When in La Paz, Bolivia there is generally a list of things that all tourists should do.
This list includes a cable car ride (or several in our case) up to the heights of El Alto and most certainly a trip to The Valley of the Moon or Valle de la Luna in Spanish.
When it comes to things to do on a budget in La Paz The Valley of the Moon is a must see for all spending a few days in the de facto Bolivian capital.
Leave the polluted epicentre of the main city of La Paz and hop in a cab heading towards Valle de la Luna.
La Paz, Bolivia
Now, I’ve been perfectly honest on my feelings about the dirty city of La Paz, this polluted, high-altitude city makes your head spin and your chest hurt from arrival.
But, the city of La Paz has an undoubtable vibrancy that you can only really find in the great cities of Latin America. Perhaps there’s something in the Andean Air that makes each visit to one of Latin America’s great cities such a memorable experience.
Despite it’s dirty streets and questionable electrics (look up at the hanging wires) La Paz became the last city I visited in Latin America and truly one of my favourite.
The rough-and-ready exterior of La Paz and El Alto are only one part of the story, if you look a little deeper there is beauty to be found and a short cab ride will take you to one of La Paz’s natural beauties, The Valley of the Moon.
The Valley of the Moon, La Paz
Alongside a trip to the infamous and curious Witches Market, there are a number of budget and backpacker must do’s whilst in Bolivia. The Valley of the Moon is one of those things.
We visited based on a recommendation in a trusty guide book, as usual we were not disappointed. A short-ish journey, traffic dependent, will take you to the entrance of The Valley of the Moon, La Paz.
The journey itself should only take 20-30 minutes but in the midday heat of the equator traffic isn’t usually on the side of the driver.
A beautifully hot day in the heights of La Paz, would take us out of the polluted city centre and towards the desert of the surrounding areas of La Paz.
The Valley of the Moon is a maze like natural area made up of large towering geological structures, that over time have eroded into all sorts of shapes and sizes due to the harsh rain and weather experienced in the mountain bowl that it is located in.
As a tourist you can pay an entrance fee and explore the walkways and take advantage of the many photo opportunities along the route.
Although there is nothing noteworthy about The Valley of the Moon in terms of history and culture a geological marvel is still a geological marvel and The Valley of the Moon is unlike anything I have seen in Europe.
For me, The Valley of the Moon signifies and represents the gruesome weather in this region of the world and for me, it represents the resilient people that live in the mountain bowl canyon of La Paz.
How to get to The Valley of the Moon, La Paz
We decided to take a taxi to The Valley of the Moon due to how easy and cheap taxis are in La Paz. If you do’t want to take a taxi there are a few other options for you.
- Take an organised tour to The Valley of the Moon – there are organised tours that take tourists to and from The Valley of the Moon. This is a great option if you plan on exploring other areas of Bolivia too, it may be worth booking a tour that incorporates The Valley of the Moon and a couple of other destinations. Tours4fun have a wide range of Bolivia tours on their website but I have never used this company before so always have a shop around before committing to a specific tour or price.
- Take the cable car (teleferico) as far as you can go on the green line and then take a taxi the rest of the journey. If you are already used to travelling around La Paz on the teleferico then this is definitely a recommended way to get to The Valley of the Moon – think of the views!
If you haven’t already exploited the views from the cable car in La Paz, a trip to The Valley of the Moon would be a great time to do so.
Travel at selected times as many of the most popular routes get busy.
Remember that the teleferico in La Paz is just a means of transport for the locals rather than an attraction, don’t be surprised if you end up sharing a car with a couple of random locals hitching a ride home from work.
Tips for visiting The Valley of the Moon
Spend no longer than a couple of hours exploring The Valley of the Moon. I’d recommend arriving early as the midday sun this close to the equator can be pretty harsh on you.
From memory you can buy water in the main entrance and there are toilets for the use of the general public but I’d still recommend taking a bottle of water just in case.
Don’t forget your camera and some decent footwear, although the routes through The Valley of the Moon are pathed out for tourists it’s still completely dusty and the ground is uneven.
It’s worth noting that the Valley of the Moon isn’t accessible for wheelchair users.
Photos from The Valley of the Moon, La Paz
Here’s a selection of photos taken from my time spent at The Valley of the Moon in Bolivia.
A 20-something travel blogger based in Liverpool. Covering all things from Latin America to Liverpool local guides and everything in between.