Chile to Bolivia: Crossing Borders


So we woke up early one crisp Atacama morning to make our move from Chile to Peru. When we first got to San Pedro de Atacama it seemed there would be only one way to get across: to pay for a 3 day tour across the National Park and up to the Salt Flats. For lots of money.

Now, as keen as I am for seeing lots of landmarks over 3 days on an expensive tour, this wasn’t happening. So for 30,000 pesos we made the crossing from San Pedro all the way to our hotel in Uyuni, and here is how:

1: Start talking to the tour operators. Explain to them that you have no interest in the 3 day blockbuster tour, and instead want a direct transfer to Uyuni.

2: Compare prices. Everyone we spoke to quoted 30,000 pesos so that really was the only option for us.

3: Get collected in the morning by a bus full of excited 3 day tourers, and head for the border!

4: Stamp out of Chile, stamp into Bolivia, and hop into the 4×4 which will ferry you on.

It really is that easy. Now I want to be clear, I’m not having a go at people who do lengthy tours, I’m just saying it’s not for me.

One thing to note is that the direct transfer really isn’t heavily advertised, because it isn’t a huge money spinner like the longer tours. You will need to ask, as it is unlikely to be on any chalk boards. Overall, factoring food and accommodation into the mix it is also cheaper than going and getting the local bus. Above all it is the quickest and simplest means of getting to Uyuni fast without a couple of freezing nights spent at 4,500m+.

Hope this post has been helpful. Any questions about how we did it, just drop a comment and I’ll get back to you asap.

The border ditch, Chile to the left of shot, Bolivia to the right. That’s Licancabur Volcano to in the background btw. Scenic border.

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