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Crossing Into Chile: Paso Jama

Paso Jama (4,400 m/14,432 ft) is the favored border crossing for trucks and international buses to Chile. From San Salvador de Jujuy, Ruta Nacional 9 heads for Purmamarca. From there Ruta 52 shoots across the border. The entire length is now paved. The pass is open daily 8 a.m.-midnight. Be sure to dress warmly, as temperatures range 5-15ºC (41-59ºF) and dip as low as -20ºC (-4ºF). Chilean border facilities are in San Pedro de Atacama, 160 kilometers (98 mi) from the pass. Chilean border searches can be quite thorough, as no plant or animal products are allowed into the country; heavy fines can be charged.

From Salta, international buses depart for San Antonio de los Cobres, Calama and coastal Chile. They pick up passengers in San Salvador de Jujuy and Purmamarca (at the roadside). Geminis has service to Arica (Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday 7 a.m.). Pullman and Andesmar alternate on service to Iquique (Monday, Wednesday, Friday 6:45 a.m.). All charge the same price: San Pedro de Atacama (9 hr, $48), Calama (12 hr, $52), Iquique (22.5 hr, $68), Arica (24 hr, $74). Most companies provide a light lunch and snack (nothing very heavy, to prevent altitude health problems). Buses to Iquique and Arica involve transferring in Calama.

Here are some related tips to help plan your trip to Purmamarca: Getting To and Away,

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