Valle de la Luna, or in English – The Moon Valley is, in fact, a maze of canyons and giant spires which were created by the persistent erosion of mountains caused by rain and strong winds in the area.
The formations are mainly composed of sandstone and clay rather than rocks. The mineral content of the formations varies greatly between individual mountains which cause different colors to be exposed. Most of them are a light brown color or beige, but there are some which are almost red with sections of dark violet.
The formation creates striking optical illusions because of its colors and the atmosphere in the whole area is wondrous and mystical. The most unusual formation in the valley is “Madre Luna” (“Mother Moon”). It varies from clear beige to sections of red and dark violet.
People claim that the name of the valley was given by Neil Amstrong who apparently visited the site and claimed that it resembled the moon. But this can’t be taken as a fact.
The land in the valley is quite sparse, but there are several species of cactus growing among the stalagmites such as the San Pedro cactus and the hallucinogenic Choma. There is also a kind of lizard or viscacha, an animal that looks like a mixture between a rabbit and a fox.
The valley is situated some 10 kilometers from downtown La Paz and can be easily reached. There are two circular paths at the valley each covering different viewpoints. One is a 15 minute treck, and the other one takes at least 45 minutes.
The most spectacular viewpoint is the Devil’s point and on the longer track. There are also a few locations where an experienced climber would feel comfortable and escape the paths a bit and walk on the tricky sandstone formations.
Even though some of the valley is still under development as they make paths for people to easily reach other parts of it, the place itself is really calm while the sights are breathtaking. By any means, it is worth visiting.
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