There are few natural events as spectacular or memorable as a full solar eclipse, and on this 13-day tour of Chile in December 2020 you'll watch the amazing event from the clear skies of Pucon. As well as dedicating a full day to watching the eclipse, you'll tour many of Chile's other highlights, including the modern capital Santiago, the historic port city of Valparaiso, the excellent wineries of the valleys, and the unparalleled natural beauty of the Atacama Desert, plus much more. This comprehensive tour fits in a lot of different sights and experiences, and is sure to be memorable.

Highlights

  • Watch the stunning spectacle of the total solar eclipse
  • Taste some of Chile's finest wines at the country's best wineries
  • Check out the colorful street art in UNESCO-listed Valparaiso
  • Fall in love with flamingos at amazing wetlands
  • Be amazed by the otherworldly landscapes of the Atacama Desert

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Welcome to Santiago! Santiago
Day 2 Explore San Pedro De Atacama & Moon Valley San Pedro de Atacama
Day 3 High Plain Lagoons of Miscanti & Miñiques San Pedro de Atacama
Day 4 Geysers Del Tatio & Salar de Atacama San Pedro de Atacama
Day 5 Return to Santiago Santiago
Day 6 Viña del Mar - Valparaiso - Winery Visit Santiago
Day 7 Region del Maule Wineries Talca
Day 8 Travel to Pucón Pucón
Day 9 Lagunas Andinas Hiking Pucón
Day 10 Total Solar Eclipse 2020 Pucón
Day 11 Mapuche Culture - Geometric Hotspings Pucón
Day 12 Return to Santiago Santiago
Day 13 Depart Santiago  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Welcome to Santiago!

Santiago de Chile
Santiago de Chile

On arrival at Santiago Airport, you will be greeted by our representative and transferred to your hotel in the Providencia neighborhood. 
   
In the afternoon, get to know Santiago on a city tour. Visit some of the iconic symbols of the city, including La Plaza de Armas (the main square), La Moneda (the government palace), and the Santiago Metropolitan Cathedral. Continue to the bohemian area of Bellavista and climb the San Cristobal Hill for a panoramic view of Santiago, with the Andes Mountains in the background. We’ll also visit the Orient Sector, the most modern area of the city, with its impressive high-rise buildings and classy boulevards.

Day 2: Explore San Pedro De Atacama & Moon Valley

Atacama
Atacama Desert

Today you'll fly from Santiago to Calama, gateway to the Atacama Desert. You'll be met at the airport and taken to your hotel.

Later in the afternoon, make your first visit to Moon Valley, a few kilometers from San Pedro de Atacama, among the hills of sharp rocks and unusual shapes of the Cordillera de la Sal. It's a true geological spectacle that forms part of the National Reserve Los Flamencos. During the tour, you will enjoy the incredible landscape formations, which resemble the surface of the moon. Marvel at the views of the Andes mountains and its volcanoes. At sunset, golden and red tones will appear in the desert, a truly breathtaking panorama. 

Day 3: High Plain Lagoons of Miscanti & Miñiques

High plain lagoons

Today you'll visit the high plain lagoons of Miscanti and Miñiques, with their many craters, lava domes and flows and surrounded by high peaks.

Later, travel to the Atacama Salt Flat to visit Chaxa Lagoon, and the Flamingos National Reserve. There, you'll see three of the six different kinds of flamingos that exist in the world. You're sure to be delighted by the flocks of long-legged pink birds.

The trip continues to the town of Toconao, to visit the historic San Lucas Church and Campanario Tower. Return to San Pedro overnight.

Day 4: Geysers Del Tatio & Salar de Atacama

Cejar lagoon
Cejar Lagoon

Start early in the morning to catch the sunrise in one of the most important geothermal fields in the world. Today, visit the impressive fumaroles of Geyser del Tatio, at an altitude of over 13,000 feet (4,000 m.). There are more than 70 fumaroles here, from which steam jets emerge and form pools of boiling water. The most astonishing part of the day is the sunrise, when the intensely blue sky contrasts with the pristine vapor of the geysers.

In the middle of this impressive natural scenery beside the Andes, enjoy a warming breakfast. The temperatures in this area reach 77º F (25º C) during the day, but in the mornings the minimum is as low as 28º F (-2º C).

Later, visit a rustic pool, where you can enjoy a bath at the Cordilleran hot springs, which will certainly warm you up. Taking the road back to San Pedro de Atacama, you'll be amazed by the beauty of the landscape, its valleys, and native flora and fauna, including the camelid vicunas and rabbit-like vizcachas.

Afterwards, stop at Machuca, an Atacameño town of just a couple of houses of adobe, straw and cactus wood. Here, the inhabitants offer Andean crafts and typical cuisine such as llama meat, sopaipillas, and empanadas. Visit the Church of San Santiago, patron of the town, and a small wetland where flamingos, ducks, and other birds live.

In the afternoon, visit the enormous Salar de Atacama, where we will stop at the saltwater Cejar Lagoon, surrounded by turquoise colors and imposing volcanoes. Then, visit Ojos del Salar, two freshwater wells in the middle of the most arid desert in the world. Finally, check out the Tebinquinche Lagoon, where you'll be amazed by the whiteness of the salt. The sunset here is truly spectacular.

Day 5: Return to Santiago

Modern Santiago de Chile

Today you will fly back to Santiago, where a driver will meet you and take you to your hotel. The rest of the day is yours to spend at leisure in Santiago.

Day 6: Viña del Mar - Valparaiso - Winery Visit

Valparaiso
Valparaiso

Today, head west of Santiago to Viña del Mar and Valparaíso, through the Curacaví and Casablanca Valleys. In Viña del Mar, known as the Garden City, visit the beautiful Clock of Flowers. Once we reach Valparaiso, you'll visit the port and Victory Square, plus the traditional hills of this port city, adorned with colorful houses and picturesque hotels and restaurants.

After lunch, return to Santiago, stopping at a winery on our way back to sample some delicious Chilean wine.

Day 7: Region del Maule Wineries

View of the fields at Maule Region at southern Chile

After breakfast, head towards the Region del Maule to check out more famous wineries in the Maule Valley. The valley has eight vineyards, so is an appealing destination for wine lovers. The vineyards spread from the foot of the Andes to the Pacific Ocean, offering varied and exquisite wines. The drive to the wineries takes around 3.5 hours. Tour the vineyards, sample these famous wines, and even visit the fascinating wine museum.

End your day in the city of Talca, where dinner will be waiting for you.

Day 8: Travel to Pucón

Pucón
Pucón

Today you'll travel overland to Pucón, a journey of 330 miles (530 km) that will take around six hours. In the afternoon you'll have time to look around the city and grab some dinner on your own.

Day 9: Lagunas Andinas Hiking

Andean Lagoons
Andean Lagoons

In the midst of the Andes mountains and close to the border with Argentina, at Mamuil Malal there are two beautiful lakes. These are flanked by forests inhabited by Magellanic woodpeckers and other birds and animals. Take a hike along a flat and relatively easy trail in a beautiful but little-visited area. From the trail you'll be able to see the impressive Lanin volcano, straddling the Chile-Argentina border, reaching 12,293 feet (3747 m.) in altitude and with a huge glacier in its crater.

Day 10: Total Solar Eclipse 2020

Eclipse
Total solar eclipse

After breakfast, transfer to our exclusive eclipse-viewing site, scouted by our eclipse experts. From here you'll be able to see 128 seconds of total solar eclipse (the entire eclipse process takes nearly three hours). The sun's elevation will be 72 degrees above the northern horizon.

Pucón generally experiences clearer skies in December, so is a good place from which to see the eclipse, but a bus will be at our disposal to travel along the eclipse path to seek out a clearer location if necessary.

This will be a leisurely day in which you can enjoy the different phases of the eclipse. The eclipse begins at 11.55 a.m., totality occurs at 1.18 p.m., and the partial phases end at 2.45 p.m. A buffet lunch, water, soft drinks, snacks, tables, and chairs are provided at the viewing site.

Return to the hotel after the eclipse and the rest of your day is free for independent activities. In the evening, join fellow tour members for a celebratory dinner.

Day 11: Mapuche Culture - Geometric Hotspings

Mapuchean totems in Chile

Today, learn more about Mapuche culture. Visit a traditional Ruka (Mapuche house) and find out more about this ancient culture. The tour includes a traditional-style barbecue and the chance to taste Mapuche foods, a weaving demonstration, learning about traditional clothing and instruments, and you can even take part in traditional games, called Palin or Chueca.

Later, visit Geometric Hotsprings. Relax in one of the 17 pools, connected by wooden walkways over the water and through the ancient forests. This is the perfect way to relax and experience the natural beauty of the area.

Day 12: Return to Santiago

Bus ride
Travel through Chile by bus

Today, return to Santiago by bus. It's a long drive of 490 miles (787 km), so you'll arrive back in Santiago at around 8 p.m.

Day 13: Depart Santiago

Airport
Depart from Santiago

Enjoy your last breakfast in Chile, then prepare to transfer to the airport and depart. Bon voyage!

Map

Map of Total Solar Eclipse Tour December 2020:  Santiago, Atacama, & Pucón - 13 Days
Map of Total Solar Eclipse Tour December 2020: Santiago, Atacama, & Pucón - 13 Days