Chile may be a relatively obscure country, but you couldn’t ask for a more varied natural landscape or a more colourful vibrant culture. Deserts, mountains and lush river valleys sit alongside each other making the perfect setting to observe the upcoming eclipse. Chile also boasts many vineyards producing quality wines and in the capital city Santiago, you can sample both traditional cuisine and exciting new variations.

There are lots of reasons Chile should be on your bucket list, but here are just a few of them:

1. Watch a total eclipse in an amazing setting

Chile has long been known as a country with clear night skies giving perfect conditions for astronomy, but you won’t need a telescope to see this year’s total solar eclipse. A total eclipse happens every few years, but it can only be observed in a fairly narrow corridor of about 125 miles across. Chile’s Elqui Valley is a lovely spot to see the Eclipse. Located in northern Chile, it is perfectly placed within the eclipse area and at the optimum altitude for viewing.

Seeing the eclipse as part of an organised tour group is a most rewarding experience; you’ll have an expert on hand to talk you through it and you’ll be provided with the correct viewing equipment to observe the eclipse safely. It’s not often that you’ll get the chance to see a total eclipse in such a beautiful setting, so grasp the chance to tick this one off your bucket list.

2. Explore Santiago – a city of contrasts

Once thought of as merely a place to catch your connecting flight, the capital city Santiago has developed into a destination you must experience. Founded by the Spaniards in the 1500s, the city is crammed with historic colonial buildings which often sit alongside modern architecture.

Take time to wander the streets, visit the many museums and the Centro Gabriela Mistral – a performing arts centre with the most unusual architecture, art exhibits, concerts and performances. When you dine in Santiago, you can choose between the traditional sandwich shops – sangucherías – and high end contemporary Chilean dining. Find out more about gastronomy and other aspects of Chilean culture.

3. Enjoy local wines where they are grown

Chile is rapidly becoming one of the best wine producing countries in the world and there is no better experience for wine lovers than tasting the local tipples in the setting in which they were grown. Many of the vineyards in Chile have tasting facilities, so you can choose your favourite or plan several vineyard visits as you explore Chile’s wines. You don’t always need a tour to see the amazing wine country either, as many travellers have shown. It’s up to you.

4. Adventure through Chile’s breathtaking landscape

Hikers are drawn to Chile because of its stunning trails running through its many national parks where you can take in mountains and forests, volcanoes and glaciers. If hiking is not for you, take a funicular – there are several including the most famous starting in Santiago – and enjoy the views as you climb effortlessly towards the summit.

If Chile is on your bucket list, this year is surely the year to visit. The total eclipse will make your visit a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience.

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