January 9, 2016 — After spending more than 2 months in Peru, I felt the need to move again. Since I already have my visa for Chile, I decided to head there, despite having been told on how Chile can be really expensive as compared to Peru and Bolivia.
I have done several border crossings already but this one was a bit tricky because it involved a visa. Yes, Philippine passport holders need a visa to enter Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Venezuela.
Here’s how I did it:
- Coming from Arequipa, I took a bus to Tacna at 7:45am from the main terminal and it cost me 15soles for a 6-hour bus ride. Tacna is the closest city bordering Chile when coming from Arequipa. The bus ride took a lot longer than 6 hours because the tire exploded and 3 hours were needed to repair everything.
- I arrived in Tacna local bus terminal at around 5:30pm, had my first meal of the day and then, headed straight to the International bus terminal, which was just across the street, to catch a bus or a collectivo (private car) bound for Arica.
- Arica is the first city you will enter in Chile when coming from Tacna. The bus costs 12soles and the collectivo costs 20soles. I chose to take the collectivo, which turned out to be a good decision, because it was faster and more convenient especially in my case where I had to enter with a visa. [Note: an extra 1 sol has to be paid as terminal fee. And collectivo drivers only accept Chilean pesos but don’t worry because money exchange counters are available at the terminal.]
- Immigration officers both in Peru and Chile were very efficient and fast as well as the collectivo driver. He made sure that his passengers were always together so we all finish at the same time.
- Dealing with my visa didn’t cause me any problem at all. I just had to present my passport with the visa on it and the document that was given to me when I applied for my visa.
- The travel time from Tacna to Arica was around 1 hour and getting exit and entry stamps took 30 minutes. We arrived in Arica bus terminal at around 9:30pm. (Note: Chile’s timezone is 2 hours ahead of Peru.)
- From the bus terminal, I made my way to a nearby hostel – The Sunny Days hostel.
Total cost = 36soles (Note: There are NO other fees or taxes that you need to pay so beware of scammers who will try to take your money. I didn’t encounter any, thankfully, but I have read a lot about it.)
This was by far the easiest border crossing I have had in my 14 months of travel and just by being in a new country is a helluva good way to start the year.