Death Valley, San Pedro de Atacama
I enjoyed this place so much I visited there 3 times: once for hiking, once on horseback and once for sandboarding. Most agencies will organize a hike of this place along with the tour for Valle de La Luna. Walking barefoot in this totally alien landscape on top of and down a sand-dune and admiring the spectacular volcanos in the background is an experience not to be missed. This is a great vantage point to admire the surreal landscapes surrounding the area.
It is thought that the name of this place was actually Valle de Marte (Mars Valley), a title which is aptly suited for this place. In fact, NASA tests some of it's equipment here as it so closely resembles the landscape on Mars.
Due to the lack of humidity and other extreme conditions it is said that this place is sterile - this means that nothing will decompose here including bodies and garbage.
We visited the Death Valley on a combined tour that included Death Valley, a trek through the Quebrada de Kari (salt river bed) and ended with the sunset at the Moon Valley.
Death Valley is a fascinating view of what one might imagine Mars would be like. In fact, the location was supposed to be known as Valle de Marte (Mars Valley) but due to a pronunciation problem ended up being known as Valle de la Muerte (Death Valley). Either name works for the valley as there is nothing growing in its earth (no plant life). The valley has interesting rock formations and is a stunning red colour.
This tour we took through Cactus Tours and the total cost was 4000 pesos plus 2000 to enter the Moon Valley which is a national park.
Directions: Located about 10 kms north of San Pedro de Atacama on the highway heading towards Calama. It is on the right hand side of the highway.
Although it ..deserves the name- absolutely nothing grows on it- it's actually from Valle del Marte (Mars). Probably because of the reddish color of the sand. Even if you book a tour you will walk along the dirt road to enjoy the outlandish scenery. Or you can ride a bicycle. Many sand boarders come to enjoy the dunes.
Don't forget your hat !!!
La puesta en el Valle de la Muerte es espectacular ya que por un lado ves como se va el sol y por el lado opuesto ves a los volcanes y a las montañas como cambian de colores hasta ponerse casi rojas
The sunset in the Death Valley is spectacular as in one side you see how the sun goes and in the other you see the volcanoes and the mountains changing colours up to become nearly reds
El misionero belga R.P Le Paige , padre de la investigación arqueológica en la región , le quiso dar el nombre de Valle de Marte por su parecido a lo que podía ser la orografía de Marte , pero debido a un error de pronunciación se quedó con el nombre que se ha mantenido a través de los años : Valle de la Muerte
Entramos por un estrecho cañón y bajamos andando por un camino de arena bordeando una duna inmensa y formaciones rocosas espectaculares
es parte de la cordillera de la sal
The Belgium missioner R.P. Le Paige , father of the archaeological investigation in the area , wanted to name it Mars Valley because its appearance it was similar to what should be in Mars , but due to a pronunciation mistake it kept the name that has been maintained during the years : Death Valley
We entered by a narrow canyon and we went down walking by a sand way at the edge of a huge dune and spectacular rocky forms
It is part of the salt range
Baptized valley of the Death, according to the legend of which the persons former were dying when they were trying to cross it.
Bones of animals or of persons were found.
As the secura of the Atacama Desert determines, nobody can live in his Valley of the Death. But it is possible to admire it: the Valley of the Death is a festival of colors and forms.
The Valley of the Death is also one of the best places to practice sandboard.
The tour takes 2 hours and you can also go there in a horse.
Directions: It is located 3 Km from San pedro de Atacama.
The mistakenly -albeit more commonly- called Valle de la Muerte (“Death Valley”), after a deformation of its true name Valle de Marte (“Mars Valley”), which comes from the evidently “martian” color of the ground and sand (it’s red or reddish) and the outlandish topography, is a somewhat hidden valley, and system of dunes and small caves a few kilometres off San Pedro, on the right (NE) side of the road to Calama. It’s accessible by foot, bicycle, or on one of the tours that go there before heading for the Valle de la Luna.
It’s a beautiful place to go alone in the afternoon, it is possible to camp on the dunes, and some people go there to do sandboarding.
Nikon F4s, Nikkor 300 mm., f. 8, 1/250 sec., POL filter
Directions: If walking or cycling there, take the paved road to Calama for 2 kilometres, and look for the dirt road detour to the right: that’s all.
Al atardecer hay que ir a la Gran Duna en el valle de la muerte para ver la puesta de sol
At dusk you must go to the Big Dune in the Death Valley to see the sunset