The bus from Santiago, Chile, to Mendoza, Argentina, was quite a ride.
Here are all the details and how it went…
Buying the bus tickets a few days in advance is recommended. There were several companies offering multiple departures each day and the buses all seemed to fill up. For this long ride the buses had toilets onboard. I think it’s always a good idea to verify the buses have toilets before booking.
The bus tickets were about $50USD per person! The guys loading the luggage asked for tips. Later the bus conductor would also ask for tips.
The bus departed from Terminal Santiago not to be confused with the other two terminals just down the street. The bus left Santiago at 10:30am and reached the border about three hours later.
The scenery crossing the Andes was intense and the route included a switchback section to rapidly climb upwards back and forth back and forth.
Fun fact: The integrated immigration and customs station was on the Argentina side many kilometers beyond the border itself. The bus crossed the actual border without stopping.
At the Argentina immigration and customs station everyone was stamped out of Chile and into Argentina but there were no actual stamps for the passports! The immigration officer said that all of the information had been entered in the computer and stamps wouldn’t be needed later. Okay, I guess? There was supposed to be something sent by email but it never came.
It took about two hours inside the immigration and customs station to exit Chile and enter Argentina.
After crossing the border and getting through immigration and customs it took another three hours or so to get to Mendoza.
The bus arrived in Mendoza, Argentina, eight hours after departing Santiago, Chile.
The bus station in Mendoza was large and modern. It was busy and seemed to have service to many other parts of Argentina.
Mendoza has numerous city bus lines and a light rail line to get around and explore easily.
The final part of the day was finding the hostel, getting money exchanged, and looking for something to eat in the city center. Whew!
Getting money in Argentina was really strange. There was an official exchange rate, a better “blue dollar” rate, and a pretty good rate when sending money to yourself. Getting cash from an ATM or making purchases with a credit card would be bad options since everything would actually cost twice as much!
It was nice to finally be in Mendoza, a charming city, filled with amazing parks and huge shade trees along the streets, with lots of cafes, shops, restaurants, and bustling activity…