Santiago was my last stop in Chile and Mendoza is the closest Argentinian city to it. There are regular scheduled buses coming from Santiago de Chile’s bus terminal to Mendoza.
The bus ride took about 6 and half hours. Because this route crosses the Andes, there may be times when buses are not able to pass through because of icy/snowy road conditions.
I booked my seat with CATA bus line the day before for around $33 and was able to secure a front row seat on the upper deck. This is the best spot if you want to see the scenery. I highly recommend you do this trip during the day and look out the window. If you’re doing this trip, you may also want to carry some small Chilean pesos with you as people loading your bags and the guy handing out your meals will expect and collect tips.
The scenery along the way was beautiful. I loved watching the big green fields around us with the Andes, the longest mountain rage in the world, in the background. I’ve been seeing the Andes since Colombia, and now I finally got to see it much closer.
As we got closer to the mountains, the surrounding landscapes got drier. Then finally, we started seeing ice, snow, and tunnels to cross as we reached them. We also saw a lot of skiers nearby. We even saw ski lifts right above us carrying passengers. Some looked close enough that they could probably land on the roof of our bus if they wanted to.
The place where we got our exit stamps out of Chile and entry stamp to Argentina was actually on the Argentinian side in the same area. We made our stop in a tunnel, lined up next to a window with 2 guys in it. One guy gives us the exit stamp for Chile and the guy right next to him gives the entry stamp to Argentina. There were no fees to pay.
After immigration, we had to go through customs. They had a small van with a scanner inside where they scanned all our luggage. Our smaller bags were also quickly scanned individually. They picked a few random luggage for closer inspection as well before we continued on to Mendoza. It was a pretty painless trip.