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Getting there & away

From Vicuña, eastbound Ruta 41 leads over the Andes to Argentina. A rugged, dusty secondary road leads south to Hurtado and back down to Ovalle.

The bus terminal (cnr Prat & O'Higgins) has frequent buses that travel to La Serena (US$1.75 to US$2.25, one hour), Coquimbo (US$2 to US$2.50, 1¼ hours) and Pisco Elqui (US$1.75, 50 minutes).Monte Grande takes 40 minutes and costs US$1.50. Some companies have a daily service to Santiago (US$9, 7½ hours), including Pullman (412-812). There's a wider choice of destinations in La Serena.

Opposite the bus terminal is the Terminal de Taxis Colectivos (cnr Prat & O'Higgins), which has fast colectivos to La Serena (US$3, 45 minutes).

Bike hire is available at Mami Sabina (419-594; cnr Av Gabriela Mistral & Infante).