What better way to explore the remote regions of South and Central America than behind the wheel of a Volkswagen Westy? Meet our latest investment and home for the next year. His name is Ande and he’s a 34 year old hunk of retro from West Germany.
The name Ande has a double meaning:
1. The Andes Mountains which we will following the entire length of South America.
2. Ande in spanish means to walk. Being that this is an old VW, we are ready to do plenty of that!
How to buy a car in Chile
We’ve driven over 30,000 kilometers now in South America and have met fellow overlanders from all over the world. Few people buy in South America due to fear of cost, quality, lack of resources and headache. Instead, most people ship from there home country. It’s only possible to legally purchase a vehicle in select countries. The most popular and arguably the easiest is Chile. However, we have met people that have managed to purchase in Columbia and Uruguay. We went with the latter.
Buying a car is no easy task and many say it is impossible, but with a little determination and a whole lot of convincing, we now have wheels and you can too.
Step 1) Obtain a RUT number, which is basically a Chilean Social Security Number. This is required to purchase property in Chile. We had to find a Chilian sponsor, complete a lengthy application process, locate a willing notary and do a whole lot of convincing along the way.
Step 2) Finding the car, which is not as easy as you might think. Finding a car took the better part of two weeks with endless searching and an overnight bus ride to complete the transaction. Note: Just because it’s advertised, doesn’t mean its actually for sale.
Step 3) Getting our hands on 3.8 million Chilean pasos in cash.
-thats right, we were millionaires for a minute and its really not all it’s hyped up to be. Getting the cash is a pain.
Step 4) Getting the title transferred. It’s hard to convince a notary that they are wrong and you (as a foreigner with google translate in hand) are correct.
Step 5) Outfit your ride. You’ll find anything you need in Santiago, Chile, just be prepared to pay. To save money, we just outfitted it with the basics and waited until we reached Bolivia for a full refurb.
MVP goes out to the lady in the photo for her surprising Spanish speaking skills. Within a month of being in South America, she could already communicate. She and her huge brain never cease to amaze me.