El Valle de la Luna is located 13 kilometres west of San Pedro de Atacama, to the north of Chile in the Cordillera de la Sal, in the Atacama desert. It has various stone and sand formations which have been carved by wind and water. It has an impressive range of color and texture, looking somewhat similar to the surface of the moon. There are also dry lakes where the composition of salt makes a white covering layer of the area. It presents diverse saline outcrops which appear like man-made sculptures. There are also a great variety of caverns.
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Located in the Atacama Desert to the west of San Pedro de Atacama, the Valle de la Luna boasts lunar landscapes nestled in the depths of the Cordillera de la Sal.
The region, and more specifically the Valle de la Luna, is known for its near absence of human life. Indeed, due to its desert climate and its very high location, there is no humidity, which does not allow the development of any species, except for a lizard of the species Liolaemus. The thermal amplitude in the Valle de la Luna is very great, as in the Atacama Desert: bring warm clothes!
The Valle de la Luna is distinguished by its astonishing rock formations and its changing colours according to the sun. It is here, in the middle of this scenery as if from another planet, that the Geysers of Tatio are located. This incredible set of fumaroles is one of the region's greatest natural sights and offers a glimpse of the earth's energies at this very spot.
Shaped by the erosion of water and wind over thousands of years, the Valle de la Luna is made up of deep canyons, towering ridges and immense dunes. It takes its name from its total absence of life, so much so that travellers who pass through the region often feel as if they are in the shoes of Neil Armstrong on his journey to the moon. Here, the change of scenery is simply everywhere, from sandboarding down the high sand dunes to long walks in the middle of the desert.
At the heart of this magnificent landscape are the Tatio Geysers, a spectacle that takes place early in the morning at an altitude of 4,200 metres.
To get the most out of a visit to the Geysers, it is recommended that you arrive before 7am, the best time to admire the power of the fumaroles. Many travellers get there before dawn to watch the sun rise over the mink, vicuñas and other birds playing around the llaretas and giant cacti.
The area has many natural hot pools where you can warm up from the coolness of the altitude.
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9 km (5.7 miles) away from Valle de la Luna
San Pedro de Atacama is a Chilean town and commune in El Loa Province, Antofagasta Region. It is located east of Antofagasta, some 106 km southeast of Calama and the Chuquicamata copper mine, overlooking the Licancabur volcano.