Patagonia

This page will include info for both southern Chile and Argentina. Click here for information on northern Chile and here for information on northern Argentina.

Border 1: Paso Dorotea

Argentina side – Rio Turbio

  • Pull up to unmarked green building. Stamp out at migracion. They will look at car permit and take your tourist card.
  • At Aduana hand over permit.

Chile Side

  • At migracion stamp in, give registration or title for them to look over, fill out tourist card, and get paper that they will stamp.
  • Adauna next. If you are already in their system like we were, they will look at the registration but will already have info in the computer and print out a new permit.
  • Go to SAG for declaration. Remember to put yes if you have any milk, meat, fruit, vegetables, or eggs. If you don’t do this they can fine you if they find these items in your car. Give them the ticket with stamps.

Border 2: San Sebastion

Chile Side
  • Park after the hosteria. Migracion first to stamp out, show permit to them and give over tourist cards.
  • Adauna next, hand over permit.
Argentina side (a few kilometers down the road)
  • Migracion: need reciprocity paper if from US. Stamp in, no need for tourist card here.
  • Aduana: give driver passport and registration. They issue a new permit.
  • Quick search of car for fruits and vegetables by personnel.

Our Route – Mainland (Esquel to Punta Arenas)

Our Route – Tierra del Fuego (Porvenir to Ushuaia)

Patagonia Tips

  • Not only is it a long way between gas stations, but some of them don’t have gas all the time, and others might limit how much fuel they will give you. Never pass up a chance to get gas!
  • Most of Route 40 in Argentinas side of Patagonia is paved now. We had a very current paper map and of the several hundreds and hundreds of kilometers of dirt it showed, only 100-200 of it was dirt and it was nearly finished being paved as well.
  • A tailwind will make you feel like you don’t need gas at all! A headwind will have you wondering if you’ll even make it to the next gas station!
  • Gas on the Argentinian side of Patagonia is way cheaper then the rest of Argentina or Chile.
  • There is a quicker and more laid back border just north of Rio Turbio if you’re heading from Calafate to Torres del Paine (or vice versa) but the be advised there is no ATM and often no gas. For us this meant driving to Puerto Natales regardless of which border we took simply to get Chilean pesos for Torres del Paine.
  • The fairy from Punta Arenas runs twice a day. It was approximately $40 US for two people and our van. Might be a good idea to make a reservation the day before in the busy season. We heard the other ferry on the 257 further north is cheaper and runs all day.

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Northern Chile: A Great Big Hole, Desert Star Gazing, Pisco and Street Art

The Atacama Desert is pretty freaking big. 41,000 square miles big. It took us several long days of driving to make our way through it. Two other relevant bits of data: It’s also called the land of 10,000 mines and it is the driest non-polar desert in the world – the former leading to a tour of the largest copper mine in Chile and the latter partly explaining why so many of the world’s most important observatories are located here. It also provides plenty of opportunity for middle-of-freaking-nowhere-camping, which even after nearly a year on the road never gets old… Read More

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Chile

This page will include everything north of Patagonia in Chile. For the Patagonian region, click here.

Border: Hijo Canyon, Bolivia – San Pedro, Chile

Don’t forget to stop at the remote Aduanas office inside the Park at the Boric acid plant to hand over your vehicle papers!!!

Bolivia Side – Hijo Canyon

  • Go to Aduana office, turn in permit (S22 26.454 W67 48.357)
  • Drive to immigration (S22 52.860 W67 47.901)
  • Stamp out. New requirement at this border is a Bs fee of 15-20 pp for maintenance of the border.

Chile Side – Drive 30 minutes to San Pedro

  • Go to immigration, fill out tourist card. They will enter info into computer and hand passports and copy of tourist card.
  • Go to aduana’s. Give registration and driver’s passport (they will not need copies). They will give you a vehicle permit.
  • Across the street is the declaration building. Need to fill out forms declaring stuff. If you have any eggs, milk, cheese, vegetables, you need to say yes on form. They will search your car and if you said no, it is a $200 US fee if you have anything that you did not declare.

We were never asked to present proof of Chilean insurance at either border or during our time in the country, but it is obligatory. You can easily and cheaply purchase it online here: http://www.magallanes.cl/venta/index.aspx?key=k66cl3

Our Route

Chile Tips

  • Be careful entering Chile. They will hijack you for your food at every border! Sometimes they take your cheese and vegetables, other times they’ll take your meat and dairy. The best thing to do if you’re like us and carry a lot of food with you is to stop before the border and hide it. Do this at your own discretion though – if you were to get caught they claim there is a $200 fine. We hid our food in a backpack way under the bed and left a few things in the fridge on purpose, claimed them on the form, and let them confiscate it. Worked fine.
  • Copec truck stops/gas stations are excellent places to camp free if you’re on a major highway. They have bathrooms, showers, security, free wifi, and sinks for water and dishes.
  • We were randomly pulled over and had our van searched by drug dogs, this would be a bad country to drive around in with anything.
  • The limit for drinking and driving is so low in Chile that you essentially cannot even have one drink.
  • There are a lot of campgrounds in Chile’s cities, but they’re expensive. We found stealth camping or camping at Copec stations saved us a great deal of money.
  • Gas is also really expensive.

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