The VLT (Very Large Telescope)The VLT (Very Large Telescope)

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    2 / 5
    This is a world famous place, but not touristic however.
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      Comments are ok. A bit slight.
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      1 / 5
      Useful information to develop!
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      4 / 5
      One pic. But so nice!!
    • Score
      5 / 5
      Very precisely located!
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      Principe respected
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The VLT is located at 3000 meters above sea level, in the most arid desert on earth, optimizing the viewing conditions for astrophysicists. As you may expect, those conditions make the situation and the surroundings of the VLT exceptional. But the VLT itself is an even more exceptional object.

My personal recommendations: 

It’s impossible to visit the VLT without a press accreditation, but still, going there and have a look at the installations and the situation from the VLT entrance is definitely worth the trip.

How getting there: 

There’s no public transportation available to get there. The only way is to rent a car in the closest city, Antofagasta, which is quite cheap regarding to the western renting prices. Cycle can be an option if you’re courageous and plan plenty of drinking water.

Take the highway #5 from Antofagasta (the famous and beautiful Panamerican), heading south. About 60 km from Antofagasta, take on your right the road B70 heading south again. Then, about 10 km later, take the B710 on your left, still plain south. B710 is a dirt road which will almost bring you on the planet Mars. Follow the B710 for about 70 km more and you will spot the VLT area entrance on your right.

Remember that the VLT is located in a very arid, desertic and isolated region, so take a lot of drinking water and avoid engine failures on the B710.

A tip to eat: 

Not really. You can try your luck near the copper factories between Antofagasta and the VLT, but it’s probably better not to count on it.
You could eat at the small fishing village located on the Pacific coast, about 75 km SW from the VLT.

A tip to sleep: 

There are only hotels in Antofagasta, about 150 km from the VLT, which offer some accommodation in the region. There are few hotels for such a big city, they are all correct but don’t expect a charming place in such an impersonal city.

Useful information: 
Open hours: 

Only opened for accredited visitors and journalists, try your luck by asking for an accreditation a few weeks before planning your visit.
You will be welcomed, given some info and drinking water from VLT personal at the entrance, even if they don’t give you the authorization to visit.

Visit duration: 


Entry fees: 



European Space Organisation - Communication and Press

Access security: 

Always wear sunglasses as the place is probably the most luminous and arid on earth.
Remember that the place is located at 3000 meters above sea level (although it doesn’t look like it), so be accustomed with the altitude and avoid physical exercising :)
Don’t forget to drink a lot of drinking water.
Some faints have been reported by the personnel working at the VLT, they have very strict health rules for working there.

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