As I’m sure you saw in our itinerary, once we’re done with Machu Picchu, we’ll be flying to Iguaza falls and then we’ll be taking buses for every leg between there and when we depart Buenos Aires for Delhi. So, we need to find the following bus routes:
- Iguaza Falls to Florianopolis (14 hours)
- Florianopolis to Buenos Aires (24 hours)
- Buenos Aires to Mendoza (7 hours)
- Mendoza to Santiago (14 hours)
- Santiago to Portillo (2 hours)
- Portillo to Santiago (2 hours)
- Santiago to Buenos Aires (22 hours)
That is 85 hours of busses (or 3.5 full days). Holy crap, this is the first time I’m adding that up. That’s a lot of busses.
Ok, but anyways, I’ve started to look into all of the bus routes. During this process I’m trying to figure out what the best company/routes are, how much it costs to get from one place to the next, if the company’s and routes are reliable, and lastly, if we’re driving from one country to another, rather than flying, do we need to pay all of these reciprocity fees that I’ve been reading about.
So far, this has all been very difficult because none of the websites are in english, you can’t buy any tickets this far in advance, and I haven’t heard anything back from any of the companies that I’ve tried to contact. ARGHH!!
From what I’ve read, the cheapest way to get from Santiago to Portillo is to actually purchase a ticket from a company called Tur Bus from Santiago to Mendoza and then just get off in Portillo right before crossing the border. I tried to look up this company and can’t find anything about it, but I’m wondering if I can take this route, can I also just get back on the bus in Portillo and go to Mendoza from there. If that’s the case, We should go straight from Buenos Aires to Santiago and then hit Mendoza on the way back (can you tell I’m just thinking out loud here?).
Also from what I read, it seems like if we’re not flying into either Argentina or Chile, we should be ok on the reciprocity fee, which would be amazing. We always knew that we’d have to get a Visa and pay the $160 fee for Brazil, but when looking into the Visa situation again, we learned that Argentina and Chile both recently imposed a reciprocity fee as well. That’s an additional ($160×4 = $640) $640 that we weren’t planning on spending… So, if everything I’ve read is correct than we should be ok on that which would be amazing.
Here’s a summary of our Visa situation so far:
- Brazil: We definitely need a visa and we need to pay $160 each for the reciprocity fee. I went into the consulate in NYC because they wouldn’t answer their phone and they told me that the visa will last 10 years and should take 5-10 days to process. Hopefully we can knock that one out soon and be all set.
- Peru: We only need a passport to get into Peru. Thank goodness.
- Argentina: We need a passport and as of December 28, 2012 (great timing), we need to pay $160 reciprocity fee which is good for 10 years. You’re supposed to pay online before you go, but as I mentioned, I think this is only if you’re flying into the airport.
- Chile: Same deal as Argentina. Passport and $160 reciprocity fee. It says that they only charge at the Santiago airport and you can pay upon arrival, so I’m guessing that this is also only required if you’re flying into the airport.
- India: We’ll need a passport and valid India Visa, which is not available upon arrival for US citizens. It’s $76 for a 6 month Visa, and you can order it online.
- Nepal: Also need a passport and visa, but we can purchase a one month visa at the airport when we arrive for $40. That’s not too bad.
This is all pretty annoying, but most annoying of all is that I’m having such a hard time getting in touch with all of these people. No one at the consulates answers their phones and no one at the bus companies is getting back to me. WAHH!! Someone help!