Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Border Crossing – Arica to Tacna (Chile to Peru) with a Malaysian Passport

One of the most nerve wrecking time during travels is always crossing borders from one country to another especially when it’s through a tiny border town. Information is always scare for border crossing town somehow and even when there is, its bare minimum enough that you have to think twice if the information is reliable. Everyone crosses the border differently (due to different passport) and crossing like a local is always the aim.
Chile Imigration

So I camped in Arica one night the border town of Chile before crossing over to Tacna the border town of Peru.
There are a few ways to cross the border between Arica and Tacna such as Train, Bus and Taxi but I can only share my experience crossing with a Taxi and base on the local recommendation it is the best method. Not the cheapest but then again it was pretty cheap to cross by taxi.
The International taxi stand is right beside the main bus station which is where I got the shared taxi. They call it “Taxi Colectivo” which means you share the taxi with random strangers crossing the border. The cost is written on the board so any taxi you take will be the same 4000 peso for the trip. However there is a departure tax leaving the International taxi stand and that is 300 peso which you have to pay at the booth on the right side immediate after entering the front door and get a coupon for exit which is handed over to the taxi driver.
The taxi driver also acts like a guide and would get your forms for entry to Peru ready plus he would also guide you step by step where to go (queue up) to cross the border. Facing Immigration thou is on your own so smile.
Getting out of Chile was pretty easy for as long you did not overstay or did not lose the slip of paper during entry they would just stamp you out. Onwards to Peru border and the officer looked at me and my passport.
Malaysia ?? …. Malaysia Passport is rare crossing the local border of Chile and Peru and I guess I was not surprise that he was not sure if I needed a Visa or not. The officer called over the counter to another ranking officer and asked if he knew anything about Malaysia passport
(Conversation in Spanish which I interpreted as such)
Officer 1 : Have you ever done Malaysia before ?
Officer 2 : Yea sure …. No problems the usual …
Officer 1 : Does he need a visa ?
Officer 2 : Nope just the usual stamp in ….
Officer 1 : How many days should I give him ?
Officer 2 : Dunnu ?? Ask him how many days he is visiting Peru
Officer 1 : How many days are you visiting Peru ( He asked in Spanish …. Then in English )
Me : One month ??
STAMP … Ok 30 days visa …. Dammit I should have said two months ….
No Visa Required for Malaysian Passport to Peru and definitely no payment / bribes necessary
Tacna the taxi driver will drop you off in front of the bus station or nearby it. I had to get a general direction pointed before leaving the cab. Border Crossing was easy and not as crazy as I thought it would be. Oh yea and there is a 2 hours time difference between Chile and Peru so factor that in when crossing.
Some things to note though which I was lucky enough due to paranoia
Money …..
I did not see any money changer nor any ATM in Tacna …. Lucky thing I change bare minimum CLP 10,000 to Sol 46.30 at the bus station in Arica. Bus from Tacna to Arequipa was Sol 30 local bus Morqueque taking about 10 hours to arrive. Taxi from Arequipa bus stop to the main plaza is about Sol 8 and its worth it for its damn hell far. ATM at the bus station of Arequipa does not always works such as when I was there so I could not get any money out of it. So I survived and reach the hostel with almost no Peruvian currency on me ….. Good thing is the main Plaza Del Arms is filled with banks which runs 24 hours and is pretty safe. Look for Scotia Bank which does not charge any fee for withdrawing using international ATM Card ….
Hope this helps any Malaysian Passport Holders trying to cross from Arica to Tacna J


  1. Totally enjoyed reading your posts on Peru! :)
    I am still in the midst of planning for this.

    1. Thanks :) all the best to your planning 😁

  2. I'm in Tacna now. Thank god I found your writings. Cheers

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  4. Very good points you wrote here..Great stuff...I think you've made some truly interesting points.Keep up the good work.
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  5. Thank you! Crossing the border on Malaysian passport next week.