huasco province 18,201.5 66,491
Total of the region 75,176.2 254,336

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