Border crossing: Boliva to Brazil

When we arrived in Puerto Quijarro we took a taxi directly to the border, the “frontera”. The taxi was supposed to cost €1,20 but the driver doubled the price by telling us it was per person. As we were exhausted we only made a small attempt to complain about this but didnt get anything for that.

Well at the border there was a rather large queue forming. And after consulting a note on the border office for the Bolivian side we could see that the crossing did not open until 08:00, and the time now was 06:50. We stood around and started to converse with the Spanish couple after us in the queue. After the office opened and the queue started to move it became apparent that people were not really respecting it. And it got even worse when the rain started to pour down and the queue was compacted under the small roof. The slow family in front of us gave people in the adjacent line perfect opportunities to skip in front of them, and all the others who where in between.

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When we finally arrived it was a quick process to get the stamp and go off to the Brazilian side of the crossing. Just 3 hours of queuing later.

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We thought that the Brazilian side would be a bit quicker, both since they are more of a developed country and because the Bolivian check should give them a steady flow at a not too high pace. WRONG!

After queuing for 3 hours during which we fended of a lot of people who thought it to be clever to try and skip the line we were approaching the office in which the treasured stamp resides.

Just when we were meters away from the entrance a Bolivian woman shows up in front of us in the queue, apparently her son had waited and saved this place for her, and her baby she had on her back.

Okay, a bit foul play, but okay.

A few minutes later though, her aunt(?) and mother(?) arrives and are supposing they can too stand with her. This is where we, the Spanish couple and most others drew the line. All of them were sent to the end of the line. However the Bolivian lady who had her son keeping the spot went around the office and in through the back door, occupying the border official who where assigned to stamp the passports of Brazilians. This made the wait even longer.

When we finally arrived and we let in through the door we got our stamps in a matter of seconds. The only question we were asked was for how long we planned to stay in Brazil. No proof was required, just an answer to the question. So, 6-7 hours of queuing and 2 minutes in the offices later we had our stamps and were now officially in Brazil again!

Crossing the border from Argentina to Chile

We left Argentina by bus from Mendoza with destination at Santiago. This border control turned out the be the most rigid we have had so far in our trip. It began with the bus stopping in the middle of the Andes mountains in the queue to the small building that is the border control and customs. We were handed papers by the personnel on the bus on which we should declare if we were bringing any items that we must declare.

Items mentioned were excessive electronics not for personal use, each person could bring one laptop and two cellphones for example. Another thing they were vary about was items from plant or animal origin. This caused me to check the box as I had a sandwich with both ham and cheese on it, and I didnt want it considered contraband.

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It is a very beautiful place to wait for the border check in, but a bit cold and windy!

After waiting for about 45 minutes we were ordered by the bus driver to go to the admissions desk inside the building. So we did and rather quickly got first the exit stamp from an Argentinean official and then a Chilean entry stamp from a Chilean one. Our EU passports are really worthwhile since we get free entries in all countries in our trip, and for example US citizens have to pay huge fees for every crossing.

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The rigid part of the border crossing began after our bus entered the building, everyone had to take their carry-on luggage and stand by a table and open it. Then a dog trained to find fruit searched all the bags and marked on the ones smelling like apples, bananas and other items illegal to bring.

As I had the remains of a banana being squished after our trip to Los Gigantes the dog marked my bag. A guard walked up to me to look, assured me that the dog was only trained for fruit and not drugs, so if I had any drugs I did not need to worry. After telling the tale of the squished banana he left me and continued the search. A little while later all bags were x-rayed and we could continue our bus trip, sandwich and all.