The glossy tourist office brochures suggested to make the trip via a picturesque lake crossing. As enticing as that sounded, there were a few sticking points for us: 1. If the weather is terrible, the views are terrible…and the weather forecast was (you guessed it) terrible. 2. The more we read about how this actually takes place – on a bus, then a boat, then a bus, then a boat – sounded like a day of herding cats. And 3. The cost of $280 USD per person would have thrown our budget out of orbit.
Option 2: Take the significantly less photogenic route on a 6 hour bus ride for an economical $27 per person. Kris put some forethought into this one and booked our seats in the front row, which gave us a view through the front windshield for the journey through the Andes Mountains. Not quite as scenic as the views from the boat excursion, but amazing scenery, all the same.
The actual border crossing from Argentina to Chile was both more basic and more intimidating than I thought it would be. After we left Argentina, we arrived at the Chilean Border Patrol Office. Everyone exited the bus with their belongings. Inside the small, undecorated room, we put our carry-on items on a bench to be sniffed by police dogs looking for drugs and other items not permitted to be brought into Chile.
Meahwhile, we answered questions from a border agent and then got our passports stamped. Outside, our checked baggage was enduring the same dog-sniffing inspection. All of the luggage had been removed from the bus onto a platform so the dogs could get a good wiff. If a dog hovered around one bag too long, the agent would call the owner to stand by the bag while they unpacked the contents. (This happened to Kris, but the dog must have just been smelling our dirty laundry – otherwise, this would be a very different sotry.) Once they were satisfied that no drugs, meat, cheese or other animal products were coming through, the bus was repacked and we were on our way.
We want to know: Have you made the border crossing from Argentina to Chile? What was your experience?