Chile is one of the best countries in the world for stargazing. With nine reserves and 26 parks designated as dark sky places, there’s no shortage of stunning spots to cast your gaze upwards. Here are some of the best hotels to enjoy Chile’s star-studded night skies.
Whether you’re just a hobby stargazer or a professional astronomer, Chile ranks among the best places in the world to watch the night sky. Many of the best spots are concentrated in the northern Antofagasta and Coquimbo regions. The atmosphere of these arid desert areas are rarely blemished with clouds or rainfall, making them prime stargazing destinations.
For a more scientific study of the stars, you can head to an observatory such as ALMA or the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory, where you can take a tour around the facilities. Amateur stargazers who simply want to admire the beauty of night sky can choose from a spate of different night-time excursions. Many offer a unique spin; some might reveal local legends associated with different constellations, while others give you the chance to see the stars close up through telescopes.
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But perhaps the best, most relaxing way to enjoy the stars is to book a room at one of the following hotels. Try to avoid booking on the night of or the days around the full moon, when the brightness obscures the visibility of the stars.
Sleep at Elqui Domos to snooze under a canopy of stars
Elqui Domos is not a standard stay. Made up of seven domes and four cabins each fitted with a see-through ceiling situated directly over a cosy bed, this is a place where you can fall asleep while counting the stars. The hotel also has an on-site observatory, giving guests a more in-depth experience of the starry night sky. You can even participate in night-time horseback riding excursions and tarot card readings too.
Try Explora Hotel for astronomy and adventure in the Atacama
Those looking for adventure and astronomy with a hint of luxury should book a stay at Explora Hotel. With a stable, spa and an observatory, you can start the day riding through the desert on horseback, wind down with a soothing massage, and complete the evening admiring the night sky with a glass of Chilean red in hand. Rooms are homely but sleek and the architecture of the hotel blends in seamlessly with the surroundings.
Hide out on a hill in a geodesic dome near Valparaiso
This geodesic dome is located just an hour outside of the city of Valparaiso, nestled in a forest near the Estero de la Vida. You’ll wake up to the scent of the surrounding lemon and apple trees, fire up the barbecue for lunch and settle down to watch the day turn to dusk with a view stretching out across a verdant forest. This is the place to choose if you want to find somewhere to unplug and unwind.
Stay at Tierra Patagonia for opportunistic stargazing in Patagonia
The southern tip of Chile is not famous for its stargazing opportunities. But if you only have time to head south and you’re looking for a place that gives you the best shot of enjoying a clear night sky, Tierra Patagonia is it. Located deep in the craggy foothills of the Patagonia Mountains, this hotel’s prized attraction is the nature surrounding it. And there are plenty of ways to admire it, whether it’s during dinner in the hotel restaurant or while swimming in the indoor pool. Take a short drive on a clear starry night and you might spot a few constellations.
Camp out in Lauca National Park for a truly off-the-grid experience of the night sky
While Terrace Lodge is certainly nothing to shout about compared to the other places to stay in this list, its easy access to the Lauca National Park more than makes up for it. These humble lodgings back onto one of Chile’s most underrated nature reserves. Located in the small town of Putre just outside of the national park, the lodge serves as your launchpad to the stars. Stock up on supplies and equipment here (or in Arica) before setting off on your adventure into the untamed wilderness.
These recommendations were updated on June 3, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.