This surreal landscape of barren ridges, soaring cliffs, sand dunes, and pale valleys could be from a canvas by Salvador Dalí. Originally a small corner of a vast inland sea, the valley rose up with the Andes. The water slowly drained away, leaving deposits of salt and gypsum that were folded by the shifting of the Earth's crust and then worn away by wind and rain. The vastness and grandeur of some of the formations is quite breathtaking, and listening carefully to the cracking of the salt crystals as the sun warms up and cools down the surfaces is quite awe-inspiring. Visiting the Valle de la Luna is fabulous at sunset, although this is also when truck loads of tourists arrive, so if you want the valley to yourself visit in the morning when there is barely a soul there. You can visit by car, by bike (bring a big hat for shade!), or horseback.
14 km (9 miles) west of San Pedro, San Pedro de Atacama, 1410000, Chile