Monday, March 30, 2009

Traveling by bus



We finally figured out which was the best of the bus companies in Argentina: Andesmar. All their buses are "first class" and the service impeccable. We just arrived in Neuquén, which is almost the geographic center of the country, but most people call it the south. It's actually located at the northern edge of the Patagonia region, and this is where modern civilization peters out. We took an Andesmar non-stop bus from Mendoza, leaving at 8:30pm Sunday evening and arriving here at 7am Monday. The seats turned into flat beds that were as comfortable as any I've had on the best international first-class flights I've taken.

The one-way ticket was about $55 each (195 pesos)—bear in mind that this is the most expensive bus ticket you can buy. The bus had a pilot and a co-pilot, plus a steward that served us a nice dinner (choice of meat, chicken or vegetarian) with wine and champagne, and then a breakfast in the morning. The bus holds only 25 passengers. I don't know how in the world they can make any money doing this, but bus travel is thriving in Argentina. That such a low fare can support a first class bus manned by a crew of three for almost 12 hours tells you a lot about how low wages are in Argentina and how far your dollar can take you here. Flying would have cost us at least $300 each.

1 comment:

Bob said...

Scott,

Fascinating. I have really enjoyed reading your travelogue posts. Argentina is now on my destination list.

My wife and I have used the bus system in our travels through Turkey in the past. Although we have not done an overnighter, we have found it an excellent and affordable way to see the country.

Please continue your posts and pics. Safe travels.

Bob