The Paso Mamuil Malal border is unusual in that it takes travelers from Lanin National Park in Argentina into Villarrica National Park in Chile. Along the way, you’ll pass through areas known for their impressive forests of araucania trees (aka pehuen trees or monkey puzzle trees). We also saw condors when we crossed the Mamuil Malal border, which was the 90th border crossing so far on our road trip.  Here’s what you need to know when crossing the Mamuil Malal border between Argentina and Chile.

Mamuil Malal argentina chile border

Welcome to Chile (look for one of our Trans-Americas Journey stickers on that big green sign).

From: Junin de los Andes, Argentina

To: Pucon, Chile

Date: March 8, 2023

Lay of the land: This is not an integrated border (meaning the Argentinean facilities and the Chilean facilities are located in different buildings). The road from Junin de los Andes is paved until about 8 miles (13 km) before the Argentinean border facility. When we drove it, that dirt stretch, which is inside Lanin National Park, was full of rocks and washboarding. With just a few other cars at the border, it took just 10 minutes to exit Argentina (remember, Argentina no longer stamps your passport when you enter or leave the country) and to cancel the Argentinean Temporary Importation Permit (TIP) for our truck. Then we drove about five minutes to reach the Chilean border facilities (the road is paved from there) which are located inside Villarrica National Park. Here we filled out the mandatory SAG form (they had paper copies of it at this border). It took about 10 minutes to get stamped into Chile and another 15 minutes for Chilean customs officials (aduana in Spanish) to look through the cab of our truck and peek into a few of the bins in the back. There is a luggage x-ray machine here that other travelers were putting their bags through, but we were never asked to do that.

Mamuil Malal argentina border Lanin National Park

Leaving Argentina via the Mamuil Malal border crossing.

Elapsed time: 40 minutes (11:50 am to 12:30 pm)

Days given: 90 days for us and 90 days on the Temporary Importation Permit (TIP) for our truck

Fees: none

Services: None – there is no food or fuel available when crossing the Mamuil Malal border

Vehicle insurance needed: You must have third-party insurance for your vehicle to drive legally in Chile and Argentina. We bought a long-term policy that covers us in the MERCOSUR countries of Argentina, Chile, Perú, Brasil, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Bolivia. Additionally, Chile requires that drivers carry supplemental insurance called Soapex which you can also purchase in advance online.

Where to fill up:  When we crossed the Mamuil Mall border, fuel was much less expensive in Argentina because of the exchange rate. The last gas on the Argentina side is in Junin de los Andes. On the Chile side, gas is available in Pucon.

Mamuil Malal pass araucania trees Villarica National Park

Upon crossing into Chile you will find yourself inside Villarrica National Park.

Need to know: This is not a 24-hour border and this border is not open in winter. During certain times of the year, you may lose or gain an hour when you cross between Argentina and Chile because Argentina does not observe Daylight Saving Time. Check the local time at the border once you’ve made your crossing. And this border can be closed unexpectedly due to bad weather (the road reaches 4,111 feet/1,253 meters). Check the status of the Mamuil Malal border in Chile here. And check the status of the Mamuil Malal border in Argentina here. Pro tip: When crossing from Argentina into Chile you will end up inside Villarica National Park. Plan to explore this part at that time to avoid making an entrance reservation and paying the high entrance fee. We enjoyed the park’s Andean Lakes trail, which starts just minutes after entering Chile, so much that we included it in our Best Adventures of 2022 post. Also, pause at the big sign between border facilities that says “You are in Chile” and look for the Trans-Americas Journey sticker we slapped on it.

Overall border rating: Reliably easy during this border’s active season – cargo trucks are not allowed to use the Mamuil Malal border, so with just private cars and bus traffic there’s rarely too much congestion, traffic, lines, or backups at this border


Here’s more about travel in Argentina

Here’s more about travel in Chile


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