Travelling between two of South America’s most visited countries can be an amazing adventure. You’ve already checked what you need to pack for Chile, so your luggage is prepared. Here are some tips for travelling between Argentina and Chile, what to expect along the way, and how to enjoy the similarities and differences of the two countries.
Routes to take.
If you are getting to Chile from Argentina by road-which is recommended to experience the magical landscape of both countries, here are different border locations that are often safer and more efficient. The most common route is the Paso Los Libertadores, a well-maintained road between Mendoza, Argentina and Santiago, Chile. Often people take this popular road via bus, but if you want to enjoy the winding road with your pedal to the metal, all the better. If you do go for a bus ride, buy your tickets well in advance. If you want to tap into your inner Spanish explorer, you may also venture on a ten-day horseback ride via San Martin de los Andes to the Chilean Lake District. If you do not plan to cross in the mountains, southern passageways have no shortage of scenery, but expect a bumpier ride as roads are not as well maintained. Consider Paso Cardenal Antonio Samoré between Bariloche and Osorno or Paso Pino Hachado between Neuquén and Temuco. Should you like to keep it simple and fly, LATAM airlines currently offers the best prices between Argentina and Chile. Taxis are also an option. Just be sure to set an agreed price before getting in the back seat.
What to/not to have at border.
Once you’ve decided your route, it’s time to be prepped for border patrol. You do not need a visa to enter Chile, only a valid Passport. Expect to pay a reciprocity fee depending on your nationality, as of 2013 it is $160 USD paid in American dollars or credit card. Keep in mind, when leaving Argentina, you may have to provide proof you paid the reciprocity when you had entered. Keep all your receipts to avoid being double charged. When it comes to goods being brought into the country, Chile is very strict. If you have any food (even commercially packaged and candy) or organic items (items made from wood, etc.), you must check the YES box on your customs form. If you do not, and they encounter such items in your luggage (all bags are screened), it could result in a hefty fine. If you mark YES, the most that will happen is possible confiscation of the item(s). In general, canned and commercially processed and packaged foods are OK. Fresh meat, dairy, vegetables, fruits, honey and minimally processed foods, nuts, seeds, uncooked grains, etc. are no-nos.
If you’ve now made it to Chile and you’re not sure what to do, check out this excellent selection of activities all over the country here.
Differences and similarities.
Weather, as always, will depend. There can be huge differences if you are coming from the Eastern part of Argentina to the Southern part of Chile. Always check weather in advance so you are well prepared for it all. When it comes to eating, you will notice a difference between the two countries. Though both have a combination of Spanish and European cuisine influences, Argentina consumes much more beef while Chile favors seafood. Staples in Argentina include empanadas, any meat and cheese sandwich you could think of, and coffee or wine. Staples in Chile include breads, beans, potatoes, shellfish, and manjar (caramel)- on everything. Socially speaking, there may not be huge differences between Argentines and Chileans, it is said Chileans are more introspective and tolerable while Argentines are talkative and opinionated, much like their Italian influencers. Both equally lovable and welcoming to outsiders.
Now you know a few things about coming from Argentina to Chile. The most important thing to keep in mind is patience. Prepped with some of the do’s and don’ts- you still must be prepared to spend time at border patrol with a positive attitude. Patience will make for an efficient and positive border crossing experience and other challenges you may face. So that you may further enjoy your Latin American adventures, be sure to get TheBesty App for free in the App Store or on Google Play, and have a personal concierge in your pocket for your trip that will answer your questions in a live chat, or help you book tours, activities, and local experiences.