I Need Trip Advice: Santiago & Mendoza

tourist2townie

Registered
My father is coming into town for 2 weeks in the middle of May and I'm trying to plan a trip up to Mendoza and into Santiago, Chile for a few days.

I was thinking about flying into Mendoza, renting a car and driving to Santiago and then coming back to Mendoza to fly back to BA. Looking at flights on LAN it seems to be a lot cheaper to go through Mendoza rather than Santiago.

I know a bus would be the cheapest route, but he would rather fly.

Any good advice or words of wisdom would be much appreciated.

Best.
 

gunt86

Registered
double check that you can rent a car which will allow you to take it out of Argentina. I tried to cross that border once with a rented car and it was not allowed (apparently different rental companies have different restrictions). Call around to make sure it is possible.

Also domestic flights are much cheaper if you can use your DNI to qualify for Argentina Resident rates. International flights are the same price for everyone.

The bus is actually a great option if you do a cama suite on an over night bus. extremely comfortable, completely horizontal bed, first class service (better then most first class airlines). I like to do this when the bus ride is 12hr or less as it is a great way to avoid having to have a hotel for a night.
 

tourist2townie

Registered
Thanks Gunt86, keep it coming.

Best Airline? LAN?
Best place to stay in Mendoza?
Best place to stay in Santiago?
Is Mendoza dead during the week?
etc.
 

flippinkittin

Registered
I always travel in hostels, so you probably don't want my advice on that front. I took a 2 week Mendoza/Santiago trip, and if you are there already you should check out Valparaiso as well. It is a gorgeous coast city made up of a tin of hills just an hour or so outside of Santiago.
 

mendozanow

Registered
I would definitely second Valparaiso, it is incredible.

I would also definitely urge travel by bus, cheap and comfortable. Although the Chilean drivers are safer and more polite, the roads can be very confusing there.

Do a winery tour in Mendoza, unforgettable. Mendoza still busy during the week.

Fly to Mendoza, and try to take the bus to Santiago during the day for the great scenery. At the soth end of the bus termninal in Mendoza there are companies that do the trip in small vans. Or just rent a vehicle in Mendoza and take a day drive to the mountains from there, and return. Or do the same in Santiago. The coast road north of Vina del Mar is spectacular to drive. Crossing the border in a rented car is both very expensive and complicated.

Also, crossing the border by land avoids the reciprocity fee in Chile if oyu are Yank/Canuck/Aussie (about $135 US per person) payable on leaving international airport in Santiago.

Check out the threads in the Traveller's Stories sections, as well as Wikitravel entry on Mendoza.
 

syngirl

Registered
mendozanow said:
I would definitely second Valparaiso, it is incredible.

I would also definitely urge travel by bus, cheap and comfortable. Although the Chilean drivers are safer and more polite, the roads can be very confusing there.

Keep in mind that much of the road surface out to Valparaiso was destroyed in the earthquakes, I'm not sure how much will have been repaired by now -- you may want to check with a travel agent in Santiago de Chile before planning any trips outside of the city.

Valparaiso and Vina del Mar also suffered quite a bit of damage. The earthquake has really dropped out of the news so not sure at all how much this has affected tourism, whether it is difficult to travel via the highways and into town.

The rental car is a good idea, but be prepared to pay as much for a rental car with permission to take it across the border as you would for 2 flights mendoza-santiago de chile. Rental cars are very expensive in Argentina compared to other countries, and the permission to travel outside of the country usually comes with a hefty upfront premium.
 

mendozanow

Registered
I was in Valparaiso, Santiago, and Vina del Mar during Semana Santa, the roads were all fine. No major damage in those places, a little structural damage. Some older buildings such as the old fiush market in Valaparaiso closed for inspection.
 
Top