Bolivia is a country of diversity and contrast, and of course, landscapes are not an exception. In this country, during any season, the panorama can change from snowy mountains to rainforests and from dry highlands to swamps. Some of its landscapes even look like they have been taken from another planet! This is the case of the Moon Valley.
In general, La Paz city and its surroundings have a capricious terrain. Specifically, just about 30 minutes away from the city's downtown, there is a park with unusual natural formations, called Moon Valley.
This place might seem formed by rocks at first sight, though, what we see is actually clay that acquired these strange forms due to erosion. It is said that the same erosion, mostly caused by wind and rain, might cause the disappearance of this and similar surrounding landscapes during the next few centuries, as a part of the earth's evolution.
If you ask any local person about the origin of the Moon Valley’s name, they will repeat the story told by their parents and grandparents as follows. A few decades ago, a man who claimed to have been on the moon surface, called Neil Armstrong, came to visit Bolivia with his family. The reason for his visit was that he was curious about a shiny white dot that he could see from space: the Uyuni Salt Flat. After admiring the imponent Salt Flat, he spent some time in La Paz city. One day, on his way to a golf camp out of the city center, he passed near a strange landscape and stopped to contemplate it. While he was observing it, he affirmed that the formations reminded him of what he saw in the satellite; something like a “Moon Valley.” Since then, the place was officially named the "Moon Valley."
We cannot tell for sure all the places that Neil Armstrong has been. However, what we know is that, as soon as we see the Moon Valley, we understand that it could be a perfect setting for a fiction movie.
The Moon Valley is a small park created to observe some of the strangest and most unique formations of La Paz. Over there, two walking paths can be chosen; one that takes 15 minutes and another that takes 45 minutes. At the end of the long route, there is an excellent viewpoint.
Even if it seems a place with no vegetation, several types of cactus grow in this area. If you are lucky, you might see one or many vizcachas- sweet little animals that look similar to rabbits, who love bananas and live along the South American highlands.
If you are visiting La Paz city and have a free day, try something different and visit this small but curious park with its natural clay formations. You won't be disappointed!
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