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Observe the night sky over the Atacama desert

Chile Astronomy Adventure

Example 8 Day Tour
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Experience the astronomical highlights of Chile, known as an astronomer's mecca, during this 8-day adventure. Visit some of the world's most technologically advanced observatories and stargaze beneath some of the clearest skies on earth. Begin your tour exploring the coastal capital of Chile's Coquimbo region, La Serena. Visit the Archaeological Museum, which will introduce you to destinations you'll later see in person. The next stop is the lush, wine-growing area of the Elqui Valley, home to the Gemini Observatory. Tour one of the largest observatories in the southern hemisphere, La Silla, before making your way north to the Atacama Desert. Here you'll explore the Valley of the Moon and see the famous El Tatio Geysers. Visit your final observatory, ALMA, before making your way home. 

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Arrive La Serena | City Tour
Day 2 : Gemini Observatory | Valle del Elqui
Day 3 : La Silla Observatory
Day 4 : Fly to Calama | San Pedro de Atacama
Day 5 : Moon Valley Tour
Day 6 : El Tatio Geysers
Day 7 : ALMA Observatory
Day 8 : Fly Santiago and Home

Highlights

  • Watch the sunset from the giant sand dunes in the Valley of the Moon
  • Explore the salt flats of Atacama Desert
  • View the stars from some of the clearest skies on earth
  • Tour some of the world's most technologically advanced space observatories

Places Visited

Activities

Trip Type

  • Independent

Activity Level

Relaxed

Trip Snapshots

Observe the night sky over the Atacama desert Study the skies from La Silla Observatory Geysers in the Atacama. Explore La Serena Hiking above the Valley of the Moon Discover the beauty of the Elqui valley Explore the otherworldly Valley of the Moon Observe the night sky over the Atacama desert
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Day 1 Arrive La Serena | City Tour

Arrive in La Serena and transfer from the airport to your hotel downtown. After settling in, meet your guide for a city tour, that includes visiting the Historic Center, La Recova and Archaeological Museum.

Day 2 Gemini Observatory | Valle del Elqui

  • Hotel
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch
Early this morning, transfer from your hotel in La Serena to Gemini Observatory. Gemini Observatory consists of a 27-foot telescope, with a sister observatory located in Hawaii. The twin telescopes are some of the most advanced optical telescopes available and between the two of them, can provide near-complete coverage of the whole northern and southern skies. 

After the visit, drive back to Valle del Elqui, where you'll have lunch at a local restaurant. Your guide will show you around the main square, where you can find a handmade craft fair. Visit a local “Pisquera” to learn about the process of making different pisco products and visit the village of Monte Grande, home to a museum dedicated to the life and work of Chilean poet, Gabriela Mistral. Transfer to your hotel and settle in for the evening.

Day 3 La Silla Observatory

  • Hotel
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch
Early in the morning, transfer to astronomical observatory, La Silla. La Silla has three telescopes and is one of the largest in the Southern Hemisphere. After your tour, enjoy a box lunch en route while transferring to your hotel in La Serena.

Day 4 Fly to Calama | San Pedro de Atacama

This morning check out of the hotel and transfer to the airport. After a short scenic flight, arrive in Calama and be driven to San Pedro de Atacama, in the middle of the desert. The afternoon is at your leisure to relax or explore San Pedro on your own.

Day 5 Moon Valley Tour

Explore on your own this morning or join the optional archaeological tour for an additional fee. 

In the late afternoon, visit the giant dunes and polychromatic rock formations of the Valley of the Moon. Located 13km/8 miles west of San Pedro in the Salt Mountain Range, the valley has beautifully strange lunar landscapes and is considered one of the driest places on the planet. Explore Valle de la Luna in time to witness a spectacular sunset and enjoy a cheese and wine cocktail. You will surely feel the immensity of the desert stretching out all around you. 

Day 6 El Tatio Geysers

The very early wake-up call from the hotel is well worth it when you arrive at the amazing Tatio Geysers and see them in action. From almost 900 meters below the earth, boiling steam bursts up to 40 meters over the surface of these spectacular geysers. A scrumptious breakfast is served upon arrival before you walk through the geothermal fields with the geysers erupting nearby. As you drive back, there is a magnificent view of the Tocopurri and Sairecabur volcanoes. Arrive back in town in time to have lunch and the afternoon is free to rest after the early start, high altitude, and low temperature you faced in the morning.

This evening you have the option of joining an Astronomic Dinner for an additional cost.

Day 7 ALMA Observatory

Today, you will visit the ALMA Observatory. The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) took over a decade to build and is a collection of 66 different radio telescopes, designed to spot some of the furthest and most ancient galaxies. After the tour, which usually lasts around 4 hours, transfer back to San Pedro de Atacama for free time.

Day 8 Fly Santiago and Home

  • 1 Breakfast
After breakfast check out of the hotel and transfer to the airport. Board your flight to Santiago where you can catch your connecting flight home.
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Elqui Domos

Hotel Casa Don Tomas

Hotel Costa Real

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Per person starting at
$2,932

Notes

Select a Date

Rates may vary based on current exchange rate.

Included

  • 5 Breakfasts, 1 Lunch, 1 Box Lunch, 1 Cocktail Hour
  • 7 Nights Accommodations
  • Arrival Transfer
  • Departure Transfer
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Professional, bilingual guide service as listed
  • Excursions and activities as listed
  • Entrance Fee: Valley of the Moon 

Excluded

  • Meals not Included
  • International Flights
  • Optional Excursions - Archaeological Tour in San Pedro: $175 per person Astronomic Dinner in San Pedro: $520 per person
  • Internal Flights - La Serena to Calama Calama to Santiago
  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
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When to Go

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
Good to ideal period to travel, and many people choose to visit at this time.
Chance for unpredictable weather but with fewer visitors.
Typically not offered during this period because of weather conditions.

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