Optional Visit to the ALMA site

Optional visit to the ALMA site

We are planning an optional visit to the ALMA site on Friday, March 10. The schedule is as follows:

Friday 10 March


  • Depart from ESO Santiago office at 10:30 for the flights leaving at 11:45 and 12:00
  • Arrive in Calama at around 14:00
  • Information about transfer cars to San Pedro and back will be informed soon
  • One night stay in San Pedro (this is mandatory!)


Saturday 11 March


  • Depart San Pedro in order to arrive to the OSF around 08:30. An authorized bus will take us up to ALMA
  • Short break and a quick health check-up (blood-pressure check mainly) at the OSF (Operations Support Facility)
  • Drive up to the ALMA Operations Site (AOS) at 5000m elevation. We will view the array and stay at the site for about an hour
  • Return to the OSF for lunch
  • Around 14:00 take the bus back to Calama
  • Fly back to Santiago at 19:00 (19:25), arriving at around 21:30 hr

There are several important points to note:


If you would like to take part in this visit, email this form to mgomez@eso.org

Please make sure you include:

  • Full name of the traveller (as appears on passport)
  • Passport number
  • Nationality
  • Credit card number

Details of the expected costs can be found below. The deadline for receiving the payment information is February 3.

Min/Max number of participants

The minimum number of participants for this visit to take place is 10. We need to have received at least 10 confirmations with payment details by the 3 February deadline in order to be able to go ahead with the visit. We will not take any payments until we have reached the minimum number of participants.

We can accommodate up to a maximum of about 35 people but will give preference to those who already registered their interest and then will operate on a first come first served basis. In the case that we do have sufficient participation by 3 February, we may be able to accept additional participants later but those participants should note that the cost of their visit may then be higher.


Costs for the visit must be borne by the participant. However, we can help with the hotel booking (details TBC) and will arrange payment of the airfare Santiago-Calama-Santiago with our local travel agency. The cost of the flight Santiago-Calama-Santiago is expected to be between EUR 103 (non-flexible) and EUR 202. The exact cost will be confirmed prior to payment being taken.

If you require an extra night of accommodation in Santiago for the night of Saturday 11 March, this cost must also be borne by the participant. Details of accommodation options can be found at http://www.eso.org/sci/meetings/2017/star-formation2017/accommodation.html

Transport to the airport and back to a hotel in the Vitacura district are to be covered by ESO as well as the lunch at ALMA.  All the other expenses must be paid by the participants.

Health check

Access to the AOS is dependent on a successful health check at the OSF prior to going up to the high site (a quick blood pressure check and simple questionnaire). If you have any known health problems including high blood pressure please let us know. If you are employed by NRAO/AUI you will need to take a high altitude medical before visiting the site. If you are based in the US we strongly recommend you take the medical in the US. Please contact us for information.


Access to the AOS is also dependent on the weather. Between January and March, the so called Altiplanic Winter comes with occasional showers, so snow or rain are a possibility. In the unlikely event that we are not be able to access the road to the AOS we would instead visit the ALMA OSF site and some scenic sights close to San Pedro.