Fun things to do in Arecibo

  • Inside Cueva del Indio
    Inside Cueva del Indio
    by xoxoxenophile
  • Cueva del Indio from the rock ledge above
    Cueva del Indio from the rock ledge...
    by xoxoxenophile
  • Arecibo Observatory - the telescope
    Arecibo Observatory - the telescope
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Most Viewed Things to Do in Arecibo

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    Arecibo Observatory

    by xoxoxenophile Written Jan 31, 2015

    Arecibo Observatory is the world's largest radio telescope, and it sits nestled in the hilly forests of Puerto Rico near Arecibo. You may have seen it without realizing it, as it has been featured in the movie Contact and the 007 flick GoldenEye, as well as other movies, novels and TV shows.

    The roads to Arecibo Observatory are very hilly and winding, through rural forested areas, so it's quite pretty, and you may see things like chickens crossing the road. It takes a while to get there from Arecibo. Once in the parking lot you are supposed to leave your cell phone in your car (or turn it off/on airplane mode) and then you can walk up this big hill to the visitor center. As an electrical engineering student, I was hoping that the visitor center would have a lot of technical stuff about how the telescope works, but it really didn't, focusing more on children's outer space exhibits and ones on the process of building the Observatory. After looking in the visitor, you can go out and look at the telescope. It basically just looks like a giant hole in the ground in the middle of the jungle. It's a really strange contrast! There are some plaques around the observation deck explaining how big the thing actually is (how long and heavy the suspension cords are, etc.). It was cool, but I don't think it would be worth a whole trip from San Juan if you don't have a lot of time in Puerto Rico. However, combined with a trip to Cueva del Indio (see my other Arecibo review), it's definitely worth it!

    Arecibo Observatory The reflector dish Arecibo Observatory - the telescope The visitor center Parking lot where you start your uphill hike
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    Cueva del Indio

    by xoxoxenophile Written Jan 31, 2015

    Cueva del Indio was one of our biggest surprises during our time in Puerto Rico. We were only really going to it because we were taking a day trip to Arecibo Observatory anyways, and Cueva del Indio showed up as the #1 attraction on TripAdvisor, and was cheap. We were so surprised then, when we got there and there was some of the most gorgeous scenery, with lava rock formations, arches and very blue water, and then when you get down into the cave, it's not dark and gloomy like you would think. There are large holes in the ceiling of the cave that let in light to help you better see the rock carvings. I had expected just to see a few, but the ENTIRE walls of the whole cave are just covered in them! There must be thousands! It was for sure one of the coolest things we've done.

    When you get there they'll be a small sign pointing you toward Cueva del Indio. Park near the small bar, and when we were there they had a table set up with some people at it where we paid. I believe it's $3 to park and then $1/person to explore the area without a guide. If you'd like to explore with a guide, it costs a little more--we didn't expect too much so we didn't go with a guide, but on a return trip I think we definitely would to learn more about the place. We explored a little on our own, walking across some lava rocks, checked out a few of the arches (they said there are seven, but we only saw two), watched the incredibly blue ocean crash against the rocks below us and went down to the beach before finding our way back up the rocks toward the cave. There are rock steps down into the cave, and I imagine they are very slippery when it's wet out. There's definitely a risk of falling so I would NOT do it in flip flops or heels. Once at the bottom of the rock steps, you can see down into the cave. Some people stop here, but we continued down a somewhat rickety ladder--my husband went first and then me. I'll admit I was a bit scared, especially since getting onto the ladder is a bit precarious, but we made it down okay. It's probably a 25 foot wooden ladder, and it is just tied to the top and bottom of the cave by ropes. A little scary, but it was an adventure after all, and worth the payoff! Once inside the cave, you can see SO MUCH more. There are thousands of carvings lining the walls, and more chambers further into the cave that you can't see at all from the top. As I said before it is pretty light down in the cave, and we spent quite a while down there checking out the Taino carvings, which were there long before Europeans ever set foot on Puerto Rico. I wished we would have had some paper with to do some tracings. It began to rain while we were down there, and we didn't really want to go up the ladder or be on the stone steps at the top when they were wet, so the rain brought an end to our exploration. We went back up and photographed one of the arches that was further off before it really started pouring and we ran back to the car.

    If you're going to be in Puerto Rico for an extended period of time, definitely consider checking this place out! It's so cheap, so beautiful, definitely an adventure and you can get in touch with the pre-Colombian side of PR!

    Inside Cueva del Indio Taino carvings in Cueva del Indio Cueva del Indio from the rock ledge above Cueva del Indio Arch at Cueva del Indio
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    Angel Ramos Foundation Visitor Center

    by moiraistyx Written Apr 9, 2009

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    When you go to the Arecibo Observatory, you also have the opportunity to stop in the Angel Ramos Foundation Visitor Center. The entrance fee i s $6 for adults and $4 for children and seniors. The visitor center is located at the top of the hill away from the parking lot. There are a number of exhibits to take in. There is also a small theater where visitors can watch a short fill about the history of the observatory. I nearly fell asleep during the movie. One of the exhibits was a huge piece of meteor, but I believe it was a recreation. the visitor's center is usually open 9 AM to 4 PM Monday thru Sunday except during the winter time when it is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

    giant meteor???
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    THAT'S A RADIO TELESCOPE-THE ARECIBO OBSERVATORY

    by moiraistyx Written Apr 9, 2009

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    The Arecibo Observatory houses the world's larges single dish radio telescope. I had never heard of this place before, but Jason being the sci-fi nerd that he is, immediately reminded me of the two movies I had probably seen it in, Contact and Goldeneye. I didn't like the drive here at all. You travel down some very skinny and windy roads. Once you arrive you have to climb up a pretty steep hill to get to the telescope. I hate to admit, the view is rather impressive. Jason was in heaven. While you are hear of course you will see the telescope, also stop into the visitor's center and the gift shop. I found some nice gifts that weren't super expensive.

    the telescope
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    Arecibo Observatory

    by Gypsystravels Updated Feb 23, 2009

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    Located here in Arecibo is the largest radar/radio telescope in the world used to monitor radio emissions from distant galaxies, pulsars, quasars and other sources. Must be seen to be believed. It is a 600-ton platform suspended over a 20-acre (yes you read right) dish set in a sinkhole 565 feet below.

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    Arecibo Observatory

    by Lana5 Written Jul 12, 2007

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    An Observatory located up in the hills in central Puerto Rico. It's surrounded by lush foliage resembling the nearby rain forest. A short hike takes you to the observation deck and a small but interesting science museum.

    The observatory's official website is http://www.naic.edu.

    It's part of the National Astronomy and Ionosphere Center (NAIC), a national research center operated by Cornell University under a cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation (NSF).

    Radio Telescope from observation deck Top Azimuth Arm of Telescope Dish 900 Ton Platform of Telescope Myself and Daughter in 2002 on Observation Deck
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    Theater and drama...

    by Urayoan Written Oct 5, 2002

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    Theater and drama performances.
    Teatro Oliver, one of the oldest theaters of Puerto Rico, was recently restored to its 19th century beauty. The location of the theater, surrounded by some of the most historical buildings of Arecibo, give the theater an unique view of a by gone era.

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    Arecibo Observatory

    by amrx03 Written May 16, 2008

    The Arecibo Observatory is really amazing to see in person....it's massive! It's definitely worth the time to stop and see, plus the drive through the hills just to get there is fun too.

    The rain and fog actually made the sight better.
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    Historical buildings...

    by Urayoan Written Oct 5, 2002

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    Historical buildings sightseeing.
    A interesting mix of architectural styles spanning over two centuries.

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