From The Atlantic To The Pacific: From Buenos Aires To Valparaiso

by | Apr 17, 2014 | April 2014: South America, Argentina, Blitzkrieg!!!, Border Crossing, Chile, Public Transportation, Way Way Off the Beaten Path, What Dreams May Come | 0 comments


In our 2nd day in Buenos Aires, I led the gang up to check out Recoleta Cemetery. Afterwards, they continued onwards to the parks of Palermo while I found a cafe and caught up on work. We rendezvous’ed back at the hostel in the late afternoon and began our 30-hour journey to Valparaiso, Chile, located on the other extreme side of the South American continent.

Yes, we literally just crossed an entire continent — east to west, edge to edge, from the Atlantic to the Pacific — in 30 hours.

Here’s what we saw:


The Argentine/Chilean border in the Andes Mountains just got served

Navigating our way around the streets of Valparaiso in the dead of night


We started our journey on the Buenos Aires subway:



Got out at Retiro Train Station:



…And headed over to the Retiro Bus Terminal to catch a 08:30pm overnight CATA International Bus to Mendoza:



On the bus, we kicked back in our Royal First Class Suites…check out these digs (including 180 degree reclining beds, personal TVs, steak for dinner, and decently fast but spotty wifi):



Woke up the next morning in Mendoza with a 09:30am arrival:



Spent about 20 minutes “checking out Mendoza” (as in, walking a circle around the bus terminal looking for a way out of the wide avenues and overpasses surrounding the bus station) before running back and catching a 10:30am Andesmar bus to Santiago:



Passed by the famous vineyards of Mendoza:



But then, about an hour later, we were treated to possibly one of the most beautiful drives in the world: The Andes Mountains. To get to Santiago from Mendoza, you have to drive THROUGH the Andes Mountain ranges, which means you’ll get views such as these for the next 6-7 hours:




We then approached the famous “Hills of 7 Colors”:



My favorite vistas were these canyons:




After about 4 hours of these kind of views, we finally arrived at the northern Argentine/Chilean border. They then made us wait in the bus for about an hour and a half before it would be our turn to cross:


The view behind us

Getting stamped out of Argentina and into Chile

Our luggage handler poses for a portrait

Waiting for them to inspect our luggage at customs


I’ll spare you the boring details (I already went through the same Argentine/Chilean crossing 4 months ago and described the process here. Just make sure you don’t bring any fruits or vegetables or else they’ll confiscate it). So all you need to know is that after about an hour and a half waiting to cross the border, and another hour going through the motions of crossing, we finally were on our way into Chile:



At this point, most of us passed out and woke up about 2 hours later finding ourselves edging our way into Santiago. Because of the insanely long border crossing, our bus arrived about 2.5 hours late at around 7pm instead of the scheduled 4:30pm.

That left us much less time than expected in Santiago, so we booked it to the Transsantiago metro/subway and took it as far north as San Cristobal:



From the Universidad de Santiago stop (where all the major Bus Terminals are, including Alameda and Sur), we got out around 15 minutes later and proceeded north towards San Cristobal…



…and instead going up on San Cristobal for the city views (simply didn’t have enough time before it closed at 8pm), we decided to chill out and explore the famously posh neighborhood of Bellavista:



We also found a sweet outdoor concert to cozy up to:



About 45 minutes later, we took a return subway ride back to Universidad de Santiago to catch a 9:25pm Condor Bus to Valparaiso (the last one):



We arrived into Valparaiso about 2 hours later at 11:30pm, and tried to avoid the aggressive stray dogs outside the bus terminal that were seemingly everywhere:



From the bus station we took 2 cabs for 2000 pesos each (we also crammed 5 of us in a cab for an extra 500 Chilean pesos, which is a little under $1 USD) to a general area where our hostel was:



We then walked up and down the streets of Valparaiso looking for our hostel:



And with a little bit of luck and help from the locals, we found shelter at last:




- At time of posting in Valparaiso, Chile, it was 15 °C - Humidity: n/a | Wind Speed: 17km/hr | Cloud Cover: clear


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