We started early from Corumba (Brazil) to Puerto Quijarro (Boliva) because we have read a lot of negative things about this border. Brazilian customs was straightforward and took us 10min. Also Bolivian Immigration was easy – we got a 30 day visa without a tourist card in 15min. The longest procedure took place on the opposite site of Immigration at the Aduana where we needed to apply for the car import permit (Orden de circulacion/declaracion jurada) . Here we spent more two hours due to the lengthy process.
First, we had to copy the entry stamp and the vehicle registration and then we had to register the vehicle online with Sivetur. Here’s the needed website: http://apad2.aduana.gob.bo:7777/turista/parametro.jsp
Since our Brazilian SIM card had no signal at the border we had to find the nearest internet cafe to complete this task. With the registration number and copies in hand we went back to the office and were asked to wait outside. After an hour or so we were handed over the import permit without a vehicle check. Bienvenido a Bolivia!
The next task was to find a gas station which was ready to sell us gas at the national price. Bolivia discriminates foreigners and charge more than double the price than for Bolivians. For this task the iOverlander app turned out very helpful where other travelers have posted their experience with selected gas stations. The first one we stopped at on our way to Santa Cruz refused to fill straight into the car and hence we had to buy a 10l canister. With our new tool kit in hand the nice guy at the pump gave his temptations & we had 20l for 3.74BOB/l ready to be feeded to Oscar with a self-made cone 🙂
We stopped overnight at San Jose, a town which is part of the Mission circle. There’s a Catholic convent built in the 17th century with impressive towers. It’s located at the central plaza and worthwhile a stop if one is in the region. For dinner we set a new record on our journey: We had four plates with a quarter of tasteful roasted chicken with rice and noodles for unbelievable 40BOB (~$6.50).
The next day’s drive to Santa Cruz was very scenic with mountain ranges and varying landscape:
Upon arrival at Santa Cruz we bought an Entel SIM card (10BOB) at a Entel Multicenter (apparently the best coverage in Bolivia) and Leo and Lothar got a haircut (20BOB per person). As we arrived early we had some time to explore around the city center. In contrast to the guide book comments the architecture with white-washed buildings and a beautiful cathedral Santa Cruz at the Central Plaza.
For dinner we found a nice roof top terrace at from where we could watch an outdoor Semana Santa service:
Before heading to a higher altitude to Samaipata we picked up our next travel buddies from Santa Cruz’s international airport: Welcome cousin Julia and boyfriend Paolo! Let’s have two great weeks together 🙂