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The World's Best Astronomy Tours For Stargazers

Nothing is more humbling nor more mind-blowing than gazing into the infinity of space. And if you're interested in astronomy, nothing beats visiting an amazing observatory on your vacation. Luckily, opportunities exist all over the world–you just need to find them. Then you're in for a sparkling delight.

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01Mauna Kea, Hawaii: some of the largest telescopes in the world

Spring Hawaii Big Island, Mauna Kea, Star trails with Canada-France-Hawaii telescope in foreground night shot, long exposure. andreaskoeberl.com / Getty Images

If you're planning a trip to Hawaii, don't miss the opportunity to watch space through some of the world's largest telescopes. You can find these in the observatories on the Big Island of Hawaii, and they'll provide unforgettable space experiences. The Mauna Kea Observatories offer stunning views, both with telescopes and without. Here you truly get to experience the feeling of being "on top of the world." Watching the sun set or rise here is magical.

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02Teide, Tenerife: tour the Tenerife Teide Observatory on a dormant volcano

night, starry sky above the astronomical observatory in the Teide volcano national park in Tenerife MikeMareen / Getty Images

The Spanish island Tenerife is home to an enormous dormant volcano that is also the largest peak in the country. On it, located in the Teide National Park, you'll find the Teide observatory houses with advanced equipment for watching the stars. A tour of the facility is educational and will give you a sense of astronomy's complexity.

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03San Pedro de Atacama: explore and take pictures of space

With its dramatic volcanoes, salt flats, and hot springs, the Chilean landscape feels a bit like space itself. Since ancient times, people have been gazing at the starry sites from the Chile desert, where several astronomy tours occur. San Pedro de Atacama tours are among the highest-rated ones. Experts mix old practices with technology to give a memorable night, and unique cameras allow you to capture your experience.

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04Death Valley: stargazing and sightseeing in Vegas

The Milky Way arching over a speed limit sign in Death Valley. Jon Hicks / Getty Images

In Vegas, everything is dialed up to 11 and emblazoned in gold. Here your tour starts at a winery before continuing to the breathtaking Death Valley National Park. This is a perfect place for enjoying the sparkling night sky, which will feel even more appealing after the neon lights of Vegas. Wine and stargazing—what could go wrong??

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05Boulder: astronomy tour telescopes and laser pointers

A clear view of the night sky at Wonderland Lake, Boulder, CO Photo by Kaushal Subedi on Unsplash

Watching the night sky from Boulder is the perfect highlight of your Colorado trip. Experts will point out the exciting phenomenons with laser pointers and, as groups are kept at a maximum of 12 people, they'll have time to answer all your questions. Oh, and another great thing: this tour comes with snacks. Nothing stirs an appetite like gazing into space.

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06Santiago: watch the stars while the sun is still up

At the Santiago, observatory expert astronomers guide you through the intricacies of space using a wide range of advanced telescopes. A cool thing about this particular Chilean observatory is that you can watch stars when the sun is still shining. As the day turns into night, you can continue the stargazing while enjoying the complimentary wine and cheese. The experience is really as good as it gets. ALMA radio astronomy dishes watching the sky with milky way above

07Bora Bora: combine stargazing with a sunset cruise

A DSLR long exposure photo forming a round startrail over Bora Bora in French Polynesia on a cloudless night. Across the tranquil waters of the lagoon are many overwater bangalows with their lights on casting long reflections over the surface. There is no one around. MaFelipe / Getty Images

While famous as a luxurious honeymoon destination, Bora Bora offers much more than white beaches and clear water. Here you can combine your interest in stars with romance, and as the sun sets, sail away on a cruise to experience it. Sip on crisp champagne while you wait for the crew to prepare an evening of not only stargazing but a crash course in how Polynesians historically have used the stars to navigate the water.

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08Palm Desert: enjoy a sunset & stargazing Jeep tour

Joshua Tree and Star trails at Night Joshua Tree National Park yenwen / Getty Images

Palm Desert, California, is a beautiful place at night. Experience the area with an open Jeep ride through the dramatic and scenic landscape. Watch the stars, and talk about wildlife, geology, and history with the guides.

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09Tekapo, New Zealand: watch the stars from a floating hot spring hammock

Soak in the hot springs of Lake Tekapo, New Zealand, and gaze at the sparkling night sky. Sounds good, right? Leaning back in a floating hammock may be the most comfortable and spa-like astronomical experience out there.

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10Bend, Oregon: alpine stargazing and wine tasting

If you drive outside of the city of Bend, you'll find beautiful opportunities to watch the dark sky. Go on your own or go with a guide to access a telescope and expertise. And why not include a wine tour of Bend's wide variety of wineries while you're at it?

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