Get Starstruck: Go on an Atacama Desert Astronomy Holiday

Traveling Alone
August, 31, 2018
Read time
2 minutes
See the stars.

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If you’re into stargazing, an Atacama Desert astronomy holiday is what you need to plan for your next adventure abroad. Chile’s Atacama Desert is a popular place for astronomers and astronomy aficionados; it’s regarded as one of the best places in the world to go stargazing. In fact, it’s existence has spurred the creation of a type of tourism called “astro-tourism,” attracting the world’s top observatories to open on its desert-red sands for all travelers to enjoy.

Here are four ways to turn your next trip to Chile into an Atacama Desert astronomy holiday:

Take an actual stargazing tour.

The Atacama Desert is one of the best places in the world to go stargazing. There are plenty of stargazing tours to choose from on your Atacama Desert astronomy holiday, so contact the experts at Surtrek, the leader in local South American travel, to help find the best one for you. Most leave from San Pedro de Atacama. Tours like these will take you deep into the desert and stop by key spots centered around stargazing, the main one being the Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array (ALMA) Observatory, which the area is known for.

Stay at Alto Atacama Desert Lodge & Spa.

Sitting a few miles south of San Pedro de Atacama, Alto Atacama Desert Lodge & Spa was practically made for stargazers—and it’s the perfect hotel to book for your Atacama Desert astronomy holiday. Astronomers from all over the world stay there, as it boasts some of the best and most unobstructed views of the skies above. It’s also the only hotel in the area that has its own observatory, which is open to all hotel guests.

Don’t miss the ALMA Observatory.

After you try the one at Alto Atacama Desert Lodge & Spa, head to the aforementioned ALMA: it’s the world’s largest astronomical project. Together, various telescopes here make up the capacity of a 10-mile-long telescope, with 10 times more resolution and power than the Hubble space telescope. Sitting just 20 miles northeast of San Pedro de Atacama, the landscape looks like a picture of Mars; there are red craters and red-sand landscapes interspersed with cardon plants, wild donkeys, and in the distance, the Lascar volcano, the last few of which remind you that you’re still on planet Earth. ALMA is essentially an observatory park with 10 telescopes, all of which offer mind-blowing views of stars and nebulae in vivid colors, closeups of the moon, and even Saturn’s ethereal rings… and all during daylight.

Visit the Meteorite Museum in San Pedro de Atacama.

The quaint village of San Pedro de Atacama is the center of normal life in the Atacama Desert. Surrounded by Moon Valley, the Geysers of the Tatio, Death Valley, altiplanic lagoons filled with bright-pink flamingos and more, it’s as beautiful to visit as it is interesting to explore. This little town is also home to the Meteorite Museum, which is housed in two geodesic domes and contains meteorites that are 4.5 billion years old (some of which you can touch!), all found in the Atacama Desert.

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