Travel Info for the Undergraduate ALFALFA Workshop

January 11-15, 2015


Shuttles (taxi or bus) will transport from the airport to the observatory on Sunday, Jan 11. Departure times of the shuttles will be ~1:15PM and ~5:00PM. Please see the schedule sent by email to check your shuttle assignment. The shuttles will pick up according to the airlines you arrive on. (This is a change since the last update because of construction at the airport. For example, there is now more than one baggage claim area in the airport!) There is no place for the shuttles to park near the terminals, so we will have to gather the whole group before they will pick us up. The groups will meet in these locations: There is limited seating outside the terminal, so you may want to wait in the terminal until close to pickup time if you don't have a bag to pick up. If you do this, you should call a contact person so that they know that you have arrived and meet the group well before the pickup time. Apologies to those of you who will need to wait awhile between your flight and the shuttle. The shuttle will wait in case of minor plane delays, but please communicate with a contact person in advance so that they know that they should wait for you. See next section for contact phone numbers and instructions in case of lengthy delay.

There will be two shuttles on Thursday for transportation back to the airport. These buses will leave at 4:15am and 8:30am, respectively. You will be scheduled for a shuttle according to your flight departure time - the schedule will be sent via email.


If you are delayed, it is important that you call a contact person, so that we can determine whether the shuttle driver should or should not wait for you. If you miss the shuttle, alternate transportation will need to be arranged. With enough lead time, you can contact one of the taxi drivers that Arecibo uses to serve the observatory. Expect to pay $135. As a last resort you can use one of the airport taxis, but make sure they understand where you are going. Directions to the observatory written in Spanish are given below so that you can give them to the taxi driver. You can also call the guard at the Observatory entrance at: 787-878-2612 x222 or x293 to provide directions to the taxi driver. The taxi will cost ~$150 in cash, so please be prepared. (Our grant will reimburse you for any extra transportation charges.) The guards can help to answer other questions and can connect you to ALFALFA folks onsite (Becky Koopmann, Martha Haynes, David Craig). A map of the route to the Observatory is available here.

The following folks will serve as contact people for the shuttle from the airport. If you expect to be delayed, please call at least one contact person, preferably both. Leave a message if no one answers.
1:15PM Shuttle
    Jessica Rosenberg: 571-215-8845
    Ron Olowin: 925-285-1256

5:00PM Shuttle
    Jeff Miller: 315-323-6929
    Adriana Durbala: 205-886-2597

ALFALFA folks are likely to be found in the Learning Center on Sunday: 787-878-2612 x324. You can also try the cafeteria at x278.

 -------  Spanish Directions to Arecibo:
 1.Despues de salir del aeropuerto de San Juan, coja la rampa hacia San Juan
 2. Entre a la carretera 26 y siga por aproximadamente 3.3 millas
 3. Despues de pasar el Tunel Minillas coja el Expreso de Diego (22) 
    hacia Arecibo (aproximadamente 47.1 millas
 4. Doble a la derecha en la salida 77B hacia la 129 que va  hacia Lares 
    por aproximadamente 2.6 millas.
 5. Doble a la izquierda hacia la carretera 635 (en el Estacion de gasolina 
    Texaco) (por 1.24 millas)
 6. Doble a la derecha para mantenerse en la 635 por aprox. 3.6 millas
 7. Doble a la derecha para continuar en la carretera 635 por aproximadamente 
    0.5 millas
 8. vire a la izquierda en la 625 (cementerio) y continue por aproximadamente 
    3.0 millas
 9. Continue  por esa carretera hasta que llegue a la casa de la guardia 
    del Observatorio de Arecibo


Everyone will be accommodated on the Arecibo Observatory grounds. Since we are such a large group, we will be sharing rooms (2 per room). All rooms have bathrooms and air conditioners. Towels and linens are provided, but please bring your own shampoo. (Soap is usually provided, but bring your own to make sure). There is an internet connection in each room. Some rooms (mainly in North VSQ) have dehumidifiers.

You may want to consider bringing ear plugs if you are a light sleeper. There are many lovely sounds in Puerto Rico, especially at night, but some are quite loud. One of the loudest is made by the coqui frog, which you can see here. The frog is only about an inch or so in size, but you wouldn't know that from its voice. :)

You may also want to bring along an alarm clock for a wakeup for your overnight observing session. Remember that you can't use your cell phone at Arecibo (see below), so a cell phone alarm will not work. The rooms have alarm clocks, but power surges at Arecibo often reset them.


All meals will be provided at the Observatory, including night lunches for the observing runs. Vegetarian options will be available at each meal. Please let Becky know if you have food restrictions. Snacks and additional food may be purchased at the cafeteria, but selection and hours are limited. (There are no weekend hours.) Snacks may also be available at the Visitor Center, across from our meeting place. You may want to bring a few snack items of your own, including fruit, which is generally not readily available. Those who leave on the second shuttle from the Observatory on Thursday can purchase breakfast at the Cafeteria. Those leaving on the first shuttle will need to purchase breakfast at the airport, but the grant will reimburse your purchase.


There will be ethernet connections available in the lecture room for laptops. We strongly encourage all participants to bring their laptops, especially if they are using a Mac or Linux operating system. Each dorm room also has an internet connection. Be aware that tablets/ipads that have no direct ethernet will be less useful. If you have a new mac without an ethernet port, be sure to bring the appropriate thunderbolt cable. You might also bring an ethernet cable if you have it - sometimes they disappear from the dorm rooms. Be sure to disable any wireless devices on laptops (why, students?).

If possible, install TOPCAT on your laptop before the workshop. Directions are provided at under "Obtaining TOPCAT" and on the UAT Groups Google site (ask Becky for access).


The observatory is in a remote location, not in ready reach of pharmacies or supermarkets. PLEASE BE SURE TO BRING A SUPPLY OF ANY MEDICINES YOU NEED. It's a good idea to also be prepared with any over-the-counter medicines, such as aspirin or allergy medications.

If you are susceptible to motion sickness, you may want to take any medication before the ride to the observatory. The second half of the ride has many hills and curves.


You will not be able to use your cell phone at the Arecibo Observatory (why is that, students?!). Please disable your phone, as well as any other wireless devices (e.g., pagers, laptops). There are phones available in your rooms. You can make long distance calls from these phones with a calling card, so you may want to purchase a calling card. There is also an internet connection in each room.


Temperatures will range from high 60's at night to low 80's during the day. Mornings are typically sunny, but it's common to have an afternoon rain shower, sometimes heavy, so bring an umbrella. The buildings can be cool, especially the observatory control room, so bring a sweater/sweatshirt with you to the meetings. Dress is casual. There is a swimming pool, so you may want to bring your bathing suit.

Please bring closed-toe shoes (for example, sneakers) for the facility tours.


Please check out airline and TSA regulations. In particular, you are limited to the amount of liquid you can carry in your carry-on bag. This page provides full details.


U.S. Citizens: Puerto Rico is a territory of the U.S. and a passport is not required for direct travel between the mainland and Puerto Rico.

Non-U.S. Citizens should be prepared to show passports and any other documentation necessary to enter the U.S.

Observatory Travel Website

You might like to look at the observatory information page

Workshop Home Page

Last modified: Fri Jan 2 13:31:36 EST 2015 by becky