Border crossing Avaroa Ollagüe, not recommendable at all !
Replies: 6 - Last Post: May 16, 2012 7:55 PM Last Post By: mason101
May 15, 2012 5:00 AM
Border crossing Avaroa Ollagüe, not recommendable at all !Hi travellers, i just returned from south america and i promised myself to post my
impressions, it might help to avoid some bad experiences.
I would never recommend to cross this border by bus!
As we arrived at Avaroa ( after 4 hour busride from Uyuni) at approx. 3700 m above sea level, we had to wait for one hour to
manage the outbound, which was quite ok.
Afterwards the same bus took us to a point where, we all had to get out of the bus, in no man's land ( the strip between Bolivia and Chile).
Over there, at 3700 m without any shade and any facilities we had to wait for another 3 hours, to get picked up by a bus from the Chilean side ( like prisoner's exchange).
As we hadn't reserved a ticket for the Chilean bus, we had to walk the 4 km to the Chilean Border to get in the country.
At the Chilean border we spent another 4 hours, without any shade and very rude and stupid chilean custom officers, which do not care if some japanes girls collapse in the sun!!
All together we spend more than 8 hours to cross this f... border, and as some locals affirmed in a tolerable period.
We didn't got the messages in the travel books right, but to avoid this stupid and innocuous spent time, lets just fly out of Boliva or take a border with
porper border towns instead of some sheds in the high mountains, especially if you are suffering from altitude sickness and dried mucosa.
May 15, 2012 8:03 AM
May 15, 2012 8:16 AM
2Like 1 said, I know it was a nightmare at the time but those crazy experiences are the ones you take with you, for me in a good way, which I admit is twisted, still, I love my memories of the wild things that happened just going about my business that just wouldn't happen back in Europe.
May 15, 2012 11:26 PM
3I spent four hours on the Chile side of that border crossing. Immigration was easy, but because I had my own vehicle I needed the aduana, which had gone on strike that day. I was pissed at the time, but of course it now seems almost unbearably funny. I walked around, talked to a bunch of people, inspected the hotel at which I'd be staying if the aduana folks decided not to come back to work at all.
In the end, they processed me through and I merely had to ride my motorbike for hours on bad roads in the dark to make up for lost time. No problem at all...once a year or two has passed.
In other words, cheer up. Next time, take better care of your mucosa, and imagine how badly things would have gone if you'd been riding a motorbike.
May 16, 2012 1:50 AM
4Coming the other way by train, that border is one of my most memorable experiences in South America. Partly because I nearly died of hypothermia the night before, granted.
May 16, 2012 8:18 AM
5Ive done crossed this border a couple of times coming from Chile by bus without major issues. There arent really any "proper" border towns on the Bolivia - Chile border, though this one is the remotest, bleakest and least used by tourists of the options. Checks going into Chile are always thorough, it may be that the ever increasing amount of contraband and narco trade going into Chile (plus stolen and smuggled vehicles going in the other direction) in this particular region doesnt improve the demeanour of the Chilean officials (who take it more seriously than their Bolivian counterparts.....)
At the end of the day messing around at borders is one of those travel experiences you can turn into a good story for your mates in the pub when you get home
May 16, 2012 7:55 PM
6Land border crossings are often bad news, but ´that´s life´ as they say.
... hadn't reserved a ticket for the Chilean bus ... There´s a ´ now wish we had ´ comment, if ever there was !
Chalk it up to experience and remember the happy times. (Assuming there were any, that is.)
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