General Information for the Visiting Scientist

HC3 Box 53995 -Arecibo, Puerto Rico 00612
Tel: (787) 878-2612 -Fax: (787) 878-1861

We at NAIC hope your stay will be pleasant and productive. If you have questions which are not answered below,staff members will be pleased to assist. At your earliest convenience, during a regular workday, (M-F, 8-4:30) identify yourself to Carmen Rosario , Natalia Piñero - (administration offices) bldg #2, , who can provide assistance on matters concerning living accommodations, office space, and transportation. The Observatory Director Robert Kerr will be pleased to meet you at that time. The Guards at the gate will give you a form with your VSQ Room. A directory board is located adjacent to the stairs in bldg. #2. If Carmen or Natalia are unavailable, the staff of the Human Resources office in Room 103 (ground floor) of Building 2 can help. After regular working hours, the guards at the gate (ext. 222) can provide assistance.

* To request onsite housing


The observatory does not routinely provide airport transportation, but can arrange a taxi for you if you make arrangements in advance. Please inform Carmen Rosario (with copy to Natalia Piñero) well in advance to make taxi and room reservations and communicate travel plans. Rooms fill up, so reserving at least a month in advance is advised. When informing please have your arrival date, air carrier/flight number and arrival time. If you arrive very late, you may wish to stay at the airport hotel until the next morning. You can also rent a car or use a regular taxi: Make sure the taxi driver understands your destination, as they are in for a long trip.There are fixed fares to Arecibo (about $140 to Arecibo in 2012), but you may be expected to pay more to get "up the hill" to the Observatory. "Publicos" are no longer available at the airport.
You will get the key to your room at the VSQ (Visiting Scientist Quarters) at the observatory.



Road Maps

Some maps that will help you find your way...

Arecibo Map

From the San Juan Airport




Living Accommodations

On-site visiting scientist quarters (VSQ) are available by advance registration and are handled on a first come, first served basis. These quarters are strictly reserved for the needs of telescope users, and official Observatory visitors. VSQ Billing is handled by Natalia Piñero. Charges in US $ ( per person ) are:




 Family Units


 $ 62.00

 $ 75.00

$ 100.00


 $ 310.00

 $ 375.00

 $ 500.00


 $ 1,240.00

 $ 1,500.00

 $ 2,000.00

** all rates are per room
** The single / double rate is the US government per-diem rate for Arecibo, and is about 40% lower than the least expensive single room in a nearby hotel.

* To request onsite housing

Maid service is provided once a week or as requested. If needed, additional towels may be obtained from Carmen Ruiz, Maria Muñiz or (inquire in cafeteria). A coin-operated washing machine and dryer are available for use by the visitors after 4:30 pm on weekdays and all day Saturday and Sunday. It is located next to the cafeteria.



The Cafeteria is open for service Mon-Fri 6:45 AM to 4:30 PM (no evening meal served).  
There are no weekend or holiday services except on special occasion.





Visitors can inquire on-site for the possibility of available vehicles. Most national car rental chains are available in San Juan; a few also in Arecibo.



Instructions for using MERIDIAN SINGLE LINE SET M8003 telephone system:

Internal Calls

  1. Pick up the receiver
  2. Listen for the dial tone
  3. Dial the extension desired

Outside Calls

  1. Pick up the receiver
  2. If out of Arecibo: Dial 9 + 1, area code + phone no.
    If  local or to Cell phone: dial 9 + 787 + phone no.
  3. Dial the number desired
  4. After beeps dial access code

A FAX is available in the mailroom. The FAX number is (787) 878-1861. Copying can be performed in rm. 200 ; Mail arrives at the Observatory around early afternoon, Monday through Friday. Visiting scientists' mail is placed in the "Visitor" box. rm. 200, bldg. #2. Outgoing mail usually leaves the mailroom (rm. 200) close to 2:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Please place stamped envelopes in the tray next to the postage machine, rm. 200.


Recording Media Policy

NAIC can supply discs for recording data taken during observing programs. Observers should indicate special requirements for recording media in their proposals. Discs supplied by the Observatory and used for data recording are given AO numbers. Recorded data are considered to be "owned" by the concerned observer for a period of eighteen months after the observations are completed, during which time the observer is expected to reduce, copy or otherwise archive the data. The disc remains the property of the Observatory.

Visiting observers may request discs to make copies of recorded data for analysis at their home institutions. These discs will be charged at the prevalent rates, and should be paid for separately from VSQ bills.




15. Travel Support

For U.S.-based visiting scientists without financial support from other sources, and with an approved research program at the Observatory, the NAIC will partially reimburse transportation costs associated with the conduct of the research program, NAIC budget permitting. For each observing program scheduled at the Arecibo telescope, reimbursement may be requested for one of the U.S. based investigators to travel to Arecibo to observe, and for one of the U.S. based investigators to travel to Arecibo to reduce data (effectively two per project). Reimbursement may be requested for a second U.S. based investigator to either observe or reduce data provided that the second investigator is a student, graduate or undergraduate. In addition, in some cases, NAIC will provide travel support for research on archival Arecibo data. The reimbursement for all travel will be for the actual cost of economy airfare, up to a limit of $1000. Lodging costs for students can be waived if requested in advance and approved by the Observatory director. While we are not able to provide support for meals or rental cars at this time, we do have a cafeteria on site and a car available for visitors to use while staying in the Visiting Scientist Quarters. Rental cars in Puerto Rico are not reimbursable. Anyone requesting support must be one of the authors of an approved proposal. No travel support is provided for investigators not based in the U.S.A.

On the Reimbursement Form marked "DRAFT", obtainable from Natalia Piñero, complete sections A, B, C and F
( click here to see an example ).   ( click here to download a working copy )

When completed, return "DRAFT"and "ORIGINAL" together with the original Airline ticket stubs to:

Natalia Piñero
Arecibo Observatory
HC3 Box 53995
Arecibo, Puerto Rico 00612




Check Cashing

** No longer available



Scientific Services

Located in room 102 you will find the SS (Scientific Services ) office. Here Tony Acevedo (e-mail: can help you with, multimedia graphic services, images and photos, color printing, and others.



A small library with specialized books and journals is located in Building #2.



In case of an emergency a call should be first placed to our emergency number: 333 which will be answered by the guard at the gate and the telescope operator.

You should clearly state:


Arecibo and Surroundings

The Observatory is situated approximately 10 miles south of Arecibo [although it feels a lot farther out after you drive or ride the distance...], in beautiful karst terrain. Villages near the Observatory (San Rafael, Esperanza) don't have much to offer in terms of services. Arecibo is a city of about 70,000 by the Ocean. The first impression to the visitor from the mainland is that it is perhaps a little different: take it in stride; Arecibo is also a friendly and occasionally charming city. It provides most of the services of immediate necessity during your visit to the Observatory. Within a half hour drive from Arecibo, numerous beautiful beaches can be reached. South from the City on route 129 and not far from the Observatory is the Camuy River Caverns Park, featuring one of the most spectacular cave systems in the world: try not to miss visiting it during your stay. The Rio Grande de Arecibo Valley also offers some beautiful vistas and an enjoyable ride up Route 10, to Dos Bocas lake. The Indian Ceremonial Ball Park near Utuado, with pre-columbian ruins, is another interesting site. South of the Observatory, the terrain is rugged and nearly uninhabited. Some wonderful hikes are possible, exploring waterfalls, river caves, jungle, within less than 1 mile from the dish. Inquire with the local staff for directions. If you need to visit a shopping mall you can drive to the new Plaza del Norte, where many large and small stores await your visit.


Leisure Time

The swimming pool and volleyball/basketball court, located north of the cafeteria, offer a refreshing reprieve from the working routine. Safety regulations are posted by the pool. A volleyball or a basketball can be checked out from the guard house. The local beaches near Arecibo provide surf and underwater delights for snorkelers. Inquire about the currents and rocks before entering the water. Beware of sea urchins. Don't leave items (camera, watch) unattended. Hiking is a popular pastime. The natural beauty of the surroundings, flora and fauna, appeal to most. Check with staff for trail description. library in bldg. #2 on the second floor, and a television with Satellite Antenna/VCR on the 1st floor of Bldg. 2 offer quieter diversions.

February 2013