Mendoza to Santiago (Chile) – in 12 hours!

It may seem a tad bonkers but there is method in my madness.

When I studied my business degree we were told about two forms of strategy – strategic (fixed) and emerging (flexible). I have chosen the latter.

Ian, who I met in Fiji, 13 years ago, informed me, by email, that a very good friend of his is also travelling in South America. Dana is due to arrive in Santiago on Friday. Mendoza is only 12-hours away by bus. As distances go we are pretty close. Therefore I took the decision that my medium term plan was now to travel down through Chile and then back up through Argentina – en route to Bolivia. As such I traveled due west, in a pretty straight line, and across the border into Chile.

The bus journey from Mendoza to Santiago was sadly not quite up to the enjoyment level of my previous two journeys! For a start it was a semi cama class bus and secondly the border crossing was a long drawn out affair.

We boarded in Mendoza at 22:30 and set off at 23:00 (ish). At 04:00 (ish) we arrived at the border crossing between Argentina and Chile with a long line of busses in front of us. At 05:00 we disembarked to go through security. As I stepped out of the warm bus, in my T-shirt, it was like stepping from an oven into a freezer. As I looked around I realised that my fellow passengers had magically donned thick coats and woollen hats! It quickly dawned on me why the bus had been so slow. We were obviously crossing the Andean mountains.

In the thankfully warm immigration office there were two counters (side by side) one Argentinean (out) and one Chilean (in) – all went well – passport stamped. Back onto the bus. The bus travelled a few hundred metres before we were instructed to unload our luggage. The bus was completely stripped of its contents, and searched, as my fellow passengers and I stood in line like naughty school children. Our bags were then put through an X-ray machine. Random people were picked on to explain the reason for their travel.

By 06:30 we were allowed back on the bus finally arriving in Santiago at around 10:00 I don’t think I even managed an hours sleep!

I am currently lounging on the roof garden of my hostel – drifting in and out of sleep.

Next stage: explore Santiago.

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About Richard Griffith

My first independent travel experience was a trip to Israel, in 1997, it was here that I caught the 'travel' bug! In 2001 I took an 8-month sabbatical and traveled around South East Asia. Since then I have managed to visit most of Eastern Europe along with India, Bangladesh, and a few other destinations in between. I love travel and I love meeting new people.
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2 Responses to Mendoza to Santiago (Chile) – in 12 hours!

  1. Graeme says:

    Ha, found ya, happy new year

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