We recently bragged about a very, very fast border crossing. However, we just blew that record out of the water while crossing from Chile into Argentina at the Paso Los Libertadores border crossing. Don’t blink or you’ll miss it…
Date: July 1, 2019
Lay of the land: As you head up to Los Libertadores from the Chile side you will drive past a toll station. If you are in your own vehicle, be sure to stop there to pay the 2,200 CLP (about US$3) toll and receive the necessary Temporary Importation Permit form. Soon you’ll be climbing up through a series of switchbacks called The Steps. At the top, at 10,500 feet (3,200 meters), is the Los Libertadores border station. Don’t stop at the facilities there. Instead, continue descending down the other side. You’ll travel through the Cristo Redentor Tunnel (the actual border between Chile and Argentina passes through the tunnel) and emerge in Argentina on the other side. About 12 miles (20km), after passing the entrance to Aconcagua Provincial Park and just before you pass the Puente del Inca, you’ll reach the integrated station for exiting Chile and entering Argentina. The joint facilities are in a large metal shed. Big cargo trucks do their border business even further down the road, so they don’t clog up the works here.
Number of days given: We got 90 days and the truck got 6 months which is, by far, the longest temporary importation permit we’ve ever received
Vehicle insurance needed: You must have third party insurance for your vehicle in order to drive legally in Argentina. When we crossed into Argentina from Bolivia we bought a long-term policy that covers us in the MERCOSUR countries of Argentina, Chile, Perú, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Bolivia.
Where to fill up: Generally speaking, fuel is cheaper in Chile, so fill up in Chile unless the Argentinean peso remains down as it was when we crossed this border. It pays to check. The first reliable gas station on the Argentina side is in Upsallata about 50 miles (85 km) after the Los Libertadores pass.
Need to know: This border can close for up to several days if there’s heavy snow or severe weather because the switchbacks on the Chile side (called The Steps) become impassable. You can check the status of the pass here. Also, you lose an hour in the South American winter months when entering Argentina from Chile because Chile observes daylight savings time but Argentina does not. This border operates 24 hours a day for part of the year, but from June they start winter hours which are 7 am to 7 pm Argentina time (8 am to 8 pm Chile time).
Overall border rating: Fastest and easiest so far
Get details about how this border crossing works in the opposite direction in our post about crossing the border from Argentina into Chile at Paso Los Libertadores.
Here’s more about travel in Argentina
Here’s more about travel in Chile