This natural phenomenon will be seen to varying degrees across the southern half of South America but it is in Patagonia where the totality of the eclipse can be seen. The 15-day Highlights of Chile with the solar eclipse holiday starts in the capital, Santiago, before journeying south to the wilderness landscapes of Torres del Paine National Park where guests can enjoy rewarding hikes to the peaks, lakes and waterfalls of the UNESCO biosphere reserve. The tour continues to Coyhaique, the provincial capital of the Aisén region and the perfect base from which to observe the eclipse. Guests will have time to explore the rugged hills and enchanting rivers and waterfalls of the area before the big event on 26 February.
From an optimum spot at 1,600m above sea level with a panoramic view over the verdant landscapes, guests will be given special filter glasses and look towards where the moon obliterates the sun, allowing only for a fiery rim. Even if it is overcast, the all-encompassing, ghostly midday twilight is very special to behold.
After the eclipse, the holiday heads north to the Atacama Desert, one of the best places on earth for stargazing, and where guests can explore the region's moon-like salt flats, Tatio geysers and hot springs. There is also the opportunity to fly over the desert scenery in a hot air balloon for a unique perspective of the arid, rocky landscape. The final stop is the colourful port city of Valparaíso with the chance to wander its winding lanes and ride its funicular railways.