Leaving Mendoza, we were still on a high from our victorious and rewarding decision to hitchhike from Santiago in Chile to Argentina’s wine capital. Which, funnily enough, resulted in us getting pretty high off some local sparkling wine.
Heading to Mendoza’s Terminal de Óminbus it was our first introduction to the high Argentina bus prices, the rumours were true.
From Mendoza to Cordoba By Bus:
The company Andesmar had overnight busses leaving at 8.30, 9pm and 11.30pm. The cost was $1,140 (€46) for the 10 hour journey, unfortunately the cheapest fare we found going direct to Cordoba.
San Juan Mar Del Plata and Chevallier also have regular busses for the same price of $1,140, but if you travel on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, or if you book a few days in advance, you can secure their promotional deal at $900 (€36).
Either way, to secure the cheapest bus price the best option is to book a few days in advance and at the terminal, in person.
Hitchhiking from Mendoza to Cordoba:
Scared off by said prices, we once again turned to the power of the thumb. And so began our escapade to Cordoba, where we were picked up by Dr. Nick, a friendly dentist who gave us one hell of a journey, memory and story.
Motorway via Via San Luis:
At first we spent a number of hours flipping signs and smiling big at the Acceso Este, the motorway that runs behind the Terminal de Óminbus. About 200 metres from the bridge there is a small island where you can hitch safely, hard shoulder for cars to pull over included.
Motorway via San Juan:
Unfortunately we struggled to stay optimistic as cars continued to beep, wave and smile with encouragement. After a solid three hours, we decided to change tactic and swap motorways and so headed for Avenida Gobernador Ricardo Videla, the busy main street outside the Terminal de Ómnibus. We walked to the large roundabout towards the YPF petrol station. There is a long slip road from the gas station onto the main road. Here is a safe place to hitch, with plenty of room for cars to pull over as well as a huge footfall of traffic.
Many locals passed us and told us it is possible and easy to hitch to at least the nearby towns, all roads lead to Cordoba they said.
But once again the hours flew and before we knew it it was 5pm, the sun was drawing to a close and we felt defeated.
Hitchhike from San Juan:
Stubborn to head back to our hostel in Cordoba, we decided to move onwards and grabbed the local bus from the Terminal de Ómnibus to the small town of San Juan.
The journey takes 2.5hours and busses with both Vallecito and Del Sur y Media Agua cost $200 (€8) and leave every 20-30 minutes.
If you are lucky enough to catch one of only two busses with the company San Juan Mar Del Plata (4pm and 6.30pm), you can score a ticket at the promotional price of $175 (€7).
Hitching from San Juan was much easier than Mendoza but because we arrived post sunset we decided to join the families and workers by napping in the bus terminal to begin our San Juan hitching attempts the following morning.
Leaving the bus terminal, take a left and head towards the Acceso Este. Just follow any road signs for the airport and hold up the sign as you walk.
We were picked up after an hour or so by Dr. Nick. The legend who so kindly drove us all the way to Cordoba stopping off to meet his parents, eat alfajores and join him for a maté in his home. We had some serious banter and Nick by default he became our private tour guide teaching us about the landscapes and Argentinian culture. The end of the trip ended with an invitation to join Nick, his family and close friends for an Asado, a typical (and bloody tasty) Argentinian BBQ.
Overall, we would suggest heading to San Juan to start the hitchhike to Cordoba. Leaving Mendoza at the early hours to make life easier.
It is a relatively big town with accomodation options should you become stuck.
As you can see hitchhiking worked out well for us… yet again. First a free wine tasting in Mendoza and then a fun asado BBQ in Cordoba.
Huge adovacates for it, please do travel safe and stay smart. Don’t hitch at night, follow your instincts and, if possible, try find someone heading in the same direction in your hostel and suggest you hike together.
Enjoy the ride.