How I got to Peru instead of Bolivia because of football

My innocent plan was to travel from Antofagasta (Chile) to La Paz (Bolivia). Two neighboring countries, no VISA issues, sounded smooth. But not as it happened. I already had my ticket from Antofa to Arica and spent Friday night traveling up to the north. Complications started when I arrived in Arica the next morning.

At the bus terminal I was told that all the buses from Chile had left to Bolivia because of the Bolivia-Chile football match. The next bus from Arica was going to leave on Monday. Wow! I absolutely did not want to spend the weekend in Arica. When I asked them why there was no information about this, they helpfully pointed to the entrance of the terminal where a little note told about the event.

'Plan B' seemed to be if I cross the border of Peru and try to catch a bus from there. After arriving to Tacna, a border town of Peru, I found one bus which would leave at 8pm. This meant for me to spend the day in this small town. Thanks to my book and a sunny park, I killed time with reading in the grass.

Money exchange stands at the bus terminal of Tacna (Peru)

Peruvian border city, Tacna

Waiting for Bolivian merchants

When a place is abandoned - Work Agency
Bolivian woman waiting for the same bus as I

The bus ride was another 8-hour-long journey, my second night on bus. I had no ticket left for beds, so I was looking forward to a long-long night on a seat, in the dark and the cold. I had no blankets and there was no heating in the bus. As we went higher in the mountains at night, it got extremely cold. The windows got frozen and the wind blew into the bus. Thanks Yasmin, who shared your blanket with me and saved my life!

I arrived at 4am to the Bolivian border, Desaguadero. It turned out that the migration office, which gave permission to enter Bolivia, only opened at 7am. So another 3-hour-long waiting in the dark and cold bus terminal. I have been freezing constantly for almost 12 hours and I honestly do not know how I made it. But in the morning as the sun came up, the migration opened, and I entered Bolivia. A bit frozen, a bit tired and hungry, but I made it. 

Finally arrived to the Bolivian border

About Tiny Girl With Big Bag

Hobby writer and autodidact photographer whose passion is to travel and get to know new people and cultures. She has been on 4 continents and 30 countries, and the outcome is this travel blog where she shares travel stories, thoughts, tips and photography always through a subjective eye.

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  1. Wow! What a tale of adventure and stamina! You inspire me to travel more. What I percieve from this is one has to roll with all unforseen cicumstances. Well done! Love your blogs and photos.

  2. Thank you, Erika! It is very nice to read your comment, and if my stories motivate you to travel, I am twice as happy :)