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Rainbow Valley (Valle del Arcoiris)
Rainbow Valley (Valle del Arcoiris)

Rainbow Valley (Valle del Arcoiris)

Domeyko Mountains

The basics

Rainbow Valley, which is located in the Rio Grande basin 9,800 feet (3,000 meters) above sea level, is lesser-known and less-visited by travelers than such other natural sites around San Pedro as the Valley of the Moon and Piedras Rojas so expect smaller crowds. Guided tours from San Pedro can typically take visitors to the best viewpoints to contemplate the Rainbow Canyon and provide the cultural and geographic history behind the landscape. Some tours include visits to nearby Yerbas Buenas, home to thousands of petroglyphs carved into stone by early Atacama dwellers, some about 11,000 years old.

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Things to know before you go

  • It is a good idea to walk at a slow, steady pace as the altitude can take a toll.
  • Wear sunscreen and dress in layers: the temperature can change dramatically.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • There are no restroom facilities at the site.
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How to get there

Rainbow Valley is a 1-hour drive north of San Pedro de Atacama: bring a map as it is not signposted. Part of the route is a gravel road. If you don’t have your own vehicle, go with a tour group; options range from a day trip to a multi-day Atacama Desert experience, which also includes visits to El Tatio Geysers, the Altiplanic Lagoons, and more.

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Trip ideas

How to Spend 2 Days in San Pedro de Atacama

How to Spend 2 Days in San Pedro de Atacama

How to Spend 1 Day in San Pedro de Atacama

How to Spend 1 Day in San Pedro de Atacama

Top Archaeological Sights in San Pedro de Atacama

Top Archaeological Sights in San Pedro de Atacama


When to get there

You can visit Rainbow Valley any time of day, year-round. However, the colors of the landscape are most vibrant at sunrise and sunset. September to November and March to May are considered the best times to visit the Atacama Desert as visitor numbers are lower and the temperature is most comfortable.

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Rio Grande

Around a 30-minute drive east of the Rainbow Valley, Rio Grande is a good short excursion option for those traveling independently. The tiny village is home to around 100 people, most of whom grow seasonal fruits and vegetables. You also see ancient petroglyphs here and buildings that are characterized by their use of mud mortar, thatched roofs, and cactus beams.

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Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
What are the nearest attractions to Rainbow Valley (Valle del Arcoiris)?
Q:
What else should I know about attractions in San Pedro de Atacama?
A:
As well as visiting the Rainbow Valley (Valle del Arcoiris), check out these trip ideas to make the most of your visit: