Mendoza – Santiago de Chile
Type: day trip Mendoza – Santiago de Chile. Departure 9:00 a.m. Arrival around 4:30 p.m.
Distance: approx. 360 km.
Spectacular day tour through the Andes
A spectacular drive is through the central Andes from Mendoza to Santiago de Chile. First, it goes from Mendoza with the rental car a few kilometers south along the highway. Then it is important not to miss the turn towards the Andes to the west. You drive along the foot of the Andes. Pass the Mendoza oil refinery on the right and admire the brown Rio Mendoza on the left. Then it gradually gets steeper. You wind your way in a 4 × 4 / 4×4 vehicle through wide gorges with short tunnels and often look at the old railway line. At some point you will pass the monument Puente del Inca. Unfortunately, the bridge to the thermal springs on the Puente is closed. That´s why you can only take pictures of the sinter terraces from a distance. Always postcard motif! We continue over the tree line up the bare debris of the Andes to the Bermejo Pass.
Now there is only one “Puesto Fronterizo” / border check point. At the Argentine-Chilean border post at 3,200 m, you have to plan about 30 – 60 minutes to complete all the formalities for crossing the border in a rental car.
Aconcagua National Park
Immediately afterwards you will be rewarded with a stop at the entrance to the Aconcagua National Park. You should definitely stop here and hike a few hundred meters along the path until you get an impeccable view of the snow-covered Aconcagua.
The Caracoles down to Chile
After screwing up the last few meters in a small passage, the steep switchbacks of the Caracoles suddenly appear. Carefully park the rental car here, with the handbrake on and take pictures of the caracoles from above. Then well buckled up and slowly rolling down with the engine brake. Then there is the international tunnel Cristo Retendor and later you can roll along the pretty, long country road to Los Andes. At some point behind Los Andes, we take the highway towards Santiago de Chile. There you are immersed in the traffic of the bustling metropolis. You should have chosen a hotel in the center beforehand and have a city map with you or a GPS / navigation device.