Border Crossing: Brasil to Uruguay at Chui/Chuy
As we’d been driving down the coast and because we wanted to visit the Northern beaches in Uruguay the quiet border at Chui (the Brasilian spelling) or Chuy (the Uruguayan spelling) was our best choice. The road to the border in Brasil branches at Pelotas with most of the trucks heading the opposite way – this meant that we found the border at Chui to be quiet and relaxed.
As with all of the borders in South America we found the crossing quick and easy. The people we came across were friendly and efficient.
We first arrived at the Brasilian border post where we were directed to park just off the road (albeit blocking another loop of the road) a few metres before the border building.
The building itself was very organised with numbered signs above each window indicating the order of the steps to be taken. As usual the immigration was first up followed by customs. The process went quickly and smoothly although the woman at customs did want to check the VIN (identification) number of the truck.
Once through the Brasilian side we continued along the road which forks to the town of Chui or to Uruguay.
The town of Chui is slightly strange as it crosses the border with the main street marking the split between the two countries with signs in Portuguese on one side and Spanish on the other and of course the shops on one side of the street price everything in Reals and the other in Pesos!
We took the fork in the road to the border and soon came across the border building where there is a big concrete construction built over the road. We were flagged down (by a bloke in plain clothes who we were initially quite suspicious of!) and directed to park just in front of the concrete construction and hopped out of the truck to visit the building on the right.
We were quickly stamped in at immigration and then moved to the customs table where the ‘suspicious looking’ man who had flagged us down processed us and turned out to be the chief official! He was very friendly and filled in the forms to give us a Temporary Import Permit.
He wanted to come out and check out the truck and we initially thought this was going to be a food inspection and that we might lose some of our stores. Other people have had food inspections coming into Uruguay (at other borders) and these have been quite strict. However it turned out that the customs guy was thinking about buying a motorhome and just wanted a look inside!
After this we were done and drove off. We were hoping that the road would lead to the town because we needed some money from an ATM. However the highway just headed South so we turned around – back down the highway, past the border and back into the town.
We didn’t have any luck getting money on the Uruguayan side of the town as the only cashpoint we could find didn’t accept foreign cards. Not to be thwarted, we crossed over to the Brasilian side where there were several banks doling out Brasilian Reals, filled up our wallets and crossed back over the street to one of the hundreds of moneychangers and finally, in a roundabout way, we managed to get our hands on some Pesos.