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La Paz, Bolivia

Valle de la Luna (Valley of the Moon)

A valley of unique erosion patterns lends to a view like nothing on Earth. 

Monoliths rise up from the Bolivian badlands, the sharp, unwelcoming remains of mountains that have been eroded by centuries of wind and weather.

What looks like a carpet of stalagmites canvasing a desert, Valle de la Luna, or “Valley of the Moon,” is what is left of a mountain composed of clay and sandstone that has been battered by strong winds and time. Like many mountains surrounding the La Paz area of Bolivia, the gutting formations contain rich variations of mineral content, creating colorful composition throughout the drastic landscape.

Said to have been named by astronaut Neil Armstrong, the Valley of the Moon is located about 10 km southwest from La Paz, near the small town of Mallasa, and while a portion of the valley has been preserved, housing is steadily popping up on the unstable soil. While trails are provided and clearly marked for explorers, they are narrow and a bit treacherous; come prepared for sharp edges and uneven paths.

Know Before You Go

There are several bus lines that will deliver you to Valle de la Luna from La Paz