Sunday, December 16, 2012

Jumping the Boarder - Peru to Chile

I crossed the boarder twice between Chile and Peru. Its very easy, just remember no fruit.

The first time I crossed was soon after my near death experience with Salmonella. I took a couple days off resting and recuperating in Lima, Peru. I jumped on an overnight bus to Tacna, Peru, the southern most city, and a hub for boarder crossing. On my way there I met this nice older woman who was also planning to cross the boarder to Chile to visit her daughter. We became good friends and talked the whole time. 



The boarder crossing from Peru to Chile is very simple, there are no double decker buses that take you directly from one country to the other. You must take one bus to Tacna, Peru and another from Tacna to Arica, Chile and yet another from Arica to your destination.

When you are dropped of in Tacna, just head to the international bus terminal. If you have enough people you can hire a international taxi across, but they are much more expensive. If you are solo like me its much cheaper to take a bus across.

Remember to get into the gates at the bus terminal you must buy a special entrance ticket at a small kiosk. Its just a small piece of paper that you hand to the ticket takers when you enter the are where the buses are. It should cost around 15 soles ($6).

Its very simple to cross, fist you check out of Peru through Peruvian customs, they just write in your passport when you left. Then you check in at Chilean customs and get a stamp.

They scan your bags to make sure you are not bringing in any illegal items, this includes fruit.

Bus terminal in Tacna Peru

I decided to help my amazing friend who I met on the bus cross the boarder. She had three huge suitcase filled with what she claimed were toys for her daughters kids.

Well at the boarder the security dogs kept coming over to the suitcases and sniffing around and barking. Fantastic, were these toys she was smuggling across the boarder not really toys? She told the security guards that it must be the tea that she was transporting that were setting the dogs off. Poor dogs were dragged away from her suitcase.

We placed all the bags on the scanner, turns out she had two lemons at the bottom of one of her bags. Poor dogs were reprimanded for being right. She dug through her bags to remove the two lemons that she had forgot she had and handed them over to security. At least I was not helping a drug dealer carry bags across the boarder.

Other than that the boarder crossing was very easy. You get back on the same bus, that was also searched and driven through the Chilean desert, which looks the same. Once in Arica, Chile you can either stay the night or hop on another bus to your final Chilean destination.

This experience is another reason you want to travel light. I had to pick up and carry my bag many times through customs, lifting it onto buses and dragging it around from bus station to bus station. I hope you enjoyed reading, check out my new mix below:


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