Paranal Arrivals and Departures

Arrival Procedure

  • When the transport arrives on Paranal, all passengers must go to the guard building where they will receive their ID card.
  • After this process, everyone returns to the vehicle.
  • Once parked in front of the Residence, passengers take their luggage and proceed to the lobby/reception.

Camp and Residencia

  • Accommodations consist of the Paranal Residencia  and refurbished containers.
  • The Logistics office, located in the Residencia lobby, will give you the key to your room upon arrival.  Please return it upon departure.
  • Due to limited availability of rooms on Paranal, you may be requested to change rooms during your stay. If you need to store your suitcases between changes of rooms, please leave them at the Logistics office for custody.
  • Check out time is 13:00.
  • Avoid light pollution—please close the blinds in the rooms and offices after sunset. Staff may enter your room for the purpose of ensuring that the blinds are closed after sunset.
  • You may be using a room that contains the personal items of one of our staff members. Please do not use or remove these items. 
  • Smoking is not permitted in any building on Paranal. This includes your room. There are smoke detectors installed in the rooms.
  • For your convenience, a refrigerator is located in every room.
  • Although Paranal provides guests with towels and liquid soap, we do not provide shampoo, conditioner, shower caps or other personal items.
  • A small store is located in the base camp. Basic supplies are available. Please consult with Logistics to confirm location and when it is open.
  • Water is not a natural resource on Paranal—please report any leaks or running water to the Logistics office (ext. 5150) or ext. 5134 after hours.
  • Remember that there are both day and night shifts on Paranal. Keep this in mind when circulating around the rooms, listening to music, or watching TV.

Money and Valuables

  • Lockers (located in the Residencia and Control Building) and a safe are available at no charge to store your money and/or valuables. Please contact the Logistics office for this service.
  • ESO will not be held responsible for any lost or stolen items.

ESO I.D. Card

  • The ID card given to you upon arrival is required for access to Paranal Buildings, and to record when you enter/leave Paranal. 
  • If you have any problems with the card, please report to your ESO contact or the Logistics office.


  • Breakfast, lunch, and dinner is served at times changing with the seasons. The timetable can be found at the door of the cafeteria.
  • Night meals are available for night workers, (i.e., sandwiches, hot meals from the daily menu). If you wish to use this service, please complete the corresponding online form.
  • Night meals are delivered to the Control Building dining room at 22:00.
  • If you have special dietary needs (lactose intolerant, gluton-free, etc.), please inform Logistics prior to your arrival to plan accordingly.


Safe Access to Telescopes and Control Building

VLT Platform and Control Building

  • Use the pathways or paved areas while walking on the platform. Avoid walking on the gravel as much as possible.
  • Do not walk over the VLTI tunnel area.
  • On the platform, restricted areas are marked with a yellow painted line. It is prohibited to enter these areas.
  • In the Telescopes, restricted areas must be respected due hazards inside (nitrogen, laser, etc.). Never enter the telescopes without approval and guide.
  • Night access to the platform is restricted—use only a small flashlight and never shine it at or towards the telescopes.

ESO Vehicles

  • Each Department has an assigned fleet of vehicles. Visitors are not authorized to drive ESO vehicles unless a written authorization has been obtained from the Head of the Department responsible for the vehicle.
  • Coordinate with your host Department to corrdinate rides to the control building or telescopes.
  • After sunset, only parking lights are used.

Star Track Walkway

  • Star Track, the walkway from the Residencia to the Control Building, can be used only during daylight hours.
  • When using the walkway: carry a radio and a small flashlight, inform the reception or your contact and/or a co-worker when you leave, probable return time and when you arrive.
  • Walking on the side of the road is only permitted during daytime.


Guest Facilities and Recreation

Alcoholic Beverages

  • Consumption of alcoholic beverages is limited and for use during specifically sanctioned situations and/or events.

Swimming Pool

  • There is no lifeguard on duty at the pool. Test the depth of the water before diving in.
  • No beverages are allowed in the pool.
  • Take a shower before and after use.
  • Infants and young children must always be under adult supervision in the pool area.


  • Do not use the sauna if you have a history of heart disease, diabetes, high or low blood pressure, circulatory or respiratory problems, seizures, epilepsy, pregnancy, those who are using any medication or under the influence of alcohol.
  • Maximum time in sauna is 15 minutes. If you feel light headed, breathless, etc., immediately leave the sauna.
  • An emergency alarm has been installed inside the sauna for your safety.
  • Take a warm shower before entering and a cool shower after leaving the sauna.
  • Children under five years are not allowed in the sauna. Children between the ages of 6 and 14 must be accompanied by an adult in the sauna at all times.
  • Since it is used by men and women, swimwear must be worn in the sauna. Wear shower sandals.
  • Please sit on a towel while using the sauna.
  • Use the sauna accompanied by another person.


  • The Gymnasium building is located outside and across the street from the Residencia.
  • Exercise equipment is located in the Gymnasium. Make sure to wipe down the equipment with the disinfectant gel located in the weight room.


  • Rooms in the Residencia have wifi and network connections.
  • Network access to La Silla Paranal Observatory requires devices to be properly registered in order to gain the correct privileges and access rights.
  • WIFI access is available in the Residencia lobby, Meeting room and Control Room. Account and passwords are posted in each area.
  • Please contact the IT offices (ext. 5959) should you have difficulties with computer or network facilities during your stay on Paranal.


  • A small non-scientific Library is located on -3 in the Residencia.
  • Please contact the Logistics office to obtain the key to the room and for checking out any materials.

Social Game Room

  • The Social, Pool and Game Room is available for your enjoyment. The Room is located on level -1, at the top of the stairway closest to the casino. Please contact the Logistics office for directions.

Cinema/TV Room

  • The Cinema/TV Room is located on level -4 (close to the pool).
  • Movies are programmed and announced on the board by the dining room.

Laundry Service

  • Paranal has a laundry service that takes care of personal and work clothes.
  • You will find a form in your room, which should be filled in with information regarding the clothes to be washed.
  • Laundry will be collected Tuesday and Friday a.m. and returned on the following Friday or Tuesday p.m.