After failing to find anything resembling a cheap flight from Buenos Aires to Santiago (or Santiago de Chile, as it’s known in these parts), I decided the 20 hour bus ride would be the best bet. It was a pretty smooth trip and the border crossing was easy. Here’s everything you need to know about travelling from Buenos Aires to Santiago by bus.
Buying a ticket in Buenos Aires
I did a quick check online (plataforma 10) and found that a ticket from Buenos Aires to Santiago, via Mendoza, would cost around 1400 pesos. The first company we tried offered us a semi cama ticket for 1000 pesos — this was going to be cheaper than expected! We asked about cama seats (far more luxurious) and found a ticket for 1200 pesos (around $80). We snapped it up and continued on our sightseeing adventure in Buenos Aires. A quick tip — you’ll have to buy 2 separate tickets, one from Buenos Aires to Mendoza and one from Mendoza to Santiago. You could just buy the first ticket and buy the second in Mendoza, that way you could avoid the 3 hour wait at the bus station that we had to endure. On the other hand, if you need to get to Santiago in 1 day and don’t want to risk the Mendoza to Santiago buses being sold out, it’s not a bad idea to book them both in Buenos Aires.
Buenos Aires to Mendoza in style
Have you ever had a glass of wine and a hot meal on a bus before? I hadn’t, so it was quite a treat. The food was good, the seats reclined enough to put me in a comfortable sleeping position and they even played a movie in English. The movie was Expendables 3; I think I’ve seen it on about 5 different buses in South America now. The bus left Buenos Aires at 8.15 pm and arrived in Mendoza at 9.45 am, where we had an annoying 3 hour wait until our next bus.
Mendoza to Santiago
This has to be one of the most scenic stretches of road in South America. The giant snow-capped Andes Mountains ensure you’re never short of something to look at out the window. The road is winding in parts, especially just after the border crossing, so bring motion sickness pills if you think you might need them.
Crossing the border between Argentina and Chile
This was a really simple border crossing. The bus pulled up to the border and waited for other buses to complete the border process. We got out, took some photos and then relaxed on the bus until it was our turn. The whole process took around an hour and a half but we were just sitting on the bus for about an hour of that — there was no waiting in lines with all your bags like you sometimes experience at other borders in South America.
Buenos Aires to Santiago by bus: The details
We booked with a company called Andesmar and I’d definitely recommend it. Everything went smoothly, the service was great and it was cheaper than I was expecting. We left Buenos Aires at 8.15 pm and arrived in Santiago at 7 pm the next day. It was a long but comfortable journey, and it sure beats paying hundreds of dollars for a flight. One more thing…if you’re looking to travel from Buenos Aires to Santiago by bus in the colder months make sure you check the weather conditions and prepare to be delayed for a day or 2, as this border is often closed due to snow. We talked to some people who were delayed in October (spring time) so it’s something to be aware of.
Have you journeyed from Buenos Aires to Santiago by bus? How was it?
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