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article imageAcross the Andes Mountain Range from Chile to Mendoza, Argentina Special

By Igor I. Solar     Apr 11, 2013 in Travel
Santiago - The crossing of the Andes between Santiago, Chile, and Mendoza, Argentina, is a unique experience that offers magnificent mountain scenery of outstanding natural beauty, including a close view of Mount Aconcagua, "The Colossus of America".
The Andes is the longest mountain range in the world and the second tallest after the Himalayas. The Andes Mountain Range extends nearly 7,000 kilometres from Central America to Cape Horn, traversing seven countries: Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina and Chile.
The border between Chile and Argentina roughly follows the line along the highest peaks of the Andes. One of the most important crossings between the two countries is “Los Libertadores” (Chile) or “Uspallata” (Argentina). In the vicinity of Los Libertadores is Mount Aconcagua (6,962 MASL; meters above sea level). Aconcagua is the highest mountain in both the Western and Southern Hemispheres, followed by Mount McKinley, the highest peak in North America (6,194 MASL), located in Alaska, United States.
Santiago de Chile on the western slopes of the snowcapped Andes Mountains.
Santiago de Chile on the western slopes of the snowcapped Andes Mountains.
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Colonial buildings mix with modern skyscrapers at the Main Square in Santiago de Chile.
Colonial buildings mix with modern skyscrapers at the Main Square in Santiago de Chile.
Map of the route (blue line) from Santiago de Chile (A) to Mendoza  Argentina (B) across the Andes M...
Map of the route (blue line) from Santiago de Chile (A) to Mendoza, Argentina (B) across the Andes Mountains. Mountain Aconcagua is on he Argentine side of the Andes.
Distancia entre Ciudades
The mountain pass across the Andes has historic relevance since this was the route taken in 1817 by the Argentine General José de San Martín and his “Army of the Andes”. The army was composed of about 5000 men, heavy artillery, 1600 horses and about 9,000 mules. The crossing of the Andes took almost a month. The soldiers ate dry meat and cheese. They consumed garlic and onion to improve appetite and to prevent altitude sickness. Only 4,300 mules and 511 horses survived. The objective was to end the Spanish domination in Chile, restore the independent government and rout the Spanish rule in South America controlled from the Viceroyalty of Peru.
The road on the Chilean side rises in a relatively short stretch with many bends and steep slopes.
The road on the Chilean side rises in a relatively short stretch with many bends and steep slopes.
The landscape in the Chilean side has mountains with steep  heavily eroded cliffs  washed clean of s...
The landscape in the Chilean side has mountains with steep, heavily eroded cliffs, washed clean of sediments.
Some sections of the route are flat and wider  but the surrounding scenery is always breathtaking.
Some sections of the route are flat and wider, but the surrounding scenery is always breathtaking.
Chile s Customs and Immigration facilities at  Los Libertadores  Pass.
Chile's Customs and Immigration facilities at "Los Libertadores" Pass.
The “Los Libertadores/Uspallata” Pass crosses the Andes at an altitude of about 3,900 meters above sea level. At this point is located the seven-meter-high bronze statue of “Christ the Redeemer of the Andes”. The statue weighs four tons and stands on a four-meter-high granite pedestal. The monumental sculpture was installed at the site in 1904 to celebrate the agreement of Chile and Argentina about the line that marks the border between the two countries. An inscription on the statue reads: "These Mountains will first collapse before Argentines and Chileans break the peace sworn at the feet of Christ the Redeemer".
Christ the Redeemer of the Andes  monument erected in 1904 at the border between Argentina and Chile...
Christ the Redeemer of the Andes, monument erected in 1904 at the border between Argentina and Chile to celebrate the peaceful settlement of a conflict over boundary issues that had brought the two countries to the brink of war.
A. Stuardo
Border control facilities in the Los Andes - Mendoza mountain pass between Chile and Argentina.
Border control facilities in the Los Andes - Mendoza mountain pass between Chile and Argentina.
Crossing the Andes Mountains from Santiago de Chile to Mendoza  Argentina.
Crossing the Andes Mountains from Santiago de Chile to Mendoza, Argentina.
The steep slopes require travelling at low speed.
The steep slopes require travelling at low speed.
The road passing by the monument of Christ the Redeemer of the Andes is rarely used today since a tunnel, also called "Christ the Redeemer”, opened in 1980. The 3,080-meter-long tunnel is located at 3,200 MASL. Due to the extreme weather conditions, traffic through both the pass by the statue or the tunnel is often suspended, sometimes for long periods.
The “Los Libertadores/Uspallata” Pass links Santiago de Chile and the city of Mendoza in Argentina. The distance between the two cities is 179 km (as the crow flies), but extends for 364 kilometers including local roads and the winding road through the mountain passes.
Nearing the highest peaks of the Andes  the mountains are covered with snow all year long and storms...
Nearing the highest peaks of the Andes, the mountains are covered with snow all year long and storms may cause road closures.
Starting the descent of the Andes on the Argentine side. Aconcagua Mountain (6 962 m) can be seen fr...
Starting the descent of the Andes on the Argentine side. Aconcagua Mountain (6,962 m) can be seen from a distance of about 25 Km.
A closer view of Mount Aconcagua   The Colossus of America ; a draw for climbers from all over the w...
A closer view of Mount Aconcagua, "The Colossus of America"; a draw for climbers from all over the world.
Along the route there are some interesting abandoned mining works.
Along the route there are some interesting abandoned mining works.
Along the route there are some interesting abandoned mining works.
Along the route there are some interesting abandoned mining works.
The geography on both sides of the range is quite different. The Argentine section (the border to Mendoza) is three times longer than the Chilean side (Santiago to the border). The road on the Chilean side rises in a relatively short stretch with many bends and steep slopes. On the Argentine side, the slopes are gentler and the road bends are broader. The landscape in the Chilean side has mountains with steep, heavily eroded cliffs, washed clean of sediments. On the Argentine side, the mountains have moderate slopes with plenty of sedimentary material and low vegetation, creating a beautiful contrast of colors. On the Chilean side, the Aconcagua River bounces down the mountains among large rocks with a steep gradient while in the Argentine side, the Mendoza River flows peacefully along a wide sedimentary valley.
The distance between Santiago and Mendoza is 179 km (as the crow flies)  but extends for 364 kilomet...
The distance between Santiago and Mendoza is 179 km (as the crow flies), but extends for 364 kilometers including local roads and the winding road through the mountain passes.
On the Argentine side  the mountains have moderate slopes with plenty of sedimentary material and lo...
On the Argentine side, the mountains have moderate slopes with plenty of sedimentary material and low vegetation, creating a beautiful contrast of colors.
In the Argentine side there are many tunnels where the mountains reach right to the banks of the Men...
In the Argentine side there are many tunnels where the mountains reach right to the banks of the Mendoza River.
On the Argentine side  the mountains have moderate slopes with plenty of sedimentary material and lo...
On the Argentine side, the mountains have moderate slopes with plenty of sedimentary material and low vegetation, creating a beautiful contrast of colors.
Crossing the Andes from Santiago to Mendoza is a unique trip, a fantastic adventure through mountain scenery of exceptional beauty and amazing contrasts. It is highly recommended preferably between September and May, although snowstorms may occur at any time of year causing long delays or unexpected closures of the border crossing.
The city of Mendoza is located in the center-west of Argentina on the eastern side of The Andes.
The city of Mendoza is located in the center-west of Argentina on the eastern side of The Andes.
Argentina Gov't
The Fountain of the Continents in the  General San Martín Park   Mendoza  Argentina.
The Fountain of the Continents in the "General San Martín Park", Mendoza, Argentina.
More about The Andes Mountain Range, Chile, Argentina, Santiago de Chile, Mendoza Argentina
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