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Air

Aeropuerto Internacional Chacalluta is 18km north of Arica, near the Peruvian border. Santiago-bound passengers should sit on the left side of the plane for awesome views of the Andes and the interminable brownness of the Atacama Desert. Shared taxis charge CH$4000 to the airport. In town, Arica Service runs airport shuttles (CH$4000 per person). For a private taxi, call Lynn Tour, which charges to CH$10,000 to CH$14,000, or Taxi Turismo Frontera.

LATAM has direct daily flights to Santiago (from CH$105,000, 2½ hours).

Sky has direct daily flights to Santiago (from CH$105,000, 2½ hours).

Amaszonas (www.amaszonas.com) flies daily to Iquique (from CH$30,000, 40 minutes).

Bus

Arica has two main bus terminals. The somewhat-polished indoor Terminal Rodoviario de Arica houses most companies traveling south to destinations in Chile. Next door, the open-air Terminal Internacional de Buses handles international and some regional destinations. The area is notorious for petty thievery – keep an eye on your luggage at all times. To reach the terminals, take colectivo 8 from Maipú or San Marcos; a taxi costs around CH$3000.

More than a dozen companies have offices in Terminal Rodoviario de Arica, and ply destinations toward the south, from Iquique to Santiago.

A schedule board inside the terminal helps you find your bus (but it's not always accurate). Buses run less often on Sundays.

Some of the standard destinations and fares are shown here.

Antofagasta

Cost (CH$)

18,000

Duration (hr)

10

Calama

Cost (CH$)

15,000

Duration (hr)

10

Copiapó

Cost (CH$)

24,000

Duration (hr)

18

Iquique

Cost (CH$)

7000

Duration (hr)

5

La Paz, Bolivia

Cost (CH$)

9000

Duration (hr)

9

La Serena

Cost (CH$)

25,000

Duration (hr)

23

Santiago

Cost (CH$)

30,000

Duration (hr)

27

Tur Bus goes twice a day to San Pedro de Atacama (from CH$15,000), currently departing at 9pm and 10pm.

Bus Lluta goes to Poconchile and Lluta four to five times daily (CH$2500, one hour).

Buses La Paloma travels once daily at 7am to Putre (CH$4500), from the main terminal; it returns from Putre at 2pm. La Paloma also goes to Belén, Socoroma and Codpa several times a week. Transportes Gutierréz also goes to Putre (CH$4500) at 6:45am on Monday, Wednesday and Friday (and Sunday at 8am).

For Parinacota (CH$7000) and Parque Nacional Lauca, look for Trans Cali Internacional in the international terminal. Trips depart daily at 8:30am.

To get to Tacna, Peru, buses leave the international terminal every half hour (CH$2000); colectivos charge CH$4000. No produce is allowed across the border.

To get to La Paz, Bolivia (from CH$9000, nine hours), the comfiest and fastest service is with Chile Bus, but cheaper buses are available with Trans Cali Internacional and Trans Salvador in the international bus terminal. Buses on this route will drop passengers in Parque Nacional Lauca, but expect to pay full fare to La Paz.

Buses Géminis, in the main terminal, goes to Salta and Jujuy in Argentina (CH$38,000, 21 hours), via Calama and San Pedro de Atacama, on Monday, Thursday and Saturday at 9pm.

Train

Trains to Tacna (CH$3800, 1½ hours) depart near the port from Estación Ferrocarril Arica-Tacna at 9am and 7:15pm every day.

Remember to set your clock back: there's a one-hour time difference in Peru.