Bolivia Border Crossing (specifics for US residents)

The Peru into Bolivia Border Crossing at Yunguyo

Written by Logan and Brianna Pribbeno
More information at http://PanAmNotes.com

We crossed from Peru into Bolivia at the Yunguyo border town on a Sunday afternoon. This is a relaxed border mainly used for travel to Copacabana. There is a one hour time change between the two countries. We arrived at the Peruvian immigration office at 1PM (Peru time) and finished six minutes later. The Bolivian entry process was similarly quick, we were in and out in less than thirty minutes.

Peruvian Immigration and Police Office

Drive all the way up to the chain barrier on the Peru side, park on the right. Get your tourist cards stamped at the police office (green building) across the street (left). Go next door to give up your tourist cards and obtain your exit stamps in the immigration office (yellow building). Go back across the street (right) to the white aduana building to give up your vehicle permit. We were not asked to produce any originals or copies at this point. You are now checked out of Peru.

Drive under the cement overhang and up to the iron gate, park on the right. Go to immigration for your entry stamps and visa. This step requires the following:

  • $135 cash in US dollars per person (each bill will be inspected rigorously, no rips or tears)
  • 2 color passport photos (2 inches x 2 inches)
  • Bolivian Visa Form
  • Bolivian tourist form obtained at immigration

Bolivia Immigration and Money Exchange

It is possible to show up at the border with just $135 US cash. You can complete all the necessary paperwork on the spot. Completing the visa form in advance online saves you some time. If you don’t have a picture for your visa they appear to have a large stash of leftover photos and will try to match you up as best they can with a stranger.

The above was all we needed, but the following additional items may be required depending on the border official’s mood:

  • Hotel reservation
  • Country itinerary (both can be created in your email)
  • Yellow Fever vaccination card
  • Bank statement or copy of credit card proving economic solvency

We did not have exact change for our visa fee which we heard was necessary but the officials provided change to us. Results may vary. We found that anticipating every step really speeds the process along and eliminates areas where a border official may require a bribe. We received a 90 day visa with no problems.

The white aduana building is up the hill to the left of the immigration office. In order to import your vehicle into Bolivia you will need to show your original title, a copy of your title, and a copy of your passport. We received 90 days on the import permit without issue. Our official stamped the form, opened the gate, and we were officially in Bolivia.

Bolivia Aduana

Most people we’ve spoken with have had to find a police officer to provide a second stamp on the import permit and to open the gate. No such instruction was given to us!

At no point were we asked to pay anything other than the $135 visa fee. Nearly all of our border crossings have been on a Sunday afternoon. We feel this has played a role in our good luck with borders. On Fridays, border agents are thinking about funding their imminent bar tab. While on Sundays, they’re fresh from repentance in church.

Copacabana is a quick eight km drive from the border where you can dine on trout and camp on the beach for free. We’ve heard there is one ATM in town but we never found it. The exchange rate on the Bolivian side is much better than on the Peruvian side.

EXCHANGE RATE (as of 9/24/11):

$1 US = 6.96 Bolivianos

1 Peruvian Sole = 2.51 Bolivianos

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Buen viaje!