A memorable road trip to Cerro Paranal

Cerro Paranal is a high mountain peak at an elevation of 2.635m (8,645ft) above the sea level located in the Atacama desert in Chile.

Cerro Paranal

The road to the summit is totally paved. It’s called Ruta Observatorio Paranal. The drive is pretty steep, hitting a 12% of maximum gradient through some of the ramps. Starting from B-710 road, the ascent is 8.6 km (5.34 miles) long. Over this distance, the elevation gain is 566 meters. The average percentage is 6.58%. The last part of the climb is closed by a horizontal control point.

The summit hosts an observatory called Cerro Paranal Observatory, site of the Very Large Telescope and the VLT Survey Telescope. The area is so futuristic-looking that portions of the James Bond flick, Quantum of Solace were filmed here. Near the summit there’s a hotel, also known as La Residencia, which provides accommodation and meals for ESO staff only. It is not possible to stay overnight in Paranal. It served as a backdrop for part of the 2008 James Bond film Quantum of Solace. The location features as a Hotel Perla de las Dunas, the location where Greene and General Medrano meet to finalize the coup. In 2012, ESO’s Paranal Observatory was portrayed worldwide by Land Rover in its advertising shot.