Where will you be when the Moon’s shadow crosses South America on December 14, 2020?
Come along with Sky & Telescope's Editor in Chief Peter Tyson on a 2020 solar-eclipse tour! Our 10-day tour starts and ends in colorful Buenos Aires — and in between we’ll explore the beautiful lakes region of Patagonia in west-central Argentina.
By day you’ll experience breathtaking vistas of the lush landscape, and by night you’ll immerse yourself in the incomparable stars of the southern sky. This eclipse adventure includes 4- and 5-star accommodations, fully escorted tours, and of course an exclusive, well-equipped eclipse viewing site with S&T staff on hand. And you’ll have the option of visiting Argentina’s world-famous Iguazú Falls before the main tour begins.
Our travel partner for 2020's solar eclipse is Royal Adventures (CST#2009579-40), a company that specializes in tours to South America and prides itself on providing travel experiences of unmatched quality.
Click below to get the full details:
• Itinerary for our 10-day tour (eclipse viewing along the path's center line)
• Itinerary for optional 4-day pre-eclipse extension to Iguazú Falls
• Pricing & Terms
• Reserve today! Download the registration form
Highlights of the 2020 Patagonia Eclipse Tour
This elegant, cosmopolitan city of roughly 3 million people offers a friendly atmosphere and European flavor. There'll be much to see and do — the Rio de la Plata waterfront, beautiful parks, great museums, excellent restaurants, and the amazing Recoleta Cemetery (just a few blocks from our hotel) — along with the Argentines' unmatched hospitality. Fun fact: Buenos Aires narrowly missed being in the path of 2019's total solar eclipse!
Nahuel Huapi National Park
Covering roughly 1¾ million acres (705,000 hectares), Nahuel Huapi ranks as the largest national park in this region of Argentina — and also the first (created in 1934). Its landscapes are an excellent example of the north Patagonian Andean Zone. With Chile's towering Andes forming its western border, the park encompasses many rivers, waterfalls, glaciers, extensive forests, and of course Lake Nahuel Huapi itself.
San Martín de los Andes
Situated in Chapelco Valley near the eastern flanks of the mighty Andes, this town of about 25,000 is famous for the pristine beauty of its surroundings. Stretching to its west is Lake Lacár, whose glacial origin created waters up to 900 feet deep. And not far to the town's north is the towering stratovolcano Lanín, whose summit is usually capped with snow. Popular summertime activities include kayaking, rafting, horse riding, and hiking.
Iguazú Falls (on optional pre-eclipse extension)
Located on the border between Argentina and Brazil, Iguazú Falls are the most overwhelming cascades in South America. Iguazú means “Great Waters” in the Guaraní Indian tongue, and these horseshoe-shaped falls plunge over a precipice 250 feet tall (half again taller than Niagara's falls) into the mysterious Devil’s Throat gorge at a rate of 6,000 cubic feet per second. The Iguazú Falls form the crown jewel of a park that encompasses 55,000 hectares of pristine subtropical rain forest, red earth, and amazing wildlife. The 2,000+ plant and animal species include black howler monkeys, capybaras, jaguars, pumas, and more than 400 species of birds.
Sky & Telescope's Eclipse-Viewing Site
Our viewing site, located almost exactly on the centerline, features low rolling hills in the distance and a wide-open sky that will provide the perfect natural setting for viewing totality and movement of the Moon's shadow across the landscape. Weather prospects near San Martín de los Andes are excellent, and midday temperatures should be near 70° F (20° C). We'll experience 2m 9s of totality (not including lunar-limb correction); key times and circumstances for the eclipse are listed in the table below.
Sofitel Buenos Aires Recoleta (2 nights; 3 nights with optional Iguazú Falls extension)
Located in the heart of the vibrant Recoleta district, this 5-star property is mere steps from Bellas Artes Museum, MALBA, and Recoleta Cemetery — as well as refined restaurants, traditional cafes, art galleries, and boutiques. Many rooms overlook the beautiful Rio de la Plata or the hotel’s lush, quiet garden. All 175 rooms feature classic, elegant décor.
Alma del Lago Suites & Spa (2 nights)
This beautiful, well-appointed venue sits in natural surroundings of crystalline lakes and offers stunning views of the region's mountain vistas. Located in Bariloche on the shore of Nahuel Huapi Lake, Alma del Lago offers the ideal combination of the magic of nature along with the high-quality comfort that its guests have come to expect. And it's within convenient walking distance of downtown Bariloche.
Hotel Patagonia Plaza Hotel (3 nights)
Located only four blocks from Lake Lácar, Hotel Patagonia Plaza is the only 4-star hotel in San Martín de los Andes. Each of its 90 rooms has free Wi-Fi, bath with hydromassage, LED TV, and everything else you need to make for a comfortable stay as we chase down the Moon's shadow. Be sure to try the heated pool! (Note: a limited number of "Superior Double" rooms are available for a modest additional charge.)
Loi Suites Iguazú Hotel
(with optional Iguazú Falls extension; 2 nights)
Located close to Puerto Iguazú and a 2-minute drive from Iguazú Falls National Park, Loi Suites offers a "jungle lodge" atmosphere with the comfort of a chic hotel. Its ample rooms, located outside the main building, are connected through a network of paths and hanging wooden bridges. The pool area is a favorite gathering place for families and guests.
Itinerary for S&T's 2020 Patagonian Total Solar Eclipse Tour
|Date||Itinerary at a Glance||Accommodation||Meals|
|Wednesday, Dec. 9||Depart for Argentina||(overnight flight)||Meals aloft|
|Thursday, Dec. 10||Buenos Aires||Sofitel Buenos Aires Recoleta||D|
|Friday, Dec. 11||Buenos Aires & Bariloche||Alma del Lago Suites & Spa||B, L|
|Saturday, Dec. 12||Bariloche||Alma del Lago Suites & Spa||B, L|
|Sunday, Dec. 13||Bariloche & San Martin de los Andes||Patagonia Plaza Hotel||B, L|
|Monday, Dec. 14||Eclipse Viewing at Private Site||Patagonia Plaza Hotel||B, L|
|Tuesday, Dec. 15||San Martin de los Andes||Patagonia Plaza Hotel||B, L|
|Wednesday, Dec. 16||San Martin de los Andes & Buenos Aires||Sofitel Buenos Aires Recoleta||B|
|Thursday, Dec. 17||Buenos Aires & Departure||(overnight flight)||B, L|
|Friday, Dec. 18||Arrive at home||—||Meals aloft|
Wednesday, December 9 — Depart from Your Home
Today we depart from our homes for Buenos Aires, typically on an overnight flight that offers dinner and breakfast while aloft. Arrival is the next morning.
Thursday, December 10 — Buenos Aires
We'll be met at the airport and transferred to our hotel for early check-in. Its location, directly across from Patio Bullrich (the city’s most upscale shopping gallery), offers easy access to the city’s main sites and sits within walking distance of the best restaurants, shops, art galleries, and museums. We'll take an afternoon bus tour of the city and its strikingly diverse neighborhoods, then gather back at the hotel for a private tango performance and a festive welcome dinner.
Friday, December 11 — Buenos Aires and Bariloche
After breakfast we transfer to the airport for a 2½-hour flight to San Carlos de Bariloche, located in the heart of the Nahuel Huapi National Park. After landing, we transfer to our hotel and have lunch at a local restaurant. In the afternoon, we take an easy 1-hour walk to reach the scenic overlooks of Brazo Tristeza. There we enjoy magnificent views over Nahuel Huapi Lake and the surrounding mountains. Dinner is on our own.
Saturday, December 12 — Bariloche
Today we are introduced to the magnificent scenery of Bariloche. Our adventure begins at Cerro Campanario, a mountain standing in the midst of the landscape, where we enjoy a 12-minute chairlift ride to reach the area's most beautiful vistas. (National Geographic named Cerro Campanario one of the “Top 10 Views in the World.”) The panorama combines green and white mountain peaks framing clusters of deep blue lakes. We gather for lunch at a local restaurant before returning to the hotel for free time and dinner on our own.
Sunday, December 13 — Bariloche and San Martín de los Andes
After breakfast, we board buses for a scenic 4-hour drive northward through the Andean foothills to reach San Martín de los Andes. Located on the shores of Lake Lácar, within the Lanín National Park, San Martín de los Andes is a paradise of peace and quietness, immersed in an environment of rivers, waterfalls, mountains and magical forests. We'll have plenty of time after check-in to explore the town's colorful streets and the nearby waterfront. Dinner on our own.
Monday, December 14 — Eclipse Day!
After breakfast we board buses for the 72-mile (117-km) ride to our exclusive viewing site at Estancia Catán Lil. There everything is ready to make our eclipse-viewing experience comfortable and memorable. Set up your gear for the big event, then relax and have lunch under the tents erected for our group. Once the spectacle is over, we'll head back to San Martín de los Andes to relax, swap images, and enjoy dinner on our own.
Total Solar Eclipse of December 14, 2020
as viewed from site near San Martin de Los Andes (70.60°W, 39.74°S)
|Event||Universal Time||Local time||Sun's alt.||Sun's az.|
|Start of partial eclipse (C1)||14:45:22||11:45:22 a.m.||61°||64°|
|Start of total eclipse (C2)||16:07:38||1:07:38 p.m.||72°||24°|
|Maximum eclipse (mid-totality)||16:08:42||1:08:42 p.m.||72°||23°|
|End of total eclipse (C3)||16:09:47||1:09:47 p.m.||72°||22°|
|End of partial eclipse (C4)||17:35:40||2:35:40 p.m.||70°||320°|
Data courtesy Fred Espenak (eclipsewise.com)
Tuesday, December 15 — San Martín de los Andes
With yesterday's excitement still fresh, we spend a relaxing day of sightseeing. We board a private boat that takes us on a 1½-hour cruise on Lake Lácar and Nonthue to the mouth of the Hua Hum River — one of the region's most beautiful places. During our boat ride, we make a short stop at Santa Teresita Island to vist a small chapel. After reaching Hua Hum's shores, we take a scenic hourlong walk to reach Chachin waterfall. Then return to the beach for a buffet lunch before boarding our boat for the return trip to San Martín de los Andes. Dinner is on our own.
Wednesday, December 16 — San Martín de los Andes and Buenos Aires
After breakfast, we bid adieu to San Martín de los Andes, as we board the buses that transfer us to Chapelco Airport for our flight back to Buenos Aires. After transfering to the hotel for check-in, we have the rest of the day and evening free to explore the city.
Thursday, December 17 — Buenos Aires and Departure
In the morning we take a walking tour of the nearby Recoleta Cemetery, the much-revered resting place of patriarchs, presidents, and the beloved Eva Perón. This is no ordinary cemetery: it's packed with 19th-century French architecture and many beautiful buildings. We gather for a farewell lunch at a local restaurant, then transfer by bus to the airport for our flights home.
Friday, December 18 — Home!
Arrive home after an overnight flight from Buenos Aires.
Optional Pre-tour Extension to Iguazú Falls
Itinerary for Pre-Tour Extension to Iguazú Falls
|Date||Itinerary at a Glance||Accommodation||Meals|
|Sunday, Dec. 6, 2020||Depart for Argentina||—||meals aloft|
|Monday, Dec. 7||Buenos Aires & Iguazú||Loi Suites Iguazú Hotel||—|
|Tuesday, Dec. 8||Iguazú||Loi Suites Iguazú Hotel||B, L|
|Wednesday, Dec. 9||Iguazú & Buenos Aires||Sofitel Buenos Aires Recoleta||B, L|
|Thursday, Dec. 10||Join main tour||Sofitel Buenos Aires Recoleta||B, D|
Sunday, December 6 — Depart from Your Home
Today we depart for Buenos Aires, typically on an overnight flight that offers dinner and breakfast while aloft. Arrival is the next morning.
Monday, December 7 — Buenos Aires and Puerto Iguazú
After clearing customs at the Ministro Pistarini International Airport, we transfer by private bus to the city's Jorge Newbery Airfield for a 2-hour flight in mid-afternoon to Puerto Iguazú. A quick ride by private bus brings us to the beautiful Loi Suites Iguazú Hotel — our accommodation for the next three nights. Lunch and dinner are on our own.
Tuesday, December 8 — Iguazú Falls
After breakfast, our guide will lead us along a half-mile-long walk to the panoramic views of the upper-falls area. Then we board the park's train for a trip to see Garganta del Diablo ("Devil's Throat"), the horseshoe-shaped torrent that is the park's most impressive set of falls. We'll be thrilled by the dramatic cascades seen as we walk along a 1½-mile (2.3-km) catwalk. We shift to the Lower Circuit for an intimate immersion in the forested landscape combined with multiple vistas of the cascading waters. After a lovely lunch at the El Fortin restaurant, we climb aboard zodiac boats for thrilling close-up views of seven different falls (note: you must be at least 12 years old and have adequate mobility). Dinner is on our own.
Wednesday, December 9 — Iguazú Falls and Buenos Aires
Today we cross into Brazil to see the falls from a different perspective. The Brazilian side offers several panoramic views along an easy-to-navigate boardwalk. At the end of the catwalk is a fantastic close-up encounter — prepare to be drenched! After lunch at the Espaço Porto Canoas (itself offering a lovely lookout over the Iguazú River, we'll board our bus to the Puerto Iguazú airport and our return trip to Buenos Aires. Dinner on our own.
Thursday, December 10 — Buenos Aires
After breakfast, enjoy a stroll on your own. Later in the day we join the rest of our tour group (who will have arrived that morning).
- In-tour flights within Argentina on main tour. Note: airfare from Buenos Aires to/from Iguazú is not included. (Note: Airlines can increase negotiated rates at any time. Any increase in airfare will result in a surcharge that will be included with your final invoice.)
- Accommodation in 4- and 5-star hotels
- English-speaking Tour Director exclusive to Sky & Telescope group
- Sky & Telescope astronomy director
- Professional English-speaking guides at all locations
- Land transport by private motor coach
- Airport transfers for group flights
- All meals indicated on the itinerary
- Wine with all dinners and most lunches
- Bottled water during outings
- Baggage handling
- Tips to local guides, drivers, service charges, and taxes
- Entrance fees on itinerary excursions and visits
- All domestic airport departure taxes
- Customized luggage tags with Sky & Telescope logo
- Viewing glasses for partial phases of the solar eclipse
- Pre-tour planning information and resources
WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED
- International airfare to and from Buenos Aires
- Airfare from Buenos Aires to/from Iguazú during optional pre-tour extension
- Excess-baggage fees
- Passport fees
- Room service and meals not specified in itinerary
- Alcoholic beverages except as noted
- Personal items such as laundry, email, and telephone calls
- Private transfers or other transportation
- Travel and medical insurance
- Medical expenses incurred during tour
- Tip for the Tour Director is at participant's discretion
Pricing for 2020 Patagonia Eclipse Tour
|Pricing (per person)||Double||Single|
|Total Solar Eclipse & Patagonia Tour||US$6,900*||US$8,400|
|Pre-Eclipse Extension to Iguazú Falls||US$2,000||US$2,500|
Note: All tour prices are based on costs and U.S. dollar exchange rates in effect at the time of posting. As such, prices listed here are subject to change. Sky & Telescope and/or Royal Adventures will inform clients of any changes prior to departure.
* A limited number of larger, "superior double" rooms are available in San Martin de los Andes for an additional cost of $100 per person (double occupancy only).
Payments & Terms for 2020 Patagonia Eclipse Tour
- To make a reservation: A reservation request can be submitted (1) by mail to Royal Adventures, 9 Crow Canyon Ct. Suite 205, San Ramon, CA 94583; (2) by fax to (925) 855-1909; or (3) by email sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Reservations are recorded and acknowledged in order of receipt. Royal Adventures (CST #2009579-40) handles all invoicing.
- Deposits: An advance payment of US$1,500 per person, along with US$500 per person for the Iguazú Falls extension, is required to secure your reservation. Initial deposits may be charged to a credit card. All subsequent payments must be made by check payable to "Royal Adventures." Final payment (by check only) is due by October 15, 2020.
- To cancel a reservation: Notification must be received in writing (via mail or email; see contact info above) by Royal Adventures from the participant. Cancellations received within the first 14 days of booking will receive a full refund of the trip deposit. Cancellations received after the first 14 days of booking but before October 15, 2020, will be assessed a cancellation fee of $1,500. Cancellations received on or after October 15, 2020, are subject to a 100% penalty of all deposits and payments, regardless of the booking date. There are no refunds for unused meals, accommodations, or other trip features.
- Itinerary: The itinerary is subject to change at the discretion of Sky & Telescope and Royal Adventures. All tour prices are based on costs and U.S. dollar exchange rates in effect at the time of posting. As such, prices listed here are subject to change. In particular, any increases in the fares for in-tour flights, security, and/or fuel surcharges will be paid by the participants. Sky & Telescope and/or Royal Adventures will inform clients of any changes prior to departure.
- Eclipse-day weather: Argentina will be a prime location to experience 2020's total solar eclipse. We will provide an optimal viewing location to experience this phenomenon. However, because witnessing the eclipse will be weather dependent, there is always a chance that tour participants will not be able to view it or to view it only for a short period of time. Royal Adventures,AAS Sky Publishing LLC, and Sky & Telescope make no guarantees as to the viewing of the total solar eclipse.
- Travel insurance: We highly recommend the purchase of trip cancellation insurance. An application for insurance will be provided by Royal Adventures upon confirmation. AAS Sky Publishing LLC, Sky &Telescope, and Royal Adventures accept no liability for any airline cancellation penalty incurred by the purchase of a non-refundable airline ticket or other expenses incurred by tour participants in preparing for the tour.
- Disclaimer: Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of information presented here. Royal Adventures, AAS Sky Publishing LLC, and Sky & Telescope are not responsible for errors in or damages resulting from use of the information contained herein. Information contained here is subject to change.
- Responsibility: Royal Adventures, its owners and employees act only as an agent for the various independent suppliers and contractors providing transportation, hotel accommodations, restaurant and other services connected with this tour. Such travel and services are subject to the terms and conditions under which such accommodations, services and transportation are offered or provided. AAS Sky Publishing LLC, Sky & Telescope, and Royal Adventures (and their respective, employees, agents, representatives, and assigns) accept no liability therefor. AAS Sky Publishing LLC, Sky & Telescope, and Royal Adventures assume no liability for any injury, damage, loss, accident, delay or other irregularity which may be caused by the defect of any aircraft or vehicle or the negligence or default of any company or person engaged in carrying out or performing any of the services involved. Additionally, responsibility is not accepted for losses, injury, damages or expenses of any kind due to sickness, weather, earthquake, strikes, local laws, hostilities, wars, terrorist acts, acts of nature, quarantine, force majeure, injury including: eye injury, animal or insect bites, altitude related sickness, or other such causes. All services and accommodations are subject to the laws of the country in which they are provided. AAS Sky Publishing LLC, Sky & Telescope, and Royal Adventures reserve the right to make changes in the published itinerary whenever, in their sole judgment, conditions warrant, or if they deem it necessary for the comfort, convenience or safety of the tour participants. They reserve the right to withdraw this tour without penalty, in which case participants will be issued a full refund, except if the tour is cancelled due to force majeure or other forces beyond our control in which case the recoverable portion of unused services or accommodations will be refunded. The right is also reserved to decline to accept or retain any person as a member of the tour, or to substitute another qualified leader or special guest. Baggage and personal effects are the sole responsibility of the owners at all times. The price of the program is given in good faith based on current tariffs and rates and is subject to change. Any tariff, exchange rate, or fuel increases will be passed onto participants. The air ticket when issued shall constitute the sole contract between the passenger and the airline concerned. There are no refunds for unused meals, accommodations, or other features. As part of the consideration and right to participate in this tour, each participant will be asked to sign a liability release.
- Questions: Please contact Royal Adventures at email@example.com or call 800-453-4754 or 925-820-6260 (Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time).