Chile - Desert Atacama

The Atacama Desert is one of the attractions in Chile. I traveled to Atacama from Bolivia after a 3-days tour around Salar de Uyni. The tour ended on the border with Chile. It took an hour to San Pedro de Atacama from the border. The town is a starting point to visit Atacama desert. The main attractions of the desert are Valle de la Luna, Valle de la Muerte and Paranal Observatory (astronomical observatory). The best option to visit the valleys is a shuttle-bus tour. It starts around 1400-1500 and ends after sunset over Valle de la Luna. The tour program also includes Valle de la Muerte and the other attractions nearby San Pedro de Atacama.

I chose different form of visiting the Atacama. I rented a bike to go to Valle de la Muerte. It is located less than 10 km from the city. However, the route was very demanding for an amateur cyclist. The route led steeply uphill from the city to the valley. I had to get off the bike and push it up the hill.

I paid CLP 1000 (USD 1.5) for entrance fee. Valle de Muerte is beautiful and resembles the landscape of Mars. I spent a few hours admiring its beauty. I recommend to visit it. Originally I also planned to cycle to Valle de la Luna. Unfortunately, I had no stamina and time to do it . Therefore, I recommend an organized tour or car rental.

Paranal Observatory may be visited at weekends. Registration is requested: