21,863 Miles Later

After a quick drive where we nearly ran out of gas thanks to limits on how much fuel you can buy per day at gas stations, we arrived in El Calafate and wasted no time driving straight out to the Perito Moreno glacier. It was astounding. When we drove around the corner and saw it for the first time I was absolutely astonished by its size and how close we were to it! (more…)

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Juggernauts Claim The End Of The World Is Imminent

I can’t really think of a better word to describe our trip south from Mendoza. A force, a campaign, a giant van, and momentum. Unstoppable movement. We hit the road with our freshly repaired van as well as something very unfamiliar to us thus far: a deadline! We would have a lot to do and see before meeting the buyers of the Craggin’ Wagon in Ushuaia: thousands and thousands of kilometers to drive, multiple rock climbing destinations, insanely beautiful national parks, massive glaciers… it’s a long list. So we went bombing down the famous Route 40 towards Patagonia with a tail wind so strong I wondered if we were using any gas at all. Patagonian winds are wonderful… when they’re behind you!

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Argentina

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

Border 1: Cristo Redentor de los Andes

Chilean Side

  • The border and buildings before the tunnel are for people coming into Chile. Simply drive by the booth where you will be stopped and given a ticket with how many people are in your vehicle written on it.

Argentinian Side

Just after the view point for Aconconagua take a left into the obvious immigration/customs area. Buses and very tall vehicles will be lined up in the right most lane, go around them. You’ll drive into the building in the left lane. Each kiosk you stop at has two people in it, one person from each country in it. It’s very easy and straight forward.

  • Kiosk 1: Stamp out of Chile and into Argentina. You’ll need passport, tourist card from Chile, new tourist card for Argentina (can be filled out in advance if you’re waiting in the line of cars), Chilean vehicle permit, and printed proof of payment for visa/reciprocity fee (purchased in advance if you’re from the US/Canada/Australia), and ticket from Chilean side with number of people in vehicle. They will stamp your ticket and you will need it later in Argentina, don’t lose it. We were not asked to show proof of insurance.
  • Kiosk 2: Turn in your Chilean vehicle permit. Argentinian person will issue you a new one. You’ll need driver passport, title/registration. No copies necessary.
  • Kiosk 3: Searching/Fumigation. They asked us if we had any fruits/vegies. We told them all we had was one onion; they didn’t take it, search us, or do any kind of fumigation. Exit building and get back on the highway.
  • After you pass the Puente de Inca there will be a person at a checkpoint who will check your papers and take your stamped ticket.

Our route

Argentina Tips

  • Take advantage of the unofficial exchange rates in Argentina to nearly double you money! Bring dollars with you and change them on the Blue Market. When we were in Argentina we were getting an average of 13 pesos to 1 USD while the official rate was 8.5. A few key things to remember:
    • Bring the money with you before entering Argentina. While you can get US dollars in Peru, Bolivia, and Chile for instance, you will not be able to in Argentina.
    • Bring unmarked, crispy, new 100 dollar bills for the best rates.
    • Try to find a reputable changer. Ask around, everyone knows where the best place to go is.
    • The more you change at once the better rate you will get. Don’t change too much though, it’s hard to change back when you leave!
    • Look up the current rate before you go to change, it’s constantly fluctuating. Many websites list it. Just google Dollar Blue.
    • Read a quick tutorial on how to spot counterfeit bills. We didn’t have any issues and visited numerous changers, but knowing how to check the bills certainly eases the mind.
  • Eat as much meat as you can! Grocery stores and carnecerias sell incredibly good cuts of meat for insanely good prices. We lived off fillet mignon practically our entire stay! Look up your cuts online. Bife and lomo, for instance, are good bets!
  • Drink lots of wine! It’s great and cheap!
  • Everything really closes down for siesta, especially in the not so touristy places and bigger cities. Be prepared to eat a dinner out quite late in the evening. Things get rolling around 10p!

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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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