Join Sky & Telescope in Chile — the “astronomy capital of the world” — from October 12 to 23, 2022. Our group will visit world-class observatories, see breathtaking landscapes, and observe the southern sky in crystal-clear night skies.
Admit it — you’ve always wanted to go south of the equator to take advantage of the extraordinary celestial sights of the southern sky. But you’ve never quite figured out the logistics of getting there, let alone how you’d lug your telescope through airports and customs.
Here’s your chance to have it all — and you can leave the scope at home! Sky & Telescope is heading to Chile for a 10-day, 9-night adventure to some of the most astronomically famous and stunning locales on the planet. Join S&T Editor in Chief Peter Tyson next October 12–23 on what promises to be an over-the-top celestial adventure.
With its high mountains, clear skies, and dry air, northern Chile is a mecca for both professional observatories and nighttime stargazing — and you’ll get to see plenty of both. The trip combines rare, behind-the-scenes tours of major telescopes (including visits to the Very Large Telescope and the amazing ALMA radio-telescope array) with three nights of stargazing at privately owned facilities that cater to amateur observers. You can leave the telescope at home, because all the observing gear will be there waiting for you!
You’ll enjoy comfortable, high-quality accommodations, delicious local cuisine (virtually all meals are included!), and the expertise of local, English-speaking guides. With decades of experience bringing groups to South America, Royal Adventures has become one of the premier astronomy- and eclipse-trip providers. This trusted travel partner teamed up with S&T for eclipse tours to Chile in 2019, 2020, and 2021.
So if you’ve never seen the far-southern sky in all its dazzling glory, this tour will provide that full-immersion celestial experience you’ve been hoping for. Click below to get the full details:
• Itinerary for our 11-day tour of Chile and its amazing observatories
• Itinerary for our optional 3-day pre-tour extension to Easter Island
• What is and isn’t included; what conditions to expect
• Pricing, Payments, and Terms
• Reserve today using this online registration
Itinerary for the 2022 Chile Astronomy & Stargazing Tour
|Date||Itinerary at a Glance||Accommodation||Meals|
|Wednesday, Oct. 12||Depart for Santiago||—||(aloft)|
|Thursday, Oct. 13||Santiago||Hotel Plaza El Bosque Ebro||D|
|Friday, Oct. 14||La Serena||Hotel Costa Real||B, L, D|
|Saturday, Oct. 15||Las Campanas, GMT||Hotel Costa Real||B, L, D|
|Sunday, Oct, 16||Gemini, SOAR, Vera Rubin||Hotel Costa Real||B, L|
|Monday, Oct. 17||Calama, San Pedro de Atacama||Hotel Cumbres San Pedro de Atacama||B, L, D|
|Tuesday, Oct. 18||El Tatio Geysers, Termas de Puritana||Hotel Cumbres San Pedro de Atacama||B, L, D|
|Wednesday, Oct. 19||ALMA, Lagoons||Hotel Cumbres San Pedro de Atacama||B, L|
|Thursday, Oct. 20||Antofagasta||NH Antofagasta||B, L|
|Friday, Oct. 21||Very Large Telescope||Hotel Plaza El Bosque Ebro||B, L|
|Saturday, Oct. 22||Santiago, depart for home||—||B, L|
|Sunday, Oct. 23||Arrive home||—||(aloft)|
Day 1 (Wednesday, Oct. 12): Depart for Santiago
Depart from your home city on an overnight flight to Santiago, the capital of Chile.
Overnight flight (meals aloft)
Day 2 (Thursday, Oct. 13): Santiago
Arrive this morning in Santiago and transfer to our five-star hotel located in one of the most exclusive areas of Santiago. After a short afternoon orientation and city tour, we'll visit Chile's National Astronomical Observatory. Operated by the University of Chile, the observatory is situated on Cerro Calán, which offers breathtaking views of the city. Upon return to our hotel, we'll gather for a welcome dinner and orientation.
Hotel Plaza El Bosque Ebro (D)
Day 3 (Friday, Oct. 14): La Serena
Depart Santiago on a flight to La Serena, Chile’s second-oldest city, founded in 1544. Take a guided city tour of La Serena this morning then, in the early afternoon travel to the picturesque town of Vicuña to visit a Pisco distillery. We’ll learn about this Chilean liquor and enjoy a Pisco tasting in the cellars of Pisco Elqui. After dinner in Vicuña, enjoy stargazing at El Pangue Observatory for breathtaking southern-sky stargazing through 16- and 25-inch telescopes.
Hotel Costa Real (B, L, D)
Day 4 (Saturday, Oct. 15): Las Campanas Observatory & GMT Construction
We travel north of La Serena by road to Las Campanas Observatory for a day-long tour of the Magellan Project site and the two 6.5-meter optical telescopes that are housed there. We’ll also see the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) construction site (to be completed in 2027). The GMT uses seven of the world’s largest mirrors — each 8.42 meters (27.61 ft) across — as segments of its primary mirror, yielding a spatial resolution better than that of the Hubble or Webb space telescopes. (Observatory visits are subject to final confirmation.)
Hotel Costa Real (B, L, D)
Day 5 (Sunday, Oct. 16): Gemini South, SOAR, and Vera Rubin Observatories
This morning enjoy exclusive visits to the Gemini South Telescope, Southern Observatory for Astro-physical Research (SOAR), and the Vera C. Rubin Observatory, all located on the peak of Cerro Pachón, an 8,900-foot-high mountain in northern Chile. The Gemini Observatory has an aperture of 8.1 meters, and the adjacent SOAR has an aperture of 4.1 meters. The Vera C. Rubin Observatory, now under construction, is an 8-meter-class telescope coupled to a 3.2-gigapixel camera — the largest digital camera ever fabricated for optical astronomy.(Observatory visits are subject to final confirmation.)
Hotel Costa Real (B, L)
Day 6 (Monday, Oct. 17): Calama & San Pedro de Atacama
This morning we fly north to Calama and transfer to San Pedro de Atacama for a three-night stay. On the way, we will stop at Cordillera de la Sal, the Salt Mountains. Shaped over time by the rain, wind, and sun of the Atacama Desert, its final form as we know it today is full of natural sculptures, different types of stratifications and various colors due to its mineral diversity. Later we’ll visit the Moon Valley with its extraordinary landscape caused by the erosion of the Salt Mountains.
Hotel Cumbres San Pedro de Atacama (B, L, D)
Day 7 (Tuesday, Oct. 18): El Tatio Geysers & Termas de Puritana Hot Springs
Early this morning we depart on an excursion to El Tatio, the world’s highest major geyser field, to see the great outflow of geysers at sunrise. Afterward, relax in the warm mineral waters of the Termas de Puritana hot springs. Enjoy lunch at La Estaka restaurant before returning to the hotel for an evening lecture. We have the remainder of the evening at leisure until dinner. This evening, we enjoy a telescopic tour of the southern skies under Alain Maury’s expert leadership.
Hotel Cumbres San Pedro de Atacama (B, L, D)
Day 8 (Wednesday, Oct. 19): ALMA Observatory & High-Altitude Lagoons
This morning we visit the largest astronomical project in existence, ALMA (the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array). In the afternoon, we’ll explore the immense Salar de Atacama with its various species of flamingos. Then we visit Salar de Talar, an evaporated salt lake. Here we’ll see lagoons of beautiful colors and many volcanoes. Look for vicuñas, viscachas, and other wildlife of the area. Following a lecture and dinner, we will continue our astronomical observation of the southern skies with informal stargazing on the resort grounds.
Hotel Cumbres San Pedro de Atacama (B, L)
Day 9 (Thursday, Oct. 20): Antofagasta
Time permitting, we turn our attention from the celestial heavens to the ancient past with a visit to the archaeological site of Pukará de Quitor. We then transfer to Antofagasta via private motorcoach.
NH Antofagasta (B, L)
Day 10 (Friday, Oct. 21): Very Large Telescope
This morning we drive to the Paranal Observatory, home of the VLT (Very Large Telescope) often described as the world's largest. Located on top of Cerro Paranal in the Atacama Desert, it has 4 telescopes of 8.2 meters in diameter. Cerro Paranal was chosen because of its excellent atmospheric conditions and its remote location. After touring the facilities, we will transfer to the airport in Antofagasta for a flight to Santiago. (VLT visit is subject to final confirmation.)
Hotel Plaza El Bosque Ebro (B, L)
Day 11 (Saturday, Oct. 22): Santiago — Tour Ends
Today we drive to the Casablanca Valley, where renowned Chilean wines are produced, and enjoy a farewell lunch at the Kingston Family Vineyards. This vineyard, founded by an American family (including Harvard, Princeton, and Stanford graduates), has evolved into one of Chile’s hottest, award-winning boutique wineries. Afterward, we transfer by bus to Santiago’s international airport for overnight flights home.
Overnight flight (B, L, meals aloft)
Day 12 (Sunday, Oct. 23): Arrive Home
After an overnight flight from Santiago and your connecting flight, you return home with wonderful memories of your time under Chile’s amazing night sky.
Optional Pre-Tour Extension to Easter Island (October 7-12, 2022)
|NOTE: Although Chilean authorities had planned to allow tourists to visit Easter Island (Isla de Pascua) beginning in February 2022, that decision has been postponed. At the moment there is no confirmed date for the official reopening of Easter Island.|
|Date||Itinerary at a Glance||Accommodation||Meals|
|Friday, Oct. 7||Depart for Santiago||—||(aloft)|
|Saturday, Oct. 8||Santiago||Hotel Plaza El Bosque Ebro||—|
|Sunday, Oct. 9||fly to Easter Island||Nayara Hangaroa||B, L, D|
|Monday, Oct. 10||Easter Island||Nayara Hangaroa||B, L, D|
|Tuesday, Oct. 11||Easter Island||Nayara Hangaroa||B, L, D|
|Wednesday, Oct. 12||fly to Santiago||Hotel Plaza El Bosque Ebro||B|
|Thursday, Oct. 13||(join Main Tour)||Hotel Plaza El Bosque Ebro||B|
Located 2,600 miles west of Santiago in the South Pacific Ocean, this mysterious island has a visual impact few places in the world can equal. Hundreds of moais, tight-lipped basalt statues unique in the whole of Oceania, are scattered throughout the island.
Accommodations on Easter Island are at the all-inclusive luxury resort Nayara Hangaroa (member of the Leading Hotels of the World), which is known for its environmental design. The extension includes two nights at Plaza El Bosque Ebro (after your arrival in Santiago and after your return to Santiago from Easter Island), three nights at the Nayara Hangaroa on Easter Island, all meals and an open bar at the Nayara Hangaroa, shared guided excursions while on Easter Island, entrance to Rapa Nui National Park, breakfasts in Santiago, and all transfers.
Note: Airfare to Easter Island is not included. Rates are based on a minimum of six guests. Tips to guides and staff on Easter Island are at the passenger’s discretion.
What the Tour Does/Doesn’t Include
The main tour and pre-tour extension to Easter Island include:
• Nightly accommodation in 4½- and 4-star hotels
• Three flights within Chile: Santiago/La Serena, La Serena/Calama, Antofagasta/Santiago
• Airport transfers for group flights
• Arrangements to visit professional and private observatories (visitation permits are pending)
• Private tour director and local English-speaking guides for touring days
• Private coach for ground transportation
• Lectures and discussion from a S&T representative on the main tour
• Entrances fees to museums, national reserves, and other venues on the itinerary
• Virtually all meals (see itinerary), including special welcome and farewell meals on the main tour
• Wine with all dinners and lunches (except picnic lunch en route to Antofagasta)
• Open bar while staying at the Nayara Hangaroa on Easter Island (except for premium drinks)
• Bottled water during outings
• Baggage handling
• Tips to local guides, drivers, service charges, and taxes on the main tour
• Customized luggage tags and name tags with Sky & Telescope logo
• Pre-trip planning information and resources
The main tour and pre-tour extension to Easter Island do not include:
• International airfare to and from Santiago, Chile
• Airfare to and from Easter Island (on the optional extension)
• Passport and visa fees
• Trip Cancellation and Travel Insurance (highly recommended)• Evacuation Insurance (required for those visiting ALMA; minimum amount $50,000)
• Medical insurance (required to enter Chile; minimum $30,000 and must cover COVID-19)
• Medical or quarantine expenses
• COVID-19 testing before, during, or after the tour
• Airport transfers if not arriving or departing with the group
• Hotel accommodation for extra nights before or after the tour dates
• Individual excursions or deviations from the scheduled tour
• Meals or beverages not listed in the detailed itinerary
• Personal expenses (room service, laundry, email, wi-fi, telephone calls, etc)
• Excess-baggage fees
• Tip for the Tour Director is at participant’s discretion
• Tips for guides and staff on Easter Island are at participant's discretion
• Unforeseen cost increases for internal flights, security, or fuel surcharges
What Conditions to Expect on the Tour
This exclusive Sky & Telescope expedition to Chile is designed for travelers who are interested in learning about the professional observatories of Chile, the skies of the southern hemisphere, and experiencing the wildlife, geology, and superb natural landscapes of the Atacama Desert and Northern Chile.
To enjoy this experience, participants must be in good physical and mental health and be able to keep up with the pace of the group. Since some travel will be in remote areas, everyone must be flexible concerning time schedules, food, insects, weather, and dust. Program participants requiring extraordinary assistance must be accompanied by someone who can and will provide all required assistance. We describe this trip as relatively active. Travel is by jet aircraft and motorcoach.
Roadways can be narrow with steep ascents/descents and at times rocky, unpaved, and dusty. The drive from San Pedro to Antofagasta takes approximately 4 hours. Clothing that can be layered, as well as sunblock, sun hat, sunglasses, and comfortable walking shoes with a sturdy tread, will be essential on this trip.
October is spring in Chile and average temperatures in Santiago are between 73°F and 44°F. In the Atacama Desert temperatures generally range from 77°F to 41°F. Observatory visits will involve walking from 1 to 2miles and at times over rocky, dusty, muddy, and uneven terrain and at high elevations in the Atacama. The pace of the walks will be leisurely.
All the hotels are located at what are considered comfortable elevations. However, the professional observatories are at significant altitudes: Las Campanas Observatory is at 7,810 feet; the Very Large Telescope is at 8,645 feet; and the Vera C. Rubin, Gemini, and SOAR observatories are at 8,737 feet. Moreover, some of the excursions in the Atacama Desert can reach (for a short time) altitudes of approximately 14,000 feet. Finally, an optional visit to ALMA’s antennas on the Chajnantor plateau (pending final confirmation) is at 16,500 feet and will require a signed medical release from the passenger’s physician and an evacuation insurance policy with minimum coverage of $50,000.
Pricing, Payments, and Terms for Chile Observatories and Stargazing 2022 Tour
|Pricing (per person)||Double Occupancy||Single Occupancy|
|Chile Observatories & Stargazing (Oct. 12-23, 2022)||$7,950||$8,950|
|Pre-Tour Extension to Easter Island (Oct. 7-12, 2022)||$3,350||$4,700|
- Pricing: 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. Royal Adventures and/or AAS Sky Publishing LLC will inform clients of any changes prior to departure.
- To make a reservation: A reservation request can be submitted by completing this form. Reservations are recorded and acknowledged in order of receipt. Royal Adventures (CST #2009579-40) handles all invoicing.
- Deposits: An advance payment of US$1,000 per person is required to secure your reservation. Please make your check payable to "Royal Adventures" and mail it to: Royal Adventures, 9 Crow Canyon Court, Suite 205, San Ramon, CA 94583. Initial deposits may be charged to a credit card; however, a 3% fee will be added. All subsequent payments must be made by check. The final payment (by check only) is due by June 15, 2022.
- Cancellations and Refunds: Deposits are fully refundable until June 14, 2022. Cancellations received after June 14, 2022, are subject to a 100% penalty (no refund) of all deposits and payments, regardless of the booking date. Notification of cancellation must be received in writing by Royal Adventures. 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, the prices listed here are subject to change. In particular, any increases in the fares for in-tour transportation, 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.
- Travel insurance: We highly recommend the purchase of trip cancellation insurance including “Cancel for Any Reason” because the cancellation penalty listed in the brochure will apply. Trip cancellation, medical, quarantine, and evacuation insurance can be purchased through our recommended provider, Travel Insured International; click here to get a quote or call 800-243-3174 and mention Royal Adventures #53140. Entry into Chile currently requires proof of medical insurance covering COVID-19 related expenses in an amount of a least $30,000. Participation in the optional ALMA excursion to 16,500 feet requires a medical release and an evacuation insurance policy in the minimum amount of $50,000. Most insurance plans need to be purchased within 14 days of paying the initial deposit to waive preexisting medical conditions as well as to purchase “Cancel for Any Reason” insurance.
- Disclaimer: Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information presented here. Royal Adventures, AAS Sky Publishing, LLC, and Sky & Telescope are not responsible for errors in or damages resulting from the use of the information contained herein. Information contained here is subject to change.
- Responsibility Statement: Royal Adventures (CST #2009579-40), its owners, and employees act only as agents 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 and AAS Sky Publishing LLC (collectively referred to herein as “AAS Sky Publishing LLC”) and Royal Adventures and their respective employees, agents, representatives, and assigns accept no liability therefor. AAS Sky Publishing LLC 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, epidemics, pandemics, weather, strikes, local laws, hostilities, wars, terrorist acts, acts of nature, quarantine, force majeure, animal or insect bites, 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 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. AAS Sky Publishing LLC and/or Royal Adventures shall not be deemed to be in breach of these terms and conditions or otherwise be liable to you, and shall not provide any refund, by reason of delay in performance, or by non-performance, of any of our obligations hereunder to the extent that any such delay or non-performance is due to any force majeure event. A force majeure event, in relation to this tour, shall mean any circumstances beyond our control, including, but without limitation, to acts of God, explosion, flood, forceful wind, fire or accident, war or threat of war declared or undeclared, acts of terrorism, sabotage, insurrection, riots, strikes, civil disturbance, sickness, epidemics, pandemics, quarantines, government intervention or other unforeseeable events. Limitations on travel arising from the COVID-19 pandemic shall be considered a force majeure event. If this tour is affected by a force majeure event, AAS Sky Publishing and Royal Adventures shall be entitled to, and may in their sole and absolute discretion, vary, cancel, or postpone any itinerary or arrangement in relation to this trip. 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, security surcharge, fuel, or internal airline ticket fee increases, will be passed on to participants. Neither AAS Sky Publishing LLC nor Royal Adventures accepts the liability for any airline-cancellation penalty incurred by the purchase of a nonrefundable airline ticket or other expenses incurred by tour participants in preparing for the tour. Participants on this tour agree not to hold Royal Adventures or AAS Sky Publishing LLC and/ or its employees or agents responsible for any expense or loss caused by their failure to purchase trip cancellation insurance coverage or by their failure to purchase insurance or “Cancel for Any Reason” insurance coverage within the 14 days following the date of their registration on this tour. The air ticket when issued shall constitute the sole contract between the passenger and the airline concerned. As part of the consideration and right to participate in this tour, each participant will be asked to sign a liability release, an assumption of risk, and a hold-harmless agreement.
- Questions: Please contact Royal Adventures at email@example.com or call 800-453-4754 or 925-820-6260 (Monday to Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time).