PR 1:: Observatorio de Arecibo

July 3, 2014

The second half of day one in Puerto Rico we headed off to Observatorio de Arecibo. 

In the travel guide I read the locals apparently refer to it as "El Radar." It is however the largest radio telescope in the world. It's very extraterrestrial meets karst country. 

The prices have gone up since the most recent Lonley Planet guide was published, we paid about $10 a piece to get in. Lines weren't bad here during the off season, but remember the American off season is the holiday season for locals. You'll see many children's summer camps around the island on field trips. 

Luckily we didn't run into any here. 

That weird oval thing to the bottom right of the picture above is what they have to wear to walk onto the telescope if anything needs to be fixed. Funny though, because the guide said the greenery growning through in some spots doesn't hurt it... it actually helps with getting a clearer signal.

As usual there is no proof I attened this outing. Story of my life.

Notice the jagged rocks the telescope is nestled in? Welcome to the karst area. 

If the Observatorio looks familiar it's because it's been in a few movies such as, James Bond Goldeneye from 1995.

The place is fascinating, but I won't ruin all the fun facts for you.

I will warn you though, it's a steep hike up a steep hill (remember you're in karst country) and the Pina Coloada stand that's half way up was closed. So the liquid motivation I was hoping to bribe people with fell flat.

While it's only 9 miles out of town the twisting, up and down, steep roads that are uniquely karst will make you feel like you've been on a 90 mile roller coaster by the time you get out. If you've ever considered being car sick bring something for that... it will test your willpower to not puke.

Also, feel free to take a rest on the way up the hill, no one will judge you for it and the locals do it too.

If you just can't bear the idea though you can always sweet talk one of the guards at the front and they'll drive you up!