Bolivia borders Chile in the North-Eastern region. Beyond a border, these two countries share beautiful landscapes and the natural design that beckons exploration. Coming from a smaller, land-locked country like Bolivia to the world’s longest coastline, it may be hard to know where to begin. This blog covers common routes taken to cross the border, what to expect to get into Chile, and some differences and similarities of these Latin American neighbors.
How to get there.
You are among the glorious Andes Mountains. Going by land seems the most obvious of ways to travel between Bolivia and Chile. Bus tours are very common and very popular. It’s always good to shop around and check reviews- there tends to be a big gap in what customers spend on bus tickets simply because they didn’t research further options. Driving, motorcycle, or even biking are other popular options. If you are driving, you will need to register the vehicle at the Chilean border. Most common routes traveled include Chungara–Tambo Quemad, Sura K’uchu, and national route 4. Some fly, and although you miss a lot by flight, it is often very affordable as a one-way ticket from Bolivia to Chile averages $220. However, crossing by land is where the real adventure lies.
Haves and have nots.
A visa is not required by those holding a passport to most countries including the US. Be sure to have your passport stamped upon exit and entry. When leaving Bolivia avoid paying individuals asking for an “exit fee”- it’s a sham. When entering Chile, complete a tourist card and customs declaration form. 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. Not heeding this could lead to fines upward of $200.
If you’ve made it to Chile and aren’t sure what to do, check out this excellent selection of activities for the whole country here!
Logistics aside, welcome to Chile! Time to eat, drink, party, and explore like a Chilean. While food in Bolivia is highly influenced by the indigenous Aymara, Chile has blended its roots with cuisine from all over the world. If you visit Santiago, depending on which of the best neighborhoods you choose to stay in you will find sushi, gastropubs, and fresh caught seafood. To further enjoy your Latin American adventures, 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.