We will be open at 9:00 am. Call 020 7590 0610
Total solar eclipse

Chile's Solar Eclipse 2020

Where and how to see the phenomenon

Article content

27 January 2020 by Emily Newton-Smith

On December 14, 2020, the next total solar eclipse will take place. The phenomenon occurs when the new moon comes between the sun and Earth and casts its umbra – the darkest part of its shadow – on Earth. A total solar eclipse is almost as dark as night. While the majority of this year's total solar eclipse will take place over the Pacific Ocean, it will pass over South America – Chile and Argentina – in the late afternoon, meaning Chile's Lake District is one of the best – and only – places in the world for viewing.

The Lake District is an incredibly beautiful part of Chile, and a highly recommended inclusion in a holiday to South America. The eclipse is simply another reason to explore the region, and December happens to be a very good time to visit, right at the start of summer. Covering the area between Temuco and Puerto Montt, the Chilean Lake District is made up of dozens of major lakes and plenty of smaller ones in between – you can travel here on our Highlights of Patagonia tour. Temuco, at the northern edge of the region, is right in the path of the eclipse. And, if you're in the region, why not extend the trip with a visit to Chiloé Island?

Chilean Lake District and mountain backdrop
Chilean Lake District

Temuco is a bustling city with a grand, central square and forested parks of olive and laurel trees – but with potentially hazy skies and more light pollution. Therefore, for the best views, heading off the beaten track is recommended. The viewing hotspots for the eclipse include Pucón, also in the north, and San Martin de Los Andes in Argentina, just a little further south.

Pucón is on the shores of Lake Villarrica, in the shadow of the Villarica Volcano. In addition to the volcano itself, which you can climb, you're a stone's throw from the picturesque Huequehue National Park, a haven of monkey puzzle trees, waterfalls, and hidden lakes. It's the ideal backdrop to an adventure holiday centred around the eclipse – our Pucón's Volcanoes and Lakes itinerary is a great place to start, and the outstanding &Beyond Vira Vira property is truly spectacular.

Or, from Argentina's San Martin, a quiet town on the shores of Lascar Lake, you can summit the Lanin Volcano and even bicycle across the Andes back into Chile. And, although the town itself does not lie directly in the Moon's path of totality – 99.9½% instead – this stretch of the umbral path offers a high likelihood of cloud-free skies on the day of the eclipse. A short drive northeast to Neuquén Province does offer the chance to see 100% totality, if that's what you're seeking.

Lanin Volcano, Chilean Lake District
Lanin Volcano

If the solar eclipse is the main event you're travelling for, there are a few things to bear in mind. A total solar eclipse has five phases. A partial eclipse begins as the moon becomes visible over the sun, followed by the start of the total eclipse, where the sun is covered by the moon. It's then that those in its path might see the diamond ring effect, just before totality. During the maximum eclipse, the sky goes dark, temperatures may fall, and birds and animals can become quiet. Then, the sun begins to reappear, and the moon slowly moves away, until the eclipse ends.

In order to view the eclipse safely, you must note the following:

  • Wear protective eclipse eyewear or view an image of the eclipsed sun using a pinhole projector.
  • During totality, you can safely view the eclipse with the naked eye or through cameras, telescopes and binoculars.
  • Make sure you know how long totality will last at your location.
  • During the Bally's beads or diamond ring effects, protective eyewear must be worn.

Total solar eclipse over lake and mountains
Diamond ring effect during solar eclipse

And, of course, there is plenty to do across the country as a whole. Time a few days in the lake district with the eclipse viewing, before moving on to discover everything from the vast Atacama desert in the north, to the wilds of Patagonia in the south. There's white-water rafting, fly-fishing, horse riding and glacier hiking to be enjoyed, while oenophiles can visit the many world-class wineries in the Central Valley. Or, extend your trip on the lakes themselves, where boat trips offer a new perspective on their beauty.

If a solar eclipse holiday in Chile is on your bucket-list, speak to one of our travel specialists to plan your trip – our experts will ensure you're in the perfect location to see the eclipse on December 14th 2020.

Enquire Now

Related offers

Guanaco, Chile

Highlights of Chilean Patagonia

11-day tailor-made holiday from £4,375 pp incl. flights

Explore the very best of Chilean Patagonia on this tailor-made tour to the Lake District town of Puerto Varas, mysterious Chiloé Island and the imposing granite spires of the Torres del Paine National Park.

Guanacos, Torres del Paines National Park, Chile

Pristine Patagonia Self-Drive

16-day tailor-made self-drive from £4,010 pp incl. flights

Explore Patagonia at your own pace, marvelling at the epic Fitzroy Massif, remote and rugged Torres del Paine National Park and one of the only advancing glaciers in the world – Perito Moreno. Along the way, you'll also spot whales, walruses, seals and penguins.

Torres del Paine National Park, Patagonia, Chile

Highlights of Chile

13-day tailor-made holiday from £4,665 pp incl. flights

From the austere landscapes of the north to the granite spires of the Patagonian south and the cities of Santiago and Valparaíso in between, this tailor-made holiday takes in the best of Chile’s history, heritage, landscapes and wildlife.

Atacama Desert, Chile

Landscapes of Chile

12-day tailor-made holiday from £5,850 pp incl. flights

This country-spanning tour of Chile takes you from Santiago’s storied streets to the grasslands and glaciers of Patagonia and the austerity of the Atacama Desert. Round things off with a luxury stay in artistic Valparaíso on the Pacific coast.

Torres del Paine National Park, Patagonia, Chile

Chile & Argentina: Patagonia's Glaciers & Fjords

17-day tailor-made holiday from £7,645 pp incl. flights

This adventure combines an exploratory cruise through Patagonia's channel maze with a private tour to Perito Moreno Glacier and a luxury campsite in Torres del Paine. You'll also stop off in Buneos Aires and enjoy all-inclusive gourmet dining, open-bar indulgences and expert-led excursions.

Tierra Patagonia Hotel & Spa, Torres del Paine

Spirit of Chile with Tierra Hotels

14-day tailor-made holiday from £7,565 pp incl. flights

Witness the best of Chile's stunning natural world, from the vast expanse of the Atacama Desert to the lakes, glaciers and towering mountains of Patagonia in the south, staying throughout at some of the country's finest hotels.

Why book with Wexas Travel?

At Wexas, we specialise in bespoke travel experiences. Our itineraries are just samples of what we can arrange, and can be changed depending on your precise needs, finances and ideas by our experienced destination specialists.

Contact one of our consultants on 020 7590 0610 to discuss how we can tailor your holiday.

Learn why Wexas is the leader in creating luxury holidays. What is tailor-made travel?

Expert advice & support

Visit us in our London office

Let our travel specialists curate the perfect holiday:

  • Inspirational ideas based on experience
  • Established for over 50 years
  • Tailor a holiday to your precise requirements
  • Personalised quotes and documentation
  • In-depth Wexas travel guides

Every step of the way

Every step of the way

Our services are with you from start to finish:

  • Dedicated personal consultants
  • Wexas Travel App
  • Free airport lounges on qualifying bookings
  • Care and guidance pre, post and during holiday
  • Full financial security: ABTA & ATOL protected