Americas Blog Chile Destinations

Visiting the Moon on earth – San Pedro de Atacama, Northern Chile

Valle de la Luna or Moon Valley is located 13 kilometers west of San Pedro in Atacama Desert (aka the driest desert on earth, it was 400 years without rain and now the average rainfall is about 15 mm per year) in northern Chile. It has an impressive range of color and texture, various stone and sand formations, which what I could think about is I was visiting the Moon on earth!

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After 2-hour flight in early morning from Santiago to Calama, then took 1.5-hour shuttle bus headed southeast some 100 km to San Pedro de Atacama.

Alex and I stayed at Hostal Casa Huespedes Turipite, about 1 km northwest from the center and it was a good choice to get a good sleep after came up to about 2,500+ meters above sea level. When you are at high altitudes, you start to get less oxygen from the air than usual, the higher the more symptoms of sickness will start to appear, which feels a lot like a hangover, headache, feeling sick to your stomach, to vomit. What you got to do to adjust to high altitudes is simple, get a good sleep, take it easy, walk slowly, there is no need to run and burn out your valuable oxygen quickly, drink more water or coca tea, and stay away from alcohol. After 2,500 m, altitudes gain shouldn’t be over than 500 m in every other day. That’s that!

Valle de la Luna, the Moon on earth tour

We went to explore Valle de la Luna/ Moon Valley at the same day we arrived in San Pedro which I made a tour reservation in advance with Denomades.com and everything was great. It was in Autumn and it wasn’t that busy actually, so I think it’s fine if you don’t want to book a tour in advance and there are plenty of tour operations available in San Pedro. The price is $10,000 CLP ($15 USD). The tour starts at 3 pm – 7.30 pm and it offers the most beautiful sunset in Atacama Desert.

We went with a minibus with a small group (12 people) and a funny, kind and knowledgeable guide. As I mentioned, we were there in Autumn, it wasn’t so cold in the day (15-20 °C) but the temperature went lower quickly after sunset (below 0 and it was -10 °C in the night, no kidding!), so grab a jacket before you go!

Landscapes were very spectacular and impressive, a beautiful valley with yellow to rose, to brown color and some covering with salt, and all interesting textures. I’d say, moon valley is my favorite place in San Pedro.

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3 comments on “Visiting the Moon on earth – San Pedro de Atacama, Northern Chile

  1. Pingback: An Epic Uyuni Salt Flat & Desert Adventure from San Pedro to Uyuni, Bolivia – Sweet Rovers

  2. Will be visiting in a month. Love this post, thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

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