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
- 1.4 East towards San Luis, Buenos Aires
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 the amount in cash (and they may well beep you and then refuse to be paid back!). 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
A public transit bus can be taken in the direction of Agrelo, 30 minutes to the south, which will pass where Ruta Nacional 7 continues west and a gas station just before that. You can catch such a bus at Mendoza's central bus terminal (Terminal del Sol, Estación de Omnibus de Mendoza), right in the centre of Mendoza where the RN 7 from the east and RN 40 meet. The bus will depart from around the bays numbered 50-60. Ask around there to find out which specifically and how to pay your fare: some buses take the local transit payment card, some accept cash to the driver, some sell tickets at the windows there just inside the station.
Ask the bus driver to drop where RN 7 splits off to the west before Agrelo, at the YPF gas station (Gasolinera de la Ruta 7), also known as Parador Perdriel. The station is 500 meters before Ruta Nacional 7 continues its route west to Chile. Many cars and trucks headed in that direction stop at this gas station, but it is a busy station for people headed everywhere. Truckers are especially wary with the assumption you'll want a ride over the border, and even if they agree to take you that may only be to the customs facility just past Uspallata (though that will be useful for catching the truck traffic done with customs formalities and then heading into Chile). Ask around at the gas station or walk to RN 7 to filter out the traffic headed in other directions and catch traffic coming from the south; the spot there isn't ideal, but especially with the long merging lane from the southbound RN 40 traffic it will do.
Another popular option among hitchhikers is to take a bus to La Paz (or La Dormida, or even San Martín and then another short bus) and get down un Alto Verde un order tonget yo Parador Eloy Guerrero (a gas station). Here's a map: Ubicación: geo:-33.130646,-68.31468?z=11 https://osmand.net/go?lat=-33.130646&lon=-68.31468&z=11
[^^^Parador Eloy Guerrero (called 'Parador Guerrero' by several local rides I had) is nearly half the distance from Mendoza to Uspallata in the wrong direction, but there is a fair bit of truck traffic headed from there to Chile (or, so they told Moverthathoof the night they were there but on their way to Buenos Aires). You probably won't do any better there than Parador Perdriel right at the junction of RN 7 with RN 40 south of Mendoza, but if coming from the east and not wanting to deal with getting past Mendoza otherwise you could stop there and seek a trucker to Chile or at least the Uspallata customs facility]
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 in Argentina. Arriving to the Chilean border crossing the Chilean officials will process your exit from Argentina at the same time as your entry to Chile.
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.
East towards San Luis, Buenos Aires
The best station to get a ride heading east is the YPF on RN 7 just after it crosses Calle Elpidio González (-32.929273, -68.754368), about 9km from the central bus terminal. It is busy with all manner of traffic. You can get there taking a public transit bus heading to Fray Luís Beltrán and San Martín, which pass it right on RN 7. Such buses leave from Mendoza's central bus terminal (Terminal del Sol Estación de Omnibus de Mendoza), right in the centre of Mendoza where the RN 7 and RN 40 meet. The bus will depart from around the bays numbered 50-60. Ask around there to find out which specifically and how to pay your fare: some buses take the local transit payment card, some accept cash to the driver, some sell tickets at the windows there just inside the station. Buses circulating only to the area near that YPF almost certainly exist as well (please confirm!).
Beyond that the gas stations eastbound along RN 7, in the likes of Fray Luís Beltrán and San Martín, are used much more by locals than those going much farther. Parador Guerrero (mentioned above in 'West towards..), about 16 km east beyond San Martín, is busier with trucks headed south and west (or was the night and morning Moverthathoof was there), but with nothing at all around it bringing in local traffic you will also eventually find a ride heading east without too much difficulty. Getting there requires taking a bus to San Martín followed by another bus or a bus to the likes of La Dormida or La Paz (being sure not to pay the full fare that much longer distance!), all of which can be taken from that same central bus terminal (Terminal del Sol Estación de Omnibus de Mendoza).