How to cross the Argentina-Bolivia border (Tarija – Bermejo – Salta)

A frequent question from visitors of the Condor’s Valley is how to reach Argentina from Tarija. Tarija is culturally really close from his big neighbour. Geographically too and many choose to use Tarija as a gateway to Argentina and reach Salta.

You have several options here:

  • Take a direct bus Tarija – Salta. It’s the best confort/price solution. For 220 Bs. And 7 or 8 hours later, you are in Argentina ready to devour a half-cow to lunch because the trip is really comfortable. Unfortunately, there only are three buses a week, Tuesday and Thursday or Sunday in the direction Tarija – Salta. Monday, wednesday or friday from Salta to Tarija. Tickets are for sale in the buses terminals in Tarija or Salta at the counters from the company Juarez.
  • Using the express service by the Dragon Rojo. It’s the fastest solution, the most expensive but also the less comfortable. From the center of Tarija (calle Sucre et Avaroa, in front of the supermarket Urkupiña) a shuttle leaves every days to Salta. More precisely, a mini bus conducts you to the frontier post and taxis wait for the travelers in the Argentinean side to continue the trip.Count 3h from Tarija to the frontier (Bermejo) and 3h in taxi to Salta. If the ride in the Bolivian part is pretty comfortable, you’ll have to pray to don’t have to share the little taxi with too many people. Count 250 Bs., a departure at about 8 p.m. and an arrival at about 3 in the morning.
  • The most backpacker solution is going to the buses terminal in Tarija and finding a trufi taxi (collective taxi, 30 Bs.) which leaves to Bermejo. There are every time, you just have to approach to the terminal to hear “Bermejo Bermejo !”. When arrived in Bermejo, you have to pass the frontier in a small boat, take an other drive to Oran, and then a bus to Salta. It’s the most economical solution, but coming a connection after an other obviously takes more time. Count 30 Bs. From Tarija to Bermejo, 1 or 2 Bs. to cross the frontier in motorized small boat, 40 argentinean pesos from Aguas Blancas (frontier city in the Argentinean side) to Oran and about 120 argentinean pesos from Oran to Salta. There is a lot of connections at each stage. Mosquitos stings on the quay from Bermejo to Aguas Blancas are free. By the way, local people say that mosquitos only bite the city strangers and that the local people are spared. I recommend this solution to the one who has some time. Bermejo is maybe not the most beautiful city in the world, but this frontier city a little busted has a particular charm which deserves to be seen. Moreover this option lets you leave from Tarija in the day and enjoy the wonderful road Tarija – Bermejo where you’ll pass from the aridity of the central valley of Tarija to the luxuriance and sugar cane fields for as far as the eye can see.
  • I almost do forget, there is a last option : flying. Those lines just open (via BOA for instance, maybe Amaszonas), and for a little more than 200 USD it’s possible to go from Tarija to Salta.

To sum up : in bus if you are lucky and that you precisely leave a Thursday or a Monday, with the Dragon Rojo if you are in a hurry, and taking a stage by Bermejo if you have some time or that you prefer save on your travel.

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