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Chile Border Crossings

Chile shares a few border crossings with its northern neighbors, Peru and Bolivia, and a great number with Argentina. Chile’s only legal crossing with Peru is between Tacna and Arica. Between Bolivia and Chile, the main crossing is along the La Paz-Arica highway, though lesser-used crossings exist along the Iquique-Colchane road, as well as at Portezuelo del Cajón.

Well over a dozen official border crossings exist on the frontier with Argentina, but many of these are difficult to access. Popular Andean crossings include Paso de Jama (between Calama and Jujuy), Paso Colchane (between Iquique and Oruro), Los Libertadores (between Santiago and Mendoza), Paso de Mamuil Malal on the road from San Martín de los Andes to Temuco, Paso Cardenal Samoré (between Osorno and Bariloche), as well as the bus and ferry link between Puerto Montt and Bariloche.

In Patagonia, main crossings include the one between Puerto Natales and Río Turbio, the crossing along the Punta Arenas-Río Gallegos highway, and the post between the two Tierra del Fuego towns of Porvenir and Río Grande. Other crossings can be made in summer, but passes are frequently closed during the winter. Severe storms will close even the major passes, so travelers should check ahead.

Passengers on public transport can expect to have their bags searched and sometimes X-rayed at the busiest crossings, so film should be kept separate. Travelers bringing vehicles into Chile will be required to purchase insurance and fill out a Relaciones de pasajeros document at the border. Drivers will also be expected to provide the registration documents and, if the car is rented, a notarized document attesting to the rental agreement. Border officials may also ask drivers for a carnet de passages or libreta de pasos por aduana, but travelers are advised to check with their national automobile club before departing.

Whether traveling by car or bus, passengers will need to go through customs and immigration on both sides of the border.

Note on customs: Be aware of very strict restrictions on the entry of meat, dairy, fruits and vegetable products. Chile fines heavily for possession of these items if they are not declared. Lists of forbidden items are posted and bags are frequently searched. If in doubt while filling in immigration forms, check the box that you do have such products and it is less likely you will be fined.

Here are some related tips to help plan your trip to Chile: Getting to & away from Parque Nacional Hornopirén, Getting to and away, Getting to and away, Getting to and away from Parque Nacional Tolhuaca, Getting to and Away from Chaitén, Getting To and Away From Parque Nacional Chiloé, Getting to and away from Parque Nacional Laguna San Rafael, Getting to and away from Putre , Getting to and away and Getting to and away from Parque Nacional Puyehue.

By Nick Rosen
A staff-writer here at V!VA's offices in Ecuador, I came to Quito after having worked on public health and development projects in Africa. Naturally,...
09 Dec 2009

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