Valle de la Luna (Moon Valley) is just over 6 miles from downtown La Paz in the underrated country of Bolivia. Moon Valley, however, isn’t actually a valley at all, but rather a maze of stone spires and canyons. The rock formations are mostly composed of clay and sandstone which are all that remains of a mountain that’s been battered by the elements for centuries.
La Paz, the most densely populated urban area in all of Bolivia, is surrounded by mountains, and sits at a staggering 11,975 feet above sea level, making it the highest capital city in the world. Surrounded by mountains, it’s one of the most unique cities in South America — some would say the world. Temperatures in the area, especially at night, range from cold to much colder. It’s a dense city with incredible views of surrounding mountains, and it makes for an easy jumping off point for day trips.
Moon Valley, just 40 minutes away by bus, is a world of its own. Two circular walking tracks will send you in separate directions, each offering spectacular views. Devil’s Point, at the end of the longest track, is one of the more outstanding vistas. Due to the great variety in the mineral content, the rock formations themselves offer quite the color palette — varying from pale browns to deep reds, even slashes of purple. The vegetation, albeit sparse, is doggedly present. You’ll find several species of cactus wedged between the spires, including the hallucinogenic Choma, aka San Pedro Cactus.
Development is fast encroaching on this natural wonder and it erodes a bit more with each rainy season, so it’s definitely worth seeing while the landscape is still pristine and serene.
How to get there
You have three options: public transport, taxi, or tour.
By public transport: Take the Teleferico (cable car) green line to the end, Irpavi. Then take a taxi to the entrance, or you can walk to 8th street of Calacoto and take a minibus to Mallasa. The entrance to Valle de la Luna is just before Mallasa — tell the driver that’s where you’re going and they’ll drop you at the entrance.
By taxi: Moon Valley is about 15-20 minute drive from the southern zone of La Paz by taxi.
By tour: Tours usually arrange everything — transportation, entry fee, etc. But they will limit the amount of time you can spend at the site.
What to consider
- Entry fee is $2.
- Layered clothes and comfy shoes are a must.
- Visit during the day.
- Bring refreshments, there is nothing inside the park.
- The longest walk around the valley will take you just under an hour.
- It’s a good half day excursion.