Catamarca (Spanish pronunciation: [kataˈmarka]) is a province of Argentina, located in the northwest of the country. The province has a population of 334,568 as per the 2001 census [INDEC], and covers an area of 102,602 km². Its literacy rate is 95.5%. Neighbouring provinces are (clockwise, from the north): Salta, Tucumán, Santiago del Estero, Córdoba, and La Rioja. To the west it borders Chile.
The pass is located at Catamarca with the Atacama Region in Chile. In the Argentinian side, route N 60 ascends from Fiambala at 1,505 m (4,938 ft) AMSL in a deep valley formed by 5,000-metre (16,000 ft) mountains. In the last sinuous 20 km (12 mi), the route climbs from about 4,000 m (13,000 ft) in Las grutas to more than 4,700 m (15,400 ft) at the border.and connects the Argentinian province of
On the Chilean side the route CH-31 connects Copiapó with the Chile-Argentinian border. On the way it passes next to Maricunga's salt flat on the Nevado Tres Cruces National Park and Laguna Verde. The area is surrounded by volcanoes and high peaks as the Cerro Falso Azufre (5,906 m or 19,377 ft), the volcano San Francisco (6,018 m or 19,744 ft), the Incahuasi (6,638 m or 21,778 ft) and highest volcano in the world, Nevado Ojos del Salado (6,879 m or 22,569 ft), among others.