Find out everything about the valley of the moon in Bolivia and dive into the most ancient adventure in the Andes.
This peculiar valley is located only 5 kilometers from La Paz. It is a natural attraction with great beauty, formed by the erosion of strong winds and water. Thanks to this phenomenon, spectacular craters, that resemble the moon, were born in these lands. It is for this reason, that many tourists nowadays consider the Valley of the Moon as a must-visit place when visiting Bolivia.
Please join us to explore this one of a kind destination in La Paz and do not miss out on visiting such a wonderful attraction.
What can we find?
There are several trails that lead to the heart of the valley, from which you can appreciate beautiful views of the Cordillera. The visitor can also observe lizards and viscachas, which are typical species of the Andean fauna. The subway tourist center provides relevant information on the geological history of the area and internal circuits.
On the way to the Valley of the Moon is the “Cactario”. Stone paths and hanging bridges lead to the ‘Cactario’, where you can see more than 32 species of native cactus in their natural environment. The garden offers spectacular views of the site’s rock formations and the ‘Muela del Diablo’.
Why that name?
In 1969, Neil Armstrong, the first astronaut to walk on the moon, visited La Paz with his colleague Richard Gordon. Their visit came a few months after returning from the moon. The Mayor’s Office of La Paz declared them Guests of Honor. They were first taken to see a soccer match between The Strongest and Bolivar.
After the match, Armstrong visited this site which he said reminded him of the lunar landscapes he had seen and named the place.
What’s its compositon?
This unusual landscape is formed by ground erosion over thousands of years. All its structure is practically made of clay that causes the peaks to look like stalagmites in the desert. The clay is composed of minerals that vary by area causing differences in color. Mostly it is pale cream or brown color, but there are parts that can range from reddish tones to violet.
Some formations are given curious names such as “mother moon” or “the turtle mound”. The best view can be found from the “devil’s point” at the end of the long trail. There is almost no vegetation except for the 32 types of cactus, including the San Pedro cactus which has a hallucinogenic effect. This plant has been used in traditional medicine and religious ceremonies for over 3,000 years.
How can I visit the Valley of the Moon?
The easiest way to go is by taking a bus to Mallasa from the stop near the church of San Francisco and Sagarnaga street. The ride takes about 40 minutes and the cost is approx 3.00 Bolivianos.
If you rather go in a taxi, that is fine. You can get any taxi from the center to the Valley. The cost is approx 42.00 Bolivianos or 6 dollars and the ride takes only 20 minutes.
To enter the Valley of the Moon you will have to pay a price of 15 bolivianos (foreigners) which is about two dollars. In approximately one hour you can visit everything (there are two routes, one of 45 mins and another of 15 mins).
What to bring
It is advisable to wear comfortable shoes, as some trails are a bit narrow and uneven. If you go in the rainy season, you can take a waterproof jacket. The visit won’t take you more than one and a half hours so do not worry about bringing much stuff.
Note: On June 21 the feast of ‘San Juan’ is celebrated and it is possible to visit the site at night. This festival focuses on astronomy, space travel, and fiction films.