November 13th was the day of our first border crossing, We purchased car insurance online the night before. HDI seguros was the cheapest one but had issues processing the payment online. Hence, we ended up with Chilena Consolidada. We paid $126 for the minimum cover needed for Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, Brazil, Bolivia and Peru. A fair deal. We also tried to the pay the Santiago toll tag but again our online payment would not process (servipag.com). So we headed to the border.
Not knowing what to expect we let Kurt and Aljona walk over the border to avoid trouble. This border point has the reputation of being quite straightforward. And in deed leaving Chile and entering Argentina just took us an hour which was beyond our expectation. When leaving Chile we handed over our passports and the Padron. No question about the tag or how long we intend to stay away from Chile. One of the border officers asked his boss whether we could cross the border as foreigners with a Chilean car. His boss confirmed that it’s alright since we’re the owners. One additional question whether we intend to apply for Chilean citizenship (which we denied) and a decent amount of small talk about soccer (“Lothar como Lothar Matthäus”) and off we went with two print-outs of the car export approval to the Argentinian border post. The Argentinian side was easy as well. We left one of the car export copies with them and stated a random hotel et voila: Llegamos a Argentina 🙂
Road tripping was the name of the game of the next two days. The Argentinian side of Patagonia was quite different from the Chilean: Instead of lush green forests the landscape was dominated by dry tundra. The highlights were rather the animals we saw along the way: Lamas/Guanacos, emus, sheep and flamingos 🙂 Nevertheless, after 1200km and a overnight stop in the town of Perito Moreno (not the famous glacier!) we were super-happy to reach El Chalten. This hiking paradise will be covered in the next post.