The distance between Santiago in Chile and Mendoza, one of Argentina's top winemaking regions, is 226 miles (363 km). The best way to make this trip is by taking a direct, hourlong flight.
If you'd like to see more of the countryside, you can take a private transfer or rental car, and the drive will take about five and a half hours depending on the line at the border crossing. Be sure to note that if you aren't planning on returning to Chile, then you will not be able to successfully rent a car for this journey.
The most time-consuming way to make this trip is by bus, and this option takes about 6 hours.
If you're a wine enthusiast, consider this 10-day trip that will take you from Santiago to Mendoza as you tour some of the best vineyards in Chile and Argentina.
Duration: 1 hour
You can easily take a direct, one-hour flight from Santiago International Airport (SCL) to Aeropuerto Mendoza (MDZ). There are up to three direct flights to Mendoza each day operated by Sky Airlines and LATAM.
Once you arrive in Argentina, you'll need to take a private transfer or taxi for the 20-minute drive into the center of Mendoza.
By Private Transfer or Rental Car
Duration: 5.5 hours, plus time at the border crossing
Getting a private driver to take you from Santiago to Mendoza is easy, and the vehicles are comfortable. The journey usually takes about five and a half hours, but you can expect an additional waiting time at the border, especially during the high season.
If you decide to rent a car, then be sure to alert the rental company that you'll be crossing into Argentina, and they'll give you the appropriate paperwork for the border agents. You can't leave the rental car in Argentina, so this isn't a good option if you aren't returning to Chile.
You'll begin your journey in Santiago on Route 57 and when you reach the Andes, you'll continue on Route 60. These curving mountain roads offer beautiful views, but they can trigger motion sickness for sensitive passengers, so be sure to take the terrain into consideration. About two hours into your drive, you'll reach Portillo, a popular ski destination from June to September which also makes a great stop for food year-round. While you're in Portillo, be sure to check out Laguna del Inca, a stunning lake surrounded by mountain peaks.
Half an hour past Portillo, consider stopping at the Aconcagua National Park for a scenic hike.
When you arrive in Mendoza, your private driver can take you directly to your hotel. If you have your own car, be sure to pay attention to local signage and park in designated spaces.
Duration: 6 hours, plus time at the border crossing
To get on a bus to Mendoza, you must head to the Terminal Alameda Santiago. Once there, you can purchase your tickets at one of the bus company counters, but be sure to ask for a bus that takes a direct route.
The buses will be comfortable, but some seat selections include food service, so be sure to ask about upgrades. Skip the lowest class seats for this trip (four and five), and choose from a first- through third-class ticket, as those are the best options.
Be sure to take the appropriate paperwork for the border crossing, and be aware that you'll need to take a private transfer or taxi from the Terminal Mendoza to your final destination in town.