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Bus travel from Buenos Aires to Santiago via Mendoza

Chicago
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Bus travel from Buenos Aires to Santiago via Mendoza

Again, before I went to Buenos Aires, I found very few intelligent evaluations about this GREAT MEANS of traveling between BA and Santiago or Santiago to BA. Here is my own evaluation and experience for the benefit of all future travellers to these two great countries.

I have travelled the world many times and wanted to see a little of both countries. The 2 hour fligth did not make sense to me.

For what I experienced 2 weeks ago, I think Argentina and Chile have the best ground transportation in the world. I wanted to drive to Mendoza (to expensive) and I am glad I decided for the bus trip!

From the Bus Depot Retiro in Buenos Aires (next to the San Martin Plaza and the English Tower and diagonal to the Sheraton Hotel) you can have many bus lines that do trips all around Argentina and beyond. I liked the AndesMar buses but decided on TAC, when I went there to purchase the tickets.

Please READ carefully. I was with my mother and another lady (both 80 years old)and both decided to take this ride as an adventure.

For only $33 dollars per person, we left at 4PM to Mendoza on a 12 hour trip. You do save on hotel, since you travel during the nigth! They feed you, small dinner and breakfast with hot coffe (not a great meal but acceptable) and the seat/beds recline about 150 degrees and are much better than airline seats. The 3 of us rested very good. From Buenos Aires to Mendoza is all flat and nothing to see. The buses have 2 drivers. My plan was to stay in Mendoza the following day and then to Chile and worked to perfection considering I did not have any hotel reservation in Mendoza!

After a restful overnigth trip we arrived in Mendoza at about 9 am (delayed almost 2 hours for an accident on the highway). I took a taxi that for 3 dollars took me to downtown to the Hotel International. I found a nice room (2 of them) for only $45 dollars each and went out the rest of the day to walk around this BEATIFUL city. For only $7 dollars the hotel arranged a city tour of 4 hours (around 4PM) and we got the opportunity to enjoy Mendoza!

Next day we left at 8am ($16 to Santiago with tickets we had purchased also in Buenos Aires) in the same bus line TAC and no meals for a very interesting trip crossing the Andes. To the border to Chile is not that up hill but you can see the Aconcagua. Customs are slow in Chile and we waited for more than 2 hours, but the nice thing about us was the fact that they did not CHARGE THE $100 each american has to pay to enter Chile!?!?. I don't know what happened here but the Chilean Consulate confirmed this cost to me before I left and you do pay it at the airport in Santiago.

From the border you have an incredible trip DOWN the Andes and finally we arrived in Santiago around 4pm. My advise to people interested? DO IT. It is a great trip. I assume also the trip in the opposite way works the same.

Buenos AIres
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1. Re: Bus travel from Buenos Aires to Santiago via Mendoza

Pricipe, thanks , excellent tip and post! Never did the bus thing ...only by plane because of duty as I have travelled alot both to Mendoza and Santiago for working reasons.

Portland, Oregon
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2. Re: Bus travel from Buenos Aires to Santiago via Mendoza

Thank you, Prince. I will be taking the bus the opposite way (Santiago/Mendoza) next month, & will post a review. And I will be sure to bring my own food for that lengthy a journey!

Santiago, Chile
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3. Re: Bus travel from Buenos Aires to Santiago via Mendoza

Principe, you weren't charged the 100 dollars because you entered Chile by land. You only pay coming in by air. You paid for your trip over, including hotel, for under the 100 dollar reciprocity fee and saved the airfare. Clever!

It is indeed a beautiful trip over the Andes and anyone with available time should try it. Long distance buses in Argentina and Chile are very good, as you say. I am glad you and the two ladies enjoyed the trip.

Buenos Aires...
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4. Re: Bus travel from Buenos Aires to Santiago via Mendoza

Thanks for sharing that with us. Almost thirty yuears ago, when I couldn't afford an airline ticket to Santiago de Chile, I flew to Mendoza and took the bus there. IMHO, crossing the Andes by bus makes a wonderful trip, but flying over them is an amazing experience too.

Branford...
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5. Re: Bus travel from Buenos Aires to Santiago via Mendoza

Excellent and informative post. Thanks for sharing. May I ask? How is your spanish? I am usually with a native speaker at the bus station and I always wonder how I would do on my own with my basic spanish. I assume I would be able to buy and pay for the tickets and get on the right bus. Just curious how it went.

Did you go over the andes on a road with a series of switchbacks. I mentioned in a prior post that the series Amazing Race had people driving from Santiago to Mendoza and the pictures of the trip were spectacular. Did you stop along the way? I was wondering about photo ops. Could you take pictures out of the windows or were they too tinted? Is the cost of things much higher in Chile? I heard their economy is thriving and as result everything is very expensive in comparison to Argentina. Thanks again.

Chicago
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6. Re: Bus travel from Buenos Aires to Santiago via Mendoza

Gracias...to all of you (Santiagov, Dancingmolly and Veritas01 and others) who have read ALL my other posters.

Yes. I do speack Spanish. I am a Colombian living in Chicago for 40 years. I love to travel and this was my 4 trip to each country. I have done the Lakes disctric before and have gone to that unique nature wonder called Iguazu Falls!

I just read a post from a couple who did the roundtrip BA-Mendoza in Andesbus. I do agree with them. Perhaps their service was a little better in Andesbus (we did not have wine) but TAC was great. For a good prespective about the trip, bear in mind I had 2 ladies with me (both 80 years old!) and they ENJOED as I did.

The overnigth trip BA to Mendoza is boring and flat. So the coche-cama trip makes sense!...besides, for those on a budget, you save one nigth hotel!

The trip that is an experience is the 7 hours from Mendoza to Santiago. You do not go up but DOWN! From Santiago to Mendoza you go UP. One bus and not stops except for the border crossing (They got us over 2-1/2 UNECESSARY hours). I was lucky to share with my mother the front and upstairs seat so we had a great view during our trip. The windows are not shaded but clear and clean so you can take all the pictures you want.

Again, I do recommend this trip for those who have the extra day. I wanted to drive from BA to Santiago, but it was to expensive and I am GLAD I did it by bus!

Chicago
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7. Re: Bus travel from Buenos Aires to Santiago via Mendoza

Responding to Veritas, my opinion is very personal. I am a businessman who 40 years ago got Economics 101 (at the University of Valle in Cali) from one of the emerging Chilean economist from the University of Chicago, School of Economics. They called them then the "Chicago School Boys"). Those guys created what today is the best economy in Latin America. Their prices are a little higher than in Argentina, but as far as food prices, they are the same. The food in both countries is EXCELENT. I did travel to Argentina when the peso was iqual to the dollar (1 = 1) and it was very expensive. On this trip I felt as if I were a rich man!. My last expense in Chile was at the airport when I filled my rented car. $45 dollars to fill up a Corolla is a lot of money for any Latinamerican! You all draw your own ideas!

Buenos AIres
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8. Re: Bus travel from Buenos Aires to Santiago via Mendoza

Principe: Un poco de vértigo al bajar la cordillera ? ... con um buen Malbec a mano quizás lo soluciona ... o emperora .. ? :))

A interesting point about traveling by bus in Argentina is doing it by night in a coche cama ( get somehow knocedk down to sleep) a start a fresh day soemwhere else next morning while skiping a Hotel night cost.

I do it when going to Corrientes for fishing and love it ...

Calhoun, Georgia
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9. Re: Bus travel from Buenos Aires to Santiago via Mendoza

Veritas,

I haven't been on the bus trip but I have been on the highway that goes to the Argentine border from the Chilean side. My husband and I took a day trip with a guide to the Portillo Ski Resort. I wrote a review and attached photos that include the switches and photos of the Andes. There are about 20 switch backs with each numbered in the curve. It helps give you an idea of what they are like.

tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g303678-d3…

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10. Re: Bus travel from Buenos Aires to Santiago via Mendoza

Very interesting report. Does the bus run during Julky and August? Would the road conditions be too treacherous in the winter?

I might be goiiung to Argentina for two weeks in July and I would love to go to Santiago too.