ALMA Observatory

ALMA Observatory, San Pedro de Atacama: Hours, Address, ALMA Observatory Reviews: 4.5/5

ALMA Observatory
4.5
Points of Interest & Landmarks • Observatories & Planetariums
Saturday
9:00 AM - 1:00 PM
Sunday
9:00 AM - 1:00 PM
About
Suggested duration
2-3 hours
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The area
Address
Popular mentions

4.5
204 reviews
Excellent
142
Very good
38
Average
15
Poor
2
Terrible
7

Roman L
Stuttgart, Germany3 contributions
Interesting trip
Jan 2020 • Family
It was very interesting to learn how such an observatory is operated. We also had the chance to see a dish in maintenance.
Written February 9, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Caroline T
London, UK87 contributions
Or would be if you could get to see it
Jan 2020
You have to book months and months in advance for tickets to this extraordinary chance to look deep into outer space
Written January 28, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Fabian030
Berlin, Germany87 contributions
A must in San Pedro area and when visiting Atacama
Jan 2020 • Couples
Very interesting tour, lovely staff that speaks English and (of course) Spanish.
Even the astronomers working there are absolutely fabulously friendly, and are answering all questions you are asking.
When seeing one of the dishes in maintenance or the huge truck that carries them around you are considered lucky, but that’s quite an amazing thing to witness.
It’s a must if you are around the area.
Tours can be booked via ESO/ALMA website directly, which is for free, or as it seems with one of the guided tours from San Pedro, you probably have to pay for.

Unfortunately, but necessarily, you can’t visit the Plattform in 5000m height we all the dishes are standing and working all day and night.
Written January 11, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

worldtravel11_11
Los Angeles, CA50 contributions
Chile 2019
Dec 2019
We try to book our trip to visit ALMA Observatory 3 months in advance for our group of 11 travelers. All of us got wait listed and finally we were able to visit it. That was very informative and excellent experience.
Written December 23, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

bill b
Hickory, NC143 contributions
An amazing human accomplishment with great tour
Nov 2019
We reserved (months ahead) tix for the Saturday morning bus tour from San Pedro. The guide was Talia who is excellent and speaks English. The tour was the Ops Center which is at 2900m so no problem breathing if you are already adjusted to San Pedro. We saw videos and exhibits about the 10 years to build the Ops Center and site of 66 antennas located nearby at 5000m. This is a unique collaboration of countries to search farther into space than ever to determine the origin of the universe (recent black hole picture). It can determine movement and elements far away. An antenna was under repair so we saw it up close and saw another one rotating. We met the actual operators that we could ask questions. There are exhibits about the communications network and supercomputer that correlates the antenna data. Talia explained how the antennas work in very easy to understand language. The tour is a very uplifting experience that I recommend to everyone.
Written December 4, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Andrea B
2 contributions
Got in even if not on the waiting list
Nov 2019 • Friends
On Nov 2019 I was in San Pedro de Atacama and I guess I was in the situation many others ended up into:
- discovered that ALMA was nearby only when I got there
- that was too late to book the tour or even enroll to the waiting list: they were both full since months

What to do? Show up at the bus stop hoping to get in, while risking to miss one of the morning tours at the geyser El Tatio? Or just skip the visit to the observatory?

I eventually decided to show up at the bus stop and I was lucky: got there at 8.15 to be on the top of the list of hopefuls and managed to hop on the bus.

So here it how it works:

- there are 42 places available for the visit
- the waiting list has the same number of people on it (I think)
- when you arrive at the bus stop in SPA there is one of the guide waiting there that asks you if you are in either of the list. If not, she adds your name with a show up number to a new list
- in case people from first the official list and then the waiting list do not show up by 9am o'clock, those who are in the new list can enter the bus, starting from the names on top, to complete the available 42 spots.

Well, the day I went there no one from the official list showed up, only 17 people from the waiting list were there, so that left the spot for 25 people, which were enough to let all the hopefuls into the bus.

I don't think that happens every time, but if you really want to go to ALMA and you didn't book in advance, my advice is to show up early at the bus stop to increase your chances.
Written November 3, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Nick M
London, UK30 contributions
Superb if you're the slightest bit interested in space, engineering, or physics
Sep 2019
This was a superb tour. So interesting to learn about the amazing international effort to establish ALMA, the mindblowing engineering behind it, the discoveries it has unlocked, and how it links with and supports local culture. The guide was brilliant - eloquent, interested, and able to answer almost every question (and honest when she didn't know the answer to an obscure question about helium).
Written October 1, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Nas S
Long Beach, CA2,216 contributions
Be Moved!
Jul 2019
Be fascinated with what we can accomplish. ALMA has certainly proved that. A collaboration between 3 continents, it is a unique marvel and accomplishment. We were fortunate to take the tour and learn a lot about space and what we cannot see nor know. There's great grasp of knowledge that you get to learn when you take this tour, which is free, during weekends only. It's one of the most inspiring tours that I've experienced. It's a must and take your time to visit their website so you can apply your name for the tour. You won't regret it!
Written August 26, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Bea T
Wellington, New Zealand266 contributions
my husband loved it
Jun 2019 • Friends
My husband went on a tour to the Alma Observatory and he really loved it. Picked up at San Pedro at 08.30 and back again around 1.30. Stunning views over the valley from the Observatory. Interesting to hear about the history. It would have been a bit to technical for me, but if you are into this, than it is really worth a visit.
Written July 22, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Chiachen W
Ann Arbor, MI53 contributions
The largest,most powerful astronomical project in esitence
Jun 2019 • Couples
We went to ALMA Obervatory, it is about 45 min drive from ST Pedro de Atacama.
It is situated above 5000 meter above the sea level, at Chajnantor plateau. A joint North America, East Asian, European and Chilean venture. It starred scientific observations in 2011.

Because of it’s height, all worker rotate work there and other sites on the regular base.

The guide explained to us in details, and watch videos. We could see the special made truck, that transport the antennae.

Nearby, we saw wild donkeys and vicuña.

It use the radio frequency to study “the search of our cosmic Origen”

Written July 14, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

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Frequently Asked Questions about ALMA Observatory

ALMA Observatory is open:
  • Sat - Sun 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM
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We recommend booking ALMA Observatory tours ahead of time to secure your spot. If you book with Tripadvisor, you can cancel up to 24 hours before your tour starts for a full refund. See all 1 ALMA Observatory tours on Tripadvisor