Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Across the Andes to Mendoza

The Andes range from the road

The city of Mendoza is a 7 hour bus trip from Santiago through the Andes range and it is one of South  America's scenic bus journeys.

Heading into the mountains

The road rapidly ascends into the Andes with the higher snow topped peaks a stunning backdrop to the road as it climbs.

The snow capped high peaks

The road then goes through 28 narrow switchbacks which can be a little dizzying from the very front top deck seats in the bus.

The switchbacks from curve number 20

The road continues through the mountains until it reaches the border with Argentina. 

Farewell Chile

The border itself is actually crossed while heading through a tunnel, and the passport and border control is at Puenta Inca - some kilometres after entering Argentina.

The tunnel that crosses the border

Welcome to Argentina

I had heard many horror stories about the border crossing, but for me it was extremely short and efficient - taking a mere hour, which was a nice amount of time to stretch my legs before the next leg of the journey.

Descending from the high Andes

I had heard that the Argentinian side of the bus trip wasn't as scenic, however I found the descent through the steppe every bit as beautiful as the ascent into the Andes.

The Argentinian steppe

A river flowing from the Andes

Mist comes down over the steppe

The steppe then gives way to the vineyards of Mendoza....

The first of many vineyards that I passed on the way into Mendoza