It is characterized by its enormous dunes, valleys and hills of salt, rock and sand.

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Valle de la Luna (Moon Valley) and Valle de La Muerte (Death Valley) are located in the Atacama Desert, and they make up an otherwordly landscape with their amazing geological formations, which have been eroded by the passage of time.


Valle de la Luna is a fantastic moon landscape that is a part of the Cordillera de la Sal (Salt Mountain Range) belonging to the Los Flamencos National Reserve. It is a small depression of salt ground, 1,650 feet (500 m) in diameter, that exhibits odd sculptural shapes. These are the result of a sequence of transformations on the earth’s crust caused by the folding of the watery ground underneath the salt lake. Because of its lack of humidity, there is no life here, which has turned it into one of the most inhospitable places on earth.

In the surroundings you can visit the Salt Sculptures known as Las Tres Marías and enjoy one of the most amazing and colorful sunsets in Northern Chile.


Death Valley is located very close to Moon Valley, also in Cordillera de La Sal. This is an authentic abyss and its name arose due to its tragic history, since most of the people who tried to cross it passed away. A proof of this is the remains you can find in the surroundings (both animal and human). Just like Moon Valley, it is recognized for its rock formation and sand dunes, set amidst the uttermost aridity of Atacama Desert. This is why many people consider it the most inhospitable place on earth.

If you have experience and a good physical condition, this is the ideal place to go mountain biking. You can also go sandboarding in the dunes, a very reputable and highly sought-after activity by tourists. The majority of the tours in Moon and Death Valley last between four and five hours, and include a stop in Cordillera de la Sal to see the sunset and enjoy the beautiful colors over the sand mountains.


Location: Región de Antofagasta, 331 km (206.8 mi) northeast of Antofagasta. San Pedro de Atacama is 15 km (9.3 mi) northwest.

When to go: Year round.

Attractions: Cordillera de la Sal, the Great Dune

How to get there: Santiago– Antofagasta: by airplane, public transportation or car. Antofagasta-Calama: via land by public or private transportation. Take Route 5 North, then take Route 25, around Carmen Alto, until you arrive in Calama. From Calama head southeast on Route 23, approximately 57 km (35.6 mi) later you will find the turn off to Valle de la Luna.


  • Plane: Flight from Santiago – Calama (2 hours 10 minutes).
  • Bus: 20 hours from Santiago to Calama/ Calama to San Pedro (1 hour).
Amphitheatre in der Atacama Wüste

Amphitheatre in der Atacama Wüste Beeindruckende Felsformation im Valle de la Luna in der Atacama Wüste in Chile. Photos: Marion Kaminski

Marion Kaminski

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