Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Avoiding the Gringo Tax

So you ask, what is the gringo tax? Well, the gringo tax comes in so many different forms. I just found out yesterday that Chile has a gringo tax of $131 if I fly into Santiago. But, jajaja, they apparently don't pull that mess if I ride in by bus. Done, and done. The ridiculous part is that it's actually a reciprocal tax. The US charges Chileans $131 for entering the country, so it's Chile's way of saying, you screw us, we'll be happy to screw you too. Can't really say I blame them at all, to be perfectly honest. But hopefully, if my info is right, I'll be able to skip that mess, get my 90 day tourist visa, and then on to Santiago.

I just booked my hostel in Santiago. I've learned from being here in Cuzco that it is pretty important to work out the hostel in advance if it's a good one. Joe had tried to book me a room in his hostel a few days before. I got here, and had no room. Now, I ended up finding another hostel for the same price, and instead of the dorm thing, I have a private room and bathroom. It's just not the place to meet people.

Joe and I were supposed to hook up the night I got here as he got back from the Inca Trail. But he got back late, and I didn't have a place at his hostel, so we missed eachother. I figured he was going to fly out the next day, but he got a stomach bug on the trail and ended up waiting in Cuzco for a later flight. Thus, he and I finally hooked up yesterday and had a grand time catching up and scheming for the future. He should be in Lima right now, on his way back to Antigua for a month and a half...lucky! Talking to him yesterday got me jonesing again to go back to Antigua. Who knows?

Cuzco has been stellar. The city is clean, beautiful, weather is perfect, people are cool, and the food has been quite good too. Still haven't had cuy (guinea pig) which is what everyone says you have to eat for novelty's sake...think I'm good, thanks. It's a lot of money for a little meat from what I hear. Call me crazy, but I'm among those who believe cuy belongs in cages running on wheels.

It looks like, if my calculations are right, I can stay here til Sunday and still get to Santiago in time to make my reservation in the hostel (Tuesday), and plenty of time before the Radiohead show (Thursday). So I think I'll chill here a bit longer, since it doesn't appear to be the marathon trip I feared it would be. 15 hours from Cuzco to the border, check out of Peru, walk across, get my stamps, and then 30ish hours from the border to Santiago. Sounds rough, I know, but me and the bus are getting along pretty good up til now. Especially the buses with semi-camas - the seat is nearly horizontal. Muy chevere.

Toss a prayer up for my stomach again, if it comes to mind. Something's still not totally right, though I don't feel dehabilitated and weak like I did in Quito. Trying to avoid cipro again if at all possible.

Ok, done for now. Off to figure out what I'm going to do with myself with all these extra days here...I may get to hit Machu Picchu after all...vamos a ver. Laters.



  1. Well fancy that...two American dudes find themselves waaay outside the border, yet we both use Blogspot!?! Holy cow! C'mon dude, try the guinea pig. I've eaten dog twice :-P

  2. interesting my friend. How do you know Chile didn't start the tax and the US reciprocated???

    Glad you liked cuzco man. That place is still in my dreams from my trip.