Concerned about the crossing from Chile to Bolivia through the “Hito Cajones”, or vice versa? Here we tell you everything.
El Hito Cajones is one of the 6 border crossings that allow the crossing of cars, people, and merchandise between both countries. It is 45 kilometers from San Pedro de Atacama in Chile and only a couple of kilometers from the Eduardo Abaroa National Reserve in Bolivia.
It is a step widely used by tourists looking to visit the Salar de Uyuni or Uyuni Salt Flats. Dozens of buses and transfers arrive daily to the Chilean border; then they change the tourists to Jeeps 4×4 in Bolivia to continue their way to the salt flats and other wonderful lagoons.
Each country has its own construction with immigration and customs offices. These are separated by about 4 kilometers that must be traveled by car. Due to the distance of the border crossing with cities and towns, there is no one to make this journey on foot.
1. Leaving Chile towards Bolivia.
Due to the huge amount of tours that depart from San Pedro de Atacama to Uyuni Salt Flats and the Bolivian Altiplano, long lines of cars are formed. Depending on the season of the year (high or low) it will be better to arrive before 08:00 am; so you can avoid waiting for hours.
When your turn arrives they will make you get off the car/bus and approach one of the immigration officers with your passport. There is only one way through which cars pass, the one inside a building where you must stop.
There is no luggage check.
2. Entering Bolivia from Chile.
If we say that something is “hippie”, it is because it really is. A small construction where a line is formed with tourists and all those who wish to enter the country. Here you must show your passport, return to the car/bus that was parked and continue on the road to Bolivia.
There is no review of suitcases, and in our case not even we show the passports. While we were changing the bus bags (we were still with another Bolivian driver) another person did the bell for us.
3. Leaving Bolivia towards Chile.
Again, there is no control or revision to the luggage or to us. Nor was the car checked, or anything. This time one of the members of our group took their passports to the window, they rang them and we continued on our way. It was not necessary to see everyone’s face, nor is there any kind of control.
4. Entering Chile from Bolivia
Again you enter the same house you left. You must complete a form for the SAG (Chilean Agriculture and Livestock Service) declaring animal or vegetable species in your luggage. Here if you must download all the bags and bags of the bus, which are reviewed by an immigration officer looking for items that can not be entered into the country.
After your passport is stamped and the SAG has authorized your entry to Chile, you can take your car, leave the warehouse and officially enter the country.