CHILE – El Tatio Geysers and Moon Valley at sunset in Atacama desert

El Tatio Geysers & Moon Valley
El Tatio Geysers & Moon Valley

A great morning trip and evening trip in the Atacama desert. In the morning to the El Tatio geysers at sunrise and in the late afternoon to the Moon Valley for sunset. In between I spend a few hours at the SPA and swimming pool of the great hotel Alto Atacama, a 5 star luxury hotel in the middle of the Atacama desert. I’m sure after reading the below you will want to visit the El Tatio geysers and the Moon Valley too.

El Tatio geysers in the Atacama desert

El Tatio geysers are located a 90 minute drive from San Pedro de Atacama in the Andes mountains at an altitude of 4320 meters. The best time to visit the El Tatio geysers is when the sun rises as it will give great light through the water vapour. When the sun heats the air also the steam plumes will disappear. To get there in time the alarm was set at 04:00 AM and departure from the hotel was at 05:00 AM. After a sleepy drive we arrived at the magnificent El Tatio geysers. What is this a great unique sight.


Geysers are a geological phenomenon where water is heated by magma underground and boiled and spit out trough a hole in the earth crust up to a meter high. This steam will condense in the cold air forming the steam columns up to several meters high. At the El Tatio geysers there are over 80 active geysers and the field is the third largest in the world.

If you are in San Pedro de Atacama do not miss to go to this site and do go in the morning. The hotel (Alto Atacama Desert Lodge & Spa) I stayed arranged a perfect 5 star breakfast at the geysers area (as they did the other day lunch at the Tara salt flat). On the way back we had a stop at a local lama farm to taste the lama meat and we did some wildlife photographing. Back to the hotel around 11:00 AM for a quick nap and then to lunch. Check out the following gallery for some pictures taken at the El Tatio geysers.

Valley of the Moon

The Valley of the Moon, also called El Valle de la Luna, is located just over 10 kilometers from San Pedro de Atacama. With no rain for over 100 years it’s considered the driest place on earth. The rock and salt formations are carved over thousands of years giving the area a lunar landscape. There are various caves, sand dunes and special rock formations for you to explore. Especially at sunset the area transforms into a nice colorful landscape with in the back the Licancabur volcano.


Do not miss this place at sunset as it’s worth it. Take some appetizers and a great glass of wine to make the sunset complete and complete your day at this magical place. This sunset, together with the sunset at the Uyuni salt flat, are amongst the best I have experienced. This day was one of the most memorable ones of my road trip in northern Chile.

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Did you visit El Tatio Geysers and Moon Valley too or do you have questions? Please leave a comment at the bottom of the page. Love to hear from you!

Gallery El Tatio Geysers and Moon Valley

Click an image for a full screen gallery of more photos taken during this trip. If you like to use any photo for commercial, private or editorial use please contact first for permission and/or pricing.


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