The Cristo Redentor (officially the Los Libertadores International Pass) connecting Mendoza and Chile has been reopened for the Argentines and foreign residents to return to the country, it was announced.
Although limited to a small number of people, the event was celebrated as a historic landmark after all land crossings into Argentina have been closed since March 2020.
The Cristo Redentor crossing is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for Argentines, foreign residents and for cases of family reunification or humanitarian reasons.
All the other international crossings along the Andes are still closed and entry of tourists into Argentina is still not permitted, while Argentines who want to travel to Chile will have to wait until October 1, when they will be able to do so by plane - from the Ezeiza and Mendoza airports, although the numerous sanitary requirements discourage any non-essential travel.
Chile will require tourists to:
In addition to that, the concept of “family reunion” is also very strict. The Buenos Aires Clarín daily has reported the case of a 25-year-old Chilean woman who travelled to see her boyfriend in Mendoza and despite meeting all health requirements were not allowed through because there was no legal binding and “courtship is not considered a case of family repatriation,” according to a migrations officer quoted by the newspaper.
Argentines, foreign residents and people with exceptions for family reunification, humanitarian and business causes, must bring a negative PCR from 72 hours before commencing travel, perform a rapid antigen test at the Horcones Customs and then keep isolation for 7 days at their destination. On the seventh day, they should repeat the PCR and if negative, isolation is lifted. Those entering the country must remain in the car at all times and with a mask.
Crossing land borders can only be done through private or rental cars. No public transport is allowed yet through the border. Travellers have been using a set of two taxicabs. One to the border, which they cross on foot, and a second taxicab to their places of destination for a total price of around AR $ 40,000 (some US $ 235, at the unofficial exchange rate), according to Clarín.
Drivers must also comply with sanitary protocols and have a plastic or glass device separating them from the passengers, in addition to wearing a mask throughout the trip and use alcohol sanitisers regularly. Those who do not meet these requirements are considered close contact and must perform 7-day isolation upon arrival at their destination.
In the first three days following the reopening, 97 people have entered Argentina from Chile.