If you’ve seen in sci-fi films, such as Contact, a gigantic dish pointing to the skies and coming out of a dense forest that is extra-terrestrially majestic, it is very likely the world-famous Arecibo Observatory. It is earth’s largest and most sensitive single radio telescope. Located in Puerto Rico’s largest town, Arecibo, this 20-acre dish hosts scientists from all over the world. If the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) finally produces a “hello”, it could very well be handled by one of Arecibo’s space scientists.
This sophisticated research tool not only serves to search for intelligent life outside our planet, but it also helps to detect and track asteroids and meteors that may threaten Earth. The realm of research that is done in Arecibo is as varied as the questions astrophysicists have about the universe this imposing radar is constantly scanning.
Also in the highlands of Arecibo, in the heart of the karsts region of Puerto Rico, lies the subterranean wonders of the Río Camuy Cave Park. The park is part of a 300-acre cave system formed, thousands of years ago, by one the earth’s largest underground rivers. The giant stalactites, the total silence and the calmness of this jewel of nature never cease to amaze those who venture into this deep and mysterious cave network.
When in Arecibo, especially when traveling with children, make sure you pay a visit to the Arecibo Lighthouse and Historical Park. This attraction, thought for the young ones, features a Pirate and a Taíno Indians Exhibit. It also has an aquarium which adds to the fun of learning about the history of the pre-Columbian settlers of Puerto Rico and the history of the real pirates of this part of the Caribbean.
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