During this unique astronomy tour, observe the 2019 Total Solar Eclipse in La Serena, Chile, home to some of the largest telescopes in the world, and enjoy special access to world-class astronomical observatories, accompanied by a prominent astrophysicist.

Starting at: $11,195 Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) antenna.
 Credit: Carlos Padilla – AUI/NRAO  Expert Michelle Thaller at Atacama Observatory  Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) antenna. Credit: Carlos Padilla – AUI/NRAO  View of a total solar eclipse  Paranal Observatory from afar  Las Campanas Observatory  Volcan Ojos del Salado, Copiapo, Chile  Eclipse viewers with eye protection   Approaching Las Campanas Observatory

Chile Total Solar Eclipse

Viewing the 2019 Total Solar Eclipse in northern Chile

12 days from $11,195

During this unique astronomy tour, observe the 2019 Total Solar Eclipse in La Serena, Chile, home to some of the largest telescopes in the world, and enjoy special access to world-class astronomical observatories, accompanied by a prominent astrophysicist.

or Call 855-330-1542

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* Click on hotel name to visit hotel web-site.

The Ritz-Carlton Santiago

Santiago, Chile

The Ritz-Carlton, Santiago is set within the prestigious El Golf district of the city. The property features a 7,440 square-foot fitness center, heated indoor pool and hot tub with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Andes mountain range and Santiago. There are four exceptional restaurants and lounges featuring the best dishes of Chile. Guest rooms are all sumptuously appointed with luxurious marble bathrooms and spacious room layouts.

Number of nights: 1

La Serena Club

La Serena , Chile

La Serena Club Hotel has an extraordinary seaside location and just five minutes from the downtown area. The hotel is set among beautiful gardens steps from an expansive beach. There is a year-round outdoor pool and a full on-site lounge and restaurant. Guest rooms are spacious and comfortable, all with fine bedding, full baths, and ocean views.

Number of nights: 4

NH Antofagasta 

Antofagasta, Chile

The modern NH Antofagasta hotel is situated on beautiful coastline just fifteen minutes outside the city center. Spacious guest rooms are comfortable and simply decorated with all the modern amenities and full baths. The lobby bar and terrace offers delicious local seafood dishes and cocktails with stunning views across the beach. There is a terrace pool and a fitness center on site.

Number of nights: 1

Hotel Cumbres San Pedro de Atacama

San Pedro De Atacama, Chile

The Hotel Cumbres - San Pedro de Atacama is an oasis of luxury and refinement in the midst of the Atacama desert. Stunning architecture is based on the indigenous Ayllus or Atacama peoples. Comfortable, spacious guest rooms feature intricate wood and stone details with sitting areas, expansive private terraces with outdoor showers and beautiful desert views. There are two gourmet restaurants, two lounges, and a wine cellar. The hotel features expansive gardens, three outdoor pools, and hot tubs, while a spa area has saunas, treatment rooms, and a full fitness center.

Number of nights: 3

Activity Level

Activity Level 3: Moderate / Active

Expectations: This trip will feature long touring days, full-day excursions, and an active itinerary with a faster pace and longer distances. Walks will be from one to two miles and at times over rocky, dusty, and uneven terrain and at high elevations. The pace of the walks will be leisurely. Some of the excursions in the Atacama Desert can reach (for a short time) altitudes of 14,000 feet. Visits to observatories will be at very high elevations noted below and an optional visit (pending final confirmation) to the antenna instillation at Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array will be at 16,000 feet. All the hotels are located at what are considered comfortable elevations. Motor coaches will be air-conditioned and heated when necessary. Roadways can be narrow with steep ascents/descents and at times rocky, unpaved, and dusty. Drives can be up to four hours depending on the excursion. 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. Eclipse watching sunglasses will be provided for Eclipse Day. 


  • The town of San Pedro de Atacama (3 nights) — 7,900 feet   
  • Miscanti and Miñiques Lagoons — 14,000 feet
  • Puritama Hotsprings — 11,400 feet
  • Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) laboratories — 9,514 feet
  • Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) antenna installation — 16,000 feet* (optional / pending final confirmation)
  • Las Campanas Observatory (LCO) — 8,200 feet
  • Gemini Observatory South — 8,900 feet 
  • Paranal Observatory — 8,645 feet

Appropriate for: Travelers who are physically fit, lead active lives, are comfortable participating in long days of activities, and expect some physical exertion. We recommend travelers consult their physician prior to taking this trip to ensure that they are healthy enough to travel to higher altitudes and very dry climates.

Weather: It will be winter in Chile so expect daytime temperatures in the upper 60’s during the day and very cold temperatures at night, sometimes dropping to the low 30s in the desert. The Atacama desert is one of the driest places on earth so participants should expect very low humidity and extra dry conditions. Bottled water will be provided throughout the trip. More on altitude, weather and what to pack will be explained in your pre-tour documents.

Optional visit:  A visit to the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) antenna installation, located at 16,000 feet, may be available to our group. This visit requires additional permits and is pending final confirmation. Participants will travel from the ALMA base station laboratories (9, 514 feet) to the Chajnantor Plateau to see the antenna. All participants who partake in this optional visit will need to be in excellent health. A medical release form (signed by your physician) will be mandatory. Additional information regarding the status of this visit and the medical release form will be included in your pre-tour documents.  

Terms and conditions

Our Mission

Smithsonian Journeys engages travelers in the wide-ranging mission of the Smithsonian. Like the Institution, our tours enrich our guests’ lives and satisfy their curiosity about the world around them. Your participation benefits the work of Smithsonian’s 19 museums, National Zoo, and nine research centers, helping to preserve our national treasures and shape the future through science, research, and exhibitions.

What Is Included in the Tour Cost

  • Expertise of a Smithsonian Journeys Expert and tour management throughout the tour.
  • All accommodations (based on double occupancy).
  • Meals as indicated on the tour page, including special welcome and farewell dinners (B-breakfast; L-lunch; R-reception; D-dinner).
  • All sightseeing and visits as noted in each itinerary.
  • Pre-tour information, including a reading list.
  • Baggage handling for one bag plus one carry-on bag per person.
  • Service charges and gratuities.
  • All on-tour transportation, unless otherwise noted.
  • On-tour emergency evacuation insurance (up to $100,000), medical expense coverage (up to $25,000), dental expense coverage (up to $500), travel medical assistance and worldwide travel assistance (U.S. Residents only).
  • Wi-Fi in trip hotels. 
  • Gratuities for all on tour staff, local guides, and drivers. 
  • All in-country airfare. Please note: In country flights are subject to availability. Airlines can increase negotiated rates at anytime.  Any increase in airfare will result in a surcharge to participants which will be included with your final invoice.

What Is Not Included in the Tour Cost

  • Round-trip international airfare and air and departure taxes.
  • Transfers to and from your home to the program site and transfers to and from the airports, unless specifically noted
  • Passport fees, visas, and visa photos as required.
  • Personal items such as wines, liquors, a-la-carte orders, meals other than specified.
  • Room service and valet/laundry service.
  • Expenses incurred by our tour operators in making individual travel arrangements in conjunction with the tour.
  • Other items not specifically mentioned as included.  
  • Optional Travelers’ Protection Plan: Unexpected events before or during a trip may leave you with canceled plans, lost luggage, or unforeseen medical expenses. This optional plan offers an affordable package of benefits and services that can provide coverage and assistance for the unexpected. Visit TravelGuard.com/SmithsonianJourneys to learn more.


Space is reserved in the order of receipt of phone or web reservations.

To submit a request for a reservation, please order using our secure online process, or call 855-330-1542 to speak with a Cultural Travel Specialist, Mon-Fri 9 am - 7 pm; Sat 9 am – 4 pm (Eastern Time).

Submitting an online request does not guarantee space on a tour. You will be notified of your status when your request has been received and processed. Please note: No new registrations can be accepted within 30 days of most tours. Some tours are more restrictive; please see individual tour pages for these exceptions.

To complete your request, the following is necessary:

Required Information
For all international departures, passport information including the following, in accordance with the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) Secure Flight program as well as by our international travel partners: your full name as it appears on your passport, date of birth, and gender (for further information, please visit www.tsa.gov). In the event, an airline ticket is issued with incorrect information you have provided, or if you use a different passport than originally cited, you will be responsible for charges associated with the ticket’s reissue.

Deposit of $1,500 per person, per tour, payable by check to the tour operator or by major credit card, is required to reserve a space on a tour program. Deposits are applied to the payment of the program price.

Balance due upon invoicing at least 150 days prior to the program. For this special departure, final payments must be made by check or wire transfer to the tour operator, credit cards will not be accepted. If payment is not received by the final payment due date, your place cannot be guaranteed on the tour.

Late Registration
Any registration received within 150 days of departure is considered a “late registration” and must be subject to special confirmation. Payment in full must be made immediately by check or wire transfer (credit cards will not be accepted for final payment) and sent by overnight mail to the tour operator before confirmation is possible.

Once confirmed, cancellation penalties apply as set forth below. If confirmation is not possible, all payments made will be refunded in full.

Late registration confirmation procedures apply to any participant who is transferred from the wait list to the program within the designated late registration period for that program.

For additional information, please call 855-330-1542 to speak with a Cultural Travel Specialist, Mon-Fri 9 am - 7 pm; Sat 9 am – 4 pm (Eastern Time).  or visit www.SmithsonianJourneys.org/Contact.

A Note About Costs

Tour costs are based upon current airfares, tariffs, currency values, and on the basis of a minimum number of participants. While we will do everything possible to maintain the listed prices, they are subject to change. Should actual enrollments fall significantly below minimum numbers, a surcharge may be added. Due to fluctuations in oil prices, a fuel surcharge may be added to your tour fee (e.g. internal flights, cruises, etc.). Details and costs will be advised prior to departure. 

Wait List

If the program(s) of your choice are fully subscribed, you will be placed on a wait list. If you choose to withdraw from the wait list, please notify us.

Please note that we are unable to keep you apprised of your status on the wait list. We will call you only if a space becomes available, but you are welcome to call us at your convenience to inquire about your status at 855-330-1542.

Cancellation and Refund Policy

Per person cancellation fees are based on date of notice to Smithsonian Journeys.

  • Cancellations within 7 days of booking (if not within final payment date): full refund.
  • Cancellations after 7 days of booking: entire deposit retained.
  • Final payment due: 150 days prior to departure.
  • Cancellations made less than 150 days prior to departure: no refund.
  • Cancellation by the Smithsonian: full refund.
  • No refund for unused portions of the tour, including but not limited to, missed meals, hotel nights, sightseeing,and/or for any weather conditions that limit or prohibit eclipse viewing.

Please understand that there will be no exceptions to our cancellation policy.

Air Service

For tour packages that include round-trip international airfare, rates are based on economy class from designated departure cities as shown. Airfares from other cities are available upon request. Airline upgrades at additional cost may be available on request for the international portion of your flight. Since international and domestic air schedules are subject to change at any time, we recommend that if you choose to make your own airline reservations, you do not purchase nonrefundable tickets or those with high penalties for changes. Neither Smithsonian Journeys nor the tour operator has any liability for any loss resulting from tour cancellations or changes in international gateways, travel dates, or airline schedule changes. If an air schedule requires an overnight stay in a gateway city, the cost of the overnight will be at your expense. For tour packages that include round-trip international airfare, we will be happy to help with arrangements. Please note that seat assignment on your international flight is usually done at airport check-in. The tour operator is unable to guarantee any seat assignments.

When planning our tours that include international round-trip airfare, the tour operator contracts with those airlines that they feel provide the level of service, routings, and value necessary for your entire trip. While another airline may offer a more direct connection, it may be at a price unavailable at the lower group rates that enable us to offer you the best possible travel value. Please note that frequent flyer mileage credits are issued at the discretion of the airline(s) and may not be available for the flights on your tour. If you prefer to make your own airline reservations, “land only” pricing is available on most of our tours.

Individual Arrivals and Group Transfers
A designated group flight is not included on most tours. However, transportation from the arrival airport to the ship/hotel is included in your tour cost if you arrive in time to meet the scheduled group transfer. Your first tour bulletin will thoroughly explain the details of the options available for your individual flights.

Air Tickets Purchased Independently of the Tour
We urge you to check airline cancellation penalties before purchasing airline tickets since international departure times and flights can change. Tours also can be canceled due to low enrollments. Neither Smithsonian Institution nor the tour operator accepts liability for cancellation penalties related to domestic or international airline tickets purchased independently in conjunction with a tour.

Travel Insurance

For the convenience of our travelers, Smithsonian Journeys includes an on-tour Provided Insurance Plan, through Travel Guard, with the price of your tour. This travel insurance plan includes emergency evacuation insurance (up to $100,000), medical expense coverage (up to $25,000), dental expense coverage (up to $500), travel medical assistance and worldwide travel assistance (U.S. Residents only). Please click here to view complete coverage details.

Please visit www.TravelGuard.com/SmithsonianJourneys or call Travel Guard at 1-800-208-6142 to learn about additional (optional) coverage.

Travel Documents

For all international departures, a passport valid for at least six months after the completion of your tour, and with at least six blank visa pages, is required for U.S. citizens on all tours in this catalog. If your tour requires a visa or other entry documents, we will send you the appropriate information after you make a reservation. You are responsible for obtaining these documents. If you are not a U.S. citizen, please contact your embassy or consulate to ensure you obtain the proper documentation.

Physical and Medical Considerations

Please note that these tours require that participants be in good physical condition. You must be capable, without assistance, of walking a minimum of two miles over uneven terrain and of climbing stairs that may not have handrails. Participants should have sufficient stamina to keep pace with an active group of travelers on long days of touring. If you have any questions about your ability to participate in a tour, please call us at 855-330-1542. Some tours have additional notes regarding physical and medical considerations, which may be discussed with the Cultural Travel Specialist at 855-330-1542.

Itinerary or Program Modifications

Smithsonian strives to improve tour itineraries and their features. If improvements can be made, or unforeseen circumstances beyond our control make changes necessary, we reserve the right to vary itineraries and to substitute hotels. Every effort will be made to carry out the program as planned but alterations may still occur after the final itinerary is sent. Please note that weather conditions may force changes to the advertised sailing schedule on cruise programs. The ship’s captain has the authority to change the ship’s schedule.


Smithsonian chooses hotels based on a combination of their location, service, atmosphere, and price. On adventure tours and programs in out-of-the-way places, best-available hotels are used. In most cases, hotels have elevators and meeting rooms for Smithsonian lectures. Program prices are based on two persons sharing a room with a bath.

Singles and Roommates
Hotel rooms are always reserved for single travelers; however the number of single rooms available on a tour may be limited. Therefore we recommend that you register early. Please note that a single supplement will apply for a single room. If you are traveling alone and wish to share a room, we will do our best to find someone of the same gender and smoking preference to share with you. If you are matched with a non-smoking roommate, it is mutually agreed that you cannot smoke in your hotel room. When a roommate cannot be found, the single supplement will be charged.


All tours, except family programs, are designed for adults. Some may be suitable for older children. Regardless of age, children must pay full price unless otherwise noted, and a parent or guardian must accompany those under 18.

Special Travel Arrangements

Participants may wish to extend their stay in the group hotel. If you wish to extend your stay, the operator may be able to assist.

Photography and Video

Participants on tour may be photographed or recorded in audiovisual form for the educational and promotional purposes of the Smithsonian Institution. Photographs or videos may be printed in publications and posted on websites to promote Smithsonian Journeys without compensation to the participant. Travelers who prefer that their name, voice, and image not be used must advise the tour manager at the beginning of the tour.

Smoking Policy

For the comfort of all participants, we ask that there be no smoking during all group activities, including excursions and meals. On certain cruises, there is no smoking aboard the ship. Your pre-tour bulletins will provide further information.

Preparing for Your Journey

Prior to departure, you will receive Tour Bulletins containing both general and tour specific information to help you prepare for your travel experience. These bulletins will include:

  • Passport and visa instructions
  • Flight information
  • Weather, clothing, and packing suggestions
  • A suggested reading list
  • General information about the countries you will visit, e.g. the food, customs, medical precautions, and currency.
  • Information about your Smithsonian Journeys Expert and tour staff
  • Baggage tag(s) and name badge(s)
  • Final itinerary
  • Participant list  

Responsibility Statement and Liability Disclaimer

Please read carefully: Smithsonian Journeys are managed by professional tour operators hired as independent contractors. The use of tour operators allows the Smithsonian to offer its members a wide array of educational travel opportunities. The tour operator acts only as an agent for the respective suppliers by making arrangements for transportation, accommodations, and other services. Neither the Smithsonian Institution nor the tour operator shall be held liable for personal injury, death, property damage or accident, delay or irregularity arising out of any act or omission of these suppliers. The Smithsonian Institution and the tour operator reserve the right, without penalty, to make changes in the published itinerary whenever, in their judgment, conditions warrant, or if they deem it necessary for the comfort, convenience, or safety of tour participants.

The Smithsonian Institution and the tour operator also reserve the right, without penalty, to withdraw the tour announced, to decline to accept any person as a participant in a tour, or to require any participant to withdraw from the tour at any time, when such action is determined by tour staff to be in the best interests of the health, safety or general welfare of the tour group or the individual participant, subject only to the requirement that the recoverable portion of the total amount paid that corresponds to the cost of unused services and accommodations be refunded, if any. If your tour does not include airfare, your Tour Bulletins will provide information about when participants are recommended to purchase airline tickets. The Smithsonian Institution and the tour operator accept no liability for the purchase of non-refundable airline tickets to/from the tour departure city if a tour is canceled or otherwise modified subsequent to the participant’s purchase of those tickets. Baggage and personal effects are at all times the sole responsibility of the participant.

Dates, schedules, program details, and costs, although provided in good faith based on information available at the time of publication of the brochure or catalog, are subject to change and revision.

As a condition of acceptance of any application, each applicant must agree to the statement set forth below:

The undersigned has read carefully the Responsibility Statement and Liability Disclaimer set forth above, the schedule of activities for this tour, as well as the terms and conditions of application and participation as set forth in the tour brochure(s), and recognizes and accepts any risk associated with the tour and the conditions, including the refund policy, set forth in the tour brochure(s). The undersigned further acknowledges that there are many risks and uncertainties inherent in any travel tour, including but not limited to the hazards of various modes of transportation, forces of nature, eye injuries due to improper viewing of the eclipse, acts or omissions of foreign governments, terrorism, war or insurrection, theft, illness, and damage to person or property due to the negligent acts or omissions of tour staff or others. In consideration of, and as part payment for, the right to participate in the tour, the undersigned, on behalf of himself, his dependents, heirs, executors, administrators and assigns, agrees to release the Smithsonian Institution, its Regents, officers, employees, representatives or agents, the United States, and the tour operator and its officers, employees and agents, from liability for personal injury, death, property damage or loss suffered by any person in connection with this tour, even if caused by the negligence (but not the reckless, willful, or fraudulent conduct) of tour staff or other related persons or entities. In addition, by registering for this tour, the applicant certifies that he or she is mentally and physically capable of full participation in this tour.

By registering for a Smithsonian Journey, the participant agrees to the Responsibility Statement and Liability Disclaimer and the Terms and Conditions herein.