Vacation in Chile, travel tips?

I’ve gone to Chile for a conference that happened to be at the location of the eclipse yesterday. (Total coincidence I’m sure), at Copiapo for the rest of the week and then will go north to TalTal, Antofogasta and San Pedro. Do people have any must see places around here? We plan on doing the most sight seeing around san pedro and will visit some rock paintings, Paranal and ALMA also.

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Unfortunately I only have recommendations for central and south Chile, but so cool you go to see the eclipse! Was the weather clear?

Oh yes it was amazing! We saw it at la Silla observatory, so one of the best places to watch the sky in the country. :slight_smile: This was my first total eclips and it was amazing.

The country is also beautiful, especially for somehow who grew up in the flat Holland.

That’s fantastic! We just did a story about the eclipse that included this quote:

[because] totality is completely different than partial. It’s an emotional experience, actually.” It can be profoundly visceral: “When I look up,” Semper says, “it looks like someone punched a black hole into the sky where the Sun used to be.”

Many of us at Atlas Obscura were lucky to witness the 2017 eclipse in Oregon and Idaho and I couldn’t agree more with the above sentiment. The temperature dropping and that beautiful black pinhole—it was magical. So glad you got to experience it!

Yes it’s very freaky! Especially the few minutes leading up to it. It gets oddly dark, like a sunset but different and the shadows become very weird. And the cold also comes up very quickly indeed. Then you see the shadow rolling up and suddenly it’s dark. Very impressive experience! (Makes me want to see more)

I can very much understand why old civilisations thought that the world was ending.

The Antofogasta area is my favorite part of Chile…It is the worlds driest place and full of unique opportunities. Please be careful out there as there are literally 400 mile stretches of nothing but dirt and rock in the surrounding area. I spent days on foot wandering dry riverbeds and washes finding many excellent mineral specimens.
While there, make the short trip to La Portada natural monument. Also hit up Parque Japones.

In between Copiapo and Antofogasta is a number of interesting places.

Pan de Azucar national park is amazing and virtually unknown outside of Chile.

Cinfuncho at Caleta Cinfuncho is just north of there.This is a wonderful beach in a large cove on the Pacific, with a small seasonal fishing village. The water is so clear, you can see the numerous urchins and starfish on the bottom, 40 feet down!
This is also the site of, up to that point, of the worst non-combat US Navy disaster since WWII…the grounding and near sinking of the USS LaMoure County, LST 1194…of which I was a crewmember. (Google for more info…I don’t really like to think about that time.)

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If you have the chance, go to the Hand in the Desert (Mano del Desierto). It’s about 60 km. from Antofogasto. It’s just bizarre. When you’re staying in San Pedro, take the tour that takes you up to the El Tatio geyser field. Most of the tours will get you there before dawn, so if you’re not a morning person, it may not be for you. But the tour will also stop at wildlife viewing sites on the way back. Hopefully this information isn’t too late for you!

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