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Old 5 Feb 2012
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Mid-Chile-Argentina border crossings?

My girlfriend and I are renting a bike in Osorno, Chile in a couple of days and are planning to ride around the lakes and mountains for about ten days.

We expect to cross into Argentina on route 215/231 between Osorno and Bariloche and then probably to cross back over into Chile at Futaleufu on route 259/231.

Can anyone tell me what to expect at these border crossings?
Problems if I have only a U.S. driver's license?
Long delays?
Necessito por propinas in either or both directions?

Also, any tips for great rides or food or other great (or bad) experiences that anyone has had recently in the mid-South Chile lakes district or in Argentina between Bariloche and Trevelin would be much appreciated!

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Old 5 Feb 2012
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We crossed at Futelefu about 3 months back. No worries. Small borders, real laxed people, through in about 20 minutes.

Only thing was we were bringing a New Zealand bike. I`m not sure what the deal is with a rented bike. There may be more hassle so I would make sure you look into that as well


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Old 5 Feb 2012
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Thanks very much, Reese.

It's amazing to receive knowledge from someone on the other side of the globe!
(And a nod to Grant and Susan for making it possible!)

So far in my life, NZ has been the most beautiful place I've ever been. As a Kiwi, what did you make of the Andes and the Chilean coast?

Also, we're hoping to catch the ferry that leaves Chaiten, Chile once a week on Monday mornings to Quellon on Chiloe. By any chance, did you take that ferry going in either direction?

Thanks again!
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Old 6 Feb 2012
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The borders are all easy, with short waits, clear and consistent document flow, no bribes (don't ever offer a bribe to anyone in Chile unless you're very confident you know what you're doing). I've never heard of anyone needing an international license on that border, although I always carry one against the eventual, inevitable need. But you need to confirm that you can take rental bikes across the border if you haven't already done so.

I took that ferry. It was fine, except it was late leaving, later arriving, and couldn't unload vehicles (including bikes) for 6 or 8 hours due to "tides." I've heard that's not unusual, so don't schedule too tightly.

The southern Andes get increasingly gorgeous the farther south you go. Where you're heading you'll see some of the less-remarkable areas if you like mountain scenery--mostly pleasant, pretty, interesting and fun, but not truly spectacular. The Andes also get increasingly gorgeous if you head north to the altiplano, but with a totally different feeling to them.

Hope that's helpful.

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Old 6 Feb 2012
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Thanks, Mark, that's great information.
Well, we're on our way tomorrow...
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Old 6 Feb 2012
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Go to AAA and get an international drivers license. That's all you require anywhere in the world.
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