From the December 2022 issue

Meet Eclipse Traveler, your guide to the greatest shows on Earth

Astronomy magazine's new tour partner, Eclipse Traveler, prides itself on finding the very best spots to view eclipses.
By | Published: December 13, 2022 | Last updated on May 18, 2023
Eclipse Traveler’s 2019 Chile Eclipse Expedition led clients to bustling Santiago, beautiful La Serena, the fertile Elqui Valley, and La Silla Observatory in the Atacama Desert.
Courtesy of Eclipse Traveler
Astronomy magazine has a new partner for our eclipse expeditions: Eclipse Traveler, a company from Lake Mary, Florida, will be providing top-notch experiences for our readers during the 2023 annular eclipse, the 2024 total eclipse, and beyond.

It’s all about exploration

Eclipse Traveler was founded in 2000 with the mission of helping people explore countries, cultures, and a range of environments including cities, mountain ranges, deserts, coasts, and jungles. And that’s what the company is still about. But that’s not all: Travelers get to explore our amazing world on trips that culminate with surreal views of solar eclipses, those rare astronomical events that trek across only a tiny fraction of our planet’s surface. And the staff at Eclipse Traveler prides itself in finding the best spots to view those eclipses.

Obtaining such spectacular views is sometimes an adventure in and of itself. Mountain environments require a bit of hiking — though the company makes sure it minimizes strain on travelers. For polar regions, Eclipse Traveler uses small expedition ships to get you where big cruise liners can’t go. Far northern areas, though they can be quite chilly, also offer the chance to glimpse the aurora borealis after the Sun has set.
Of course, eclipses happen in all seasons. During a winter expedition, some travelers may choose to ski. Others may opt for a dog sled ride or a snowshoe stroll. Eclipse chasers have even built an igloo — and slept in it.

When voyaging to distant lands, travelers often want to check out the indigenous wildlife. Eclipse Traveler makes this easy by organizing small, unobtrusive groups guided by experts. And speaking of experts, to really understand the local culture, you need to get off the beaten path with a local guide who can share their knowledge with you. Eclipse Traveler has you covered there, too.

Since its inception, the company has cared about the communities and environments that its tours take you to. Mesut Pehlivan, senior field manager and director of operations, says, “Eclipse Traveler has always been and will always be a responsible tour operator. It is in our DNA to work hard to look after what we so prize.”
The company works closely with all its overseas partners to run tours in the best possible ways. It has an extensive training program for its tour leaders. It also actively seeks out expert astronomers who can offer travelers valuable insight into the astronomical sights they encounter.

Why does the staff take such great care? Simply put, they love the places they visit, and they love sharing nature and astronomy with like-minded people. Eclipse Traveler also offers a diverse range of experiences, with many geared toward families and school groups.

Courtesy of Eclipse Traveler

The company and staff

Eclipse Traveler was founded 22 years ago by Cengiz Aras, who brought with him his tourism experience gained through Flo Tours, a company that specializes in tours to Asia and the Middle East. Aras had spent 32 years organizing tours for small groups in off-the-beaten-path sectors of the world. His hobby of astronomy led him to create a specialized company organizing only eclipse tours. The continued use of both established suppliers and Flo Tours’ regional offices in different parts of the world have greatly contributed to the quality and success of Eclipse Traveler’s tours.

Pehlivan joined Eclipse Traveler in 2017. He says that since he’s been with the company, he’s helped organize the 2019 Chile Eclipse Expedition as well as brokered a partnership with Silversea Cruises for an Antarctica cruise in 2021. “When we decide to take our groups to a place to view an eclipse,” he says, “we at least visit the site three times, and sometimes as many as six, to talk to local astronomers, meteorologists, and our suppliers.”

Apart from hand-selecting the best spots to view eclipses, Eclipse Traveler uses its tourism experience to provide a memorable trip overall. For example, it takes the food and drink choices extremely seriously, because those two elements are most likely to be remembered by the guests, even years later. All of Eclipse Traveler’s administrative staff are also multilingual, former licensed tour guides with decades of experience.

Infrastructure is another concern that gets a lot of attention, whether it’s tents to protect travelers from the Sun, brand-new portable toilets, an ambulance for possible health issues, or comfortable seats suited for open-air viewing sites in remote parts of the countryside.

Travel with us

If you’re going to view any future solar eclipse — and especially if you want to leave the details in capable hands — consider one (or more) of the upcoming Astronomy magazine and Eclipse Traveler tours. You’ll see more about these events in coming months. We promise you’ll have an experience you’ll never forget!