Moon Valley in the Atacama Desert - Chile (Turismo Grado 10)

Exploring the Atacama desert with Grado 10, part 1/4: Moon Valley

Grado 10 is, hands down, the coolest tour company in town! Entertaining tours run by a fun team going around in a truck-bus hybrid, are guarantee of a time well spent around San Pedro de Atacama!

We joined the guys at Grado 10 for 4 of the most popular tours around the most arid place on Earth, the Atacama Desert in Northern Chile:
- Moon Valley
Altiplanic Lagoons
Cejar Lagoon
Tatio Geysers

We were so excited to have our days filled with adventure that we even put up a trailer to give you a little taste of all the fun ahead:


All of Grado 10′s tours are made on a very original form of transportation: 50% truck, 50% bus, 100% desert monster! This vehicle made sure all other tour groups would look at us with jealous puppy eyes every time we approached a spot where other tour groups would concentrate, with vans and regular buses that looked so plain and boring next to our overland.

Grado 10's overland at the entrance of the Moon Valley

Grado 10's overland at the entrance of the Moon Valley


So on the first day, we visited…



After living in the Middle East for 4 years we thought we knew what a desert would feel like, but when we arrived to the Atacama, we understood that our ideas of dryness and barren landscape did not reflect how inhospitable the scenery here is.

Walking towards the Grand Dune

Walking towards the Grand Dune


The Moon Valley (aka Valle de la Luna, as it’s known locally in Spanish) was born where the Atacama desert meets the Andes mountain rage. Impressive stone and sand formations remind visitors of the moon’s landscape. The abundance of salt makes this place even more unthinkable to live in, but surprisingly Atacameno people have been here since forever, and have been doing just fine! You do not see a green leaf for miles and miles – just pure sand, rock and salt!

View from top of the Grand Dune

View from top of the Grand Dune


For those who believe that mankind hasn’t actually set a foot in the moon and that what they showed on TV in 1969 was shot in a Hollywood studio, here’s an alternative option: maybe they just filmed the whole thing right here, in the Moon Valley!

In the spirit of 1969, here’s when A&Z took their first step on the Moon:



What makes the landscapes of Moon Valley and the Atacama desert in general even more impressive is the contrast between the dry areas and the snow capped Andean mountains in the background – this is something you definitely do not see everyday!

Ashray enjoying the moon-like landscapes

Ashray enjoying the moon-like landscapes


After a few hours exploring the area during our tour of the Moon Valley, we made it to the top of a hill to observe the sun go down. The day feels just right when you end your activity as the sun also retires!


Read: Exploring the Atacama desert with Grado 10, part 2/4: Altiplanic Lagoons


More info and bookings:
Toconao 435-A
San Pedro de Atacama, Chile
Moon Valley + Death Valley half-day tour: CLP 10,000 / USD 21


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