Monday, October 27, 2014

Most scenic border crossing - Mendoza to Santiago

One of the reasons why we broke the trip from Buenos Aires to Santiago into two was that the scenery when crossing the Andes is spectacular (and of course for the wines in Mendoza).
Buenos Aires - Mendoza - Santiago, de Chile
If we were to travel from Buenos Aires to Santiago directly, we would be crossing the Andes in the middle of the night - i,e. missing the view PLUS we would be doing the border crossing in the middle of the night which we were told can be quite unpleasant.



Andesmar bus
And we were glad we took the morning bus from Mendoza. It was one of the most scenic bus ride ever ...

Also, the border crossing to Chile was very different. It was a lot more stricter than say Brazil to Uruguay which basically happened while we were sleeping on the bus - we didn't even have to get out of the bus.

Chile is also very strict on the food you can bring to the country, a bit like Australia.

They X-ray all the bags at the border. Sniffer dogs... and if you don't declare your food, there is a fine.

Growing up in Australia, we've taken the declaration of food quite seriously - so no problem! :p

Arriving at the passport control between Argentina & Chile

First, we were told to get off the bus with our passports and immigration documents.

Then we had to line up for Argentinean departure stamp.

After that, we were told to line up in a different line for Chilean entry stamp.

Then we got back on the bus... and waited for others to get their passport stamped. This took about an hour....then the bus went into the immigration area then we were told to get off again.

We were then taken to a small room with x-ray and our bags were all scanned.

Any bags with food items (or anything illegal) were kept on the side. The custom guys called out whose bags they were, one of them was mine - as I have been carrying some random food stuff from everywhere.... like soy sauce from Brazil, dry lentils from Argentina, Masala tea from India (bought in Dubai), Rooibos tea from South Africa... oh yeah and the dry seaweed.

So anyway, I had to open my bag and explained what they were...
'comida japonesa' I was saying...
the Chilean custom guys were inspecting my dry seaweed - I said
'it's for... sopa! Japonesa sopa?!?'
At the end, they only took the dry lentils. phew!

And after our checked in bags were X-rayed, we had to scan our handbags too... most people weren't carrying food so it was relatively quick for most people.

But again I was carrying some left over lunch, chips, chocolates and other stuff in my hand carry so I had to show them - ah.

When we were all done, we were told to get back on the bus and off we went!

We were supposed to arrive around 3pm but it was heavily delayed and arrived in Santiago after 5pm - probably partly because of me :p