Our 82nd border crossing found us going up and over the Cardenal Antonio Samoré border between Argentina and Chile. This was a new border for us and we crossed it just one day after it re-opened after being closed since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. This border, which was originally called Puyehue Pass, was re-named after Cardinal Antonio Samoré who helped resolve the so-called Beagle Conflict between Chile and Argentina.From: Cardenal Antonio Samoré border in Argentina
To: Cardenal Antonio Samoré border in Chile
Date: May 2, 2022
Lay of the land: The Cardenal Antonio Samoré border is not an integrated border. Coming from Villa La Angostura, Argentina, you will reach Argentinean border facilities in 17 miles (27 km) then drive another 10 miles (16 km), crossing the actual physical border at the pass, then down another 14 miles (22 km) to the Chilean border facilities. On a clear day (which we had), this drive is spectacular along a good paved road (which deteriorates on the Chile side) that travels under rocky peaks and through forests. On the Argentina side of this border, you drive through Nahuel Huapi National Park which abuts Puyehue National Park on the Chile side. There’s a bathroom at the Argentina facilities and at the Chilean facilities where there is also a small cafeteria. The actual pass over the border between the two countries crosses the Andes at 4,301 feet (1,311 meters). There was a van at that point with a few Carabineros de Chile (Chile National Police) who quickly inspected paperwork before waving drivers on down the road to the full Chilean border facilities below.Elapsed time: Just shy of 2 hours, but 40 minutes of that was spent driving between the Argentinean facilities and the Chilean facilities. Both of these border posts were extremely quiet (no cargo trucks or buses and just a few passenger vehicles) and there were no lines. It took 5 minutes to stamp out of Argentina then another 10 minutes to cancel the Argentinean Temporary Importation Permit (TIP) for our truck. On the Chile side, it took 5 minutes to stamp into Chile then about 10 minutes to generate our Chilean TIP. As often happens when crossing into Chile, customs officials wanted us to remove a lot of the contents of the truck so they could examine what we had. They were quite serious about no fresh fruits or vegetables and asked us multiple times if we had honey or maple syrup. They were also using dogs at this border and one of the sniffers was in just about every nook and cranny of our truck. This thorough but pleasant customs search took about 25 minutes, then we were on our way. Number of days given: 90 days for us and 90 days for our truck
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, fuel was cheaper in Argentina but that fluctuates with exchange rates so do your own fuel price homework before your crossing. The last fuel on the Argentina side is in Villa la Angostura about 27 miles (43 km) from the Argentina side of this border. Fuel is available on the Chile side once you reach the town of Entre Lagos, about 45 miles (72 km) from the border, where there is also an ATM.Need to know: During certain times of the year, you may lose an hour when you cross from Argentina into Chile (or gain an hour in the other direction) 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. Check the status of border crossings in Chile here. And check the status of border crossings on the Argentina side here.
Overall border rating: smooth, quiet, scenic
Here’s a map of our road trip driving route up and over this border.
Here’s more about travel in Argentina
Here’s more about travel in Chile