We renewed our 90 day Chilean visas with a 3 day jaunt to Montevideo, Uruguay. It was more expensive than we planned; we failed to anticipate the expensive transportation to and from the Santiago and Montevideo airports. It costs almost as much the plane tickets! A luxury bus to Mendoza, Argentina is much less expensive, but consumes 8 hours each way.
Mendoza is appealing because it is attractive and has wineries and wine shops, tango dinner shows, festive pocket parks filled with pedestrians and mature trees, grilled meat restaurants, and stores selling native crafts and leather apparel.
Montevideo is a clean city with a waterfront partly decorated by an industrial port. It was one of the richest countries in the world, but the government arrested modernization with high spending, creating inflation and sinking the economy. The city has lost its glory and the tired architecture remains a reflection of the prosperous past.
We took a bus to Punta del Este and spent the day in the seaside town that hosted the Uruguay Round (1986-1994) of international trade negotiations. The highlights of our detour was the 5 finger beach sculpture, cruise ship anchorings and encounters with mammoth sea lions.