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drive from santiago to mendoza?

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to experience the scenery of the andes we were thinking of driving from santiago to mendoza. we read that this is a beautiful drive. however, rather than driving all the way to mendoza ( and back to santiago) we were thinkig of going part-way. we are wondering if this is a good plan? is there a town with a hotel that we can overnight in? is portillo on the way? can anyone suggest a good turn-around point?

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