E. and I elected to take a bus from Mendoza, Argentina, to Santiago de Chile. Overall, we were happy that we took the bus over a plane because it was a clear, mild day and we had beautiful views.
My favorite part of the Andes was seeing the layers of sienna, ochre, and brown juxtaposed with the blue sky. The ride from Mendoza to the land border was smooth and tranquil. It took about an hour and a half for the immigration and customs officials to stamp our passports and search suitcases. While the immigration lines could have been more orderly, it wasn’t an unpleasant experience. It looked more painful for cars which were backed up for a mile.
The Chilean officials are vigilant against taking fresh fruits and vegetables over the border and aren’t afraid to give out fines.
I have to be honest: the ride down the mountain was a little scary. There were a series of switchbacks, and the driver kept turning the bus so that the front wheel grazed over the ledge. The entire bus was silent as we knifed down the mountain–possibly from terror. Because E. and I were in the front, we could feel the gravel fall underneath the tire each time we took the sharp turn down another slope.
If you decide to take the bus, the front right hand side seats are preferable because you have the beautiful view and photo opportunities. Book ahead of time and request this spot. We suggest taking the Andesmar bus if you are coming from Mendoza or Buenos Aires.