Argentina solar eclipse in 2020

On 14th December 2020 Chile and Argentina will bear witness to a spectacular total solar eclipse, just 18 months after the one which will be visible in Chile’s Coquimbo region. In 2020, however, the eclipse takes place during the dry summer season, making for a more comfortable viewing experience. One of the best places to take in this rare celestial event will be Argentina’s peaceful Piedra del Aguila, not far from Bariloche.

It’s a long way to travel for something that lasts just a few minutes, so if you want to witness the 2020 solar eclipse, it makes perfect sense to bookend it with an exciting wider tour of Argentina and neighbouring Chile. There are various itineraries available ranging in length from eight to 11 days, though there’s nothing stopping you from staying longer.

Solar eclipse vacation highlights

Buenos Aires & around

Spend a few days exploring Buenos Aires, tango capital of the world, where you might watch a dinner show with some regional specialties and a few glasses of Malbec. The city’s fabulous Parisian-style architecture and blend of European and Latin American culture can be combined with a journey to the Pampas region, where you’ll discover gaucho lifestyle, take a colonial carriage ride, and tuck into delicious empanadas.

Elqui Valley

The remote Elqui Valley in central Chile is regarded as one of the world’s best places for stargazing, as there is practically no light pollution here at all. The only two buildings for miles around are the Cerro Tololo and Gemini observatories, making this a truly fascinating place to spend an evening.

Argentine Patagonia

Bariloche, close to the eclipse viewing site, is a major hub for outdoor activities such as trekking and skiing. It sits on the shore of the magnificent Nahuel Huapi Lake where an old aboriginal legend has it that a monster lives, with about as much actual evidence for it as the one in Loch Ness.


The cosmopolitan Chilean capital, Santiago, is a fantastic place to bring your solar eclipse tour to an end. Neighbourhoods such as Lastarria and Bellavista showcase the city’s a renowned dining scene, superb museums and views of the white-tipped Andes.

The ring of fire

A total solar eclipse, when the moon’s diameter appears larger than that of the sun, results in a period of complete darkness. In Argentina the eclipse is scheduled to begin at 4.05pm, with totality lasting a little over two minutes, on a band just 90km wide. During that period, and only then, it will be safe to remove your eclipse glasses to see a ‘hole in the sky’ before the light of the sun crowds around the edges of the moon again moments later.
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Practicalities of solar eclipse viewing

There’s no need to bring any special equipment with you as safe eclipse-viewing glasses will be provided. That said, you can certainly bring along cameras or binoculars if you want, but be sure any expensive equipment is packaged correctly to avoid damage during the flight. And of course you don’t need to have any great knowledge of astronomy to enjoy an incredible event such as this, particularly because you will be accompanied by an astronomy expert and veteran eclipse chaser, as well as a professional tour leader.

Given their rarity these trips are in high demand, so expect more people, up to around 50, than you would find on a standard small group tour. However, you will be traveling for around a week before the eclipse itself, so there will be plenty of time to get to know your fellow travelers, as well to put any questions you may have to the astronomy expert, who will be available to chat throughout the tour.
Accommodation-wise, you will be staying very close to the eclipse site, so that you can arrive and get set up in good time. And your tour leader will be doing a head-count before departure so if your alarm clock doesn’t go off you won’t be forgotten!

It has to be noted that poor weather can affect the visibility of an eclipse, and naturally this is beyond anyone’s control. The itineraries we feature take this into account and build in a degree of flexibility, so that there is a back-up viewing site just in case. There can be no guarantees of course, but when you’re traveling this distance it’s good to know that there’s a Plan B ready and waiting in case the skies are overcast.
Written by Rob Perkins
Photo credits: [Page banner: James Niland] [Intro: Yoavlevy10] [Buenos Aires & around: Deensel] [Argentine Patagonia: She Paused 4 Thought] [The ring of fire: Masaru Kamikura] [Practicalities of solar eclipse viewing: BLMIdaho]
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