The Valley of the Moon

These are photos by travel photographer Brendan van Son back in 2009 in Chile’s Valley of the Moon.  Please respect the rights of the photographer by not reproducing or distributing the images without his consent.

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The Valley of the Moon

I grew up on the edge of the Canadian Rocky Mountains.  In fact, the back deck of our house looked directly out across the eastern foothills and on the limestone based mountains where the sun always found its night’s rest.  I was spoiled with having a backyard view many people dream of seeing just once.  But as such, I somehow take for granted such spectacular views.  Growing up in the mountains, I’ve always longed for different types of geographies: beaches, rain forests and, particularly, deserts.  The bleakness of the desert has always drawn my most curious of interests, and no desert is more potent than the Atacama Desert in Chile, and one of the best parts of the Atacama is the Valley of the Moon.

Settled near the tourist town of San Pedro de Atacama, Chile sits on of the most spectacular desert settings in the entire world: the Valley of the Moon.  The unearthly setting of this valley features towering pillars of sandstone backdropped by 6000 meter high volcanoes.  It offers a peace and tranquility that is unsurpassed, visitors often feel embarrassed to lift their voices above a whisper as if to not break its peace and solitude.  And although I could go on writing about such an amazing place for hours, it seems more fitting that I let you see it for yourself.

valley of the moon

The valley’s rough terrain

valley of the moon, san pedro de atacama, chile

Like a dinosaur’s back

valley of the moon, san pedro de atacama, chile

Sandstone structures

valley of the moon, san pedro de atacama, chile

The Three Praying Marias

valley of the moon, san pedro de atacama, chile

Sun beginning to set

valley of the moon, san pedro de atacama, chile

The impressive volcanoes to the east at sunset

valley of the moon, san pedro de atacama, chile

To me, a landscape doesn’t get much more impressive than this.


Author: Brendan van Son

Author: I am a travel writer and photographer from Alberta, Canada. Over my years as a travel photographer, I have visited 6 of the 7 continents and more countries than I have any desire to count. If you want to improve your skills, be sure to check out my travel photography channel on Youtube . Also, check out my profile on . to learn a little bit more about me and my work.

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14 Comments

  1. These are amazing pictures! I’ve lived in the high deserts of the western US before, but that has nothing on this Chilean desert. Wonderful pics of a far off and strange landscape!

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  2. Stunning! They remind me a lot of what you see driving through Utah- very lunar and surreal.

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  3. Wow, beautiful! It’s so surreal… Thanks for sharing, I didn’t know about that place. Now I feel like I want to go there, hehe:)

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  4. wow- I love them. I think my favorite is the one you compared to dinosaurs back… awesome!

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  5. Stunning photos! I have the urge to drive a 4×4 across it all to those mountain peaks!

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  6. Brendan, those shots are amazing. Like earlier commenters I’m reminded of the CA high desert & Utah, but the Valley of the Moon is even more severe. And stunning. Deserts have a special place in my heart thanks to some poignant trips to & through them. Just looking at these photos is kind of hypnotizing. Thanks for sharing this place with us.

    Peace,
    Lauren

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    • Thanks for the very nice comment Lauren, you’ll have to visit the “driest desert in the world” someday, it’s phenomenal.

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  7. Oh wow! Stunning pictures. It looks like such a beautiful surreal place. I love the desert too though I did not grow up with a backdrop of mountains. The thing I am most homesick for in Australia (I am living abroad in Sweden) is the desert. I just miss that feeling of complete aloneness you can get out there. Europe is too crowded 🙂 At least up North in Sweden you can go some places and find nobody else.

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    • Thanks for the comment Verity! I love how quiet the desert can be too!

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  8. This valley of the moon is stunning! Want to go there someday.

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  9. Great photos. You heading south then?

    Check out TierraAtacama hotel. Say hi to Chris.

    Go to the flamingo lake as well.

    Cheers

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    • I was heading south… now I’m in Arequipa Peru for a bit… I get around my man hahah.

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