Shipping to Las Campanas

If your item is likely to return to the US, see "returns" below.

Plan for at least 2 weeks travel time from the day it leaves the Pasadena office. Delivery times longer than 2 weeks occur unexpectedly, so don't be surprised if it takes 3 or more weeks for an air shipment to arrive on the mountain. For ocean shipments from Long Beach, plan for two months.

  1. Contact Earl Harris (earl @, 626-304-0287) to ship items from anywhere in the world to Las Campanas.
  2. Check for these special situations:
  • If your item or items are in multiple boxes, tell Earl what is inside each box and the dollar value of the items.
  • If your item is valued at more than USD$2500, notify Earl Harris a week before the shipping date so he can prepare the appropriate papers for import declaration.
  • If the value of your shipment exceeds USD$1,000,000, contact Earl Harris to determine if additional  insurance coverage is needed.  This applies to shipments originating at Carnegie and outside locations.
  • If your item requires special licenses (ITAR, EAR, etc.), have these ready before requesting the shipment. Obtaining licenses can take a long time (months), so plan ahead.
  • If your item requires special handing in Chile (air-ride trucks, for example), contact observatory staff two months in advance.
  1. Tell Earl the specific date you need the items on-site. "ASAP" is not a specific date.
  2. If you are shipping exactly the entire contents of an OCIW purchase order, tell Earl the PO number and provide a terse, specific description of the items. He will use these to prepare the paperwork.
  3. If you are not shipping the entire contents of an OCIW purchase order, fill out the CHILE SHIPMENT INFORMATION SHEET (PDF). Don't forget to weigh your package. If you're not at OCIW, send this information to Earl by email.
  4. If you do not have a purchase order, provide the actual invoice or a pro-forma version (XLS file).
  5. Address your items to a person at Las Campanas, even if it is intended for someone not resident in Chile. For example:
  • John Doe/Marc Leroy for telescope items
  • John Doe/David Osip for instrumentation parts
  • John Doe/Francisco Figueroa for housekeeping and plant operations
  1.  Provide an OCIW account number to charge for shipping. If you're not using an OCIW account, provide contact information to Earl for the payer (person's name, institution & department, mailing address, email address, and phone number).


If you're planning to return your item, enclose the following specific instructions in the box for Las Campanas technical staff: If you are returning an item for repair in the US, see also the "Repairs" link in the left sidebar.

  1. Your name and contact information
  2. The earliest date it can be shipped
  3. The date needed at its destination, if known
  4. The name, shipping address, phone number, and email address of the recipient
  5. Contact information for the department paying the return shipping costs (name, address, phone number, email)
  6. Instructions to save the packing materials and specific instructions on packing or shipping requirements

US Hires shipping personal items to Chile

US hires in Chile may have certain items shipped from the US to Chile. Items in the category "Mail and Catalogs" can be included in the usual technical shipments to Las Campanas. Note also that can ship certain items directly to you in Chile. For other items:

  1. Items that cannot be sent as "Mail and Catalogs" must be shipped separately; they cannot be included in our Carnegie technical shipments
  2. The contents must be legal; see Miguel Roth if you have questions on whether or not something may be imported
  3. Shipments from different individuals cannot be consolidated into single shipments
  4. You may be asked to provide an invoice or purchase price to Carnegie's shipping department
  5. You will be billed by Carnegie for the shipping cost
  6. The shipment will be handled through AURA and the value + freight + insurance will be deducted from your yearly allowance set by the Ministry
  7. Carnegie can handle personal shipments only as long as the number of shipments is kept reasonable
  8. Shipments will be scheduled as time permits, typically about once per month

How freight gets to Chile

This description is for air freight. Ocean freight is similar, with the usual ports being Long Beach in California and San Antonio (near Santiago) in Chile.

  1. Items are collected and boxed at OCIW. The box is usually built from heavy-duty corrugated cardboard on a plywood platform, although plywood is sometimes used throughout. Cushion pads are used on the box bottom.
  2. The box is trucked to an airport, usually LAX, but sometimes Miami, which can add a few days to the transit time.
  3. At this point, we usually get flight details and forward the waybill and flight information to our agent in Chile.
  4. The box is loaded onto an airplane. Aircraft availability depends on the season and the box size. In general, we get on a plane in a day or two.
  5. The box arrives in Santiago, perhaps having been transferred to a different airplane at a connecting airport.
  6. Our customs agent accepts the shipment in Santiago. This typically takes one day but may be longer during holidays and other disruptions.
  7. Our agent arranges transportation to El Pino or directly to the observatory, as directed by Pasadena shipping.