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11 days visiting; Santiago, Valparaiso, La Serena- Elqui valley & Easter Island
Board LAN Airlines flight late this evening for Chile.
On arrival at Santiago, we will be met and assisted with our transfer to the SHERATON HOTEL.
Rest of the day is at leisure. B
Today’s tour takes us through the main streets of Santiago's civic center with its varied architectural styles. Pass the neoclassical Moneda Palace, built in the 18th century and current seat of the Government; Plaza de Armas or Main Square, with its cathedral; Museum of National History; and the Central Post Office. Proceed to Parque Forestal, based on Paris's Champs-Elysees, Fine Arts Museum and Santa Lucia Hill, where Santiago was founded in 1541. Continue to the bohemian area of Bellavista to climb San Cristobel hill for a panoramic view of the city with the Andes Mountains in the background. End the day’s tour visiting the handicraft village of Los Graneros del Alba. This afternoon travel to Valparaíso. Drink in the varied scenery in the Curacaví and Casablanca valleys, and the Coastal mountain range. Arriving at Valparaíso, the main seaport of Chile, we will see clusters of houses built along the hills. On one of the hills is “La Sebastiana”- the former home of the Nobel Prize winning poet- Pablo Neruda, which houses a wide collection of his possessions. We will pass the National Congress building and drive along Pedro Montt Avenue to see the Italian Park, Victoria Square and the Cathedral. On Brasil Avenue, we will view the British Arch, Regional Government Building and Lord Cochrane’s statue. Pass through the Chinese Quarter, monument to the heroes of Iquique, Prat Quay, historic elevators of the Port of Valparaíso, former Customs House and the El Membrillo cove. After the tour, you will dine at a local restaurant. Return to Santiago and overnight at the hotel. BD
Fly to La Serena. Travel overland to Granja Asis, located a few minutes from La Serena at the beginning of Elqui Valley. You will have a chance to ride horses or walk to view the natural landscape and crops on the hillside of the Elqui River. Continue towards the Distilling Plant of Pisco located in Vicuña’s surroundings: guided tour and tasting. Stop at Vicuna downtown to see the main square, Bauer Tower and Cathedral. Depart Vicuña for Elqui Valley, home to many international observatories. After settling in at our unique astronomical hotel - ELQUI DOMOS, where the rooms consist of geodesic domes in a two storey plan. On the first floor is a living room and bathroom. Upstairs is a bedroom with a detachable roof to view the night sky. We will visit one of the world's major astronomical observatories, probably the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory, where the telescopes are 4 meters in diameter. The Cerro Pachon site with the Gemini South Observatory's 8 meter telescope is also possible. This is subject to availability and confirmation. Alternate observatories visits will be arranged. BLD
NOTE: ELQUI DOMOS has total of 7 rooms (singles and doubles) and will be allocated on a first come first serve basis. Once the 7 rooms are booked, the remaining participants will be accommodated at MISTEROS DE ELQUI HOTEL (Cabins)
Visit Pisco Elqui downtown and Gabriela Mistral Museum in Montegrande. One of the most important areas of Chile called “Norte Chico” (little North). Blue skies, clean air, wide prairies cultivated with local fruits such as papayas, cherimoyas and vine grapes. After Lunch, return to La Serena to tour Coquimbo City, visiting Guayacan, La Herradura Bay, English neighborhood, La Recova Market. At La Serena stop at the Monumental Lighthouse, a 28 meters high structure built in 1951 as the city’s symbol. The city has 3 architectural periods: Colonial (some churches and the traditional Spanish way: Main Plaza on the heart and squares around), Mining (started in 1825 with the discovery of silver mines and later with copper, houses and churches with neo-classical style and Italian and north American influence) and the Neo-colonial period started in 1948 by Republican President Gonzalez Videla, born in La Serena, you will mainly find the latter style today at La Serena’s gardens, avenues and houses, replicas of Californian colonial style. Proceed to La Recova, popular market where local vegetables and fruits are sold also find restaurants and handicrafts shops. On the return, we will drive through the beautiful Francisco de Aguirre Boulevard to see reproductions of historical marble statues between the trees of this popular park. Fly to Santiago and overnight at the airport. HOLIDAY INN HOTEL. BL
Morning fly to Easter Island. In 1996 UNESCO declared the island as `Patrimonio Cultural de la Humanidad’, home to old culture of Rapa Nui. Meeting assistance and transfer to the hotel. Evening, walk though the town and dine at a local restaurant. VAI MOANA HOTEL. BD
After breakfast, travel to Rano Kao volcano bordering the coast. The route ascends its slopes to the summit, to see the impressive crater 1.6 kilometers across and more than 200 meters deep. Along the crater is Orongo, a majestic ceremonial city, a major focus of enigmatic petro-glyphs depicting ancient deities of Easter Island’s culture. Overview of the 3 islets: Motu Nui, Motu Iti, Motu Kao Kao and sea birds. Visit Vinapu, noted for its stone carvings, similar to those found in the American Andean cultures. Rest of the afternoon is at leisure.
The recently discovered dwarf planet Makemake (a plutoid along with Pluto, Eris and Haumea) derives its name from a Rapa Nui deity. Our lecturer will describe his studies of Pluto and Haumea and will present an eclipse orientation with a survey of past eclipse observations.
This evening climb a nearby hill or horse ride (optional: additional cost) to view the sunset followed by a BBQ dinner.BD
Visit the ruins of Vaihu Temple; preserved as it was left after the ancient wars. The highlights are the red hats of the Moais thrown to the sea. Continue to the abandoned quarry of the Rano Raraku Volcano, construction site for all the Moais on the island. Proceed to the recently restored Ahu Tongariki including the largest group of Maois destroyed by tsunami in 1960. Prepare for eclipse viewing. Return to the hotel for a Polynesian Luau Dinner. BD
Morning visit Ahu Akivi (7 Moai), Ana Tepahu caves and Puna Pau. Rest of the afternoon is at leisure to explore the town on your own or do more sightseeing.BD
Fly to Santiago and connect with your flight to New York.
(Based on a minimum of 10 participants)
$ 4590.00 per person sharing, Single room supplement- $ 2170.00
Hotel accommodations as listed or similar with private bath/shower
Meals as listed- American Breakfast daily + 2 Lunch and 6 Dinners
Accompanied by professional tour Director & Professor of Astronomy
Transfers and sightseeing tours as listed
Local English speaking guide
Entrance fees, guide fees, driver allowances etc.
Specialty restaurants, enjoy local cuisines & more
Exclusive Eclipse viewing site, entertainment and much more
Easter Island- Horse ride and sunset - $ 250.00 Per Person
Economy- Including internal Chile flights- $ 3,490.00 Per Person
Call for Business and First Class fares.
NOTE: Airfares are based on current tariffs and subject to change by the airlines without notice. Taxes and fuel surcharge is extra- currently at (Jun. 2009). $ 250.00
Airfare - $ 1000.00 per person if buying International air on LAN. Or $2000.00 per person for those making their own international air or flying on other airlines. Higher costs for Internal Chile will apply if not flying internationally on LAN. Check at the time of booking.
Deposits are due at time of booking. (Prefer by Jul. 10 to guarantee airspace)
$ 1000.00 due by Dec. 15, 2009 (for Air)
$ 1500.00 due by Feb. 15, 2010
Balance/Final payment due on or before Mar. 15, 2010
Airfare deposits/payments are non refundable.
Cancellation Policy- LAND TOUR
Upto- Dec. 14, 2009 – Land- $ 500.00 per person
Upto Mar. 14, 2010- $2500.00
Mar. 15 or later- 100%
Note: Easter Island prices are subject to change.
$ 794.00 per person sharing. Single room supplement- $ 650.00. Airfare Roundtrip from Santiago- appox. $350.00 per person. Includes- Seat in bus transfers and tours, Hotel with Breakfast & 2 box lunches.
CALAMA-SAN PEDRO DE ATACAMA
Arrive Calama airport, meeting assistance and transfer to San Pedro de Atacama. Enroute you will see the Cordillera de la Sal (Salt Mountain Range) and the Licancabur Volcano in the background. Arrival to the hotel San Pedro de Atacama. Overnight.
SAN PEDRO DE ATACAMA-VALLE DE LA LUNA (MOON VALLEY)-SAN PEDRO DE ATACAMA
Tour the Archaeological Museum Padre Le Paige, with studies of Atacamenian Culture over the last 11.000 years. Afterwards visits to the town church, the Main Square, the house of Pedro de Valdivia (conqueror and founder of Santiago), and Pukará de Quitor. In the afternoon, excursion to Valle de la Luna (Moon Valley), famous worldwide for its “lunar” appearance, salt caves, the Tres Marías (Three Mary’s) rock formations, and dunes that will grant the chance of witnessing a spectacular sunset. Overnight at the hotel. B
SAN PEDRO DE ATACAMA-SALAR DE ATACAMA-ALTIPLANIC LAGOONS-SAN PEDRO DE ATACAMA
Full day excursion visiting the village of Toconao with its interesting liparita stone buildings, continue on to the Atacama Salt Flat where the Los Flamencos National Reserve is located, and three of the most beautiful flamingo species live. Visit the Altiplanic lagoons of Miscanti and Miñiques located over 4.000 meters (over 13.000 feet) above sea level. Return to the hotel in San Pedro de Atacama. Overnight at Hotel. BL
SAN PEDRO DE ATACAMA- TATIO GEYSERS-PUEBLOS ALTIPLÁNICOS-CALAMA
Early morning departure to the Tatio Geysers to experience this spectacular demonstration of volcanic activity. Visit to the village of Caspana with its fertile terraces, architecture in liparita stone and characteristic mud-roofs. The trip continues to Lasana Pukará, testimony of the native culture; passing through Chiu-Chiu, with its important historical legacies, including one of the oldest and most beautiful churches in Chile. Arrival to Calama in the afternoon. Transfer to the airport for the departure flight.
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Mark Sukhija is a travel and wine blogger, photographer, tourism researcher, hat-touting, white-shirt-wearing, New Zealand fantatic and eclipse chaser. Aside from at least annual visits to New Zealand, Mark has seen eclipses in South Australia (2002), Libya (2006), China (2009) and Queensland (2012). After twelve years in Switzerland, Mark moved back to London in 2012. You can follow Mark on Twitter or Facebook