Chile travel

What astro-tourism options are there in Chile?

Chile’s geographic conditions make our country a true natural laboratory that is perfect for scientific research and astronomical observations thanks to one of the clearest skies in the world.

The natural conditions of Chile’s skies and the stunning phenomena captured by various telescopes located on Chilean soil not only draw attention from scientists; they have also captured the attention of a growing number of Chilean and international tourists.

There are dozens of observatories currently in the country with differing degrees of precision and depth that allow guests to gaze at the wonders of the universe in greater detail. Astro-tourism has become more and more important since 1998 when the Mamalluca Observatory opened, Chile’s first tourist astronomical observatory and, up until now, the most frequently-visited of its kind.

Today, astro-tourism has become one of the tourist options with the most potential for growth in the country, as it has become an appealing reason to visit for both international visitors and Chileans who are ever more interested in discovering this aspect of local scientific development, and who visit the observatories as part of their trips to the north of the country. This is why Chile is seeking to become the most outstanding astro-tourism destination in the world by the year 2025, with the help of the Astro-tourism Road Map.

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One of the primary features of Chile’s growing astro-tourism industry is the multitude of options. Visitors who are more interested in learning about scientific developments can visit some of the most important international projects in the country, such as ALMA or the Paranal Observatory, which offer tours of their centers of operation.

Also, visitors who would like to have the opportunity to learn but also observe astronomical phenomena may visit one of the over 30 observatories for tourists located throughout Chile.

Further below we present a list of these observatories located in Chile, and more science-oriented observatories as well, listed by region:

Antofagasta

The greatest number of scientific observatories are found here, including ALMA and the Paranal Observatory, which was created thanks to international investments. We also find here the UCN (former Sirius) Observatory from the Catholic University of the North, and Ckoirama and Nayra from the Antofagasta University. Observatories for tourists are:

Atacama

This region boasts two different facilities with very different approaches:

Coquimbo

The region with the most observatories in Chile has 11 places for tourists to gaze at the sky, along with three where the focus is on the scientific work of astronomers: Cerro Tololo, La Silla, and Gemini-Sur

Valparaíso

Valparaíso has two facilities for visitors to gaze at the sky:

Metropolitan Region

There are three scientific observatories here: the UMCE Observatory, Parque Metropolitano Manuel Foster (observatory museum) and the Cerro Calán National Astronomical Observatory. The latter two were fundamental in the beginning of local astronomy. Five observatories for tourists are also located here:

O’Higgins

This region has two observation centers for visitors:

Maule

Only the Orión Observatory is found here, which is open to the entire public (Villa Alegre).

Biobío

The University of Concepción manages a scientific observatory called Wangulen Mapu. Four observatories for tourists are also located here:

Los Lagos

Despite the fact that the south of the country regularly sees cloudy skies and rain, there is an observatory for tourists called the San Francisco Javier School Astronomy Academy (Puerto Montt).

More information on astro-tourism in Chile: chile.travel/que-hacer/astroturismo