Driving from Santiago to Mendoza, Argentina…should you in truth do it ? For those who like to get out on their own, this may sound like a big theme. And it is. The scenery is breathtaking, the drive can be an gamble, and there is a modern horizon around every bend. Plus, how many people in truth can say they crossed the Andes Mountains by car ? In some strange way, this drive can be a bucket list item. But that ’ s not to say that this drive is for everyone. For those who are susceptible, you may be dealing with motion illness and possibly even altitude illness. The roads are in capital condition but people pass when they should not, making the drive dangerous. And then there is the fear border thwart. Yes, you may get lucky and enter Argentina or Chile in an hour or lupus erythematosus. Or, you could spend hours and hours waiting in line. Been there, done that. Twice. And for those who are identical doomed, the frame could be closed wholly. We drove across the Andes Mountains between Santiago and Mendoza twice. We learned a lot. There are a lot of things you need to know before you start your drive. Like you could have a 6 hour bound cross and that you need to have a permit to drive a lease car across the boundary line. here is what you need to know to drive from Santiago to Mendoza .
- 0.1 Driving from Santiago to Mendoza over the Andes Mountains
- 0.2 santiago de los caballeros to the margin
- 0.3 Crossing the edge
- 0.4 Driving through Argentina
- 0.5 Driving from Mendoza to Santiago
- 0.6 Things to Know Before You Drive
- 0.7 Do You Want to Drive over the Andes but without the hassle?
- 0.8 What to See on the Drive in Chile
- 0.9 What to See on the Drive in Argentina
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Driving from Santiago to Mendoza over the Andes Mountains
We spent twelve days in Chile and Argentina, starting our stumble at the end of March. It was autumn in South America and the weather was amazing, with temperatures in the mid to high 70 ’ second ( 24°C ) during the day, chillier at night, with very little rain. After spending a few days in Santiago, we drove to Mendoza. It was a Monday and we thought we would have little dealings because it was a weekday. But it was besides the day after Easter. Little did we know that we would be sitting at the Immigrations function for hours with many other Argentinians heading home after their vacation. From Santiago, the drive to Mendoza is 365 km (227 miles) and is estimated to take five hours. This does not take into report dealings, stopping to take photos, or the edge crossbreed .
santiago de los caballeros to the margin
The drive is very straightforward. From Santiago, head north on Route 57. This is a wide highway and for the most region it is flatcar. You will make excellent time here arsenic long as there is no traffic. once you make it to Los Andes, take Route 60 east towards Argentina. Almost immediately after leaving Los Andes, you will enter the Andes Mountains. immediately you will be driving on a two lane road ( one lane in either management ) with fiddling opportunity to pass slower cars or trucks in front of you. From here to the frame it is an about wholly uphill climb and the roads will be blowy. Beware of other cars passing when it is insecure to do sol. We saw this a distribute more than we were expecting to . The real climbing begins at the legendary 29 curves. Most people either love or hate this part of the drive. We loved it ! How often do you get to see a road like this ? ! This photograph was taken from swerve 17 ( all of the curves are numbered ). At the top you will enter Portillo. There is a swiss-style hotel here with a restaurant, the perfective scar stop before continuing your journey into Argentina. Portillo Lake makes a very picturesque backdrop. Since we were here during the off-season, the hotel was about wholly deserted. It felt a little bite like the hotel in the movie “ The Shining, ” but the food was good and the watch was even better .
Crossing the edge
From Portillo, it takes only a few more minutes of driving to get to the Chile-Argentina border. There is an Immigrations function on the chilean side but you do not need to stop here. This is alone for travelers entering Chile from Argentina. You will go through frame control in Argentina . You will cross the frame into Argentina in the Cristo Redentor Tunnel. once in Argentina, the landscape looks unlike. The mountains and the scenery are much more outstanding on the argentine side of the border . A few kilometers past the border you will be stopped at a booth on the highway. You will need to present your lease car paperwork and you will be asked if you have the proper safety equipment in your cable car ( see below ). The Immigrations house in Horcones, the site of the border control for Argentina, is located 16 km past the border on Route 7. It is fair earlier Puente del Inca ( the Inca bridge ). The border cross here is ill-famed for long waiting times as we were about to find out. When we arrived, the lineage to get through the border control was extinct to the highway. At a painfully dull tempo, we inched forward . last, two hours after taking our spot in line, we made it to one of several booths that were processing passports. In each booth were two people, one Chilean edge officer and one argentine edge officer. Their caper was to process our passports. This normally merely takes a few minutes. For some reason, our edge officers looked at our passports, typed something into their computer, fiddled with the might cord, and then sat there. And did nothing. I asked what we were waiting for and I got an answer in spanish that I did not understand. We waited and waited. ultimately, using my poco de Español and hand gestures, we learned that his calculator was not working. therefore, rather of taking our passports to a unlike booth, he fair sat there and stared into space. meanwhile, we were growing fabulously frustrated, as was everyone else in line behind us. We convinced the surround agents to take our passports to another booth, which they did, and then we were permitted to advance to the final step. All cars need to be searched prior to entering Argentina. A different set of border agents searched our cars and made surely we had the proper paperwork. If you are driving a rental car it is mandatory that you have written permission and valid insurance to drive your car into Argentina. Without this, you will not be permitted to enter. There was another traveler who did not have the license and they had to return to Santiago. finally, we continued on our direction. Our frame crossing took two and a half hours, the longest border crossing we have always done, and we have done a lot. But two and a half hours did not sound thus badly when I learned it could take a retentive as six hours. Six hours ! ! Oh my, keep reading…
Driving through Argentina
As frustrating as it was, crossing the boundary line into Argentina, it was worth it. This drive truly is gorgeous. Kara and I could not stop taking photos . For the most separate, the highway in Argentina is two lanes ( one lane in either guidance ), well-paved, with a wide-eyed shoulder. There are many sections with passing lanes on the hills for slower vehicles. We felt safe here than in Chile and we loved these views.
From the Immigrations office it took us about two and a half hours to reach Mendoza. There are no tolls on the Argentina part of the drive. If you need to stop for boast, there are modest towns along the way. Before reaching Mendoza, there are two larger towns, Uspallata and Potrerillos, both effective places to stop for accelerator or food if you need it. The drive from Santiago to Mendoza was awesome, and despite the long molding traverse, we all still very enjoyed it. good thing, because we were going to repeat it less than one week late !
Driving from Mendoza to Santiago
Since we were renting a car, we had to drive back to Santiago. Our rental car company, Europcar, did not permit us to drop the car in Argentina. From Tim ’ s inquiry, other rental car companies have this lapp policy. I can honestly say that we were not looking forward to making the driveway a second base time. Yes, it is beautiful, but one time is enough. little did we know, when we started this drive, that today would be a day of epic proportions in therefore many ways. Our day started early on on a Saturday good morning. The two and a half hour drive to the edge was debauched, scenic and uneventful . merely a few kilometers off from Chile is Aconcagua National Park. We stopped hera to hike to Confluencia ( an amazing rise ! ) before continuing on to Chile. We knew that delaying our boundary line crossing to mid-afternoon was a less than ideal situation but this raise was high on our list of things to do. And it was worth it. We were shocked to pull onto the highway and about immediately ride in a traffic fix of cars. At first I thought that it must be a car accident or road construction, but nope, it was a huge amount of people on their way into Chile. And this is when a two and a half hour border crossing did not seem so bad anymore. To bypass part of the back up ( we are talking a back up 13 kilometers retentive ) we chose to drive on dirt roads up and over the Andes Mountains. It was a crazy decision, specially because we were in a Chevy Cruze, not a car with 4×4. It was a white-knuckle ride, at least initially, but the reward was some of the best views of this separate of the Andes Mountains and we got to bypass part of the course of cars snaking its way to Chile . once safely in Chile, and felicitous that we did not slide off the crap road, we took our stead in line. Again, we inched forward at a painfully slow pace. We were told that the wait was six hours to get through border control. Yes, six hours. We entered the tune at 3:30 autopsy. We began to get anxious that the bound would close at 8 autopsy and we would be stranded on the side of the road until good morning. That would be a nightmare ! Just when we thought things could not get any worse, they did. About three hours into our wait, Kara started throwing up. At first, I thought she was just tired or not feeling well from doing the rise with very little food ( yes, we were all athirst ! ! ), but when she kept puking we knew that she was truly pale. By the time we ultimately made it to the chaos of the Immigrations office, she looked like a walk zombi. This was not a nice, drive through border crossing like in Argentina. In Chile, we had to exit our car and delay in several long lines…two different lines to get our passports processed and one argumentation to check our rental car paperwork. It was distortion. The place was a menagerie, everything was in spanish, and there was no one to offer assistant. I was bouncing bet on and away, translating for Tim who was waiting in the lines, and running back to Kara, who was sitting on the cruddy floor, looking abject. ultimately, five and a one-half hours late, we were absolve. It felt so good to get moving again. It was 9:15 prime minister and we still had not had lunch. We stopped at “ The Shining ” hotel, got cheeseburgers to eat on the road, and drove back to Santiago. This was the scariest partially of the day. Driving down out of the Andes Mountains on these tortuous, specialize roads with drivers overtaking other cars was terrifying. This was scarier than the scandal roads we drove on earlier in the day. We made it safely rear to Santiago a little before midnight. It was a long, draining day. I am glad that we have the feel of driving from Santiago to Mendoza over the Andes Mountains and that we can check that off of our bucket number, but I never need to do it again. future time we ’ ll fly…
Things to Know Before You Drive
The mountain pass from Santiago to Mendoza is also called Paso Internacional Los Libertadores. The burrow ( Tunel Cristo Redentor ) that connects the two countries was opened in 1980. The tunnel is named for the statue of Cristo Redentor that sits gamey above the burrow at 3,832 meters. Cristo Redentor can be reached by using the erstwhile road, a dirt road with 65 hairpin turns, that travels up and over the highest item of the Andes Mountains. You can read about this drive here. Rental car companies do not permit you to pick up a car in Chile and drop it in Argentina. Therefore, if you rent a car, be prepared to drive across the edge twice. If you are driving a rental car, make sure you have the letter of permission from the rental car company to take your car into Argentina and that you have valid insurance for Argentina and Chile. Your rental cable car company will need to arrange for the necessity paperwork so give them batch of time to make these arrangements. This can take a workweek or longer. Without the permit and the policy you will not be permitted to enter Argentina. You may be asked to show that you have the appropriate safety equipment, such as a fire fire extinguisher, base hit vest and other items. Our rental car ship’s company, Europcar, provided all of this for us as character of our rental agreement. Have enough Chilean pesos to pay the tolls. We paid four tolls on the way from Santiago to Mendoza, all in Chile, the amounts being 1700, 1450, 2100, and 2200 chilean philippine peso ( as of April 2016 ). If you are driving back to Santiago, make sure you have adequate chilean peso to pay the tolls on your return trip. Be prepared for a ridiculously long border crossing. The worst clock to cross the boundary line is in the afternoon. The lines are normally shorter earlier in the day. During the winter months, between May and October, the border can close due to snow or bad weather. Keep an center on the weather and keep in judgment that you may have to change your plans based on the weather .
Do You Want to Drive over the Andes but without the hassle?
You can take a bus from Santiago to Mendoza, or frailty versa. This eliminates the harass of obtaining the necessity paperwork and buses get to bypass the border cross lines. The downside is a slower passage meter and you will not be able to stop at the scenic viewpoints. For some, this may be a dear option. You could take the bus one direction and fly the other guidance, or fly to a third gear destination .
What to See on the Drive in Chile
merely west of Los Andes is Aconcagua Valley, one of Chile ’ randomness premier wine regions. Errazuriz and San Esteban are two wineries worth visiting. In Chile, there are the 29 curves. In Portillo, you can make a orchestra pit stop at the Portillo Hotel and take in the view of Lake Portillo. In the winter, a ski recourse is open here .
What to See on the Drive in Argentina
In Argentina, there are many scenic viewpoints and worthwhile stops along Route 7. many are located very close to the border with Chile. many people who are visiting Mendoza hire a enlistment company to take them on a day trip through the Andes Mountains to these viewpoints without crossing into Chile. If you are already driving through here, some of these may be worth visiting. Drive over the Andes Mountains on a dirt road. OK, it doesn ’ t get any more extreme than this. Driving across the Andes on paved roads is one matter, but for a genuine gamble, drive over the Andes on wreathe, soil roads with no guard rail. We have done a lot of white knuckle drives ( Sani Pass in Lesotho, the road to Darjeeling in India, Trollstigen in Norway, the Amalfi Coast ), but this one tops them all. This is not a drive for the dim of heart. This drive can lone be completed during the best of conditions and your honor will be some of the best views of this separate of the Andes Mountains. LEARN MORE : drive to Cristo Redentor de los Andes Mount Aconcagua. This is the tallest mountain in both the western and southerly hemispheres. It is clearly visible on the drive over the Andes Mountains. many people pull over on the side of the highway and take a photograph but it is better to see it from Aconcagua National Park. The entrance to the ballpark is located 15 kilometer from the Chile-Argentina molding ( 1 kilometer before the Immigrations function ) as you drive to Mendoza. From the parking set of the park, it is a fifteen moment walk to the vantage point. For those who like hike, there is a outstanding, 16 kilometer ( 10 sea mile ) hike to Confluencia, the first base clique on the direction to the summit of Aconcagua. LEARN MORE : hike to Aconcagua Base Camp in Argentina Inca Bridge. The Inca Bridge, besides known as Puente del Inca, is located less than 1 kilometer past the Immigrations function. The turn off is on the right handwriting side of the road. You will see a parking bunch and some very colorful buildings. From the parking distribute it is a very short walk to the vantage point over the Inca Bridge. The Inca Bridge is a naturally occurring bridge, it is not manmade. The Inca used this to cross the river when walking walking through this area. Another interest fact is that Charles Darwin visited this locate in 1835 . Uspallata. This is one of the larger towns on the way to Mendoza. This area was used in the filming of the movie “ Seven Years in Tibet. ” Potrerillos. Another town on the way to Mendoza. This is besides prime territory for rock climb, horse ride, and white water raft. The Potrerillos Lake is formed by a decameter and on a cheery day is so far another gorgeous touch in Argentina .