Cross the Andes into Argentina’s wine country
Drive time: 12 hours (round trip with a border crossing); 217 miles
Why it made our list: Sure, it’s an easy flight from Santiago, Chile, to Mendoza, Argentina, but where’s the fun in that? If you plan this trip right, you’ll encounter a winding adventure through the highest reaches of the Andes Mountains and end up in the valley of vino.
Start in Santiago, Chile: From the capital city of Chile, you can easily conquer this road trip in three to four days. Be sure to contact your rental car company early, and let them know that you’ll be taking the car out of the country, which requires special insurance.
Pit stop: The village of Uspallata, Argentina, is a popular place to take a rest after the journey through the Andes. This desert valley town has both the fuel and food you’ll need to continue on to Mendoza.
End in Mendoza, Argentina: The city has a relaxed vibe, and you may want to extend your stay in order to visit the vineyards that surround the city. Other outdoor adventures include biking, rafting, and skiing.
Dangers: Keep in mind the weather. During the winter, this roadway can be hard to pass. Also, pay attention to the speed limit -- there are several switchback turns and some one-lane passing.
It’s also a trip that you have to plan in advance, otherwise you might be turned around at the border. To cross into Argentina, you’ll need a notarized letter of permission from your rental company, as well as a special type of insurance that covers the trip. Make sure to carry these documents with you, as well as a valid passport and driver’s license. And, be sure to research the reciprocity fees and customs forms needed to enter and leave the country.