Santiago de Chile is the capital of Chile and also an important travel hub in South America. The city offers a lot of interesting places to visit and things to do. It is also a very good base for exploring the near-by cities and countries.
The cheapest option for traveling between Santiago and Mendoza is the bus. Although it’s a 6 hrs ride crossing mountains – which can be a problem for those with motion sickness – the scenery is amazing. Catch a bus in the morning to enjoy the views.
Flights from Santiago (airport code: SCL) to Mendoza
Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport (SCL), also known as Santiago International Airport is located 15 km from the capital of Santiago. There is no local public transport option to get into the city , but there are two airport buses which you can use. The airport is hub for LAN Airlines, Sky Airline and PAL Airlines. It is the 7th busiest airport in Latin America and handles direct flights from Europe, the Americas and Oceania.
Mendoza is served by a small airport, Governor Francisco Gabrielli International Airport (MDZ) , also known as El Plumerillo International Airport. It is located 8 km from the city center and is not hub for any airline.
There are direct flights between Santiago and Mendoza operated by Aerolíneas Argentinas and LAN Chile. The flight time is 40 min. In late May 2012 expect to pay from US$401 one way on Aerolíneas Argentinas. Slightly cheaper are the connecting flights via Buenos Aires (fares starting at US$378 one way).
>>book a flight to Mendoza
Buses from Santiago to Mendoza
There are many bus companies operating direct buses between the two cities:
- Andesmar Bus Company : single fares start at AR$150 / US$34 and all buses leave in the morning (8 a.m,. 8:30 a.m. , 9:30 a.m., 10 a.m., 1 p.m.)
- CATA Internacional : single fares start at AR $190 / US$43.10 and all buses leave in the morning (7:30 am. , 9 a.m. , 10:30 a.m.)
- El Rapido International : single fares start at AR$150 / US$34 and there are three buses leaving in the morning (8 a.m., 8:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 10 a.m.) and three more in the afternoon/evening (1 p.m. , 10:30 p.m.)
You can purchase the tickets online but make sure to do that a week or so before departure.
The travel time between Santiago and Mendoza is about 6-7 hours (but it does depend on how long you’ll stay at the border crossing). However, you’ll be rewarded with lovely views along the way. And if you want to enjoy these views, choose a bus which leaves in the morning.
The buses drop you at the bus station in Mendoza, which is 20-30 min walk from the main plaza. Buses depart from Santiago’s Terminal Alameda.
Driving from Santiago to Mendoza
If you plan to rent a car and drive the 365 km between the two cities, make sure to ask the rental company if you are allowed to take the car across the border. The scenery along the way is fantastic but be prepared for many curves and challenging road conditions. The drive time is about 5 ½ h but you also need to consider the time spent at the border crossing.