Last Updated on June 3, 2023

Located in the heart of the whimsical Atacama Desert, San Pedro de Atacama is a small town known for its surreal, otherworldly terrain and geological wonders.

Ever wanted to sandboard in outer space? Chile is home to the Atacama Desert, the driest desert in the entire world, which comprises of a series of red craters and a landscape which will make you feel just like you are exploring the surface of Mars.

What’s more, you can actually sandboard on some of the dunes! The so called Valle de la Muerte (Death Valley) near San Pedro de Atacama is without doubt one of the most interesting places where you can practice this sport.

Sandboarding in Chile's Death Valley - San Pedro de Atacama desert
Atacama Desert. Sandboarding can be practiced on the soft dunes of the Death / Mars Valley.

Death Valley (a.k.a. Mars Valley) – San Pedro de Atacama

Chile’s Death Valley is located in the Atacama Desert, approximately 2km away from the small town of San Pedro de Atacama in the Andes Mountains. La Valle de la Muerte is home to some of the tallest sand dunes in the area, making it a popular spot for sandboarding and other outdoor activities.

The Death Valley is named for its harsh, unforgiving landscape, which is characterized by towering sand dunes, rocky outcroppings, and scorching hot temperatures. Despite its intimidating name, the valley is a popular destination for adventure seekers and outdoor enthusiasts.

The Death Valley is also known as Mars Valley because the landscape resembles that of another planet, comprising mostly red rock formations and craters. The soil of the Atacama desert has actually been compared to that of Mars!

Sandboarding can be practiced on some of the soft sand dunes, which reach up to 120 metres in height. The towering sand dunes here offer endless opportunities for sandboarding, as well as other activities such as hiking, climbing, and photography.

Sandboard Rentals

You can rent a sandboard directly in San Pedro de Atacama and head to the valley yourself or join a guided tour.

Sandboard San Pedro is a popular tour company that offers group tours for 20.000 CLP, which include transportation to Death Valley, a sandboard instructor, and all the gear and equipment you need, including a board, shoes, and helmet. These guided tours are a great option for beginners or anyone who wants to learn more about sandboarding in a safe and supportive environment.

If you’re a more experienced sandboarder or you just want to rent a board and explore the dunes on your own, there are several rental companies in San Pedro de Atacama that offer affordable rates, it’s worth to ask around. These companies typically offer a range of board sizes and styles to suit different skill levels and preferences.

Recommended Tours

Sandboarding Death Valley / Mars Valley - Atacama Desert, Chile
Sandboarding in Death Valley, San Pedro de Atacama, Chile. Photo courtesy of Diego Delso.

Getting there

If you are planning to head to the valley by yourself, after renting your board from San Pedro de Atacama take the route to Calama and turn left after 2 kilometers.

From there enter through the Salt Mountain Range and be ready to pay the Death Valley entrance fee of 3.000 CLP (5.000 CLP at night). Enjoy the landscape walking until you reach the colossal dunes. Climb them to the top and get ready for some action!

Travel insurance

Whether you are heading to the dunes by yourself or with a tour, you are going to need a travel insurance that covers sandboarding.

You can arrange this online with World Nomads Insurance, which is available in over 130 countries – their standard plan covers activities such as sandboarding, sand skiing, volcano boarding and sand duning.

Have a look at the full list of activities covered or feel free to get a quote without commitment.

We receive a fee when you get a quote from World Nomads using this link. We do not represent World Nomads. This is not a recommendation to buy travel insurance. Activities covered may change based on your destination and country of residence.

Video: Sandboarding in Chile’s Death Valley (Atacama Desert)

Read Also: Sandboarding in Chile

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Your n°1 source of information on the world of sandsports and desert adventure travel. Our articles are the result of extensive research, personal experience, and knowledge-sharing within the global sandboarding community.