Two countries, endless possibilities. Look at a map of South America and it’s impossible not to notice that the bottom half of the continent is dominated by two very long countries. Sure, one is significantly wider than the other but both are equally packed with some of the world’s most impressive natural splendors. And we know what you’re thinking: you’re going to travel all that way so you want to cross both countries off your bucket list. Now you just need to figure out how (hint: trekking across the Patagonia glacier field is probably not the most convenient option). Here’s your cheat sheet on how to best combine your Argentina and Chile itineraries!
1-North: Atacama to Salta
No need to visit the planet Mars when you’ve got the Atacama Desert in Chile and areas like Purmamarca, Salta and Cafayate in the north of Argentina.
2-Santiago & Wine Region to Mendoza | R&C Argentina & Chile Wine Route
If you love driving around Napa and Sonoma or renting a car to explore the best wineries of Tuscany, look no further: a scenic drive between Chile and Argentina’s wine country was meant for you. A straight drive from Santiago to Mendoza would be an easy 5-6 hours but why rush when you can make delicious stops along the way? Leave Santiago and check out any of the surrounding valleys like Maipo, Casablanca and Anconcagua and sip on a tart glass of Carmenere. Once you’re on the Argentinean side, stop by Lujan de Cuyo, just south of Mendoza, for some Malbec or a scenic hike. By far the tastiest of the crossings, we recommend having a designated driver tag along who can safely transport you from country to country!
3-Puerto Varas & Lake District to Bariloche
The Lake Crossing between Argentina’s Bariloche and Chile’s Puerto Varas is one of the most preferred ways in which to travel between the two countries and there is no surprise why: this day cruise sails you through lakes and mountain passes that make up some of the region’s most iconic scenery. Though the crossing involves nearly a full day of travel, you’ll walk away feeling like you spent your day exploring rather than in transit. There are driving routes in the Lake District that allow for crossing the border via car or bus, but the lake crossing is definitely the most beautiful and convenient way to do it.
4-Torres del Paine National Park to El Calafate | Patagonia Essentials
Perhaps our most common method, the road from Chile’s border town of Cerro Castillo to Argentina’s Ruta 40 is the most convenient way to combine Southern Patagonia. Transfers via tourist bus run frequently between Puerto Natales, the city nearest to Torres del Paine, and El Calafate. We normally budget 4-5 hours from door to door, including stops for Immigration and Customs on both sides of the border.
5-Punta Arenas to Ushuaia | Australis Cruise
Kill two birds with one stone and cover both countries while passing through international waters. The Australis cruise offers 3 and 4-night departures between Punta Arenas and Ushuaia, all the way at the southern end of Chile and Argentina, respectively. Along the way you’ll encounter glaciers, icebergs, penguins, seals all while knowing that you’re quite literally at the end of the world.