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There are a lot of opportunities for domestic flights, but taking the bus should not be missed. With its vast network, the bus system in Argentina and Chile is a ski bum’s cheap transport dream, an excellent way to see the country, scope terrain, and follow whims. But you might want to consider dehydrating yourself before boarding. Most buses are plush, but the bathrooms can be…traumatizing. You can drink water when you get off.
It’s tempting, while enduring down days in Las Lenas, to hear it is hammering in Bariloche, or vice versa, and skip town. If it is a somewhat-nearby resort, like trekking to Portillo from Valle Nevado, you should go. But if it is a 24-plus-hour bus trip, maybe not. By the time you arrive at base of said resort, 2-3 days later (travel impediments include: guaranteed bus breakdown, cows in road, etc.), it may be raining, or the powder will have blown away, and then you’ll hear the place you just left is being visited by epic conditions.
Sure, you’ve never eaten that part of the cow before, but you’re on vacation. A useful word? ‘Jugoso’, or juicy, that’s how to order your steaks. Vegetables? Yeah, not that that popular. In the drinking department, buy a bombilla and drink mate like it’s meant to be drank. See also, Pisco.
If you are from a big city in the U.S., it’s second nature in transit to never take your eyes off your bags. Same rules apply here. Your gear doesn’t scream ‘cool athlete,’ it screams ‘target.’ Yes, even your 97.5 lb ski bag will disappear in a flash in the bus stations and airports of both countries. If you have a bus layover, most stations offer a secure area where for a small fee you can leave your bags locked up until you depart. Then you can stop clutching your bags, glaring suspiciously and go…shopping!
OK, so maybe it’s not necessarily cheap, but you know what? It’s not all about the skiing. You flew all the way here, go home with some Latin glam, and impress everyone with your new worldliness. Jackson could use some bling. A couple days in South America’s famed capitals before you fly out should do it. Visit Buenos Aires’ flashy Palermo Soho neighborhood and go out of your way to visit the amazing Sunday street market in San Telmo. In Santiago, there’s the Feria del Domingo, and Providencia and Bella Vista areas are full of trendy boutiques.
Don’t make plans if you don’t have to. If you aren’t on a tight schedule, you can roam where and when you want. Sure, showing up in a random ski town without knowing anyone or having a place to stay might stress some security-loving people out, but it is a great way open doors to the most unforgettable adventures.