How to Travel Over the Bolivia Argentina Border

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Planning to cross the Bolivia Argentina border? This guide looks at your options, how long it will take, any costs involved—all the details.

Bolivian women in traditional dress

The Bolivia-Argentina border lies in the western region of South America and is defined by the Andres mountain range. 

For anyone who has crossed a border before, you will know that it’s totally normal to feel a bit nervous beforehand. Do you have the correct documents? Was everything stamped correctly? Will I need an onward ticket? It all races through your head, right? 

We get it. And it’s why we wrote this blog.

Below we have provided information on departing Argentina and arriving in Bolivia as well as departing Bolivia and arriving in Argentina. 

Knowing what to expect should make you feel like an old pro at crossing this border. 

Leaving Argentina

Argentina Bolivia highway

While there are several Argentina-Bolivia border crossings, it’s essential to make sure the option you choose is legally permitted. This means passing through a customs office and having all the necessary documentation to enter both countries.  

Let’s look at the most common ways to travel between Argentina and Bolivia. 

Land: How to cross from La Quiaca to Villazon 

llamas in Bolivia

  • Open/hours/availability: 24 hours (however, the customs office is only open between 7 am and 12 am)
  • Requirements: Bus ticket, passport, visa (dependent on your nationality) 

This route involves walking across the border at La Quiaca in Argentina to Villazon in Bolivia. 

Step one: Get to Salta

couple doing the tango in the street

To start this crossing, it’s best to get to Salta, a central transportation hub in Northern Argentina. If you’re coming from Buenos Aires to Salta, you can either take an easy 2-hour 15-minute flight or a long-haul bus. 

Step two: Take a bus from Salta bound for La Quiaca

highway and llama crossing sign

Ok. Now you’re in Salta. 

Take a bus from Salta to La Quiaca, the Argentine border town. 

It is more convenient and reliable to pre-purchase tickets in advance. However, if you run out of time, it is possible to purchase at the station, which is about eight blocks from the main plaza in Salta. 

To avoid waiting around in La Quiaca, find a bus that arrives early in the morning.

The bus ride is approximately 7 hours and 30 minutes. 

Expert Advice: La Quiaca isn’t the nicest town to hang around in, so keep this in mind when planning your border crossing.  

Step three: Walk or take a taxi to the border 

sign pointing the direction to many places

When you arrive in La Quiaca, take a taxi or walk to the border, which is only 10 to 15 minutes away on foot. 

It’s not well signposted, so if you are traveling alone or feel uneasy, find others heading in the same direction. 

Otherwise, you will find taxis waiting when the buses arrive from Salta.  

Step four: Stamp out of Argentina

Argentina Bolivia passport stamps

At the border, you will need to go through customs. This involves getting a stamp out of Argentina. 

Arriving on an early morning bus is beneficial as there are usually fewer crowds. Regardless, the wait time should only be a few minutes. During the high season in December and January, this may be a bit longer. 

Once you have been stamped out of Argentina, you will be in the border zone between the two countries. 

Step five: Stamp into Bolivia 

immigration stamp Bolivia

Now here is the odd part. On entering Bolivia, you may or may not receive a stamp in your passport. 

You will, however, receive a receipt. Don’t lose this slip of paper. 

For US, Canadian, EU and Australian citizens, you can enter Bolivia as tourists without a visa for up to 90 days. 

Other nationalities may be required to obtain a visa at the border. In contrast, others must apply in advance at a Bolivian embassy. 

It’s best to check which type of visa you will need online based on your passport. 

Pro Tip: Keep any paperwork, such as a receipt on entry, in case you are asked for it later in your trip. 

Step six: Take a bus or taxi from Villazon to Tupiza

Villazon map at the border of Argentina and Bolivia

Tupiza is a popular final destination for travelers arriving in Bolivia. The area is known for its scenic landscapes and is close to the world’s most extensive salt flats, Salar de Uyuni. 

There are two options to get to Tupiza. You can either take a taxi or a bus. The bus will take you 75-90 minutes. 

It’s about a 30-minute walk from the border to the bus station. So if you are traveling with a suitcase, take a taxi.

Pro Tip: If you don’t already have Bolivianos, there is a money exchange place near the bus station in Villazon, as well as a couple of cash machines.

Land: How to cross from Salvador Mazza to Yacuiba

small town Argentina border with Bolivia

  • Requirements: Passport, visa (if required), proof of accommodation and onward travel

Salvador Mazza is a town located in the province of Salta in Argentina. It is also known as Pocitos. 

While this isn’t as popular as the crossing at La Quiaca, it is still an option for travelers. 

Step one: Travel from Salta to Salvador Mazza

vineyard in Argentina

Depending on where your travels in Argentina have taken you, you will want to get to Salta to make your way to the border. 

From there, you can travel by car, bus or taxi to many places. 

The journey from Salta to Salvador Mazza takes 6-7 hours, depending on the bus company and route. 

La Veloz Del Norte and Flecha Bus are reliable companies to travel with while in Argentina.

 Step two: Make your way to the border 

road in Argentina to Bolivia.jpg

Now that you have arrived in Salvador Mazza, it’s time to make your way to the border. 

On foot, it should take you 10-15 minutes or, otherwise, jump in a taxi. 

Step three: Exit Argentina and enter Bolivia 

Bolivian flag

Since you must go through an immigration checkpoint, have all your documentation handy. This includes your passport, visa (if required) and proof of your accommodation in Bolivia. 

Ensure that they stamp your passport as you leave the country. 

You will then be standing in a no man’s land or border zone, an area separating the two countries. 

Make your way to the Bolivian immigration checkpoint, where you must present your passport and documentation again. 

Plane: How to cross by air from Argentina to Bolivia

La Paz Bolivia houses

  • Requirements: Valid passport, visa (depending on your nationality), boarding pass, COVID-19 documents (check with the airline and relevant authorities)

If you are all about convenience, then flying is your best option. 

It’s possible to fly directly from Buenos Aires to Santa Cruz. This journey will only take you three hours with several airlines, including Boliviana de Aviacion (BOA) and Aerolineas Argentinas to choose from. 

On arrival at Santa Cruz, the central hub for flights in and out of the country, you will be free to explore Bolivia’s diverse range of landscapes, including La Paz, Lake Titicaca and Salar de Uyuni. 

Other options are flights from Buenos Aires to Cochabamba, a city in the center of Bolivia.

Leaving Bolivia 

llamas in Bolivia

The Bolivia to Argentina border crossing is a vital land crossing between the two countries. 

Let’s look at the most common ways to travel from Bolivia to Argentina. 

How to Cross from Uyuni to Salta 

Salt flats of Uyuni, Bolivia

Before making your way to Argentina, why not stop in Uyuni to visit the Salt Flats. It will be a great end to your trip in Bolivia. 

There are three potential ways you could cross the border between Uyuni to Salta. 

Option One: By Air

border town Villazon Bolivia

While this may sound appealing initially, this option will take you much longer than you would expect. With at least one stop in La Paz or Santa Cruz involved and risky self-transfers, flying from Uyuni to Salta will take around 16 hours! 

It is also not the most cost-effective option. However, if you haven’t had a chance to visit La Paz or Santa Cruz, this may be a convenient choice for you. 

Option Two: By Tour

Red Lagoon in Bolivia

This is an excellent option for those who don’t feel comfortable making the border crossing themselves. 

You’ll also make stops along the way, including Eduardo Avaroa Fauna National Reserve, the Laguna Colorada (Red Lagoon) and the Sol de Manana geothermal area. 

Unfortunately, by taking a tour, you won’t get to skip the custom checkpoints. However, you will have your tour operator with you, and they will be able to guide you through the process and help ensure a smooth crossing.

Option Three: By Bus

bus in Bolivia

  • Open/hours/availability: 24 hours (however, the customs office is closed late in the evening and early in the morning)
  • Requirements: Bus ticket, passport, visa (dependent on your nationality) 

Step one: Jump on the bus from Uyuni (or Tupiza) bound for Salta 
Uyuni in Bolivia landscape

If you choose to travel by bus, get on board one from Uyuni bound for the Bolivian border town of Villazon. 

Or, if you have spent a few days exploring the unique landscapes around Tupiza, you can also get on board there. This option will save you a few hours. 

Most buses depart either very early morning or in the early afternoon. Keep in mind that if you want to arrive in Salta during daylight hours, you will need to take the early morning one. 

Pro tip: Although there are a few bus companies to choose from, they all have similar departure times. 

Step two: Walk or take a taxi to the border 
Bolivian landscape near the border of Argentina

Now that you’ve arrived in Villazon, you must get to the border.  

The walk from the bus station to the border is approximately 30 minutes, so unless you have packed lightly, it’s recommended that you jump in a taxi. 

Step three: Cross the border from Bolivia to Argentina 
bridge crossing between Argentina and Bolivia border

The border is a bridge that spans across a river. 

When exiting Bolivia, the officer will stamp your passport and hand you a receipt. 

Pro tip: Make sure you change any Bolivianos over to Argentinian pesos. Before arriving in Salta, you must purchase a bus ticket and/or food.

Step four: Get your Argentinian stamp 
Argentina flag

Yay! You’ve made it to Argentina. Now it’s time to get your entry stamp.

After passing by the officers, you will enter the immigration building, where your bags will be scanned and checked. 

Step five: Take an onward bus from La Quiaca heading to Salta 
colorful landscape near the border of Argentina and Bolivia

Once you get through the red tape, it’s time to make your way to the bus stop. 

It is a 10-minute walk, but it is slightly uphill. 

You can then jump on a bus bound for Salta. The bus from Quiaca to Salta will take you approximately 7 hours and 30 minutes. 

Otherwise, you can find buses off to other destinations across Argentina.

Pro tip: Don’t be startled if the bus is pulled over by the police. It’s not uncommon for spot checks to occur on this route, so always keep your passport with you to show the officers.

Map of the Bolivia-Argentina Border Area

If some of the towns mentioned above are new to you, look on this map to figure out which are best for your travel plans and border crossing.

It will help you when it comes time to plan your trip. 

The Wrap-Up Over the Bolivia-Argentina Border

Iguazu falls, Argentina

As you can see, you have many options when it comes to crossing the Bolivia-Argentina border. At the end of the day, you’ll have to choose the best path for your journey. But now at least you’ll be well prepared, goodbye nerves!  

Important Disclaimer: Though every effort has been made to provide the most current and up-to-date information, international border crossings and their entry and exit requirements are subject to change. So, be sure to check with your country’s embassy—and that of your destination country before you leave for your trip.


How much should I expect to pay when crossing the border? 

The cost of crossing from Argentina to Bolivia or Bolivia to Argentina can vary depending on your nationality. US, Canadian, EU and Australian residents can travel in Bolivia and Argentina free of charge for 90 days without requiring a visa. For residents of other countries, it’s best to check in advance as it is more economical to obtain a visa prior to your arrival rather than at the border. 

Is there a minimum stay?

No, but there is a maximum stay for tourists. Tourist visas in both Argentina and Bolivia are valid for 90 days. 

Do I need return tickets (proof of onward travel)?

Yes, it’s best to have information about your departure from the country. You may also be asked for proof of accommodation and enough money to cover your trip. 

Is it easy and hassle-free to cross the Argentina-Bolivia border?

As long as you are crossing the border at one of the legally permitted entry points, you should not have any issues. However, if you feel uneasy, book a tour which means you will travel in a group with a guide who can assist you. 

Posted April 17, 2023
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Kate and Olly of KO Travellers
Kate Torpy and Oliver Neville of KO Travellers are travel bloggers and content creators from Australia. They caught the travel bug from a young age and have not looked back since. The things they love about travelling the most are meeting new people, experiencing diverse cultures and exploring lesser-known corners of the world. Whether they are on assignment or travelling for pleasure, they document their travels on Instagram and provide detailed accounts on their Blog. From picturesque landscapes to island paradises, they cover it all - even the underwater marine world.
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