Solar Eclipse in Chile

Trip Highlights

The vast country of Chile stretches 3,000 miles through varied terrain and spans half of the South American continent, in a narrow band that in most areas is only 100 miles wide. Its cities reflect a thoughtful blend of old world and new, from the bustling capital Santiago to the “neo-colonial” town of La Serena. In the countryside, two of Chile’s diverse environments bring international prominence: fertile vineyards yield a world-class wine industry and clear skies above remote deserts support the southern hemisphere’s leading astronomy research. Join U-M astronomy professor David Gerdes as you travel from Santiago to Pucon to discover the beauty of Chile and its culture, capping your experience with a once-in-a-lifetime viewing of the 2020 total solar eclipse.

Exclusive departure: This departure is considered exclusive. The participants are U-M travelers, consisting of alumni, family, and friends.


Day 1

Flight to Santiago

Day 2 – Santiago

On arrival meet our representative and transfer from Santiago airport to the hotel to drop off your luggage and receive a quick program orientation before heading out for a city tour of Santiago. Since 1541 till today, Santiago has grown so much, especially in the last 40 years, from a few thousands in the 1500´s to almost 6 million; today is the main economic and political centre, come and discover the old and new part of our city. Santiago of Chile is a mix between historic and modern; this excursion offers a complete panoramic vision of the city, passing through places like Constitution square and Government Palace. Driving through popular and crowded streets in downtown Santiago we will see the National Theater and reach Plaza de Armas, heart of the city since 1541, around this square there are many important buildings like, Santiago Cathedral, City Hall, National Historic Museum and Post Office. We will continue towards The Central Market, Mapocho Train Station and Fine Arts Museum crossing the river we will reach Bellavista neighborhood, bohemian area where we start to climb San Cristobal hill, highest picks inside the city, in one of his many viewpoints we will stop for photos of the newest part of the city that we will visit afterwards, areas like Providencia, Las Condes and Vitacura, from there we will start our return to the hotel. Lunch at local restaurant then enjoy the afternoon on your own to see and do what interests you the most suggesting to visit the Lastarria, the trendy neighborhood of Santiago with lots of cafes and restaurants. After checking into the hotel (3pm check in time) enjoy the afternoon at leisure.

Room type – Standard

Hotel Atton (L)

Day 3 – Santiago

Morning lecture: “Chile: Brief History and Economic Development”, then board our motor coach for the Santa Rita Vineyard and Andean Museum. The history of Chile is full of brave man and woman that work for our country, the cellar of Santa Rita´s winery was the hidden place for 120 patriots that fought for our Independence, come to know the legend. We will leave Santiago to drive south to Alto Jahuel and reach the Santa Rita winery. Founded in 1880 by Domingo Fernandez Concha at his farm on the slopes of the hills surrounding the valley, it has one of the best wine growing lands. In the beginning, its founder promoted the introduction of the finest French vine stocks, thereby becoming an important wine producing enterprise. Visit the winery and learn about the wine production process with its French and American oak barrels used in the aging cellars. Walk into the storehouse, a cellar built with stone masonry by French architects that has been declared a National Monument. The Andean Museum houses a private collection of more than 1,800 pieces of Chilean Pre Columbian art and Mapuche wool, textile and silver work. Here you will find an excellent Museum shop with some interesting books, figures and souvenirs, we will enjoy a delicious lunch at Doña Paula restaurant located in one sector of the old house declared a National Monument and is more than 200 years old. This evening enjoy a special “Star Marriage” dinner at Estancia el Cuadro located one hour from Santiago, in Casablanca. This experience includes an astronomy talk, welcome drink, star gazing and 4 course meal with wine pairing. Hotel Atton (BLD)

Day 4 – La Serena

After early breakfast transfer to airport for you flight to La Serena. La Serena is the second oldest city in Chile after Santiago and it maintains a Spanish neo-colonial style according to the “Plan Serena” which was implemented by legislation unique in Chile, which allowed the city to grow yet keep its own style. The heritage of the city includes 30 churches, a romantic avenue of replica classical Italian statues and townhouses dating from the last century together with public buildings according to the Plan Serena. Enjoy the panoramic view from the hill of the University of La Serena over the city and the bay of Coquimbo affording a splendid opportunity for a photo stop. The traditional fish market by the Port of Coquimbo is typical of this region, showing the great variety of fish and shellfish, which are available. This colorful scene shows the main industry of the city and its close connection with the ocean. After dinner visit the Alfa Aldea Natural Planetarium located 5 minutes from the city of Vicuna in Elqui Valley. Our astronomical experience will begin with an introductory talk then stargazing through their telescopes. Room type – Standard Hotel in La Serena (BL)

Day 5 – La Serena

Transfer 2.5 hours to La Silla Observatory. Learn about the observatory facilities, research and ongoing projects. Later this afternoon transfer back to La Serena . Enjoy an informal talk before dinner at Restobar Moscatel. Hotel in La Serena (BLD)

Day 6 – Temuco

Transfer to airport for flight to Temuco. Upon arrival visit Terma Geometricas which are immersed in the Villarrica Sur National Park, near the town of Coñaripe. These thermal baths were designed by the architect Germán del Sol, who, through the construction of wooden hot springs and natural materials, wanted to bring nature to geometry, to achieve a harmonious whole. The hot springs are a good choice if you want to enjoy nature and relax in a bath of warm thermal waters that flow through geological cracks and their temperature ranges between 37º and 40ºC. After lunch continue on to the hotel. Room type – Standard Holiday Inn Express Temuco and Dreams Temuco (BL)

Day 7 – Temuco/Pucon

Today you will spend the day getting ready for this afternoon’s eclipse. The majority of this total solar eclipse takes place over the Pacific Ocean. The eclipse then passes over South America (Chile, Argentina) in the late afternoon ending in the Atlantic. This eclipse of about two minutes in duration and high in the sky for and most of the land fall across the South American continent. South of Temuco Chile a total solar eclipse of just over two minutes (near the central part of the path) will occur in the afternoon with the sun about 70 degrees high in the sky. The total eclipse will start at 16:01pm and will end at 16:03. Farewell dinner this evening. Room type – Standard Holiday Inn Express Temuco and Dreams Temuco (BLD)

Day 8

Morning at leisure to enjoy the facilities of the hotel. Gather together for a farewell lunch at the hotel before heading to the airport for your flight to Santiago and connection flight to the USA. (BL)


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Meet Your Trip Host

David Gerdes

David Gerdes is Arthur F. Thurnau Professor and Chair of Physics and Professor of Astronomy in the College of LSA. His recent research centers on the solar system beyond Neptune, a region known as the Kuiper Belt, which contains thousands of small, icy worlds that are remnants from the solar system’s formation billions of years ago. Using large optical telescopes high in the Chilean Andes, Gerdes and his collaborators have discovered hundreds of new members of the solar system, including the dwarf planet 2014 UZ224 (“DeeDee”) located over 90 times Earth’s distance from the sun. His group has also discovered several trans-Neptunian minor planets that have been studied by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft on its journey through the Kuiper Belt. He witnessed his first total solar eclipse in 1979, when he managed to persuade his middle school science teacher to drive 1300 miles to Canada in the middle of February. He’s very much looking forward to sharing the magic of totality in the beautiful country of Chile.

By participating in an Alumni Association of the University of Michigan travel trip, you have stated that the Alumni Association has the exclusive right to use video and other visual/audio portrayals of You or Your likeness taken during Your trip in any medium of any nature whatsoever for any purpose, including advertising or promoting the services of the trip without any compensation being paid to You. Any such portrayal or likeness shall be the exclusive property of the Alumni Association of the University of Michigan.

  • Dec. 8–16, 2020
(9 days)
Starting price: $4,595
+ air; singles $5,220
Deposit per person: $1,000
Central & South America
Type: Land, Exclusive U-M Departure

You must be an Alumni Association member to travel with us. Questions? Call Michigan Alumni Travel at 855.764.0064.

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