Take the epic route from Santiago to Mendoza by bus across the Andes along Ruta 60. A winding road high in the mountains which joins Chile with Argentina.
This full-day bus trip is best enjoyed from the comfort of front row window seats.
Santiago to Mendoza by Bus
Forget flying between Santiago and Mendoza, this is the best way to make the journey if you have a full day available within your itinerary. I’ve never been on a road journey with as many stunning vistas, and to top that I’m sat on a comfy full sized leather arm chair.
Los Caracoles Pass
The journey out of Santiago takes you to the foothills of the Andes and then the bus begins to meander through small villages before reaching the impressive pass at Los Caracoles. This is an amazing stretch of road which looks more like a helter-skelter.
We are soaring among the Andes at an elevation of 10,500ft where trucks do battle to overtake each other as their engines struggle to breathe in the high altitude air.
Chile and Argentina Border Crossing Tunnel
A 3km long tunnel, marks the border line between Chile and Argentina, called Paso Internacional Los Libertadores, or Cristo Redentor from the statue of the same name at the Argentinean entrance.
At either ends of the tunnel are the border control stations for each country. It’s a fairly simple process of disembarking the bus and heading for the desk with the border officials, whilst the customs officials inspect the bus.
Royal Suite Bus
I am travelling with Cata Bus on their “Royal Suite” coach which has only 3 seats per row. Like an airline business class seat the chair reclines a full 90 degrees and turns into a full flat bed to sleep on.
The company makes purchasing tickets online very easy; at the time of travelling they were the only company offering online ticketing for the 1st/VIP class buses. Their online payment portal accepted my foreign credit card and I was able to select the front row seats on the upper deck.
If you’re going to make this journey then securing the upper front row window seats should be your top priority!
These long distance buses are fully air-conditioned, have personal TV screens and a toilet. There is also a small galley for the steward or hostess to provide refreshments from. Cata Bus operates busses Santiago to Mendoza, Mendoza to Santiago and Santiago to Buenos Aires.
I also undertook the journey from Mendoza to Buenos Aires by bus, after my scheduled flight was cancelled.
Discover more about Chile with our Chile Travel Guide.
Map of Ruta 60 Santiago to Mendoza and Mendoza to Santiago