This area of Atacama region limits with the farthest South of Antofagasta region, hence the origin of its major cultural influence in these fests, due to en the early C20 migration of people coming from families living in nitrate plants, like Santa Elena, and also belonging to Bailes Religiosos there. Thus, the Inca de Oro village Baile Moreno is created. After disappearing, it is settled in Chañaral city, being called Baile Moreno of Chañaral, actively participating till nowadyas in San Pedro fest, and regularly attending Nuestra Señora Candelaria in Copiapó.
Copiapó, capital city of Atacama region, is located in this area. Every February, Nuestra Señora Candelaria of Copiapó – the most popular celebration -, gathers the most diverse Bailes Religiosos from different areas of the region and the country. Bailes Chinos represent the oldest tradition, them being the societies that serve and carry Virgin Mary (their Chinita, as they call it) in procession, offering her singing, dancing, and the sound of their flutes and drums.
This area of Atacama region limits with the farthest North of Coquimbo region, where one of the oldest traditions in the country, Virgen del Rosario fest in Andacollo, takes place. The first traces of dryness, where Atacama desert appears, can be found here.. Vallenar city Cruz de Mayo celebration, a place crossed by Huasco river, home of Southern Atacama, is outstanding.
ANDES MOUNTAINS ZONE
This area of Atacama region , from Vallenar city upwards, two wonderful valleys are opened from Alto del Carmen: Valle del Tránsito and San Félix Valley. This zone concentrates a huge number of small villages, towns, and settlements, therefore, a similar amount of small, very intimate religious fests are celebrated. Virgen del Tránsito fest, still keeping their Baile Chino, is outstanding. Barrel-shaped tambor chino, very different from Candelaria de Copiapó Chinos’ drums, call our attention, as well as the speed they play it with. Tradition Keeling from Virgen del Rosario de Andacollo Bailes Chinos can be appreciated.