2008 Roadtrip The Chilean Border and Overnight (Again) in Arica, Chile

Our the new seal was installed on the rear axle of our car and it was ready at 1 p.m. We thought it would be expensive because it took 3 hours to do the job. Dimitri thought the work would be covered by our 5-year warranty because the axle is part of the drive train. When we got to the Subaru dealer Dimitri looked at the warranty. Well, the job would have been covered by the warranty if the odometre wasn't at 103,000 km. The warranty was for 5 years or 100,000 km, whichever comes earlier. It turned out that the job cost S/.110 or under US$40. Pretty fabulous!

The trip to the Chilean border was through the desert and it wasn't a white sandy one it was more like dirt. Right outside of Arequipa, however, there was a green agricultural area punctuating the desert. We snaked up and down the sandy coastal range. At one point we couldn't see anything; there was a sand storm. The temperature changed radically during our drive. It went from 27 ° down to 19 °C. We arrived at the border controls at 6 p.m. Our tolls were S/.27.50.

From the last time we crossed the Peruvian-Chilean, we knew to expect to take everything out of the car and have to put it through an x-ray machine. Indeed, we had to do that this time too.

In the category of "expect the unexpected" at the Chilean border control, however, was a new problem. We were told that our car was outside of Chile for more than 6 months, without permission, and that was a violation of law. The aduana official asked Dimitri to come to the office in Arica in the morning. Dimitri agreed, knowing that we had to get the "permission to circulate" on the roads in the morning as well.

It was 7:45 p.m. by the time we were allowed to leave the Chilean border control--actually 8:45 p.m. local time. We stopped at our favorite restaurant in Arica for dinner (Terra Amata Arica Restaurant, Yungay 201, Centro Histórico de Arica, Telf (56-58) 259-057). We had a lovely meal (although cold; it was open and while we were at sea level at this point, it is still winter!) We started with scallops in white wine and garlic (CLP$7.900) which we shared. We shared the entrée of Tres pescados al vapor (corvina, almon and rieneta) sobre cremosa de espinaca acompañado de pimientos y papas doratas (3 different kinds of fish filets in a lovely sauce) for CLP$8.200, with a rice that was delcious and colored-green with basil (CLP$1.700). And we each had a glass of Chilean red wine (CLP$2.200 for 2 glasses). For dessert we had fresh mango from the Azapa Valley (CLP$2.950). It was excellent. The meal cost CLP$24.750 around US$50 (more than our meals in Peru) but very nice.

Then went to The Worst Hotel of Our South American Experience (meaning worst value-for-money). It is called Hotel Arica and it is part of the Pan Americana Hotel group (Av. Comandante San Martín 599, Arica, telf (56-58)254-540, e-mail: reservas@photels.cl, web: http://www.panamericanahoteles.cl/). They charged US$90 for an old, poorly maintained, small, uncomfortable room. The doors of the closet didn't close and neither did the bathroom door. The wi-fi did work but the room was totally bleak and we didn't even have a sea view. We have now stayed at three different hotels in Arica and each one, for different reasons, has been unsatisfactory. We decided not to return.