Located northeast of the city of Copiapo, Ojos del Salado is a massive stratovolcano in the Andes Mountains on the Argentina-Chile border. At 22,608 feet (6,891 meters), the Ojos del Salado volcano has the honor of being both the highest volcano in the world and the highest mountain in Chile. The impressive sight attracts serious climbers and adventurers, who can ascend the mountain through either Argentina or Chile. It also attracts less extreme adventurers, who can explore in 4x4 vehicles and visit nearby lakes and national parks.
Located near the Atacama desert, Ojos del Salado in Chile features generally dry conditions. As with many mountains in this area, the Ojos del Salado volcano is most often climbed between December and late March, which is the southern hemisphere's warmest time of year. However, travelers should be prepared for low temperatures, extreme winds, and sudden weather changes throughout the year.
The main attraction for visitors at Ojos del Salado in Chile is hiking and climbing to the top of the volcano. Those who want to climb Ojos del Salado can make the ascent to one of two summit peaks, referred to as the Chilean and Argentine summits. The Chilean summit is generally climbed from the Chilean side of the mountain, and the Argentine summit from the Argentine side of the mountain, but the international border actually crosses over both summits. The Chilean summit is marginally higher than the Argentine summit. In Chile, the common starting point is Copiapo, where many tour operators are located. If you decide to take a tour, be sure to research your tour company in advance. Also, be prepared to pay a fee to enter the Ojos del Salado area and obtain prior authorization from Chilean government offices.
If mountain climbing isn't your cup of tea, consider exploring the Ojos del Salado area with a 4x4 vehicle, driving along trails that pass salt deposits and lagoons. Or adventurous mountain bikers can challenge themselves on the high-altitude mountain bike circuits.
While visiting Ojos del Salado, be sure to enjoy the beautiful green lagoons in the area, such as the Verde Lagoon, which is about 13,780 feet above sea level, the Santa Rosa Lagoon, and the Lagoon del Negro Francisco, both about 12,100 feet above sea level. These lagoons are home to species such as ducks and flamingos that can survive the cold and windy environment. The Ojos del Salado volcano is also flanked by two other peaks worth your notice. On one side is the Nevado Tres Cruces, at a height of 18,222 feet (6,749 meters); on the other is Cerro Incahuasi, at 24,498 feet (6,621 meters). The Nevado Tres Cruces volcano also lends its name to one of Chile's nearby national parks, the Nevado Tres Cruces National Park.
Whether you visit Ojos del Salado in Chile in order to climb to the top, or visit simply to explore the salt flats and lakes, the impressive peaks and surrounding scenery are sure to wow you. Including a visit to this site is a must for any list of things to do in Chile.