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                               SOUTHERN CORDILLERA   

TERRAIN   Andes Mountains  Rivers & Lakes  Atacama & Altiplano  Pacific Coast 

           THE ATACAMA DESERT AND ALTIPLANO

This includes northern Chile, parts of northwestern Argentina, and both Bolivia and southern Peru to west of the Amazon Basin.  As the world's driest desert, the Atacama is fairly widely known, by name if not by experience.  The term "Altiplano" is used to refer to the high intermountain basins and plains that are part of the Cordillera.   To some extent this section overlaps pages devoted to the mountains themselves, namely the desert ranges, and the Andes of Peru and Bolivia,   It also overlaps some sections devoted to the social fabric of the region. There are three pages here:

The Atacama Desert

The Altiplano

And from the section on Social Aspects

Life in dry lands

There is a far more extensive photographic gallery of the Atacama and Altiplano by Gerhard Hudepohl available at www.atacamaphoto.com