The Elqui Valley, in the Coquimbo Region, is internationally known as the World’s First International Dark Sky Sanctuary. Due to its geographical location and altitude, it shows ideal conditions for astronomical observation providing over 260 nights per year of clear skies, also because the low humidity indexes provide the clearest skies of the southern hemisphere. Few places in the world offer a better opportunity to watch star-filled skies.
Throughout the years, the Valley has consolidated as Chile’s astrotourism capital, not only due to its clear skies, but also due to the quality of the tour operator companies, the
astronomical observation centers and the interesting activities for tourists offered in the area such as talks and guided visits to observatories.
Among the varied tourist offer, an outstanding alternative is MI Lodge Elqui Domos, in Pisco Elqui, where the country’s main pisco distilleries can be found, which perfectly complements the astronomical activities. During the day you can visit pisco distilleries and later, at night, you can stargaze while enjoying a
delicious pisco sour.
This is what makes Elqui Domos stand out; the hotel has a restaurant, in-doors and out-doors lounges, and incredible domes and observatory-like cabins. This means that you can watch the starry sky from your comfortable bed, because the domes roof can be opened, the cabins have a large panoramic window with the perfect angle to watch the sky, or you can gaze at it from your terrace while toasting with the taste of the Valley’s best grapes. The hotel also has its own observatory, which you can visit with an especially-trained guide who will give you a personalized talk, supported by software and the guided observation through a cutting-edge electronic telescope. Elqui Domos is the ideal place to properly experience astrotourism.
This year’s main astronomic event (2019) is the July 2nd solar eclipse. The sky will become dark and the sun will hide for a couple of minutes causing a total solar eclipse, this happens when the Moon stands between the Sun and the Earth, projecting a shade over the Earth’s surface. This phenomenon will be seen in the whole country, but it will be fully appreciated in the Atacama and Coquimbo Regions.
(Don’t forget to use special eye protection or watch it indirectly, otherwise it can cause serious damage).
Another astronomic event during July will be the Delta Aquarid meteor shower that can be well observed in the southern hemisphere and thanks to the Moon position, observation conditions will be excellent.
In other words, the Elqui Valley is undoubtedly one of the best places in the world for astrotourism, to watch the sky and the several astronomic events throughout the year. And Elqui Domos is undoubtedly the perfect place to live the whole experience, because it has become a comfortable and special place for guests to connect with astronomy in an extraordinary way.