Isolated between the Pacific ocean and the mountaineous Andes range, Chile is an unspoiled destination rich in diversity. It’s cultural history dates back 1,000 years to the Inca civilization whic stretches 30,000 kilometers long, between Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru, Argentina and Chile. After the Spanish invasion around 15302he indigenous people shrunk to less than ten percent of Chile’s population today. The conquistadors plundered what they could. But visitors can still gain an appreciation of how advanced the Inca were from the amazing ancient Inca ruins found in the highlands of South America.
Stretching more than two thousand miles along the Pacific ocean rim on its west coast, with the Andes mountain range along its eastern border, Chile is replete with novel and exciting things to discover, a great relatively unexplored destination offering delightful experiences for travel dreamers and adventures.
The high-altitude areas of the Andean foothills enjoy an average of 300 clear sunny days a year. In addition,the low incidence of industrial development result in minimal light pollution and clear blue skies. Over the past century, Chile has become the home to over twelve observatories with some of the world’s most powerful astronomical telescopes.
With its vast latitudinal expanse, climate ranges from subtropical town of Arica in the north to arctic region of Punta Arenas in the south. The country offers a variety of nature, parks, wildlife, opportunities for trekking, mountaineering, glaciers, hot springs and bird watching, to name a few.
The Atacama Desert which is the home of Chile’s ancient Inca ruins, the Andean plateau four thousand feet) high, forms the world’s driest desert.
The land at the foothills of the Andes range is very fertile and agriculture thrives across many of the rural towns and villages. Wineries have thrived over the years and has become a delight for wine-loving visitors who savor new wine experiences.
Over ninety percent of Chileans speak Chilean Spanish. Some indigenous languages have survived and spoken by smaller numbers of its inhabitants. Among them are Mapudungun, Chesungun, Huilliche and Aymara.
2019 Solar Eclipse
The Sun’s Corona
Total solar eclipses have fascinated inhabitants of this planet as far back in history as we can go. The event had a wierd variety of superstitions fabricated around the event. Today we understand better why solar eclipses occur. Nonetheless, scientists and researchers are still studying solar eclipse offers to see its inner corona and collect more information when such an event occurs.
The corona of the sun is still a mystery of hot gasses that make up the outermost part of the sun’s atmosphere. This, as they say, has a distinct impact on the weather and the electro magnectic impact on the earth’s electrical systems has already been verified.
Scientists take advantage of every opportunity to capture the moments when a solar eclipse occurs and advance their research findings.
The Elqui Valley, Chile solar eclipse will occur on July 2, 2019. It will be visible from places in Argentina, Chile, Tahiti, and other places. Parts of Chile and Argentina will be in the path of totality, with also a partial eclipse visible in Ecuador, Brazil, Uruguay, and Paraguay as weather permits.
Starting off the coast of New Zealand, the solar eclipse will reach its peak about 1,000 kilometers north of Easter Island. At its peak, it is expected to last four minutes and 33 seconds at its peak, longer than 2017 eclipse over North America.The best viewing is expected to be from Elqui Valley five hours drive from Santiago, Chile. The region is well known for clear starry nights and its top-tier stargazing.
Not only does the area lie in the path of this total eclipse , where viewers will be able to capture sensational images of the moon completely blocking the sun! It wall be a great delight for photographers, researchers, astro enthusiasts and anyone wanting to witness an unusual solar event.
Here is an animated view of what you would see during this eclipse.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cxrLRbkOwKs, courtesy National Geographic
2019 Solar Eclipse – Elqui Valley, Chile
In Chile, the eclipse will conveniently pass over the stargazing mecca Elqui Valley, 420 kilometers drive from Santiago. According to Lonely Planet, this is one of the top ten destinations for 2019. The Elqui Valley is famous for its clear skies and high elevation – which is why it was declared the world’s first International Dark Sky Sanctuary. The area is already spotted with observatories – like the European Southern Observatory facility at La Silla, Chile – and amateurs to want to be in the region can already start plan their trips.
Local Details : Begins at Pisco Elqui Tue, Jul 2, 2019 at 3:23 pm
Maximum Magnitude : 1.01 Magnitude
Ecklipse Ends: Tue, Jul 2, 2019 at 5:46 pm
Duration: 2 hours, 23 minutes
Interested visitors would want to plan their itinerary around this event to combine it with other interesting things to see and do around the area, and there are lots from which to choose.
Discover the vineyards where agriculture and nature-lovers meet. Visit Vicuña, the birthplace of Gabriela Mistral the famous Nobel Prize winner in Literature famous for his poetry. Dine at any local restaurant or eatery to savor authentic local Chilean dishes.
Visitors have a choice to either drive or fly to the town of La Serena, just 10 kilometers from Elqui Valley. There are splendid and charming places to visit like the Hacienda Santa Cristina. The Haciendai offers wonderful grounds, horseback riding, excellent meals! You can also explore the ancient heritage sites of northern Chile.
Chile Tour Choices
Human beings are curious, want to discover, experience the destination, the culture, the way people live, work and play in other parts of the world. Here is what most hotel guests, who want to experience the local environment are faced with.
Santiago, Chile’s largest city and one of the most beautiful cities in South America.
more adventurous travelers like to discover things on their own. They may rent a car, use public transport, or hop-on hop-off buses available, or try to find a local guide on the spot. This also has risks that if anything goes wrong, could ruin your entire vacation.
To get the best of local experiences, it is highly recommended to use a local guide. Chile is no exception.
This is especially true given the wide variety of things to see and do in the country. From nature tours to entertainment, adventure, aqua sports, mountaineering, savory cuisine and a host of other exciting things to choose from, a local guide will increase your enjoyment of the trip multiple fold in ways you lest expect.
Don’t wait till you arrive to find a good local guide. Check what’s available online. Wyzgo Vacations is a good place to find qualified and knowledgeable guides. They will even help you find suitable local accommodation that will save you money!
You can also book a Wyzgo Vacations tour package after you book or check in to your hotel.
Chile ranks high as a safe country to visit. However, precaution is advised. While violent crime is rare, there have been reports of daylight muggings in some areas in Santiago. Travel in groups is recommended and also try to avoid isolated areas and parks at night.
The freeways in general are very much like US freeways. The roads are good. There are tolls to pay along the way. Ggas stations are safe and generally clean. Police can be helpful and trusted in cases of emergency.
GPS does not work very well in many areas. It is highly recommended that you either know the lay of the land or hire a local guide. A knowledgeable local guide is worth the extra expense.
Even though people are friendly and helpful, it is prudent to always exercise caution when traveling through any foreign country. Although rare, there here have been reported cases of purse snatching and pick-pocketing.
Chile Local Culture
People have inhabited this region for millennia, dating all the way back to 14,000 B.C. There are remnants of Inca and Mayan culture much like Peru, its neighbor to the north.
Chilean culture today is a mix of Spanish colonial elements and indigenous culture, which amounts to less than ten percent of the population. Immigration into the country is low, so the culture and variation of ethnicity is relatively homogenous throughout. Pockets of other immigrant cultures can also be found.
Chile is rich in natural resources from both land and sea. It is relatively prosperous economically when compared to most other countries in Latin America.
Spanish is the official language.
The land is very fertile. Anything and everything grows in Chile. Food is plentiful. Local cuisine can be delightful with sensory experiences varying. Chile’s seafood is unequaled in variety and quality. along with a wide variety of local dishes. Always available is a surprising variety of excellent sandwiches, filled with exotic locally grown stuff, making for good, quick meals, but not fast food!
There is a rich heritage of arts, local artists, Inca history, poetry and music.
Preparations Before You Go
United States citizens traveling to Chile for recreation, tourism, business, or academic conferences do not need to obtain a visa prior to their arrival in Chile. U.S. citizens entering Chile must have a valid U.S. passport.
For citizens of other countries see the requirements at this site.
Direct flights are currently available from New York and Florida, non-stop to Santiago, Chile. Flight duration is approximately ten hours. Round trip air fares differ widely ranging from US$575 to over US$1,200, depending on time of the year. Travelers are advised to book early, especially as fares and accommodation prices are expected to escalate closer to the time of the solar eclipse.
A variety of accommodation types are available in both Santiago and La Serena, one of the closest towns to Elqui Valley ( the most advantageous location for the solar eclipse viewing). There are five star hotels, hostels, bed and breakfast and apartments to choose from. Prices vary from US$75 to $200 for a 4 to five star hotel. Choices at La Serena are limited.
Travelers are advised to book early to get the best deals on flights and accommodation
All visitors to Chile are advised to have travel and medical insurance. Check here for health and vaccine requirements.
You may want to check this USA Today post for details on traveling to Chile.
Check the weather forecast. It’s much more important to look at the weather forecasts a day or two before the eclipse and choose a location with the best chance of a cloud-free sky during the eclipse. Good weather is the key to successful eclipse viewing – better to see a shorter eclipse from clear sky that a longer eclipse under clouds”.
In June and July, the weather is similar to springtime in USA. The temperature in and around Santiago varies between 15 and 24 degrees Celsius. Pack suitable clothing in case it gets cooler.
Wineries and Vineyard Tours
Chile has a wonderful climate for growing. Vineyards and wineries can be seen everywhere. The variety of wines is incredible and quality is top notch as noted from many of reviews from people who have actually been there.