Very few places in the world can compare to the Valle de la Luna. This surreal landscape of barren ridges, soaring cliffs, and pale valleys could be from a canvas by Salvador Dalí. Originally a small corner of a vast inland sea, the valley rose up with the Andes.
Valle de la Luna (Valley of the Moon) is located 13 kilometres (8 mi) west of San Pedro de Atacama, Chile in the Cordillera de la Sal, in the Atacama desert of Chile. 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. Valle de la Luna is a part of the Reserva Nacional los Flamencos and was declared a Nature Sanctuary in 1982 for its great natural beauty and strange lunar landscape, from which its name is derived. The valley is also considered one of the driest places on earth, as some areas have not received a single drop of rain in hundreds of years. A prototype for a Mars rover was tested there by scientists because of the valley’s dry and forbidding terrains.