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The Dark Energy Survey

The Dark Energy Survey

International Collaboration Meeting
April 23-25, 2008


If you have not travelled to Chile before, you may want to read up on these Travel Tips & Tricks.

The following airlines are known to travel internationally to Santiago Chile:

   You will arrive into the Aeropuerto de Santiago (SCL) also known as the “Arturo Merino Benítez” International Airport.


Please check with your nearest Chilean consulate for VISA requirements. For most countries, only your passport is required.

Visitors with U.S., Australian, Mexican, or Canadian citizenship are required to pay a “reciprocity” fee. The current (as of Feb 5, 2008) rates are: US$131, US$56, US$15, US$132. The payment must be made in US dollars. You will need to make this payment before you enter the immigration control queue.

You will be given a “tourist” form (or landing card) and a customs form by the airline bringing you to Chile. Please keep the tourist form with your passport and safeguard it, as it is required upon departure. This form is effectively a tourist visa and is valid up to 90 days.


Upon arrival at the Chilean Customs you have the choice of taking either of two lines, the “Nothing to Declare” or the “Declare” queue. Custom agents may ask you to place one or more bags through the X-ray machine or have you open one or more bags even if you do chose the “Nothing to Declare” line.

As in many international terminals it is advisable that you keep an eye on your bags at all times.

Luggage Claims (i.e. missing pieces of luggage on arrival…)

To process a claim for missing luggage, the owner must fill in a form that is supplied by the airline, and leave it along with the keys (or combination number to open the suitcases) and passport number at the Director’s Office at CTIO in La Serena. We remind you that the luggage will probably be opened by custom agents for routine checks.


Please notify Ximena Herreros ( if you would like a taxi driver to meet you at the International Airport in Santiago. You should be prepared to pay the taxi driver for this service. You may prefer to use the airport bus which runs between the International Airport and downtown Santiago.


Upon arrival in Chile, you will land at the “Arturo Merino Benítez” International Airport. The international and domestic terminals are housed in the same building, the domestic section is in the eastern side of this facility. When exiting the Chilean Customs you find yourself on Level 1 of the Terminal’s lobby. To proceed to the domestic terminal turn left, take the elevator to the third level, then walk to the connecting domestic airline counter. If your baggage is ticketed to La Serena, go to the “previously checked baggage” counter.

By Air

LAN Chile (flights are listed as LA) offers daily flight service between Santiago and La Serena, departing from the Domestic Terminal; the flight time is approximately 50 minutes. Current flight schedules are available online. Visiting observers should also be aware that the free baggage limit on domestic airlines is 20 kgs.

By Bus

Bus lines with sleeper seats serving Santiago/ La Serena/ Santiago are: Buses Libac, Pullman, Romani, Los Corsarios. They all arrive and leave Santiago from the Los Heroes Terminal. One-way fare is approximately US$24 (12.000 pesos) depending upon the bus line, and the trip takes approximately seven hours. All buses offer express service with two drivers, a stewardess, snack en-route and a bathroom. For reference, there usually are departures from Santiago to La Serena or vice versa at 9:30am, 2:00pm, and 11:30pm.


When arriving by plane at “La Florida” airport in La Serena, look for someone carrying a sign with the Dark Energy Survey (DES) prominently displayed. CTIO has arranged for transportation from the airport to the hotel on Saturday April 19 (for the Integration and Installation Workshop) and on Tuesday April 22, 2008 (for the Collaboration meeting). If you arrive on days other than this, please take a cab to your desired location. For example, if you wish to go to the CTIO offices, the spanish translation is:

“Lléveme a las oficinas de AURA, o Cerro Tololo, están en Colina El Pino”

If you arrive at the Terminal de Buses, (bus station) you will need to take a taxi. The charge is about ~US$ 5.


U.S. dollar exchange rate fluctuates daily, so please check the rate before you depart for Chile. Chilean pesos can be obtained at the Bank located to your left as you exit from Customs at the Merino Benítez International Airport in Santiago . We recommend that you have sufficient funds to cover incidental expenses such as taxis and meals that could incur in Chile; costs of these services are comparable to those in major U.S. cities. ATMs are common throughout the country and accept most types of cards.


NOAO is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA), Inc. under cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation.

AURA, inc. NSF

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