How not to cross a border in South America


 How did we become illegal in Peru? We barely know ourselves.


After our trip to Isla del Sol we had an 11-hour bus trip to Cusco ahead of us. 15 minutes from Copacabana we crossed the border and a guide throughly explained all everything we had to do to cross it. Obviously not clearly enough. We got off the bus and got the exit stamp from the Bolivian border. On the Peruvian side everyone was just waiting for the bus and even if it did cross our minds that it was wierd that we didnt get a stamp for Peru as well we didn’t think much more about it. 5 am we arrived in Cusco and it wasn’t until we checked in at the hostel we realized what a huge mistake we’d made. The guy at front desk told us to go to the immigration office later that day to get it sorted. But there we only got bad news, apparently the only soloution was the go back to the nearest border to get our stamps.
Not much more for us to do than to book another bus, back to the stupid border. Of course we couldn’t book a bus straight away but had to take another night bus and the ride there seemed endless. We were told that it’s quite common that they ”forget” to give the stamps and according to all the Peruvians we spoke to there shoulnd’t be any issues for us. Since we planned on catching a local bus back from the border we left our luggage at the hostel (we’ve been told that the risk of theft is higher with local transportation) The closer we got to the border the more nervous we got. When we finally arrived to the same spot we’d been only two days ago, we almost shat ourselves. iUna grande problema, muy grande! Those were the words the officer at border kept repeating to us and we felt like total idiots for leaving our backpacks. All I could think of was how prisons in Peru are like. But then asked us what we have. ?Qué tenéis? Yeah, what did we have? The past few ATM’s we tried using wasn’t working so we really didn’t have much. Just enough to pay for a bus back to Cusco. Of course that wasn’t enough for the gready officer and luckily we remembered we had some US- dollars stashed away for emergencies. This was obviously one so we handed it over and begged him to spare us some so we could afford to get the hell out of there. He grabbed some bills and when he finally after a long, nervous wait came back he ”needed” more.
We weren’t gonna argue with him at this point so $130 later we jumped in to a sketchy tuk-tuk to the nearest town. There we got in to a minivan so full that we pretty much sat on each other with an old ladys baby on our lap. 2,5 bumpy hours later we where in Puno hoping to get something to eat before the next long bus ride. But the next bus were leaving at the same minute and reluctant to stay a second longer than we had to we stayed hungry.
At least now we’re legal tourists and we’ve learnt how to properly cros a SA border. We’ll probably never understand how we could miss immigration.
/Dumb & Dumber

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