Intrepid Travel invites you to chase solar eclipses all over the globe.

By Maressa Brown
Shutterstock/muratart

Year after year, solar eclipses are one of the most buzzed-about celestial events. Whether you're fascinated by them from an astronomical or astrological perspective, the opportunity to see the blazing light of the sun "disappear" is rare and exciting.

While eclipses are not really that uncommon—a total solar eclipse is visible from at least somewhere on Earth once every 18 months, on average—the phenomenon is now inspiring travelers to plan entire vacations around the event in intriguing, beautiful locations. (Related: These Travel Services Will Help You Curate the Perfect Vacation for You)

To celebrate the next total solar eclipse—which happens on July 2 and will be visible from the southern Pacific Ocean east of New Zealand, all the way to the Coquimbo Region in Chile and Argentina at sunset—adventure travel company, Intrepid Travel will host travelers on a tour in Chile, in the remote Elqui Valley.

What Actually Happens During a Solar Eclipse?

"An eclipse of the sun, or a solar eclipse, can only take place at the new moon, and it occurs when the moon passes between the Earth and the sun and blocks out either part or all of the sun's brilliant face," explains John Mason, an astronomy expert and "eclipse chaser" who will accompany travelers on Intrepid's tours. "Such eclipses don't happen every month, because of the moon's slightly tilted orbit around the Earth. During a total solar eclipse, the dark disk of the new moon completely blocks out the brilliant face of the sun for just a few minutes. Before and after totality, there is a partial eclipse lasting maybe an hour to an hour and a half."

The breathtaking moment of a solar eclipse is one of "nature's greatest spectacles," says Mason. "The brightest stars and planets appear in the darkened sky, flowers close, birds go to roost, and cattle lie down. It is as though the world holds its breath."

The Significance of an Eclipse In Your Life

Eclipses are more than just cool astronomical events. If you're an astrology nerd, you know that "eclipse season"—when two to three eclipses happen within the same 35-day period—is a game-changing time for self-reflection and change.

"Astrologically, eclipses represent a turning point in some area of your life," explains April Elliott Kent, professional astrologer and author of The Essential Guide to Practical Astrology. (Related: Your June Health, Love, and Success Horoscope: What Every Sign Needs to Know)

The zodiac sign in which an eclipse occurs colors its themes and area of influence. For instance, the total solar eclipse coming up on July 2 will occur in the water sign of Cancer. "This one represents a turn toward nurturing close personal relationships," shares Kent.

What to Expect On Intrepid's Eclipse Tours

Astrologically speaking, you'll feel the effect of an eclipse from anywhere on Earth. But you won't necessarily have a front-row seat to the awe-inspiring event, which is why tours like those hosted by Intrepid are becoming more popular.

The case for hopping on a flight to see it up close and personal? "No two [eclipses] are ever the same and choosing beautiful and different locations from which to observe them only adds to the magic and the wonder," says Mason. "Once you have seen one, then you want to see another one. Dedicated eclipse chasers will go to incredible lengths to get their 'fix' of totality." (Related: 7 Travel Destinations That Answer the Call of the 'Wild')

For the July 2 eclipse (which is unfortunately already sold out), Intrepid is offering an 11-day tour (starting at $7,190) or a 6-day tour (starting at $3,545) in Chile. The former builds in extra time for visits to many of the world's largest astronomical observatories, while both tours include activities like eating and drinking in Santiago, exploration of sights like Moon Valley (which boasts "moon-like" rock formations) and Death Valley (which offers some of the best views of the Andes and volcanoes), wine tasting in Limari Valley (famous for its Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Cabernet), and lunch at a pisco distillery. Bottom line: It's a hefty price tag but you are paying to experience so much more than just the eclipse.

If that sounds amazing, and you're thoroughly bummed you can't go, there's still hope: Intrepid has already planned three more eclipse tours in Argentina for the total solar eclipse happening on December 14, 2020. Tours include an 8-day trip (from December 9 to 16, starting at $2,485), an 11-day trip (from December 6 to 16, starting at $2,960), and a 13-day trip (from December 6 to 18, starting at $4,030). Prices on all three trips cover "all services, transfers, and excursions detailed in the itinerary," as well as lodging accommodations, meals specified on the itinerary, domestic flights, and eclipse viewing glasses, according to Intrepid's website. Prices do not cover international flights.

Each itinerary starts in the nation's capital, Buenos Aires. There, travelers will visit neighborhoods like San Telmo (where there's a bustling street market), La Boca (where you can see tango dancers perform), and Puerto Madero (home to various museums and art galleries). They'll also get to enjoy local cuisine and Argentinian wine, like Malbec, and a tango dinner show before moving on to San Carlos de Bariloche, "a picturesque city set in the foothills of the Andes and bordered by the Nahuel Huapi National Park and Lake," according to Mason. From Bariloche, travelers will head to the eclipse-observing site northeast of Piedra del Aguila, where they'll get to witness two minutes and nine seconds of the total solar eclipse.

Following the eclipse, trip-goers who book the 8- and 11-day trips will return to Buenos Aires for their departure, while those on the 13-day tour will head to Puerto Varas and Santiago in Chile for the remainder of the trip.

You can book any of the 2020 tours by filling out a form on IntrepidTravel.com or calling the company at 800-970-7299.

Other Opportunities for Eclipse Travel

While Chile and Argentina are stunning destinations, eclipse chasers can travel all over the globe, given that the "paths of totality"—or best viewing spots for the most gasp-worthy effect—constantly change. (Related: Adventure-Travel Destinations Perfect for Your Next Girls' Trip)

"For those wishing to visit the vibrant and exciting continent of South America, if they miss the eclipses of July 2, 2019 or December 14, 2020, they will have a 25-year wait before the next such event crosses this part of the world," says Mason. "But in December 2021, they could visit Antarctica and in April 2023 northwestern Australia."

No matter which destination you choose, Mason believes focusing your trip on the celestial event nearly always leads to three things: You'll "meet incredible people, see incredible places, and share one of nature's greatest sights with them."

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