Day 1 / June 29, 2019: Arrive Santiago
Welcome to Santiago. Please arrange your transfers to the hotel in Santiago. You will meet your tour guide and astronomer lecturer at 6.00pm for an orientation meeting. Overnight in Santiago.
Day 2 / June 30, 2019: Santiago city tour [B,L]
Private half day city tour of Santiago, with lunch
In Santiago de Chile, the best features of a vibrant, modern metropolis are paired with the old-world charm of a former colonial capital, and this private tour will introduce you to both sides of the city. You will begin with a visit to the presidential palace, named La Moneda because the splendid building once housed the national mint. Many other sights in the historic centre are clustered around the always-bustling Plaza de Armas: the impressive cathedral; the beautiful old post office; the Palacio de la Real Audiencia, now home to the National History Museum; and the Casa Colorada, once the Spanish governor’s residence.
Leaving the centre, you’ll travel west toward the soaring Andes, past the Cerro San Cristóbal, an outpost of the mountains which towers over the city with a great white statue of the Virgin Mary crowning its summit. Your tour will conclude with a visit to the fashionable business districts of Providencia and Las Condes, with their broad boulevards lined with modern high-rises, and shady side-streets flanked by fine restaurants and trendy boutiques. This half-day excursion forms the perfect initiation to the charms of one of South America’s most exciting cities.
Lunch at a local restaurant. Dinner is on your own. Overnight in Santiago.
Day 3 / July 1, 2019 : Flight to La Serena [B,D]
Private transfer from the hotel in Santiago to the airport in Santiago. Private transfer from the airport in La Serena to the hotel in La Serena/ El Molle. After check-in and lunch break, enjoy an afternoon tour of La Serena.
During the tour, you will pass through Coquimbo´s downtown area and the nearby resort of La Herradura, on the Bay of Guayacan. You’ll have the opportunity for a photo-stop at this beautiful bay – and might even hear some of the legends of the English pirates in the old days.
North from Coquimbo at the coast lies La Serena, your tour will take you past extensive beaches that have been developed with tourists in mind, with modern hotels, apartments, pubs, discos and restaurants. Nonetheless, La Serena remains one of Chile’s most appealing cities, because the ‘Plan La Serena’ has ensured that growth and modernisation have been developed within a framework to maintain the city’s rich architectural heritage, allowing the city to keep its own unique character. The symbol of La Serena is its lighthouse, where you will stop for a picture before proceeding to the archaeological museum, which provides insight into pre-Columbian civilization with an excellent collection of ceramics. Afterwards, the tour continues to the colourful La Recova craft market, where you’ll find a variety of souvenirs, including jewellery made from the local semi-precious stone, lapis lazuli. Your tour concludes with a visit to university hill, which offers a fine view over La Serena and the Bay of Coquimbo.
Day 4 / July 2, 2019: ****ECLIPSE DAY**** [B,L,D]
Transfer to site around Vicuña in the Elqui Valley, where you can see the beautiful eclipse of the sun. We will have a tent with chairs for passengers to observe comfortably and taste some local products, accompanied by our guide. Start of partial eclipse (C1): UTC 19:23:51
|Start of partial eclipse (C1) :||19:23:51.9|
|Start of total eclipse (C2) :||20:38:48.9|
|Maximum eclipse :||20:40:06.1|
|End of total eclipse (C3) :||20:41:22.9|
|End of partial eclipse (C4) :||21:46:54.6|
The return drive to La Serena is in the late evening. Dinner at a local restaurant or our hotel. Overnight in La Serena.
Day 5 / July 3, 2019 : Excursion to Isla Damas [B,L,D]
This fascinating day-long excursion is ideal for nature lovers and the adventurous. The journey from La Serena heads north along the coast, through an arid, dramatic landscape, for about 120 km. At the fishing village of Caleta Los Choros, you’ll board a small boat to take you out toward the Humboldt Penguin Nature Reserve islands of Gaviota, Choros and Damas, just off the coast. Cruising by the first two of these islands (where tourists are not allowed to land), you’ll see countless sea lions and many types of sea birds on the shore, including cormorants and penguins. You’ll land at Isla Damas, for a picnic lunch (included in the tour) near the white sandy beach and a stroll around the beautiful island. If you climb the hill, make sure to be on the lookout for whales in the bay! Even if you aren’t rewarded with the sight of whales, you’re almost sure to get a close-up view of the nature reserve’s friendly dolphins during the boat trip to or from the island – one of the highlights of the tour. Toward evening, after a stimulating day on the water, you’ll make the return drive to La Serena.
Optional: It might be possible to replace the above excursion with a visit to Cerro Tololo, La Silla or Las Campanas observatories (at the moment they only open to public on Saturdays and during daytime but hopefully they open during the eclipse days).
• LAS CAMPANAS OBSERVATORY
This observatory belongs to the Carnegie Institute of Washington U.S.A. It has four telescopes and is situated 160 kilometers north of La Serena at an altitude of 2500 meters above sea level.
• CERRO TOLOLO OBSERVATORY
The observatory is situated 87 kilometers east of La Serena at a height of 2200 meters above sea level. It is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) under contract with the Science Foundation of the United States. The observatory was opened in 1976 and has eight telescopes including a 4 meter lens. The current "Gemini" project which when completed will be used in conjunction with a similar telescope based in Hawaii, each operating with twin mirrors of 6 meters in diameter
• LA SILLA OBSERVATORY
The observatory is 156 kilometers north of La Serena at an altitude of 2440 meters above sea level, it belongs to the Southern European Observatory which is financed by 8 European countries. It has 15 telescopes and a radio telescope.
Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
**This excursion is subject to weather condition.
Day 6/ July 4, 2019: Flight back to Santiago [B,D]
After breakfast, transfer from the hotel in La Serena to the airport in La Serena. Flight to Santiago. Upon arrival, transfer from the airport to the hotel in Santiago. Tonight enjoy a farewell dinner at a local restaurant. Overnight at our hotel in Santiago.
Day 7/ July 5, 2019: Departure from Santiago [B]
Breakfast and check-out from the hotel. End of our services. See you on the next eclipse!