Taking A Bus Through The Andes

Taking a seven hour bus from Santiago in Chile to Mendoza in Argentina rather than the quick flight may initially only seem to be preferable because of the cost. It’s about £40 for two people in British pounds versus £250 if you fly. However, when you realise you can get views like this as you shuttle through the Andes, other benefits seem clear…

Andes Travel By Bus (9)

The trip takes in some of the best views of these spectacular mountains, as well as some pretty impressive feats when it comes to driving large vehicles up tiny, steep roads…

Andes Travel By Bus (4)

We took a CATA bus and despite expecting it to be filled with Western tourists travelling around South America, we were the only English speakers on the bus. The staff were really friendly and helpful and through a lot of pointing and gesticulating, we generally figured out what each other were trying to say. We are learning a little Spanish, but our progress is slower than we’d like. However, everyone so far has been very happy to help where they can.

Andes Travel By Bus (3)

The seats are very comfortable and recline about 45 degrees. There’s plenty of leg space (good when your husband is 6 foot 7!) and a very well cushioned footrest. There were sandwiches and snacks passed out at intervals but I’d also brought my own food. (I’ve found that despite knowing how to say ‘I’m vegetarian’ in Spanish, it’s met with varying levels of comprehension. It’s always best to bring your own food if you’re veggie).

We had been warned that the border crossing between Chile and Argentina can be a bit of a beast, never knowing how long it will take. However, the bus staff got off and helped ensure we all got through the immigration and customs checks easily. Tip: Make sure you’ve got some small change in local currency as tips are expected if the team do a good job of avoiding any hold ups.

Overall, a very comfortable and enjoyable journey and well worth saving the money by avoiding the flight. However, adding the spectacular views, it was worth taking the bus ride just for those! See all our pics below…

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