Amazing sunsets in the Moon Valley Chile

Moon Valley Chile

The Moon Valley is one of the must-see places of the Atacama Desert, in Chile. Located between the mountain ranges of the Andes, Domeyco and La Sal, the landscapes of this place are incredible.

Most tours leave at 3:00 p.m. from San Pedro to see the sunset. The ride to reach the valley is only 15 kilometers.

We went in autumn, a time when mornings and nights are quite cold. However, for this tour, you should consider fresh clothes, comfortable shoes, sunglasses, hat or cap, sunscreen, and water, because you have to walk and the sun is strong.

The Moon Valley in Chile is surrounded by three mountain ranges: Los Andes, Domeyco and La Sal.
The Moon Valley in Chile is surrounded by three mountain ranges: Los Andes, Domeyco and La Sal.

If you are going to spend more time in the Atacama Desert, check this information about the Altiplanic Lagoons and the Tatio Geysers.

Moon Valley Tour

Duna Mayor or Gran Duna

We start the tour through the valley until we reach the Duna Mayor, where we can observe a spectacular panorama. The landscape combines perfect rolling sand hills molded by the wind and, on the other hand, rock formations that arose thanks to erosion.

It takes about 30 minutes walking and climbing up to the site, by the rocky sector. Make sure to stop at this place to appreciate the desert landscape, take pictures and take a break after the climb.

The Gran Duna or Duna Mayor is a hill of sand with a privileged view of the valley and the salt rocks.
The Gran Duna or Duna Mayor is a hill of sand with a privileged view of the valley and the salt rocks.

Amphitheater

Being such a large site, we returned to the starting point of the tour, we took again the car that took us to another large sector, known as the Amphitheater. It is a rock formation at least 40 meters high, in which the reddish color predominates.

The colors of the rocks of the amphitheater have reddish tones.
The colors of the rocks of the amphitheater have reddish tones.

Las Tres Marías

Las Tres Marias is right in the middle of the Moon Valley in Chile. It is about stone formations that were eroded by the salt and the desert wind. At this point, it was where a historical figure of San Pedro de Atacama, priest Gustavo LePaige, made his last archaeological studies.

Erosion has modified the shape of the Tres Marías, but it is still a mandatory stop for tourists.
Erosion has modified the shape of the Tres Marías, but it is still a mandatory stop for tourists.

The Salt Caverns

The Caverns of Salt is another site that can be visited in this valley. Here is where pieces of rock salt can be observed. I didn’t do it because the rains that fell two months before affected the caverns and they were temporarily closed.

Viewpoint Kcari

Our visit to the Valley of the Moon culminated in the Mirador de Kcari (Viewpoint Kcari). This place is where the largest number of people gather to watch the sunset. Already by that time (around 6 pm) the cool breeze begins, so it is convenient to have a coat by hand.

In this viewpoint is the famous Coyote Stone. You have probably seen pics of people on the edge of the stone, but this can no longer be done because of the danger of an accident occurring.

This viewpoint is the place where people gather to watch the sunset.
This viewpoint is the place where people gather to watch the sunset.

The sunset colors are spectacular, so it’s worth ending the day at this viewpoint. Most tours return to San Pedro between 7:30 and 8:00 p.m., depending on the time of year and the time of sunset.

Moon Valley Evaporites

In our visit to the Valley of the Moon, we could observe the rocks with a whitish cover, which is called evaporites.

“They are lucky,” the guide told us. Because the evaporites are observed when the rain penetrates the ground and the evaporation allows the desert salts to rise to the surface. The February rains meant that, in April, we saw this phenomenon.

The evaporites arise thanks to the water that penetrates the soil and to the evaporation that allows the salts of the desert to come out.
The evaporites arise thanks to the water that penetrates the soil and to the evaporation that allows the salts of the desert to come out.

During or after the summer is the best time to appreciate the evaporites, because thanks to the so-called “Bolivian winter”, it is at that moment when it rains in the desert.

But how did the salt get to this place? Hundreds of years ago, there were volcanoes in the area that emanated minerals. There were also glaciers. With the eruptions of volcanoes and the melting of ice from glaciers, basins were formed and the minerals were washed away.

Moon Valley by bicycle

If you are a person who enjoys cycling and you have a good physical condition, you may be interested in this option. In San Pedro de Atacama, I saw a place called “K2”, and another Andean Sun, that rent bicycles, with prices between $ 15 and $ 22 for the full day.

The Valley of the Moon is located about 9 miles from San Pedro de Atacama.
The Valley of the Moon is located about 9 miles from San Pedro de Atacama.

Take into account that, although a good part of the route is paved, when you arrive at the Moon Valley in Chile everything changes because there is part of rock and part of sand, where it even makes walking a bit difficult.

Also, keep in mind that the sun is strong between noon and 5:00 p.m. and you may have hard winds.

Tourism Agencies

We hired the services of Wimpala tours because it was one of the few that allowed payment via credit card from our country. Other agencies request the deposit of a percentage of the money, via Western Union.

The other agency with which we had contact was Acamarachi Geoturismo, with good prices and with the facility that they gave me all the information that WhatsApp required.

If you can not hire the services in advance, do not worry, in the town the tourist agencies open until late at night. There you can find several options, packages, and discounts.

Categories: Cities

Tagged as:

1 Comment »