The “Norte Chico” extends from the Río Copiapó to about 32° south latitude, or just north of Santiago. It is a semiarid region whose central area receives an average of about twenty-five millimeters of rain during each of the four winter months, with trace amounts the rest of the year. The near north is also subject to droughts. The temperatures are moderate, with an average of 18.5°C during the summer and about 12°C during the winter at sea level. The winter rains and the melting of the snow that accumulates on the Andes produce rivers whose flow varies with the seasons, but which carry water year round. Their deep transverse valleys provide broad areas for cattle rising and, most important, is fruit growing industry, an activity that has developed greatly since the mid-1970s.
As in the far north, the coastal areas of the near north have a distinct microclimate. In those sections where the airborne moisture of the sea is trapped by high bluffs overlooking the ocean, temperate rain forests develop as the vegetation precipitates the vapor in the form of a misty rain. Because the river valleys provide breaks in the coastal elevations, maritime moisture can penetrate inland and further decrease the generally arid climate in those valleys. The higher elevations in the interior sections are covered with shrubs and cacti of various kinds.
The climate on the coastal are is warm and mostly sunny, the one exception being La Serena, where cloudy mornings seem to be the rule. Inland, it is hot and the sky is very clear. Climate and scenery have teamed up here to make of this area a year-round busy tourist zone.
Tourist infrastructure offers accommodations ranging from luxury hotels through motels and campgrounds, as well as a wide variety of restaurants along the coast, in the big cities and in the inland valleys.
The inland landscape is doubling attractive, the semi-desert vegetation standing in stark contrast with the lush irrigated valleys. The ranges and ridges play a significant role, inevitably lying across the roads and forcing them to wind their way up the slopes.
ChileQuest will design an itinerary according to your needs, in which you will be able to find all aspects that make this region one of the most attractive and exciting destination.