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“Chile Total Solar Eclipse Discovery ” tour is a 7 day / 6 night tour of Chile. Starting from Santiago, we will travel north to Copiapo. On the eclipse day, we will be at our specially selected site located right below the La Silla Observatory. We will travel to La Serena before our return trip to Santiago.
In southern Chile, the weather is generally rainy all year round with falling snow in much of the high altitude areas. However, in the coastal areas of the south, the winters are rarely too cold and summers are comfortably cool. Summer is the best time to visit Patagonia with warmer temperatures perfect for outdoor adventure. High season in Chile is between the summer months of December to March so prices are at their highest at this time of year.
Spring (October and November) and autumn (April and May) can be just as good in Patagonia though it’s best to avoid the winter months of June to September when services shut down and passes become impenetrable. This is, however, the best time for snow-based activities in the Lake District. The central region of Chile experiences warm, dry summers, and moderately wet, cool winters.
In the northern regions, the climate is drier which results in a much higher snow line in the mountains and a very desert-like climate in the areas nearer the coast. Despite the fact that it rarely rains, the weather is often cloudy and cool resulting in higher temperatures in the months of March and only cooler in July.
The Atacama Desert basks in sunny weather and high temperatures all year round though night time temperatures can plummet at higher altitudes. The summer months can be extremely hot. Thanks to sea breezes Chile’s coast generally feels cooler than the inland with the rainy season between May and August bringing cooler temperatures and wetter conditions.
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.
After breakfast, enjoy a half-day city tour in Santiago.
First, we’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. We will ride the cable car, located at the Pedro de Valdivia Norte entrance to reach the summit.
After lunch, we will continue 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.
After the tour, we will drive to Santiago Airport for our short flight to Copiapo (Private charter JA 88 / 5.45pm – 7.15pm). Our guide and driver will meet us at the airport and transfer to our hotel. Dinner and overnight at our hotel in Copiapo.
After breakfast at our hotel, we will drive to our eclipse viewing spot. Hot lunch, tea, coffe and soft drinks will be provided at the eclipse site at our private tent. We will have ample time to set up our equipment and get ready for this once-in-a-lifetime event.
Event Time (UT)*
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 Copiapo is in the late evening. After the celebration cocktails, late dinner and overnight at our hotel in Copiapo.
Enjoy a full-day excursion to Elqui Valley. The Elqui Valley is a narrow, fertile strip of land winding eastward from the coast. Surrounded by the cactus-covered hillsides, this river-watered valley thrives with papaya, figs, chirimoya (custard fruit), apricots, peaches, and especially grapes. From these last is created the ‘Pisco’ – Chile’s famous grape brandy – for which the valley is particularly famous, and during a leisurely stopover at a distillery you’ll learn about the production process and enjoy a taste or two. In the small town of Vicuña, birthplace of Nobel Prize-winner Gabriela Mistral, you will visit the Bauer Tower (the old city hall), the church, and the main square, before continuing to the Cochigua wine valley, where you will lunch in a typical restaurant. In the afternoon, you will visit Gabriela Mistral’s tomb in the village of Montegrande, as well as the old school building, now transformed into a museum, where she spent her childhood. After the tour, return to our hotel. Dinner and overnight in La Serena.
After breakfast at our hotel, we will viist La Silla Observatory. Half-of our group will visit in the morning hours (10 am – 1 pm) and the other half-will visit in the afternoon (2pm-5pm) as they allow only a certain number of visitors at a time. You can relax at the hotel or explore La Serena on your own in your spare time. The observatory is 156 kilometers north of La Serena ( 2 hours driving time) 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 in la Serena.
Transfer to La Serena Airport. After a short flight (JA53 / 11AM-11.55AM), arrive Santiago Airport. If you booked an optional tour (details below), you will continue to your tour. Rest of the passengers will be transferred to the hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure.
OPTIONAL TOUR: Maipo Valley Wine Tour: Santa Rita Winery tour with lunch
After breakfast, depart from Santiago, sit back and relax during the scenic drive to Santa Rita Winery. Boasting a dramatic backdrop of the Andes Mountains, the sculpted gardens and verdant splendor of the winery prove a spectacular sight. Greet your knowledgeable guide and begin your tour of the sprawling vineyards, learning about the 19th century origin of the vineyard as you wander. Explore the fermentation cellars and bottling plant to enrich your knowledge of traditional production methods, and then stand before the historical structure of Bodega 1 for a glimpse of typical colonial construction. Venture to the legendary landmark of Don Paula Restaurant, an establishment declared a national monument due to its colorful past. Hear about the 120 battle weary rebel soldiers who sought refuge in the restaurant, and how the courageous owner accommodated the revolutionaries. Sample the three varieties of the signature 120 wine, dedicated to this historical legend. Spend your remaining time at Santa Rita strolling the gorgeous gardens or observing the intriguing artifacts in the on-site Andean Museum. We will have lunch at the facilities before returning our hotel in Santiago.
After breakfast (starts 6.30AM), check out. End of our services.