|Currency:||Chilean Peso (CLP, $)|
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Chile is a great country to hitchhike. Especially compared to the South of Argentina, it's really good. Chile borders in the north to Peru, Bolivia to the north-east and Argentina in the east. The country is divided into 15 regions, which can be pooled in four main zones.
If you tell people you're a foreigner when you ask for a ride, they might ask to see your passport. Just swallow your pride and take the ride.
If you travel longer distances, you probably want to hitch the panamericana, called Ruta 5 here, which goes from north all the way to the south. Around larger cities, it's developed as a motorway. It's very common to walk or cycle on the emergency lane, so you can also stand there and put your thumb out. Cops won't bother either (I was standing right next to them holding my thumb out (to try out the hard way if it is legal) and they didn't care). Maximum Speed is 120 km/h, so if you are in a visible place, everyone can stop fast enough. Using a sign can prevent taxis, micros and buses to stop for you. They won't take you for free.
The traffic is not very dense in general. In rural areas, there might be one car in 5 or 10 minutes, so prepare for longer waiting times if you can't stay on the main roads (e.g. check some games you can play). To get to towns and out of there take a Micro or a collectivo, it is not worth it hitchhiking within a city (although sometimes possible).
If you are a tourist be sure to show it with your backpack, flags attached to your backpack, etc. The locals love chatting with foreign travellers. However, many people don't like U.S. Americans.
The best places in Chile for hitchhiking are easily in the extreme south, in the Region of Magallanes. From Punta Arenas, one can easily find a semi truck all the way to Santiago; while in Punta Arenas, themodernnomad was offered a ride all the way to Arica (on the border of Peru), but, sadly, had to turn it down due to the fact that he was trying to lose himself in Isla Riesco.
Crossing the Andes can be a little trickier than in most countries due to the high altitude. The Chilean police are also stricter about what can be brought into the country than in any other place in the continent: it is forbidden to enter with any kind of organic stuff such as fruits, veggies, beans, seeds, cheese, etc. You can try to pass them in your pockets. Just be sure to declare that you are passing with some organic stuff (rice, mate, polenta) so they can't charge you for lying and play dumb if you get caught. Worked for one hitchhiker with one bag of pine nuts (piñones) and one bag of seeds. You can also only bring 2 packs of cigarettes, since they are much more expensive in Chile.
To enter Chile there is first a stop where they give the driver a piece of paper saying how many people are in the vehicle. If you are not going to go all the way with the same driver don't forget to ask for a specific piece that say you are crossing on foot or something. Also drivers can be reluctant to pick you up all the way through the border so a sign saying "Frontera" or "Aduana" might help (then you can speak with them in the car)
In the north, most of the trucks will not pick you up because are afraid that Gendarmes can complains, eazy took a lift from a local truck and asked the driver to stop a Paraguayan truck for him.
This is a list of all (presumably) hitchable border crossings between Chile and Argentina. It first appeared on the page of Argentina, that's why they sound like going from Argentina to Chile and not the other way around. Follow steps in opposite order if you are coming from Chile and going to Argentina. Not all of them have information yet, so if you hitched one, please add info!
Some crossings may be closed due to weather conditions, so before you go you can check the chilean border police twitter @UPFronterizos (https://twitter.com/upfronterizos).
Argentinian Border Crossings North to South
The following is a list of all the major border crossings between Argentina and Chile, sorted out by Mind of a Hitchhiker and ordered from north to south. Not all of these have been hitchhiked by HitchWiki contributors. As most of them cross the Andes mountain range, not all of them stay open year round. Some might be hitchable in summer during the tourist season, but not outside that. Do your research before you cross! This was the disclaimer.
Paso Jama is the northernmost pass across the andes from San Pedro, CL to Juyjuy, AR. Coming from Chile, Keith had to have his pack x-rayed. There are lots of Paraguayan trucks passing through here and few civillians. Keith waited 1.5 hours in San Pedro and 2 hours at the border. The border is at 4200m and can be extremely windy and cold, especially at night - be prepared! The immigration building on the Argentinian side is at the end of town. Crossing from Jujuy province into Region II de Antofagasta.
Paso Sico on the Argentinian Ruta 51, nearest Argentinian hamlet is named Catua. From Jujuy province into Region II de Antofagasta. Let us know if you hitchhiked this.
Paso Socompa on the Argentinian Ruta 163. From Salta province to Region II de Antofagasta, next to an active volcano. Let us know if you hitchhiked this.
Paso San Francisco is between Copiapo, Chile and San Miguel, Argentina. There is little traffic along this route and you could wait for days at 3800m. Not recommended. Located on the Ruta 60. Crosses from Catamarca province into Region III de Atacama.
Paso Pircas Negras on the Ruta 76. From La Rioja province to Region III de Atacama. Let us know if you hitchhiked this.
Paso de Aguas Negras on the Ruta 150. The customs office is near Las Flores 90km away. Crosses from San Juan province into Region IV de Coquimbo. Mind of a Hitchhiker got offered a ride from Rodeo and took it. This is the highest border crossing between the two countries, with a maximum altitude of 4.780 meters. A large chunk of the 180 km between border checks is unpaved, but with all the glaciers, it's one of the most spectacular routes across the Andes out there. The Chilean side is called Juntas del Toro and the nearest town city is La Serena. It's only open from December to April, and might close on other days as well due to bad weather. Read Las Flores on how to do it. Miriam tried to cross from Chile to Argentina in April but there was so little traffic that it proved impossible and gave up after 24 hours. Of the approx. 10 cars crossing each day, most had no space because as of 2017 many everyday products are so much cheaper in Chile that everyone fills their cars to the max. Apparently in summer there is more traffic. The chilean border posts are nice and bored, might let you use their kitchen, living room and wifi if you ask nicely and chat with them. There is a nice place to camp by the river but bring enough food.
Paso Internacional Los Libertadores between Mendoza and Santiago de Chile is probably the best option with lots of truck and civilian traffic. You will also pass Mt. Aconcagua, the tallest mountain in the Southern and Western hemispheres. There's a tunnel between the two countries. Goes between Mendoza province and Region V de Valparaiso. To hitch, you can start at the road leaving Los Andes north (on how to get there from Santiago, check Santiago page). Careful, every once in a while it closes due to weather conditions for some 2 or 3 days - check twitter @UPFronterizos before going!
Paso Vergara on the Ruta 226. Crosses from Mendoza province to Region VII del Maule. Argentinian customs is 8km from the actual border. Let us know if you hitched this.
Paso Pehuenche on the Ruta 145. Crosses from Mendoza province to Region VII del Maule. Migration is in Las Loicas, 40 km from the actual border. Let us know if you hitched this.
Paso Pichachen on the Ruta 6. Crosses from Neuquen province to Region VIII del Bio Bio. Let us know if you hitched this.
Paso Pino Hachado on the Ruta 242. Crosses from Neuquen province to Region IX de la Araucania. Argentinian immigration is 2,5km from the actual border. Let us know if you hitched this.
Paso Icalma on the Ruta 13. Crosses from Neuquen province to Region IX de la Araucania. Argentinian immigration is 6km from the actual border. Let us know if you hitched this border.
Paso Mamuil Malal on the Ruta 60. Crosses from Neuquen province to Region IX de la Araucania. Argentinian immigration is 1,5km from the actual border. Let us know if you hitched this border.
Paso Carirriñe on the Ruta 62. Crosses from Neuquen province to Region XIV los Rios. Argentinian immigration is 47km from the actual border. Let us know if you hitched here.
Paso Hua Hum on the Ruta 48. Crosses from Neuquen province to Region XIV los Rios. In Chile, once you reach the town of Puerto Fuy, you need to take a ferry (it's called 'Barcaza Hua Hum'. See fares here https://barcazahuahum.com/es/horarios-tarifas/) and cross lake Pirehueico. Pirehueico is also the name of the last settlement one finds before reaching the border with Argentina. From Pirehueico, Chilean customs is at a distance of 11 km. The best option available is to ask passengers going to Argentina for a ride to the border before disembarking. Chilean customs is on the actual border. Argentinian customs is 1,5 km from Chilean's, so it's within easy walking distance from the border. The nearest city from Argentinian customs is San Martín de los Andes, which is 43 km away and it's only reachable through a completely unpaved road. Despite this fact, there are campsites nearby in case you need a place to stay the night, or in case you're looking for drivers. Also, the last bus going to San Martín departs from customs at about 20.00 in summer (you can just ask for information in there, schedules might change throughout the year). Christianmn was picked up in Pirehueico and crossed the border through Chilean customs. After this, he crossed Argentinian customs and waited at a crossroad some meters ahead. He was lucky enough to be picked up by four guys going back to Junín de los Andes, so they dropped him in San Martín which was on the way.
Paso Fronterizo Cardenal Antonio Samoré on the Ruta 231. Crosses from Neuquen province to Region X de Los Lagos. The Argentinian customs is 17km from the actual border. Miriam found it very easy to hitch, there is a constant flow of traffic and even under the worst climatic circumstances they usually don't close for more than a couple of hours. You can start right on the intersection where the road to Puyehue and Cardinal Samoré leaves Ruta 5 close to Osorno. Be aware of the opening schedule (usually from 8 am to 6 pm, meaning the last car is allowed to start chilean customs at 6 while the argentinians wait until the last car has passed and vice versa). On weekends you might have to wait several hours in customs.
Paso Pérez Rosales on a Ruta with no number, from Puerto Frías in Argentina in Rio Negro province. Nearest Argentinian town of size is called Llao Llao, near Bariloche. You'll have to take several seasonal ferries in both Argentina and Chile to get here. The nearest town of size on the Chilean side is called Peulla in Region X de Los Lagos. This border is not visible on Google Maps, only on Open Street Maps. Please let us know if you accomplished this masterpiece.
Paso Futaleufú on the Ruta 259. Crosses from Chubut province to Region X de Los Lagos. The distance between the two immigration offices is less than 1km. This is a major tourist hot spot, so if the border isn't closed, it should be fairly hitchable. To get out futaleufu, you need to be patient : there is not a lot of trafic. Walk out of the town until a bridge : cross it. Just after it there is a bus station : good place to wait espacially if it's raining.
Paso Rio Encuentro on the Ruta 44. Crosses from Chubut province to Region X de Los Lagos. The Argentinian side has a town named Carrenleufú and the Chilean has one named Alto Palena. Let us know if you crossed here.
Paso Coyhaique/Coiaique on the Ruta 74. Crosses from Chubut province to Region XI Aisén del General Carlos Ibáñez del Campo. The Argentinian customs is 2km from the border and the nearest Argentinian town is named Aldea Beleiro. Let us know if you crossed here.
Paso Huemules on the Ruta 260. Crosses from Chubut province to Region XI Aisén del General Carlos Ibáñez del Campo. The Argentinian immigration office is less than 300m from the actual border and the nearest village is Lago Blanco. On the Chilean side it is 5km till the first town named Balmaceda. Let us know if you crossed this border.
Paso Palavicini on the Ruta 72 (Ruta 45 on Google Maps). Crosses from Santa Cruz province to Region XI Aisén del General Carlos Ibáñez del Campo. The Argentinian customs office is 2km from the actual border. The Chilean customs is on the limit of Puerto Ingeniero Ibáñez town as spotted by [[User:MOAH|Mind of a Hitchhiker. She took the next border. Let us know if you crossed this border.
Paso de Chile Chico on the Ruta 43. Crosses from Santa Cruz province to Region XI Aisén del General Carlos Ibáñez del Campo. The Argentinian customs office is in Los Antiguos and the Chilean one in Chile Chico. This border is perfectly hitchable, as recorded by [[User:MOAH|Mind of a Hitchhiker in a vlog. No man's land is about 8km long.
Paso Roballos on the Ruta SN near the Ruta 41. Crosses from Santa Cruz province to Region XI Aisén del General Carlos Ibáñez del Campo. The Argentinian customs office is 300 m from the actual border. The nearest village with facilities is Bajo Caracoles and oh boy, you don't want to get stuck here. Perhaps it's crossable in summer, but definitely not in winter. The nearest town in Chile is Cochrane. Let us know if you hitched this border.
Villa O'Higgins/El Chalten Foot border crossings This area is sort of the hiking capital of the continent. There's many multi-day hikes advertized in both towns. Villa O'Higgins is the last town reachable by road from the "mainland" of Chile, via the Carretera Austral/Ruta 7. You could hitchhike all the way from Arica to Santiago de Chile to Villa O'Higgins without leaving Chile - that's 4.300km. South of Villa O'Higgins, Chile splits up in a million fjords, this is where Region XII de Magallanes (y la Antarctica Chilena) begins. Chile and Argentina have disputes over what land is owned by which country. If you want to visit the southernmost region of Chile without crossing to Argentina, there's a cruise from Puerto Montt all the way to Puerto Natales and even Punta Arenas, but this won't come cheap. In El Chalten or Tres Lagos in Argentina, there's buses taking you to and from these hiking trails. One is named Paso Fronterizo Entrada Mayer on the Ruta 81. Crosses from Santa Cruz province to Region XI Aisén del General Carlos Ibáñez del Campo. Border check points are as the bird flies 12km. Rides may only be hitched from each respective main road. Permits may be needed to hike in this reserve. If you've done any border crossing in this region, please add more information.
Paso Don Guillermo on the Ruta Provincial 7. Crosses from Santa Cruz province into Region XII de Magallanes. The Argentinian customs office is 3km from the border and the Chilean one 9km, so that's 12km of no man's land. Let us know if you hitched this border crossing.
Paso Fronterizo Dorotea on the Ruta Provicial 20. Crosses from Santa Cruz province into Region XII de Magallanes. The Argentinian customs office is at a ski centre 2km from the actual border and the nearest town with facilities is Rio Turbio. Villa Dorotea is on the Chilean side with the customs office 4km from the border. Puerto Natales in Chile is nearby. Let us know if you hitched this border crossing.
Paso Laurita Casas Viejas on the Ruta 293. Crosses from Santa Cruz province into Region XII de Magallanes. The Argentinian customs office is 100m from the actual border, the Chilean one is 4km away. This is the main direct border crossing from Argentina to Puerto Natales. Let us know if you hitched this border.
Paso de Integracion Austral on the Ruta Nacional 3. Crosses from Santa Cruz province into Region XII de Magallanes. There's two buildings, but both Chilean and Argentinian customs are present in both buildings. From whichever direction you come, you always drive by the first building and get out at the second. Don't panic! At this border you can possibly expect a needlessly complicated and long process once you arrive to Argentine customs if their X-Ray machine is broken (which it often is).They must do a manual search of your bags and tend to find silly, irrelevant things like tin foil that are apparently a matter of National Security. themodernnomad was once delayed leaving Argentina at the Paso Austral to Chile for several hours because of a 'suspicion' that turned out to be baseless. Fortunately, the Gendarmeria have poorly trained attack dogs who care more about playing with towels than sniffing for contraband. The Argentinian drivers of Mind of a Hitchhiker who came driving all the way from Cordoba province to visit Ushuaia had all their apples stolen by Chilean customs, even though they crossed back into Argentina a few hours after! This was really tragic. Warn your Argentinian drivers!
Paso San Sebastián on the Ruta Nacional 3 (which casually continues on Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego regardless of the fact that it's broken up!). Crosses from Tierra del Fuego province into Region XII de Magallanes. The Argentinian customs office is at the roundabout of the town San Sebastián, some 11km from the actual border. The Chilean customs office is 3.5km from the actual border. Use the border crossings to find direct rides to where you want to go. Argentinian plates driving into Chile will most likely drive all the way to Rio Gallegos, while Chilean plates going into Chile will likely go to Punta Arenas via the Punta Delgada ferry crossing (hitchable). To find a ride to Porvenir in Chile, Mind of a Hitchhiker asked at the Chilean customs office if anyone was going there, and got offered a ride from a guy named "El Gordo" (TheFat One) by his colleagues. His real name is Sergio, as vaguely remembered, and he drives a red Toyota Hilux. This hitchhiker gave up on trying to find an earlier ride and did crossword puzzles instead until Sergio appeared and drove her the 140km to Porvenir in no time. With excellent suspension, the ride was smooth and glorious, while driving past the Bahía Inutil (Useless Bay) chasing the imminent sunset.
Other Border Crossings on Tierra del Fuego One example may be the ferry from Ushuaia to Puerto Navarino or Puerto Williams in Chile. This little boat may only need to cross less than 10km of water in the Beagle Channel, yet costs a magical US$200 or more. There's a cruise between Puerto Williams and Punta Arenas, if you really want to visit The World's Southernmost Village, but it will probably cost you a kidney, too. Other land borders may exist between Estancia San José (Argentina) and Camerón (Chile), but as if hitchhiking isn't hard enough on the main roads of Tierra del Fuego. Kudos if you did hitch another border crossing, and again, please add information here if you did!
The border area between Chile and Bolivia is spectacular and terrifying. It's at very high altitudes in the Andes mountains. There's a stark contrast between the living standards between Chile and Bolivia. Bolivia is one of the poorest countries in the region and not many people own cars. There's loads of shared cars/taxis roaming between the villages. It's a best practice to stick to major routes if one is adamant to hitchhike all of Bolivia without ever paying for a ride. Know how to ask for a free ride. While the border between the two countries is long, many of the crossings are designated as "solo referencia" - only for reference - and not to be used as an official border with immigration and customs and passport stamps. There's some risks to crossing borders "illegally".
Bolivian border crossings north to south
Tripartito Triple Frontier is the northernmost point of Chile and a triple border between Chile, Perú and Bolivia. There's no town on the Chilean side, just the A93 road and a marker at the triple border. The town in Perú is called Tripartito and the town in Bolivia is called Ladislao Cabrera in La Paz Department. It doesn't look like there's any customs here to get any entry/exit stamps. The Chilean region is called Region XV Arica y Parinacota. Let us know what is up with this place and how hitchhiking is here.
Paso Visviri is 10 km south of the Tripartito border and is (probably) an actual functional border. The Chilean town on the A93 is called Visviri in Region XV Arica y Parinacota and the customs are about 2 km from the actual border. The Bolivian town is called Charaña, La Paz Department and there is no information about customs. Let us know if you've been here.
Paso Chungará - Tambo Quemado on the CH11 between (very roughly) Putre in Region XV Arica y Parinacota and (very roughly) Oruro in Oruro Department. This is quite a popular border crossing for trucks and lies at 4680 meters above sea level. Mind of a Hitchhiker was here in early 2016 on the Chilean side to visit the volcano and lake and not to cross the border. She camped at the Chilean forest guard CONAF Guarderia de Chungará at Parque Nacional Lauca. There's a guy who is stationed there permanently, and if you ask nicely, he'll let you sit inside for a while to warm up and make yourself a cup of hot something. This area sees four seasons in one day, so camp next to the building or one of the little walls for wind protection, use your storm lines and hope the wind direction doesn't change. Amazingly beautiful area.
Paso Colchane - Pisiga on the CH15 between Colchane in Region I Tarapacá and Pisiga Bolivar in the Oruro Department. It's at 3700 meters above sea level and the border is open from 08:00 till 20:00 (at least in the summer; we don't know if it's open year-round). The immigration offices are about 100 meters apart and the total distance from town to town is about 2 km. On the Bolivian side is a gas station at the end of town in direction Oruro. Let us know if you hitchhiked this border!
There are 2 buildings which both have Bolivian and Chilean customs. You'll want to head straight for the second building. This crossing seems to be primarily used by buses and when TheLoneBaker came through in January 2017, the line took roughly 2 hours and then had to wait several hours for a ride on the other end.
The customs here appears to be very lax despite all the posted warnings of bringing plant and animal products as they didn't actually ask me if I had anything when they went to X-ray my luggage. I gave up my honey but I'm quite certain had I left it in my pocket they would never have known. Just be sure to tick the box on the form saying you have something to declare so you can feign innocence if you do get caught. I also had a bag of cocoa leaves which they let me keep without issue.
Additionally, it appeared to TheLoneBaker that many people were bypassing customs completely and there were even people with carts who would load luggage and push it to the other end by going around the fence.
Paso Salar de Ollagüe between Ollagüe in Region II Antofagasta and Avaroa in the Potosí Department in Bolivia. Both villages have a gas station and the distance between immigration offices is 6 km. It's open from 08:00 till 20:00 year-round (lunch break from 12:00 to 14:00 on the Bolivian side, unknown for the Chilean side). The road is made of gravel and there's parallel train tracks. The nearest Chilean city is Calama and in Bolivia it's the city of Uyuni. This road can be tricky to hitchhike. TowellessTraveler did it in november 2022 from Uyuni to Calama. Almost only bolivian trucks transporting Diesel from the Chilean port Mejillones north of Antofagasta are using that road. They can take you until the border but then refuse to continue: there is a police checkpoint in Ascotan, 75km from the border, and the truckers believe they're not allowed to take passengers in Chile (not sure if it's really the case). You can negociate to be dropped before, walk through it and hitchhike after but if you have a good contact with the driver he may let you hide behind, where his bed is. You will be rewarded with spectacular views all along the road but do not stay around at night, it gets really cold.
Paso Portezuelo del Cajón between San Pedro de Atacama, Region II Antofagasta and... well... nothing in particular in the Potosí department of Bolivia. The Chilean immigration is on the Ruta B-241 inside San Pedro de Atacama, so don't miss it. The road then turns into the CH27 and has to be followed for 47 km until there's the actual border. The Bolivian immigration is on the actual border. There's the Laguna Verde, the Laguna Blanca and the famous Salar de Uyuni on the way to Uyuni in Bolivia. Perhaps there are a few villages, but nothing noteworthy. Uyuni is the nearest city, which is nearly 400 km from this border, so don't underestimate it! There's loads of tour offices in the touristy San Pedro de Atacama to organize a trip to Bolivia's Salar de Uyuni and to go to the city of Uyuni and not much non-tourism traffic. Best hopes are to hitch a ride with people who own a 4WD and are traveling the whole distance. The immigration office in San Pedro de Atacama is also used for crossing the Paso de Jama into Argentina towards Jujuy. Let us know if you crossed from Chile into Bolivia via this border!
Chile and Perú have a bunch of territorial disputes but are otherwise friendly to each other. Compared to Chile's other borders, this is a very short stretch and there's only one border crossing that people are actually using.
Peruvian border crossings west to east
The only official border to/from Perú is Paso Chacalluta where Mind of a Hitchhiker hitchhiked over the border from Tacna in Perú (complejo fronteriza Santa Rosa) to Arica (complejo fronteriza de Chacalluta) in Chile in 2016 and in the other direction in February 2017. People get a little nervous around this border so it might be hard to convince people to take you all the way through customs, which is mandatory with the form that says the number of people in the vehicle which they need to show at both sides and needs to be stamped everywhere. Your driver will need your name, document number and a few other details like whether you're married or not. After getting your entrance stamp to Chile, the Chilean side requires you to fill in a form declaring you don't carry seeds and other plant products or have more than one laptop, two phones and some other random rules applying to your luggage. Only your luggage goes through the x-ray machine and your body doesn't go through a metal detector, so what's in your pockets probably remains your own business. Occasionally they have dogs here. Upon leaving Chile for Perú your luggage might be checked too but there's not information on how to pass in the opposite direction. At the Peruvian side all people get out of the car to pass through immigration without their luggage.You'll get to fill in a form of which you get a stamped piece of paper which you need to carry around until you leave Perú. The Peruvian side should be relatively easy to get through. The distance between both offices is less than one km if you do everything by foot. After passing both borders with your driver you can find another ride or just carry on with your driver as everybody drives through the big cities of Tacna and Arica either way.
In February 2017 Mind of a Hitchhiker crossed this border on foot. The Chilean side asked 1000 CLP (about €1.40) for some forms, which was strange as the year before, crossing the border was for free. Both borders were hugely understaffed as it was the summer holidays. Bring a hat and enough water. Everywhere they kept asking for vehicle information and everywhere that answer was met with "on foot" ("a pie" in Spanish) and being sent to the "taxi" line. With so many people crossing the border, it took more than three hours to complete the process to enter Perú. After the final vehicle check outside the border area, the Peruvian officer from that checkpoint tried to talk her out of hitchhiking to Arequipa and the dude kept stopping taxis to Tacna for her even after repeatedly saying no thanks. She had to leave the excellent shoulder there to walk 200 meters not to be bothered anymore. There she stopped a car and wizarded herself to Arequipa like she fucking said she would.
Tripartito Triple Frontier mentioned before under border crossings with Bolivia is the northernmost point of Chile and a triple border between Chile, Perú and Bolivia. There's no town on the Chilean side, just the A93 road and a marker at the triple border. The town in Perú is called Tripartito and the town in Bolivia is called Ladislao Cabrera in La Paz Department. It doesn't look like there's any customs here to get any entry/exit stamps, so maybe stick to the border mentioned previously if you want to get to Perú. The Chilean region is called Region XV Arica y Parinacota. Let us know what is up with this place and how hitchhiking is here.
Chile is a very safe and easy country to camp or squat. Hostels are rather expensive, so camping is a better method. The local gas stations (usually COPEC) are almost always hitchhiker friendly, and will be happy to let you crash behind the place for the night, as are police stations and truckers service areas. The cities to exert special caution in when crashing out are Valparaíso (known for a somewhat dodgy center) and the capital Santiago -- those two make for the lion's share of crime in Chile. Couchsurfing is quite popular!
Mind of a Hitchhiker made a little YouTube video of a day hitchhiking and freecamping around the Puerto Montt area.
"In Chile, the posta rurales operate on a no-pay basis, which is very different form the way proper hospitals do things in this country. In the postas, anyone, from anywhere, in entitled to free medical treatment and any medicines that are available, similar to the way they do things in Bolivia. The sacrifice is that the postas are not usually equipped with proper doctors (only paramedics), or operating facilities. " - from http://hitchtheworld.com
I wish I had known this! The "public" hospital in Copiapo asked for 24000 CLP just to see a doctor! -Keith
These are only on the Ruta 5 (or Panamericana Sur), but, as usual, are a very good place to hitch rides. There are a lot between Santiago and La Serena, but your first ride from Santiago will probably take you all the way anyway. From La Serena to Antofogasta, there are only a few.
Be aware that many roads in Chile are very remote and made of dirt; any road that starts with a 'Y' classifies as a rural route, (known locally as a reten). Some of these roads do not recieve any traffic for days, sometimes weeks at a time. Use caution when hitchhiking on one of these. You may think you can hike it for fifteen or twenty kilometres and then hitch a ride, but sometimes the cars won't pass until it's too late. themodernnomad once nearly died of thirst in the Altiplano near the northern border of Argentina and Bolivia because he started walking towards Salta from a Chilean iron mine and went almost three days without seeing a car.
Regions and their Cities
Ordered in direction north to south. There's 15 regions (regiónes) and they're not numbered in logical order. They use Roman numerals.
XV Región de Arica y Parinacota ⇒ Arica
I Región de Tarapacá ⇒ Iquique — Pisagua
II Región de Antofagasta ⇒ Antofagasta
III Región de Atacama ⇒ Copiapo — Caldera
IV Región de Coquimbo ⇒ La Serena — Coquimbo
V Región de Valparaíso ⇒ Valparaíso — Viña del Mar — * Los Andes
RM Región Metropolitana de Santiago ⇒ Santiago
VI Región del Libertador General Bernardo O'Higgins ⇒ Rancagua
VII Región del Maule ⇒ Talca
VIII Región del Bío Bío ⇒ Concepcion — Chillan
IX Región de La Araucanía ⇒ Temuco — Victoria — Puerto Saavedra
XIV Región de Los Ríos ⇒ Valdivia
X Región de Los Lagos ⇒ Puerto Montt — Puerto Varas — Osorno. Inside Chiloé Archipelago ⇒ Castro
XI Región Aisén del General Carlos Ibañez del Campo ⇒ Coihaique
XII Región de Magallanes y de la Antárctica Chilena ⇒ Punta Arenas — Puerto Natales
Hitchhiking Chile is coming home. Over the course of 2016 and 2017, I've hitchhiked in all regions of Chile for more than three months in total - and I'm currently here again. It's really easy to become friends with your drivers and my sketch-o-meter when driving with guys didn't move much. Freecamping is ingrained in their culture and no one tried sending me to a paid camping or hostel when I asked to get out at a beautiful spot. Hitchhiking over the summer holidays can be annoying when you're at the beaches. The police picked me up, the guy from customs drove me to his village and the mayor of Vallenar gave me a lift. I hitched to one of the world's most famous telescopes at Paranal Observatory and managed to stop a truck in the dense fog around Punta Arenas. All major roads have nicknames, like "Ruta de las Estrellas" and "Ruta de Madera" to keep things entertaining. If I ever had to hitch about one country forever, it would be Chile. - Mind of a Hitchhiker
Of all the countries I've traveled in the Americas, Chile was noticeably the easiest to hitch in (perhaps tied with México). Though unlike México, there is an abundance of personal vehicles in Chile. All of my hitching there was done in a pair (one male, one female). Waits were hardly ever longer than ten minutes, regardless of the setting, even in the middle of the night on the side of a high-speed freeway. - jhoule
Chile is a wonderful hitch. I made my way for three months from Arica to Puerto Montt and onward down the Carretera Austral all the way to Cochrane (in summer months). After the jaunt in Argentina, I reentered Chile near Puerto Natales and the hitching was superb there as well. - Chael
I hitched around Chile for about two and a half months and found it to be very easy. The only problems you might run into is in the summer it seems like everyone is hitching and you might have competition with thirty other people in some obscure desert stop off. I've found the farther you are from Santiago the easier it is, the northern and southern third being great." - Jason G
I hitched from Santiago to San Pedro in June/July 2014. Contrary to the above, I found it easier to get rides near Valparaíso and Santiago. North of La Serena I was met with longer waiting times. -Keith
I decided to hitch almost the entire length of Chile as a young, solo, female gringo with horrible Spanish skills... It was great! Quick wait times, camping spots were easy to find, and the camion drivers were great hosts. I'm always looking for information of the experience of solo females, so I thought I'd share. The most relevant difference between latino and north american (my home) culture is how forward latino men can be. In North America, if I get in a car and the driver tells me I'm beautiful, I ask to be let out right away because of some bad experiences, but in Chile I'm figuring out that's a lot more accepted in their culture. You will probably get told you are "bonita" or "linda" pretty often, but I don't think you have to be scared. -Pidgintoe
Here is a short anlysing of hitchhiking in Chile by Korn on - warmroads.de
Nice blog post about hitchhiking in Chile Would you trust a trucker with a scorpion tattoo? A hitchhiking tale,
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