The currency in Chile is the Peso. Pesos come in coins of 5, 10, 50, 100, and 500, bills of 1.000, 2.000, 5.000, 10.000 and 20.000. At the time of writing the peso is about 540 to the US dollar. Note that in La Serena the only foreign currencies that can be changed are the EURO and the US dollar.
Most hotels and major shops accept a range of credit cards (VISA, MC, Diners, AmEx etc.). International PIN cards can be used to obtain pesos in the RedBanc ATMs, of which there are many throughout the country.
La Serena airport is served 4-6 times daily from Santiago airport (duration of flight: 55 min). There are also intercity buses from Santiago to La Serena (duration of trip: approx. 6 hours).
for walking from "avenida del mar" (meeting place) to downtown. Local transport is with buses, transit taxis (colectivos) and radio taxis. Price of transportation is comparatively affordable, in particular for visitors from the US and from Europe.