Bolivia travel blog by Mark Berman -
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From Tarija you have 3 choices of border crossings into Argentina and I have done all 3 in fact! You have Villazon in the south-west, Yacuiba in
the south-east or Bermejo / Aguas Blancas more or less directly south. Yacuiba is a little out of the way so there's not much point taking that
route - I crossed at this crossing on an 18hr bus from Salta (Argentina) to Santa Cruz back in 2008. If you are heading straight to Salta you would
be best off taking the Bermejo route but if you are heading north of Salta to Humahuaca or Purmamarca you should head to Villazon!
Getting to Bermejo
The town of
Bermejo is 207km south of Tarija. To Bermejo it takes 2hrs 50mins in a shared car which are available outside Tarija's bus terminal or if you go
by bus it takes 4hrs. Of course I went by car!
The Journey from Tarija
The journey between Tarija and Bermejo passes through several small towns and communities like
Portillo, Padcaya, La Mamora, Emborozu and Nogalitos. The terrain is a mix of rocky mountains, desolate plains, fertile valleys, rivers, waterfalls
and jungle (Tariquia Flora and Fauna National Reserve). The road is in good condition and there are several tunnels under the rocky hills to pass
through along the way.
Once you get to Bermejo you can stay the night in one of the hotels in town. There is not a hell of a lot to see in the town
itself but there are several restaurants around where you can eat a cheap meal.
The Border Crossing
From Bermejo to Aguas Blancas for the border crossing into Argentina
takes 10mins by taxi. From here you walk across the bridge over the Bermejo River to the Argentinian side for the exit stamp from Bolivia and the
entry stamp to Argentina, all in one place.
From Aguas Blancas
From Aguas Blancas there are taxis to take you south, you need a taxi at least to Oran which takes 50mins at
140kmph (yes that's how fast we were going). From Oran you can get a bus to Salta. Or you can share another car and continue south to Ledesma which
takes 90mins at 140kmph (different driver, same speed). Of course you could catch a bus from Ledesma to Salta, but in my case I continued in yet
another car for 2hrs at 100kmph to finally get to Salta
by early evening. Adding that up, from Bermejo to Salta takes 4hrs 30mins travel time, from Villazon to Salta takes 7hrs.