SO, you want to visit Bolivia? Argentina? Chile? AND, you have an auto?


We’ll see about that! With this friendly attitude, warning you that without every possible paper in order you will undoubtedly be delayed, fined (legally or illegally) or turned back from the border, we embark on finding out what it takes to go from country to country.

We now have an expanding file full of potential necessary documents. Copies of each passport photo page and the page with the entry stamp. Copies of our car insurance, ownership document and “revision tecnica”. Very little for Chile thus far, as it’s the last stop on the trip.

BOLIVIA: We were hoping to get our visas for Bolivia in advance, but the consulate in Lima doesn’t answer either its phone or its email. There’s always next week before we leave. Here’s what the Bolivian embassy in Lima has to say. The English is not bad and you can fill in the bumps in the translation pretty easily.

Tourism Visa for American citizens

The American citizens, who wish a tourism visa to visit Bolivia, will be able to appear personally to the Consulates of the State Plurinacional in Peru accompanying the following documents:

  1. Passport with minimal force of six months.
  2. Sworn statement of request of visa, due filled.
  3. Current Photography updated in colors 5×4 without lenses.
  4. Hotel Reservation or invitation letter to Bolivia .
  5. Exhibit round trip ticket to Bolivia, or return ticket to the native land.
  6. Trip itinerary.
  7. Economic Solvency (card of credit or bank updated extract).
  8. Certificate of vaccine against the yellow fever. (Only and when the person who requests the visa is going to visit the Bolivian jungle).

Checked the documentation and being in the same conformity, previous payment of the consular corresponding rate will issue the visa.


What they don’t mention until the end is that the reciprocity fee for Bolivia is $135 per person. It has to be paid into an account at a particular bank, but the web page does not tell you either the bank or the account number.

Yes, you can get a Bolivian visa at the border in Desaguadero, described as “unsavory” in the kindest reviews, with lots of ways people try to extract money from you as you cross the border. Knowing what is required and having it in hand would be the best way, but may not be possible. For example, the web site clearly says that the yellow fever shot is only required for people planning to visit the jungle. Apparently, the border folks have not gotten that memo and it is a popular way to extract money, by insisting that without a yellow fever shot a visitor must turn back or pay…

ARGENTINA: Compared to Bolivia, this one is easy. You need all the car information, and a receipt for the reciprocity fee $160 that can be paid on line.

CHILE: Two or three years ago, we arrived in Santiago for a brief visit and were bowled over by the $150 per person reciprocity fee. Fortunately for Jonathan, it lasts as long as your passport, but I just got a new one. Fortunately for me, Chile just dropped the reciprocity fee entirely! Yay, Chile!



Published by winifredcreamer

I am a retired archaeologist and I like to travel, especially to places where you can walk along the shore or watch birds. My husband Jonathan and I travel for more than half the year every year, seeing all the places that we haven't gotten to yet.

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