Beautiful Bus Ride: Mendoza to Santiago via Andes

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Greetings from Santiago,

I’m writing this from a 6th floor loft of sorts in Plaza de Armas which is the core of Santiago, Chile. Myself and new friend took a bus from Mendoza through the Andes to get there. We were supposed to get here at 7PM, we arrived at 11PM and my friend had his wallet lifted. This was one of the most scenic bus trips I’ve ever taken and I do believe, the highest border crossing I’ve ever experienced. It all ended with the most messed up busy, chaotic bus station you could ever imagine…

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You leave Mendoza and cut deep into the Andes as you climb and climb. You get high, really high and suddenly you’re at this border crossing which basically takes forever and has sub par over priced food. That said, still glad they had food there as stuffing your stomach liner with empanadas is a great way to pass time. The mountains are serene and beyond massive it really makes you realize how short your time here is and in the greater scheme of things, insignificant. I also really realized how short our time is here, those mountains will never go anywhere but us on the other hand, we all know how our song and dance ends.

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Once you make it through the border crossing you go through countless switchbacks as you descend from the peaks and one thing I’ll mention is the minute you get into Chile, it’s a lot chillier than it was in Argentina. What a difference a massive mountain range makes, yes? We got into Santiago and it was just a cluster$#@$ like nothing I’ve ever seen. Bus after bus after bus, nobody letting anyone go and literally standing still at these intersections with no lights, roundabouts or police for ever…

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You finally get to the station and it’s just bedlam. People screaming, offering taxi, people who you didn’t see on the bus moving through the madness as the overwhelmed and overworked drivers try and sort bags out. It was like a raffle where they call your number and you push through the mob to get your gear. I had all my stuff on lock down but did notice one of my zipper was a bit open on a back pocket. Could have been me or who didn’t close it all the way or a random lurker who tried to open it; either way sketchy.

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We arrived where we are staying and looked around until we made our way to the 6th floor for a stunning view. We check in and just like that, friend’s wallet is gone. The jury is still out on how it went missing and it’s possible it just dropped out of his pocket but let this be a reminder, yes? You always have to double check your gear before you get out of any cab or peel yourself from any bus seat. Luckily he had backup plans like someone living in the bush should have backup generators so it’s not a big deal but still a buzz kill to some degree as nobody likes losing anything.

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I hope you enjoy these photos and if you ever get a chance to take this bus, do it. Just leave earlier in the day so you don’t arrive in Santiago at night; it’s not the nicest experience. Also, do bring water and food as you get nothing on the long ride. I hope you enjoy these photos and they give you a slight idea of what it was like. Who am I kidding, this is just a glimpse you need to be there to experience it and anyone who has taken the trip will agree; awe inspiring.

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Tomorrow is Xmas and all this moving has me tired so may explore for a day or go to the beaches. I’m kind of over random big city I had no intention of ever visiting. The beaches are supposedly really nice but the water is shockingly cold which isn’t too shocking as it’s the Pacific and supposedly cold currents from Antarctica come this way. It’s sort of like British Columbia, Canada; great scenery but you best bring a wetsuit if surfing or any water sport is in the cards.

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Tips hat,

6 Comments

  1. Fran

    December 24, 2013 at 8:17 pm

    Comment

  2. Fran

    December 24, 2013 at 8:24 pm

    Wow! That shot of the switchbacks is incredible. It would be a Dramamine ride for me, for sure. Traveling around Honduras, which is mountainous gets to me, so I can’t imagine the Andes, although I would love to see it. I’m back to Tegucigalpa on the 26th. It’s one place in Honduras along with Copán I can really recommend. Of course, being mistaken for the Ambassador on a couple of occasions makes for some humorous times too. The colonial towns outside the city are great and the street food is some of the best I’ve had in Honduras. So many photos requires a lot of time sorting and editing though.

    Happy trails and happy holidays!

  3. Dale

    December 25, 2013 at 6:21 am

    From the views that you’ve had on the bus it looks like the bedlam of the station is completely worth it.

    Hope your Christmas isn’t just full of freezing cold waves 🙂

  4. the welsh wizard

    December 25, 2013 at 7:05 am

    What a coach trip, find those roads amazing. Thanks for sharing.

  5. sammy

    January 29, 2015 at 3:19 am

    how long is the bus ride from Mendoz to Santaigo?

    • Rob

      January 29, 2015 at 1:11 pm

      Long, most of the day.

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