Definitions

altiplano

altiplano

[al-tuh-plah-noh; for 1 also Sp. ahl-tee-plah-naw]

The Altiplano, which is Spanish for high plain, is the most extensive area of high plateau on the planet outside of Tibet. The region is located in west-central South America, where the Andes are at their widest. Lake Titicaca is its best known geographical feature, with La Paz, Bolivia, serving as the largest city.

In addition to Bolivia, the Altiplano incorporates parts of Chile, Argentina and Peru. The region is marked by large volatile volcanoes, with the Atacama Desert, one of the driest areas on the planet, in the southwest corner of Altiplano. The climate in much of the region is cool and arid, with some areas only averaging a trace of rainfall each year, but some active plant life is found in areas with more rainfall, such as Lake Titicaca.

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