Snow-capped mountains, crystal blue lakes, the occasional wildlife spotting and jagged mountain drop offs are all part of the package on perhaps the world’s most scenic bus ride crossing the Andes mountain range from Argentina into Chile.
While for many the thought of a 10 hour bus ride through the remote country side may bring about feelings akin to torture and extreme boredom, you will be more than pleasantly surprised if you find yourself aboard a bus crossing from Mendoza, Argentina to Santiago, Chile.
Buses in most countries in South America come in three classes: Semicama, standard four across seats with minimal recline and often no extra services, Cama, plush seats and leg rests with only 3 across, toilets on board and meal service and Premier which offers the same services as Cama with fully reclinable bed type seats. If and when available it is always worth it to spring for at least cama to ensure a comfortable ride.
At the time of writing a Cama bus ticket from Mendoza to Santiago cost less than $25 per person with light meals and refreshments onboard included. Crossing the border is straightforward: jump off the bus and get your passports stamped both with an exit stamp from Argentina and an entry stamp to Chile, no fees required, run your luggage through the scanner and hop back aboard the bus. Bringing any kind of animal product or fruit to Chile is a big no-no so be sure you’ve eaten any fruit you’ve brought with you beforehand.
The road is well paved and weaves up and over the Andes Mountain range offering breathtaking views for the duration of the journey. You’ll want to keep your camera in your day bag to snap pics like the one in this post from your window. Never has travel by bus looked so good. While you could fly one way for approximately $400 per person, this is one time budget travel by bus wins out over the convenience of air travel.