5 Places to Watch the Solar Eclipse in 2019

By Dustin Ek
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This year’s total eclipse of the sun will occur on July 2, 2019, over the South Pacific Ocean, Chile, and Argentina. Other parts of South America will be able to see a partial eclipse. Most of this eclipse will be happening over the Pacific Ocean, where the partial eclipse starts at 12:55 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.

This total solar eclipse will have a longer duration than last year’s total solar eclipse, with totality lasting up to 4 minutes and 33 seconds. However, this maximum duration may be visible only to observers on a few boats and airplanes, because it will be happening over the Pacific Ocean.

A solar eclipse is a rare event—not just on Earth, where a total eclipse only occurs in the same location once every century or so, but also in the whole universe. Thanks to the relative size and distances of both the sun and the moon, the fact that we can experience an eclipse at all is a cosmically improbable coincidence. So, if you’re feeling bad for missing a chance to watch 2017’s solar eclipse that spanned across the U.S.

There won’t be another eclipse in the U.S. until 2024, when the path of totality will swing from Mexico through Texas and all the way up to Nova Scotia. But if you can’t wait that long to appease your eclipse-envy, consider taking a trip to Chile and Argentina this July.

These are the best places to watch the eclipse in South America:

  1. La Serena, Chile – In La Serena, you could be among the first to experience the 2019 eclipse right on the beach. This coastal resort town is sure to be one of the most popular spots for eclipse-seekers this year, which is great if you’re looking for a party atmosphere. In addition to enjoying the eclipse and the beach, while in La Serena, you can also take the opportunity to visit the Humboldt Penguin Reserve on nearby islands. Where to stay: La Serena is a simple no-frills beach town with a lot of affordable accommodations. For a comfortable stay, check out Hostal Boutique Terra Diaguita, a lovely bed and breakfast with a sweet atmosphere in the center of the city.
  2. Elqui Valley, Chile – The total solar eclipse is going to be popular and that means there are going to be crowds and traffic. If you want to get out of the bustle, you can leave the beach and spend your time instead in the Elqui Valley, an international dark sky preserve that is famous for its mountaintop observatories and quaint villages. You can choose to watch from one of the many observatories, like the public Pangue Observatory; or find yourself a nice hiking trail or a quiet spot in a town like Vicuna, where you can also visit a museum dedicated to the famous Chilean poet Gabriela Mistra. Where to stay: In the Elqui Valley, there are opportunities for camping, or if you’re in a big group, you might even consider a vacation rental. However, for an extra special experience, check out the MI Lodge to go dome-glamping on a sophisticated and modern property in the valley.
  3. San Jose de Jachal, Argentina – In the foothills of the Andes, San Jose de Jachal is located just north of the famous Mendoza wine region and in the path of the 2019 eclipse—it’s also packed with colonial history. While you wait for the eclipse, visit local vineyards or Ischigualasto National Park, aka the Valley of the Moon, famous for its towering rock formations. Where to stay: In this region, there’s not too much to offer beyond basic motels, but if you plan to visit the Valley of the Moon park, stay nearby at the simple but well-liked Cerro del Valle Hotel Rustico.
  4. Buenos Aires, Argentina – If you don’t have the time to tour the countryside in search of totality, you can still make a quick trip for the eclipse by flying to Argentina’s capital city. The city is not quite in the path of totality, but it’s really close, so you can easily rent a car and drive south to somewhere like Laguna de Monte, a lake an hour and a half’s drive south of Buenos Aires. The eclipse will start just as the sun begins to set, which means the sun will be low on the horizon and appear larger than life. However, this also means you’ll want to find a viewing spot with a clear horizon or high elevation. Where to stay: If you attempt to drive back to Buenos Aires, you’re sure to get stuck in major eclipse traffic. Remember, it’s a major city close to the path of totality, so you won’t be the only one taking a day trip for the eclipse. Instead, opt to spend the night in the area you choose to watch the eclipse. For example, if you go to Laguna de Monte, a hotel like Estancia La Bandada also offers opportunities for horseback riding, bird watching, and wine tasting.
  5. At Sea – The 2019 eclipse will occur mostly at sea, so why not take a cruise to see it? Travel Quest ToursEclipse Tours, and Wilderness Travel are just some of the many operators offering eclipse-seekers a chance to witness the phenomenon from the middle of the ocean.

The next total eclipse for North America will occur on April 8, 2024. Although it appears that eclipses are rare, they’re not. They happen about every 18 months as seen from somewhere in the world. In addition to total eclipses, there are other sorts of eclipses. Partial and annular, or ring, solar eclipses also take place, as do eclipses of the moon. Some almost certainly will be visible from your location in the next few years.


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Sources: Smarter Travel Author: Jamie Ditaranto; Space.com

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