Dwelled in the heart of the Cordillera de la Sal in the Atacama desert, the Chilean Valle de la Luna (meaning “Moon Valley”) boasts with a unique, breathtaking spectrum of colours and forms.
One thing is sure – it is one of the natural attractions you shouldn’t miss while being in the area of San Pedro de Atacama. Honestly, fellow readers, this rocky place will give you the WOW! 🙂
Let us share more details with you in the following article.
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Status: Natural sanctuary (since 1982)
Area: 87 000 sq miles (140 000 sq km) of land, part of Los Flamencos National Reserve
Coordinates: 22.9112°S 68.32303°W
Entrance fee: 3 000 CLP (3.5 EUR)
Where is Valle de la Luna located?
This otherworldly, lunar canyon is located in the Northern Chile, about 10 km (9 miles) west of San Pedro de Atacama (accessible by dirt road).
As the trails are well-marked, you can explore the area on your own (hiking or renting a bike).
However, we highly recommend booking an organized tour* to explore the Moon Valley as you won’t need to bother about transportation logistics.
*Continue reading to find more information about the best tour options. 🙂
What is the best time to visit Valle de la Luna?
Any time of the year is suitable to visit the unique landscape, however, the Chilean summer, from the end of November to the last days of February, might be the best period to consider.
During these months, the average temperatures during the days are about 23-25°C (77°F) and drop to about 7-8°C (46°F) at night. However, prepare yourself for the crowds at the start of the year is an extremely busy time in the region of Atacama desert.
In this context, another option is to visit the Moon Valley during Chilean winter (from June to August). You won’t find many tourists, but the weather is chillier: daytime temperature goes to 21°C (70°F) and collapses to 2°C (36°F) at night.
What tours to book in Valle de la Luna?
The majority of the organized tours to the Moon Valley in Chile are offered in English and provide a hotel pickup. Thus, it could be overwhelming to choose the best company.
Depends on your plans and budget, we’d highly recommend considering:
- Moon Valley tour from San Pedro de Atacama by bus (it usually lasts up to 6 hours, including the transportation and the price varies from 20 to 35 EUR)
- Astronomy tour from San Pedro de Atacama
- Private afternoon tour (to enjoy the impressive canyon composed by rock and sand on foot).
- This type of organized tour can cost from 20 EUR to 100 EUR, depends on the company and the extras included (afternoon tea, bottled water, snacks, languages offered etc.)
Which are the best activities to try out in Valle de la Luna?
If you’re still not entirely convinced to book a tour (or just travel on a tight budget), worry not – there are plenty of cool activities to try out!
Here are some of them:
In the Moon Valley, there are four main hiking trails with average difficulty. All of them are 100% worth it as you will be able to see scenic views, hidden from the road.
Biking (in the morning)
However biking in the valley is not for amateurs, there are loads of visitors who are trying it every year.
The best time of the day is in the morning as the afternoons are quite windier.
Have you heard the Atacama desert is one of the best spots in the world for stargazing?
The absence of light pollution will allow you to make some astonishing photographs.
Enjoy the sunset from the top of the world
Grab your camera and climb to the top of Duna Mayor Valle de la Luna (Major Dune) for the best sunset panoramas in your life! 🙂
At long last
As you’ll be in the driest desert on the globe, adjusting to the high altitude of the region, the most essential thing you need to carry is a lot of water.
Additionally, arm yourself with a pair of comfy hiking shoes, sunscreen, some snacks that won’t put too much weight on your backpack, as well as layers of clothing.
A fan of the natural wonders? Then read also El Tatio – Evidence of Mother Nature’s Stateliness