Through the Andes

Land border crossings are as exciting as waiting in line in customs at an airport. At least this one's scenic.

Bring a book, bring music


The other travelers who have done it tell me it takes quite to get to Santiago from Mendoza and vice versa. There's the distance, which on a perfect day would take about 4 hours to cover, but rarely is it that easy.

Look how perfectly flat that plateau across the gorge is.

Welcome to Chile


Customs takes a long time. There are passport checks, baggage checks, vehicle inspects, etc. This length of time's compounded by the one lane mountain pass on the Chilean side of the border. It supports only eastbound traffic in the morning and westbound traffic in the afternoon and the switch seems to cause huge delays.

Good thing there's a cafe nearby for snacks and refreshment for waiting passengers.

In total our ride takes seven hours to arrive in Santiago. The scenery's nice, but I wouldn't do the bus ride more than once.

Slow going on the Chilean pass.

Returning to Argentina


I cross the Andes once more along a more southern pass to get to Argentina.

From Santiago I ride the overnight bus to Osorno. They played a Spanish dubbed DVD of the Studio Ghibli film Grave of the Fireflies. It's one of my favorite animated films, but it's emotionally intense for a bus ride of all things. The synopsis on IMDB for the film starts, "A devastating meditation on the human cost of war...." The only humorous thing about this movie was the context it was played in. The whole bus was near silent by the movie's end.

From Osorno, I connect to a bus headed to Bariloche, crossing through the Andes once more. This border crossing is significantly faster without any one-lane roads to inch along on. I'm not sure why but I didn't take any pictures on this route, possibly because it wasn't nearly as scenic as the Mendoza to Santiago crossing.