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Air

Aeropuerto El Loa is 7km south of Calama. Private cabs from the airport charge CH$5700; minibus transfers cost CH$3500 per person to drop you at your hotel. Taxis (CH$28,000 to CH$40,000) will drive tourists to San Pedro de Atacama but it's cheaper to arrange for a transfer ahead of time (CH$15,000 to CH$20,000); try Transfer Lincancabur. There's also direct bus service several times a day from Calama airport to San Pedro with Tour Magic (per person CH$8000, 1½ hours).

LATAM flies to Santiago (from CH$75,000, two hours) several times daily.

Sky also has flights to Santiago (from CH$50,000).

Bus

Bus companies are scattered throughout the town but mostly concentrated along Av Balmaceda and Antofagasta. Major companies include Condor Bus/Flota Barrios and Expreso Norte. Those with services northbound and southbound on the Panamericana include the following.

Antofagasta

Cost (CH$)

6000

Duration (hr)

3

Arica

Cost (CH$)

15,000

Duration (hr)

10

Iquique

Cost (CH$)

13,000

Duration (hr)

7

La Serena

Cost (CH$)

23,000

Duration (hr)

14

Santiago

Cost (CH$)

32,000

Duration (hr)

22

Tur Bus provides regular services to San Pedro de Atacama (CH$3000 to CH$4000, 1½ hours) from the main Terminal de Calama. Buses Frontera also has daily buses to San Pedro (CH$3000, 1½ hours, three daily) as does Buses Atacama 2000.

International buses are invariably full, so reserve as far in advance as possible. To get to Uyuni, Bolivia (CH$12,000, nine hours) via Ollagüe (CH$9000, three hours), ask at Frontera and Buses Atacama 2000; services go only several times per week so buy ahead.

Service to Salta and Jujuy, Argentina, is provided by Pullman on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings at 8am (CH$35,300, 12 hours), and by Géminis on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday at 7:30am (CH$35,000). Buy tickets in advance during the high summer season.