For two full minutes on 2 July 2019, a total solar eclipse will be visible across a swath of Chile and Argentina. We’re already getting inquiries about how to witness this mind-altering event (experts put it right up there with the Northern Lights on a good night) and have come up with three novel ways to watch it. Read on to discover how you can join the eclipse chasers for the experience of a lifetime.
While the very best viewing locations are in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and thus totally inaccessible, the end of the eclipse will be easily visible near sunset at viewing points in Chile and Argentina. Totality will be experienced in the spectacular coastal plains of Northern Chile, the little-visited winemaking regions of San Juan, Argentina and the southern outskirts of Buenos Aires, so there are plenty of ways to incorporate this unique experience (animals fall silent, people cry) into your South American adventure.
If you’re going to travel halfway around the world to see an eclipse, it makes sense to ramp up your chances with a spectacularly remote (and almost-always cloudless) location. The Elqui Valley is renowned for its astronomical observatories as the clear skies and absence of man-made light make it perfect for star gazing. This bespoke glamping option takes you to the heart of the action and is without doubt the best way to watch the eclipse.
A total solar eclipse is one of the most breath-taking sights in the natural world: as the moon’s shadow passes over the sun, the colors of the landscape are enhanced and stars as well as other planets are visible in sky. Just before the total eclipse, the sun’s rays are concentrated into a spectacular ring. And then, for two full minutes, night will hijack day and the world will fall silent as the stars and planets twinkle in the late afternoon darkness.
You’ll camp in a remote location near Cochiguaz – in spacious Sibley tents with all your culinary and leisure needs take care of – for three nights. On the second day you’ll drive in a 4x4 to an even more remote location to watch the two-hour celestial show that starts at 15.23, culminates at 16.40 and continues until 17.46. On days three and four you will visit local villages, historic pisco distilleries and you’ll even go to a bona-fide observatory for a spot of star-gazing.
The total eclipse passes about 100 miles north of Mendoza so why not customize your wine-tasting itinerary to include an eclipse viewing? The path of totality dissects San Juan – a serious wine-producing region in its own right but not nearly as touristy as Mendoza – which is likely to have clear skies at this time of year and enjoys a great location in the mountainous foothills of the Andes.
Once you’ve experienced the eclipse, we’d love to arrange a tour of the high-quality (but seldom-visited) wineries of the Pedernal Valley (famed for its Syrahs and Malbecs) and you’d be remiss not to include a visit to the Ishchigualasto Provincial Park aka the Valle de La Luna – an otherworldly haven of important dinosaur fossils and bizarre rock formations which is both a UNESCO heritage site and a natural science museum.
The eclipse will be passing just south of Buenos Aires which enables you to combine a trip to this vibrant city with an eclipse sighting. A massive city isn’t the best place to see the eclipse (although the human element of eclipse fever promises to be fascinating) and there’s a fairly good chance that BA will be overcast at this time of year. But if you’re planning a trip to Buenos Aires anyway it’d make sense to adjust your travel dates now to take in the possibility of experiencing something very few people ever get to see.
If you miss out on the opportunity to watch the 2019 eclipse there’s no need to give up as another total eclipse will be taking place in the region towards the end of 2020. On 14 December 2020, a second total solar eclipse will pass a few hundred miles south of Buenos Aires and Santiago, through Argentine and Chilean Patagonia. This is an incredible opportunity as Patagonia is utterly gorgeous and the skies should be clear at this time of year. Believe it or not we are already taking bookings for this eclipse too…
Now that you know more about the various ways of enjoying the solar eclipse, contact one of our destination experts to customize your trip. Best act swiftly if you want to secure a spot…