We bought our tickets on the internet 2 days before the departure… in order to flee Chile as soon as possible after our first mixed impression. In the rush, we bought the tickets from the 1st company selling tickets online, i.e. Bus-Sur (35 000 pesos/person). And the trip was so funny/weird that we decided to tell you about it in detail.
You can see the schedules and buy bus tickets on Bus Bud
The journey: quite an adventure
There are 2 buses leaving Punta Arenas for Ushuaia on the same day: one at 8:15 am and the other at 8:30 am. We choose obviously the one at 8:15 am. But against all expectation, both buses leave at the same time, late: 9 am, and the other bus will arrive earlier than us. Where is the logic in all that?
Having booked at the last moment, we only have 2 places left side by side: 44 and 45, in front of the toilets (we have to choose our places at the time of purchase). It smells like cleaning products. Well, at least, it means that they clean them regularly. Everything goes well until a customer, barely 2 minutes after the departure (whereas there are toilets at the bus terminal), decides to go and repaint the bus toilets.
Moral of the story: never again will we stand near the toilets. If there are still separate places but on the front, we will prefer them to the places at the back.
We flee this place to place ourselves on the front, where miraculously there are still free places. In fact, they are free because at some point, we will be chased out of our bus to be grouped with another bus. Without any explanation from the employees of the company. Everything happens in disorder and the passengers sit where they can without respecting the numbering of the seats.
We see again the group of old Dutch/Italian people we met the day before on the boat to the penguin island. They are particularly angry with those who do not put themselves in the right place. In spite of the explanations: “everybody puts himself where he can and not by his seat number”, one old man is particularly resentful and doesn’t stop kicking his young neighbor in front of him who “stole” his seat. A quarrel in English/Spanish/Italian ensues, where one pretends not to understand what the other is saying.
On the way, we take a 10 minutes ferry, very nice. But 0 dolphin in sight (we can see some if we are lucky).
As if this trip was made to be incomprehensible, we stop at the checkpoint for the exit of Chile for a good hour. Our two drivers block the way and prevent all bus passengers from doing the administrative procedures, always without explanation. One hour later, they let us pass to get a poor exit stamp. Why did they block the exit like that? We will never know it.
We wonder how much longer we will have to wait for the Argentinean border (there is a border post to leave Chile and another one to enter Argentina one kilometer further). Fortunately, this time, the drivers do not block any more their body and we cross the border very quickly.
Here, bio-security is strict at both border crossings. I regret less my manuka honey pot, thrown mercilessly on Easter Island. It wouldn’t have survived the multiple Chile-Argentina border crossings. Even if there is no real control on the Argentine side, on the Chilean side, they can take out dogs whenever they want.
Ah yes, before you ask me: for land border crossings, we never had any questions related to return/exit tickets.
How was the trip?
Apart from some funny anecdotes on this trip, he was BORING most of the time. Everybody slept. The duration of 12 hours actually takes into account the border crossing (super long in our case). The snack provided is good, however, they will not distribute water. You have to bring some with you (water will not be confiscated for bio-security).
The route isn’t even pretty, except for the ferry crossing and the last 2 hours where we cross the Terra del Fuego. With a short stop to admire Lake Fagnano. We will also see some llamas.
For those who want to make this trip with a rental car, I advise against it. With the border crossing that seems complicated, 1000km of unpaved road and monotonous landscapes, you may be bored to death.
Spare your neighbors, don’t go to the bathroom on the bus, there are frequent stops at the borders and on the ferry.
Practical information technology
- Bus-Sur: Punta Arenas -> Ushuaia 3 times a week (Monday, Tuesday and Friday). 8:15 am – 8 pm. Tickets can be purchased online. 35 000$CH/person
- Pacheco Buses: Punta Arenas -> Ushuaia 2 times a week (Tuesday and ?). Tickets must be bought directly at the bus office. I don’t know the price
- To be taken:
- some food (cereal bars, cookies, no fruit or meat)
- warm clothing
- argentinian pesos, there is no exchange office on the way
- his passport