When to buy a vehicle or when to rent? If you have limited time, which means that you are planning to travel 4 months or less we would recommend renting a vehicle. Yes, it is more expensive to rent, and after the renting period, you don’t get any money back. Remember that you have to spend time on buying and selling (we recommend 2 weeks for buying and 2 weeks for selling), and you can’t leave before you have sold the vehicle, unless you can find someone, who will sell it for you (it is all about trust). Here is our version of “the pleasure of owning a Chilean vehicle”:
1. The vehicle “Lance” (name your vehicle) is ours, this means that we can keep Lance as long as we want or can afford to have him
2. We can go, wherever we want (no renting rules)
Love wild camping
3. He is not only some kind of transportation, he is our home
Eating in the van is just a part of our van-life no matter if its in the bed, or if we have put up the table. Here in Arica we bought ceviche right next to the road, and was enjoying lunch on the front seat (right picture).
4. We can custom fit Lance to our needs fx mounting a rack for a bicycle on the rear end, and making a new cabinet for the camping chairs
5. We have to maintain him fx oil change, new brake pads and discs, new tires, repairs of the starter motor etc. Maintenance takes time, and sometimes it can take days, so if you have a tight schedule during your trip, think about the condition of the vehicle before you buy or rent.
6. We also have to maintain the interior fx painting of wood, filling up the gas bottle for cooking, interior light, the electrical cooler etc. When we bought Lance, we chose to invest in a 155 Watts Solar Panel and a deep cycle battery, this set-up can keep us running for 2 days without driving.
The pictures might need an explanation: “Our electrical cooler died”. Esben had changed a part in La Paz, but one week later it stopped cooling again. We spend a whole day visiting 3-4 different stores in Arica to find a new one. It was not easy to find one, that would fit into our custom made cabinet. BUT… we did it! Found a Coleman, that Esben had to rewire to connect it with our solar panel. It works so much better than the old one, now the beer and white wine gets really cold. When owning a vehicle we have to fix things ourselves, this means that we also spend money on buying tools, that will do the job, this time we had to buy a soldering iron.
7. We have to make sure, that all the paper work is in order. These are the rules in Chile:
a. Pay the mandatory annual insurance in Chile called “Consorcio”.
b. Pay the mandatory annual municipal tax called “Permiso de circulacion”.
c. The vehicle have to go through “Revision tecnica” once a year (a manual inspection of the vehicle to check if is safe to drive on the street).
d. Have a print of the title called “padron”, which you can get at Registro Civil.
with a, b, c, and d in order you are ready to travel in Chile. If you want to drive across the border you have to make sure this is in order too:
e. Get a Declaracion Jurada at a Notary. This document is valid for 6 months (has to be renewed every 6 month in Chile) and states that you as a foreigner can leave Chile into Argentina with a Chilean registered vehicle, when you present the Declaracion Jurada at the Chilean Aduana (the customs at the border). From Argentina you can cross the border into Uruguay, Paraguay, Brasil and Bolivia to see more of South America. It can also be a good idea to have a print of the law “Capitula 4: Salida de Mercancias”, section “17. Otros documentos de Salida Temporal” referring to undersection 17.2. and 17.2.3.
f. Buy an insurance that cover the vehicle outside Chile fx MAPFRE makes an insurance that cover Argentina, Brasil, Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay. We recommend buying it in Chile (at one of their offices) or online, simply because it is easier.
g. Don’t get any traffic tickets. You can not sell the vehicle, before you have paid the fines.
Yes, we did all of this and so can you. Taking the vehicle through Revision Tecnica first time (left picture) and second time (right picture). Lance didn’t go through the first time, but after chancing a few light bulbs and having the rear brakes adjusted, he was ready for one more year on the road.
We are the loving and proud owners of Lance. Would we do it again? “YES”. We love our van-life as a way of living a life on the road. Along the way we have become wiser, especially what is important and what works for us, when living a life on the road.
Not everything was practical in Arica, we also took some time off to be tourists. We do spend a lot of time being tourists, but we spend even more time on daily living on the road, which makes Lance such a big part of our lives when traveling here in South America.
Visiting the monument of the unknown soldiers
The tomb was erected in the memory of the Chilean soldiers who gave their life for their country without their remains being identified. The memorial site is located on a high cliff “Morro de Arica” overlooking the city and the harbor.
Tasting the local ceviche – love ceviche
I don’t consider myself as a “museums-person”, but during this trip Esben and I have visited more museums, than ever before. Also in Arica we had found a museum to visit “Museo in Sitio Colón N 10”. Evidence shows that the first inhabitants on the coast is from 8000 years B.C. (Before Christ). Then the Chinchorro culture lived from 6000-2000 years B.C. as fisher-gatherers. The most significant feature from this culture is the mummifications of their dead, who we would visit at the museum.
The mummies were 7000 years old, so they were dated back to 5000 B.C. The museum was build on top of where the mummies where found. Looking at the dead, resting below my feet
The small groups of fisher-gatherers grew in size as their technology grew more efficient, which ended the Chinchorro tradition around 2000-1000 years B.C. The people learned how to transform natural resources like seeds, roots, leaves and stems into food. Agriculture was born in the low valleys and during 1000-500 villages began to develop on the high plateaus in the mountains. After the year zero the Tiwanaku culture became one of the most influential and powerful centers in the Andes around Lake Titikaka (split between Peru and Bolivia today). The coastal population reached its maximun development from 1000-1470 A.D. and the last settlement before the Colonial period is known as the Inca culture, which started around year 1100 A.D. and ended in 1535. The Inca culture would be the center for our upcoming visit in Peru. First we had planned to do a lot of hiking in the central and northern part of Peru, but I twisted my knee in “Salar de Uyuni”, and at the hospital in Arica we found out, that it was not possible to do multiday hikes, due to the injury (the ACL was gone). Just saying, it is very important to have a good travel insurance. We hear from many travelers, that they think their travel insurance are expensive, so are ours, but when you need it, you just want the best treatment that you can get. Buying a good travel insurance is a part of living a life on the road or going on vacation.
Every night while being in Arica, we were wild camping on a beach just south the city. The Chilean people like to BBQ nd they like to party! In total 5 out of 7 nights people had found their way to “our beach”, to drink or to BBQ and drink. One night we were invited to joint the BBQ. Meet the amazing Chilean family in the right picture. They invited us over for another traditional Chilean dish, one that we haven’t had before. First they fried chicken and onion, then added a lot of white wine before adding seafood and chorizo. It was amazing!
We love all the time, that we spend outside during our travel – when returning home to Denmark, we would like to spend more time outside and less time in front of the television, because it makes us happy.
It was time to leave Chile and drive to Peru. Last sunset on the beach…