Bus trip from Santiago to Mendoza


Jan 30th, 2013, 10:01 PM
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Bus trip from Santiago to Mendoza

Just getting ready to book my S. American LAN pass and was so sad to find out that the day trips over the Andes are cancelled. Does anyone know when they might resume? We will be going on April 6th but will change to a flight to Buenos Aires if the information is true. Please let me hear from anyone who knows the status of this. Thank YOU!! Also, has anyone taken the bus from BA to Iguazu Falls, how long does it take?
liveinavila is offline  
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Jan 31st, 2013, 01:32 AM
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The road works are likely to be still going on in April as they started in january and said it would be a few months. Right now you get sunset on the way over, which is very nice, but in April the clocks will have changed and it will be dark for the journey.

BA to Iguazu is 16-18 hours by bus.
Huentetu is offline  
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Jan 31st, 2013, 09:25 PM
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I am shocked!
Planning our trip for the 27th of march, we have just this morning changed (with cost !)our airline tickets to stop at Santiago instead of BA to enjoy the day sightseeing trip over to Mendoza!!!!
Will we get to see anything at all?
Should we hurry to make reservations for the evening departure?
We were planning leaving on the 29th, after a day to visit a bit of Santiago and to rest after coming from Montréal,Qc. (13 hrs)
Are there enough buses since none are leaving during the day?
Road construction...does that mean the trip will take longer?
Is it still worthwhile?
Thank U for your answer.

A sad québéquoise.
Brossardoise is offline  
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Feb 1st, 2013, 05:47 AM
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All work on high altitude mountain roads has to be done in summer/autumn because of weather conditions. The main use the road gets is a corridor for trucks from the Atlantic to the Pacific ports, so it cannot be completely closed and the one way traffic is a compromise. Unfortunately, summer is also holiday season for Chileans and Argentines who pass back and forth at this time of year. Most use their own cars but many use the buses. Private vehicle traffic will decline after the 1st of March as children go back to school, but March 29th is Good Friday and is the beginning of the long weekend for Easter, so buses will probably be full from Thursday afternoon and traffic may be heavy. You would definitely need to book a bus if you want to travel on Easter weekend. You can usually only book Andesmar a month out. I believe you can book them or CATA Internacional online as they are Argentine companies. Chilean buses cannot be booked online with a foreign credit card.

Since the clocks change on the 9th of March, sunset in late March would be about 7pm. I don't know how much you will see in late March.

Do you need to pay a reciprocity fee for Chile and Argentina?
Huentetu is offline  
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Feb 1st, 2013, 08:47 AM
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Hi Huentetu,
Thank U for your answer, but oups double jeopardy! Had not realized about Easter.
By chance: could it be there is no work on the road for Easter break and we could still leave by day???... however, you explaining about one way traffic dampers my expectations! Looks like we have to burden our sadness.
Were can I read about that from official gouvernmental sites?
Yes we pay fees for both countries.
La québécoise.
Brossardoise is offline  
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Feb 1st, 2013, 11:10 AM
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The one way system will remain in place even over Easter, i believe, because half the road will still be dug up. If I see anything to the contrary I will post it here on this thread.

I am beginning to feel like some black cloud hanging over your trip, but I looked at holidays in Argentina as they differ from Chile, and found that the Thursday the 28th is a holiday there. Also the 2nd of April is a holiday (Fallen Veterans of the Malvinas War) and they seem to have made the 1st a "puente", a bridge, and it is a holiday too. That means the weekend holiday in Argentina runs from the 28th of March to the 2nd of April, inclusive of those dates. That is 6 days of holiday!

I would suggest that you try to travel on the Good Friday if you can. Spend another day in Chile on the Thursday as most things will certainly be open in the morning and many in the afternoon. There is a very good walking tour (for tips only) which you can do starting at the cathedral in the Plaza de Armas at 10 (or 10.30, I can check if you want). There are plenty of museums and sights to fill a day if you want to just wander. Eat well, drink some good Chilean wine. Relax. On the Friday take the bus over to Mendoza.

Most of the vineyards will probably be closed over that long weekend, but do a search and email a few places which do wine tours to find out. There might be somewhere open on the Saturday as Mendoza is a tourist destination for Chileans and Argentines as well and is a popular Easter destination. Search a few travel forums as well as this one to see if anyone was in Mendoza over Easter other years. There are some very nice drives around Mendoza and you might hire a car and driver, a remise, through your lodging.

Check how soon you can book any buses you want (Santiago/Mendoza and Mendoza/BA). They usually let you book a month before, but check before that. I believe Andesmar also has a phone contact on their webpage. Phone often is more successful than email in South America and you can at least found out when you can book.

Once you are in BA you may find museums closed but there is still plenty to see and good food and drink. Look for the Cicerones website. They are volunteers who do very good walking tours aimed at your interests. There may well be someone doing walks even over that holiday weekend. Shopping malls and craft fairs will be open on Saturday and Sunday. BA is a huge city and there is always something going on.

Sometimes the holidays which cause the most problems in the planning stage turn out to be the best ones.
Huentetu is offline  
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Feb 1st, 2013, 12:08 PM
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After drinking wine (if we can, this is locking like a disaster and we are wine lovers! Will write ahead to wineries.) and going to church (witch I am sure ceremonies will be nice, and maybe parades?, even if we are not churchgoers)we are going to Cordoba, then Tucuman to be with my 20 years long friend (who used to live in Québec) and whom is the purpose of this trip.
Then north Humahuaca with them for a few days,then solo Salta to Iguazu, and BA (around the 18th march), hope the rest goes well.
Thank U for your precious suggestions of things to do.
Cerro Santa Lucia and Cerro San Cristobal seem nice. Do we get a good view of the mountains from there?
Should we go? Is there one better for the view, if time for only one?
La québécoise
Brossardoise is offline  
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Feb 1st, 2013, 12:38 PM
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Better view from Cerro San Cristobal as it is higher, but it depends on how cloudy it is. Cerro Santa Lucia is nicer to walk on and is the spot where Santiago was founded.

The rest of your trip sounds great and I am sure you will enjoy your time in Cordoba and Tucuman. The area surrounding Cordoba is lovely. The rest of your trip sounds great. Just a little bumpy at the beginning!

There are places in Santiago where you can get really good wine by the glass (Bocanariz, Baco Bistrot) if you like to try different ones. There is bound to be something similar in Mendoza if the vineyards aren't open.
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