Mendoza is a city in Central Argentina. It is the capital of the province with the same name. It's the main hub to cross the border to Santiago de Chile in Chile across the Andes mountains at the Paso Internacional Los Libertadores.
- 1 Hitchhiking out
- 1.1 West towards Uspallata, Puente del Inca and Chile
- 1.2 South towards Neuquen, Zapala, Bariloche on the Ruta Nacional 40
- 1.3 North towards San Juan province and city, La Rioja
If you're in the center, consider taking a bus to get out of the city. For the bus you need a Mendoza specific bus card with enough charge on it. As of January 2017, 20 pesos is enough for three bus trips (or three people on one bus trip). You can also ask other passengers on the bus if they can "beep" you in, in exchange for a cash amount. Find out which bus to take with the OmniLineas website.
West towards Uspallata, Puente del Inca and Chile
There's three options to go west: the popular and well-paved RN 7, the legendary and stunning RP 52 and the unknown RP 13. Only the RN 7 stays open throughout the year, while the others close in winter. Hitchwiki users have hitchhiked the first two. If you did the Ruta 13, please add info.
Via the Ruta Nacional 7
Take the city bus in direction of Agrelo, 30 minutes away for 4 pesos (May 2012, not reliable!). Ask the bus driver to drop you at the crossing of the RN 40 with the RN 7, before Agrelo, at the YPF gas station (Gasolinera de la Ruta 7), also known as Parador Perdriel. You will be dropped 200 m before that same straight road (Ruta Nacional 7) that goes to Chile. Many of the cars stop at this gas station. Ask around at the gas station or walk to the crossing to filter out traffic going south.
One hitchhiker suggested to take the following buses, directly to the destinations, which means you're not hitchhiking:
- Puente del Inca, about 4 hours away for 26 pesos (May 2012, not reliable!). This town is the main entrance to the Aconcagua mountain trail. The Aconcagua is with 6.962 meters the tallest mountain of this continent and the southern hemisphere. You can also just hitchhike here.
- Upsallata, 1,5-2 h away for 22 pesos (May 2012, not reliable!). You can also just hitchhike here.
From both Uspallata and Puente del Inca, you can hitch a ride to the other side of the border on a straight road.
Via the seasonal Ruta Provincial 52 to Uspallata
Take the city bus number 84 (January 2017) from the Avenida San Martin (the central street) and ride it out till the end of the line. It will drop you off near a town called La Unión. It's best to buy all food and drink in Mendoza city before you go, as there's nothing here. In summer, you will have shadow in this spot till noon, which is very welcome. Say yes to any (truck) ride to the Planta de Villavicencio, which is where they produce the famous Villavicencio bottled bubbly water. Even better is catching a direct ride to the Termas de Villavicencio, where there's shadow, a bathroom, drinkable tap water and an emergency restaurant.
Termas de Villavicencio is where the curvy, unpaved (ripio), 55 kilometer road begins towards Uspallata. In summer, many domestic tourists take this road as it has amazing views. They close the road to all traffic in winter and with extreme weather. Depending on how many stops you make, this road will take a few hours to cross. Mind of a Hitchhiker hitched this road in January 2017 and camped at Uspallata's municipal camping - which is for free.
Crossing to Chile: Paso Internacional Los Libertadores
There are no border formalities to be done on the Argentinian side. You'll get your Argentinian exit stamp on the Chilean side of the border.
Remember that taking unpackaged food through the border is not allowed. The Chilean SAG (Servicio Agrícola y Ganadero) will take it from you. Cookies that are made by a lovely Argentinian grandpa are not OK, while branded cookies are fine. Same goes for pasta, trail mix, prepared and labeled pan de miga sandwiches, etc. Not OK are vegetables and fruits that are not prepared in some way. They're really afraid of the bugs all the neighboring countries have. Bring enough water for the crossing, especially in summer when all the holiday traffic can cause a giant blockade and there's no shadow nowhere. This also applies for inside the car.
Southwards (Valle Grande, Ruta Nacional 40): you can take a city bus until Lujan or Agrelo, or try hitching straight from the bus terminal in the center, as the highway passes there). Be warned that waiting times are very long on this stretch of RN40, as vehicles are doing short trips. Also the route itself is too wide and fast to hitch successfully on. Consider a bus to further down from Lujan, or just go to the YPF gas station before Agrelo (Parador Perdriel) and ask people till you get a ride. There's also a gas station next to Agrelo beyond the Ruta 7 with Ruta 40 crossing, which is also an YPF.
This is via the Ruta Nacional 40 northward. Take the bus to the Mendoza Airport and stand at the main road, or walk along the RN 40 towards El Borbollón, where there's a Bandera Blanca gas station on the road. Alternatively, take city bus 133 or 131 via El Plumerillo to El Borbollón and enter the same gas station Bandera Blanca via the back. Ask around for cars going to San Juan.