Getting there & away
The bus station, Terminal Rodoviario (416-315), is at the north end of Patricio Lynch, but it's easier to catch buses at ticket offices clustered around the Mercado Centenario. Services north and south are frequent, but most southbound services use Ruta 1, the coastal highway to Tocopilla (for connections to Calama) and Antofagasta (for Panamericana connections to Copiapó, La Serena and Santiago).
Several major bus companies travel north to Arica and south as far as Santiago:
Pullman (425-280; Barros Arana 897)
Ramos Cholele (411-144; Barros Arana 851)
Tur Bus (472-984; www.turbus.cl in Spanish) Mercado Centenario (Barros Arana 869); Plaza Condell (Esmeralda 594)
Faster taxi colectivos to Arica charge about US$15 per person; try Taxitur (414-815; Sargento Aldea 783).
Buses Santa Angela (423-751; Barros Arana 971) goes daily to Pica (US$2.60, two hours) passing through Humberstone and Santa Laura (45 minutes), and La Tirana (1¾ hours) on the way. Turismo Mamiña (420-330; firstname.lastname@example.org; Latorre 769) runs tours to Pica (US$28.50) and Mamiña (US$32). Taxitur (414-875; Sargento Aldea 783) has colectivos to Pica (US$10).
Taxis Tamarugal (419-288; Barros Arana 897-B) has daily colectivo minibuses for Mamiña (US$10.50 round trip). Taxi colectivos to Pozo Almonte (US$2) and La Tirana (US$4) also leave from the north side of the Mercado Centenario.
To get to La Paz, Bolivia, Cuevas y González (415-874; Sargento Aldea 850) leaves Monday through Saturday at 10pm (US$17.50 to US$21, 20 hours). Also ask here to reach Colchane (US$7, five hours). Ramos Cholele (411-144; Barros Arana 851) also goes to La Paz, leaving at 2am.
The local airport, Aeropuerto Diego Aracena (410-787), is 41km south of downtown via Ruta 1.
Lan (415-782; Tarapacá 465; 9am-1:30pm & 4-8pm Mon-Fri, 9:30am-1pm Sat) flies four or five times daily to Arica (US$39 to US$77, 40 minutes), once daily to Antofagasta (US$50 to US$69, 45 minutes), about seven times per day to Santiago (US$158 to US$286, 2½ hours), and once daily to La Paz, Bolivia (US$159 to US$190, two hours). Prices are cheaper the further ahead you book.
Sky (415-013; Tarapacá 530) also goes to Arica (US$36), Antofagasta (US$54), Santiago (US$163) and other destinations in the south of Chile. Aerolineas del Sur (420-230; cnr Thompson & Patricio Lynch) also has respectable rates including Antofagasta (US$71 round trip) and Santiago (US$186 round trip).