The countdown begins for the Solar Eclipse that will turn Chile, this July 2, into the perfect scenario to observe a natural phenomenon that in the regions of Atacama and Coquimbo will not be repeated for another 146 years.
The Solar Eclipse of this Tuesday, July 2 will not only be a unique astronomical event in the world, but a milestone of great relevance for Chilean tourism. For almost 12 months, hotels in the regions of Atacama and Coquimbo, where the phenomenon can best be seen, have hung the «full» sign for these dates.
«The eclipse of July 2 could not have been in a better scenario. Our skies are true natural laboratories. Of the 365 nights that it has a year, 300 are cleared in the north of the country. A fact that makes this area an ideal area for the development of astronomy, with world-class centers, «says the Director of the National Tourism Service of Chile, Andrea Wolleter.
The authority adds that precisely because of its pristine skies «Chile concentrates about 40% of the infrastructure for the astronomical observation of the world. And it is estimated that, by 2025, this figure will grow to represent 77% of the observation capacity. »
It is expected that the darkest strip of the eclipse (UMBRA), which runs from the southern zone of the Atacama Region to the northern part of the Coquimbo Region, will reach approximately 350 thousand visitors. From these locations you can clearly see how the moon completely covers the sun at approximately 16:39 in the afternoon.
The zone where there will be 100% visibility – better known as the UMBRA zone – is made up of the following locations: La Higuera, Paihuano (eastern Elqui Valley), Vicuña, Andacollo, La Serena, Coquimbo and Río Hurtado, in the Region of Coquimbo. For its part, in the Atacama Region, the best observation points will be in Incahuasi, Cachiyuyo, Domeyko, Carrizalillo and Chañaral de Aceituno.
«These destinations have fine-tuned their tourist services, from accommodation to transport, through local guides, and the experiences they will offer tourists, such as wine tourism, wellness and gastronomy. A demand that is as specialized as it is demanding, which hopes to complement astrotourism, «says Wolleter.
According to official data from the National Tourism Service of Chile, the occupancy rate of hotel occupancy is approximately 95% and, in some areas, 100%. A demand that triples compared to this same date in previous years.
The average stay of travelers who visit the area will be 3-4 days, highlighting the presence of international travelers, mostly from key markets such as the United States, England, France, Japan and Australia.
Chile, the window of the universe
Since 2017, when it was announced that Chile would be the world window of this natural phenomenon, the country has been prepared to receive a large volume of visitors who will know the valleys where the Atacama Desert is born and witness the Solar Eclipse, enjoying other activities around astronomy.
It is a hybrid Solar Eclipse, the first in 427 years and the last in 146 years, which can be observed from all the Chilean territory, being the regions of Atacama and Coquimbo where there will be 100% visibility. In other areas, the phenomenon will be partially seen, as for example in Arica, to the north, where the sun will darken by 65%; in the south, the sun will be covered by 46% of its surface, a similar percentage to that can be seen from the island Rapa Nui. In the capital, Santiago, it will be 92%.
During the days before and after the great astronomical event, a series of complementary activities will take place, such as lectures, symposia, concerts and photography contests. The 50th anniversary of the La Silla Observatory, organized by the ESO (European Southern Observatory), will bring together experts and amateurs from all over the world to visit the facilities of this scientific astronomical center.
In addition, until July 6, will take place the world congress of the International Union of Professional Astronomers (IAU), which will bring together more than 300 astronomers from around the world in the city of Copiapó, in the Atacama Region.
European fans will be able to witness this great natural show through streaming, which different channels of Chilean national television will broadcast of this memorable phenomenon of nature.