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Turning 30 South American Style With the dreaded 30th birthday looming, I ran away to South America to celebrate the landmark birthday in style.

Los Libertadores border crossing Mendoza to Santiago

ARGENTINA | Friday, 8 February 2008 | Views [2636]

The border crossing from Argentina to Chile  at Los Libertadores sort of summed up Argentina as a whole. It is breathtakingly beautiful, pain stakingly slow and strangely requiring of tips for customs officials!
It was probably our own fault for taking one of the random minibuses touting at Mendoza station, and to be fair, they were reasonably priced and took Steve´s bike after negotiating a fee down to 10 pesos, about a quid fifty. The climb up to the border was just amazing, you go all the way up to 3250 meters, all in the shadow of Anacongua, the highest peak in America and second tallest after the Himalayas in the whole world. As far as bus trips go this certainly beats a hike down the M6.
All seemed well until we got to the border and then had to wait in a line of buses, which were then stripped off passengers and bags, scanned, and loaded back on. We were then all asked for a tip of around 20p. well weird. Emerging in Chile, the road then just vaulted straight down the mountain in one fail swoop with a series of around 20 180 degree switch backs. Amazing. Steve though it might be fun to do on a bike, but then though he might go flying off the road as the angles were so acute.
We were really getting it and then the bus broke down and we waited for over an hour for another one to come and get us. We later saw the exact same journey being advertised as a day trip into the national park for sixty dollars. Save your pennies, get the mini van!

Tags: anacongua, argentina, border, chile, latin america, los libertadores, mendoza, mountains, road trip, santiago de chile

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