I’ve been to Arecibo. It is gigantic! It was featured in the movies Goldeneye and Contact. If I’m not mistaken it was built in a sinkhole.
We visited PR and stayed on the beach at Arecibo, about half an hour from the dish. It is an amazing thing to see.
There are an extensive series of caves also nearby.
You're right. Arecibo was one of the few things I've ever seen which was larger in real life than in my imagination. The meteor crater in Arizona is another. The telescope is in a very remote area much like West Virginia with hollows and valleys. However, the facility itself is very well built and self-contained. Although, I imagine there was a lot of wood flying around from the nearby jungle/forest. The town of Arecibo, maybe 25 miles away, is a beautiful costal pueblo stretched out along a broad flat beach, not unlike one you might see anywhere in Mexico or Central America. It enjoys no protection from a hurricane and may have suffered badly