Crossing the Chilean - Peruvian border
Jun 15, 2005
|Time to leave Chile somewhere we had both felt very comfortable and head to the unknown of Peru. After a push start for the bus in Iquique we were on our way to Arica the boarder town in Chile. We arrived about lunch time and managed to find a collectivo to take us across the boader to Tacna without much trouble. Collectivos are small mini buses which they absolutely cram to the roof with people and luggage and we were the only westerners on board but all seemed friendly enough, predominately Peruvian women all giggling and having a great time.
We arrived at the Chilean border control had passports stamped then came the bad news everyone had to take their luggage off the roof and walk to the Peruvian border control. At this time we had no idea why and didn't know how far it was or if the bus was meeting us at the other side. Well all soon became apparent, there was a protest on the Peruvian side and people had put rocks all over the road to stop vehicles getting through so we were pretty certain at this point that we were now on our own to get to Tacna - no bus was meeting us at the control point.
We battled along with packs on backs and fronts and the surf boards balanced on our heads dodging rocks for what turned out to be three miles in the middle of the dessert.
As we arrived at border contol it was not obvious as to where we needed to get our passports stamped so we stopped and asked some police who told us just to keep walking. We did keep walking about another mile and then there were taxis everywhere we asked again wheres the border control and were told we needed to take a cab so we piled in with about another dozen people and headed to what we believed was border control.
Wrong! 30kms later we arrived at the bus station in Tacna we started asking people about getting our passports stamped and were met with looks of horror we were officially ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS!! So it was back 30kms to where we had just come from to get our passports stamped thankfully we found a very helpful cab driver who stored our luggage and took us on the round trip for $15.00.
We were bummed with Tacna by this stage so returned to the bus station and managed to arrange a night bus to Cusco via Puno. So we were on another bus again after much warning of caution to watch our luggage and be aware at all times by security guards and the agent that sold us the ticket for the bus.
Due to our hectic day and unexpected obsticles we had neglected to eat since breakfast which doesn't fair well for Tim. About an hour into the journey Tim started to feel sick, so began a night of me watching everyone intently, as warned, and Tim vomitting into a plastic shopping bag.
We Arrived in Puno about 6.00am and thankfully Tim had started to perk up. We had time for a little breakfast then it was on to another bus to finish the run to Cusco. This bus ride should have been about 6hrs but took 9&1/2 I swear it was at a stand still more than we were going. They stop to tout for business in every town and at the same time women selling everything you can imagine jump on the bus then have to be hearded off again.
After the 30 hours of bus rides and border crossings from hell we arrived in the very beautiful Cusco.