We had a flight out of Santiago in Chile and as such decided to cross the border from the Mendoza side of Argentina. As we had been told that the views were spectacular through the Andes we wanted to ensure we would make the most of our journey. So we took an early morning bus from Mendoza with Andesmar, as they were they only ones with available front second floor seats. The tickets were 180 pesos each and the journey was supposed to take 6 hours.
Unfortunately, as soon as the bus arrived we realised that we wouldn’t get the great views we had expected as they advertising across the windscreen. It didn’t completely block out the road but the hundreds of dots on the screen made it difficult to enjoy looking out. At least we still had the views from the side windows and it was a sunny day.
The actual border crossing procedure was simple and fairly hassle free. You are stamped out of Argentina and into Chile at the same place. You just need to make sure you have your immigration form from entering Argentina. The next step in the process is the bag check.
All bags need to go through an x-ray machine as they do not allow any fruits, vegetables, meat etc to go through into Chile. They take this very seriously and have several sniffer dogs hanging around to check that you do not have anything on you too. Once done everybody is allowed back on the bus to carry on with the journey and there are no more checks along the way. One thing to remember is that Chile is an hour behind Argentina unless on daylight saving, so its worth checking ahead of time.
Back on the bus we were happy with the good time we were making and hoped to be able to grab a late lunch in Santiago. However, just as we said that we realised the bus had stopped in seemingly unmoving traffic. After 10 minutes of waiting around we discovered that apparently a section of the road had failed just 5 minutes before we arrived, and that we would have to wait for emergency repairs of some sort before we could continue. We then learned that this would take 4 hours!
As such our original 6 hour journey turned into 10 hours, and to make it worse there was nowhere to get any drinks/food and the bus did not carry any emergency supplies. When we eventually got going again, 3 hours 45 minutes later, we did think it appropriate that our last bus journey in Latin America had to be eventful!