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 Internacional Los Libertadores border crossing. Don’t blink or you’ll miss it…UPDATED APRIL 13, 2023
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 toll. Soon you’ll be climbing up, up, up through a series of nearly 30 switchback turns called The Steps. At the top, at 10,500 feet (3,200 meters), is the Los Libertadores integrated border station. This is where travelers going from Argentina into Chile must stop and perform border crossing paperwork for both countries. When traveling from Chile into Argentina, continue past Los Libertadores and descend to the Los Horcones integrated border crossing and perform border formalities to exit Chile and enter Argentina. On the way down into Argentina, 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.
Vehicle insurance needed: You must have third-party insurance for your vehicle in order to drive legally in Argentina. Before 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. Additionally, Chile requires that drivers carry supplemental insurance called Soapex which you can also purchase in advance online.
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 Uspallata 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 become impassable. You can check the status of the pass here. Also, you lose or gain an hour when entering Argentina from Chile because Chile observes Daylight Saving 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). And note that Argentina recently stopped stamping passports at borders. Instead, Argentinean officials will ask you for an email address and send you a message with your border crossing details.
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