Crossing the Andes - Paso el Portillo – Trekking from Mendoza to Chile

  • Start Date : 2022-Jan-09
    End Date: 2022-Jan-15
  • Hora Inicio: 1 pm
    Hora Fin: 9 am
  • Meeting Point:Tunuyan, Mza, Santiago de Chile
    End time: Santiago de Chile, Chile
  • Duration:7 days
    Availability: 6 available spots
Trekking Crossing the Andes Paso Portillo-Piuquenes


Those extensive valleys , interrupted by some solitary mountain refuges. The towering rock walls. The irregular peaks by the white glaciers. Everything is still, as in a painting, being us the main characters of that painting.

The idea is to get into the mountain range, walking up a valley and crossing the Andes following the same path as one of the  General San Martin´s armies took more than 200 years ago....An experience that is not easily forgotten.



Expedition connecting Argentina with Chile. We will carry our backpacks. General equipment will be carried by carrier animals . Accommodation on wild camps and occasionally in mountain refuges  (without the comforts of a campsite) in the mountains.

Season 2021
  • January 10th to 16th
  • January 24th to 30th
  • February 7th to 13th
  • February 21st to 27th
  • March 7th to 13th



Day 1: Meeting and transfer from Mendoza´s city Bus Station at 10 a.m. It is a private transfer that we include in the program for those who are not already in Tunuyan. Backpack´s preparation, guide´s presentation  + general technical talk, lunch in Tunuyan and transfer to Portinari Refuge. Registration in Migrations  (you´ll need your passport for this moment). We start the first section on foot to Scaravelli refuge. The night finds us cooking a delicious meal, which we´ll savor under a starry sky.

  • Estimated walking time: 4-5 hours.
  • Distance: 8 Km.
  • Meters uphill: 600 mts in ascent.
  • Starting height: 2500 masl.
  • Camp Height: 3100 masl.

Day 2: Calm day of relax and acclimatization. Lunch. After noon We´ll walk 3 hours until the next camp, ascending gradually by the mountain range to Portillo Pass. Yaretas Camp

  • Estimated walking time: 3 hours.
  • Distance: 4 Km.
  • Meters uphill: 300 meters in ascent.
  • Start height: 3100 masl.
  • Camp Height: 3400 meters above sea level.

Day 3: Early breakfast to take advantage of the intense day: walk up to 4300 meters , border  El Portillo, from where the view is incredible: hills and glaciers over 6000 meters;  then down to another valley, still in Argentina territory. In the afternoon we descend in a very long stretch, through a valley, until finally reaching the camp next to a drinking water stream.

  • Estimated time of walk: 12 hours.
  • Distance: 18 Km.
  • Meters uphill: 900 mts in ascent / 1000 mts in descent
  • Starting height: 3400 masl.
  • Higher Point: 4300 masl
  • Camp Height : 3300 masl.

Day 4: Keep going down through the valley, first River crossing and reach the Rio Tupungato Valley; a second River crossing (this time with Horses help) and two more hours walking till Camp Real Del Alambre.

  • Estimated walking time: 6 hours.
  • Distance: 12 Km.
  • Meters uphill: 600 meters in descent / 200 meters in ascent.
  • Start height: 3400 meters above sea level.
  • Height of the camp: 3000 meters above sea level.

Day 5: We get up early to take advantage of the daylight. Our goal is to get closer to the International Border. We walk through a great and beautiful valley, step by step, until we reach  Real de las Ovejas, where we set up our last camp in the mountain.

  • Estimated walking time: 7 hours.
  • Distance: 12 Km.
  • Meters uphill: 300 meters in ascent.
  • Starting height: 3000 masl.
  • Height of the camp: 3300 meters above sea level.

Day 6: Key day, finally we cross to Chile. Just like every day, we start as early as possible. We continue climbing a couple of hours  to the border Paso Piuquenes. Photos, hugs and  celebration for the challenge achieved. Here we say goodbye to the animals and their baqueanos. From this point each one must carry their belongings plus some of the general equipment. Descent on the Chilean side, about 4 hours downhill. We reach the hot springs Posas del Yeso. 2-3pm approximate time of arrival. Lunch and final celebration. Transfer to the city of Santiago de Chile. Night at  hostel.

  • Estimated walking time: 8 hours.
  • Distance: 8 Km.
  • Meters uphill: 650 meters in ascent / 1250 meters in descent
  • Starting height: 3400 masl.
  • Heigher Point: 3950 masl.
  • Final height: 2700 meters above sea level.

Day 7: Breakfast. End of our services in Santiago de Chile. Ask for return options  to Argentina or extra nights of lodging in Chile.


Note 1: Active program with a high demand. It is a required to have walked at least once previously with a trekking backpack on an outing in mountain at least one day (8 hours). To have ever slept in a tent with a sleeping bag. Suitable for over 13s, and under 60s (cases outside these age ranges will be evaluated).

Note 2: All participants must present a physical/medical fitness certificate, where their GP will enable them to carry out the activity.

Note 3: People with physical ailments or leg injuries (classic case of knees or other joints) cannot participate. Carry out this activity with an injury can lead to having to evacuate the person in complex situations and significantly harm the group with important delays.

Note 4: Program subject to climatic, geographic or political conditions. Changes may occur during the trip depending on various circumstances and factors. Decisions will be exclusively made by the guides, baqueanos and company coordinators.


Included Services
  • Transfer IN from Mendoza city, bus terminal, or from Tunuyan to  Portinari Refuge 
  • Transfer OUT from the Termas del Yeso to the city of Santiago de Chile.
  • Professional  mountain guides and baqueanos.
  • All meals in mountain(breakfasts, lunches, snacks, dinners). From  lunch on Day 1, to  breakfast on Day 7 (except  dinner of day 6 in Santiago de Chile).
  • General kitchen equipment (Pots, heaters).
  • Equipment and first aid kit.
  • Communication equipment for emergencies: VHF, Satellite Phone, Spot Monitoring.
  • Tents of 2, 3 or 4 people, according to availability.
  • Animals carrying general equipment in Argentine territory (until day 5 included).
  • Hostel in Santiago de Chile
  • Personal accident insurance.
  • Guides, coordination and permanent advice, before and during the crossing.


Services NOT included
  • Transportation to Tunuyan or Mendoza and from Santiago de Chile (ask).
  • Personal camping equipment (sleeping bag, insulated sleeping pad, canes and backpack, possible to rent).
  • Passenger Assistance Insurance. (Mandatory - Request budget).
  • Dinner in Santiago de Chile.
  • Expenses caused on quitting of the program.
  • Tips

Photo and Video Gallery


trekking cruce andes portillo mendoza 029
Crossing of the Andes Trekking - Paso Portillo - Mendoza

Trekking crossing the Andes, ending in Santiago de Chile.

Where you sleep

  • We spend the night in tents, from night 1 to 5.
  • Night 6, in Hostel (shared rooms) in Chile.



Do I need to be trained?

For any mountain activity you need to have a previous physical preparation, or be physically active. In this case we suggest training (jogging twice to three times a week, cycling or swimming) and doing a good leg workout (gym, crossfit, etc.)

Do I need to have previous experience?

We recommend  walking at least once before this trekking with a backpack, although no previous experience is required. Having slept in a tent also helps as a experience for this trekking.

Where do we spend the night?

Overnight is spent in mountain campsite in igloo tents, comfortable and for 2/3 or 4 people. To share.

On the last night we include one night of lodging in classic-simple hostel in Santiago de Chile. If you want to have another type of accommodation you can reserve yours on your own.

Do I have to carry a tent?

The tents are included in the service. If you want to bring yours, ask us.

What is the climate or temperature?

Although the season of the year is optimal for this crossing, in mountain areas  temperatures tend to fall at night. There may be the possibility that we will be hit by a storm, hence the importance of the personal equipment. There must be nothing missing from what we detail in the equipment list.

Are there any breaks to rest?

Stops are given with a frequency and graduation according to the intensity.

There are breaks for lunch, snack, and rest.

How old do I have to be to do this activity?

From 13 years old onwards. We also recommend you to contact us before registering or registering a minor (minors must cross with authorization from parents, mother and father or guardians)just to make sure that his/her experience is the suitable for this trek.

How much does the backpack weigh?

In a woman backpack, from 8 to 12 kilos, in a man from 12 to 20 kilos. Up to the borderline Piuquenes everyone must walk with little weight.

Is there any carrying service?

We have a mule carrying  the general equipment, such as kitchen elements, food, tents, and security elements. They also carry some of your equipment, an approximate of up to 7 kilos per person. Within the Argentine territory.

What do we eat?
  • Meals: Milanesa and tomato sandwiches, cold sandwiches, snacks, salads, tapas, etc.
  • Dinners: Vegetable stews with bacon or chorizo ;chicken and vegetable casseroles, pasta with various , barbacue (goat), Chaw Fan, chicken with rice among other meals
  • Breakfasts and snacks: Tea, Coffee, Cappuccino, Mate Cocido, Mate, Milk powder; bread, cookies, jam, honey, dulce de leche; cereals, fruit.
  • It is necessary to complete the personal / medical file to clarify if someone does not eat some type of food.

Difficultie´s Graduation

Mochila: Peso / Duración de la Jornada.

Exigencia Física

Técnico: Dificultad en el Terreno / Equipo.

Fortaleza Psicológica

Exposición a la Altura

Backpack (M)

This point has to do with the weight that we must carry in our backpacks. Trekkings or crossings where we have pack animals allow us to bear less weight on our backs. And the multi-day journeys in Patagonia (without the option of having pack mules) generally make us carry more weight, especially in the early days.

20% Up to 5 Kilos: Short excursion walks / Trekking Talampaya

40% Up to 8/10 Kilos: Round-trip trekking / Vallecitos 3 and 4-day programs

60% Up to 12/15 kilos: Crossing trekking with porting / Crossing of the Andes Paso Portillo

80% More than 15/18 kilos: Cross-country trekkings with little or no portage / Trekkings in Patagonia (Paso Vuriloche, PN Lanin or Nahuel Huapi, etc)

100% More than 25 Kilos: With a lot of equipment on top and little or no porting / Continental Ice

Fitness (F)

We consider physical demands to the wear that we can suffer both aerobic (climbs = possible shortness of breath) and muscle (resistance = many hours walking) and of legs and joints (descents = knees / ankles).

20% half a day or less with little unevenness.

40% more sustained slopes and longer days in the activity. 2-3 days / more than 6 hours per day.

60% Long ascents and descents with a longer duration. Ascents to more than 4000 meters in the central mountain range / intense 4-day trekking (Uruguayan plane)

80% Important work of legs in resistance. Very long days. Very long day ascents (Lanin - Domuyo) or more than 5000 meters. Ice courses.

100% Maximum demand. Aerobic work and constant effort on legs. Continental Ice, Aconcagua, mountains of more than 6000 meters.

Technical (T)

The technical difficulty is mainly based on the terrain. How much can it cost us to climb a slope, if it is very steep or if we have to use our hands in some section (simple climbing), both in rock and snow-ice, or materials such as crampons and pegs in other ascents.

20% flat land

40% trails with moderate ups and downs. General crossing trekkings . Sierra de la Ventana, Córdoba, Patagonia, Cuyo, north, others. Classic ascents

60% Steeper slopes and trails. Possible use of crampons. Domuyo, Cordón del Plata, Cordillera Central.

80% Mixed terrain, with snow or ice. Alvear, Lanin, Tronador. Bolivia, Peru.

100% Highly technical terrain. Glacial transit and climbing in sections. Hill climbing with sections on slopes of more than 60 ° inclination

Psycho (P)

We maintain that this point, the psychological factor, represents a relevant factor. Each one needs a factor of conviction, confidence, self-control and will power to achieve a goal. And depending on the attitude with which we face distances, slopes, terrain and many other objective factors, we can achieve performance with very different results.

20% We will not be much affected.

40% This is a normal level of attention.

60% We require more motivation, enthusiasm and concentration.

80% The activity will require us to be very connected and convinced.

100% Maximum control and emotional-psychological performance.

Adventures (A)

It is the factor that, the height above sea level, influences us depending on the activity we carry out. Managing and overcoming symptoms caused by altitude is the key to this point

0% + sea level.

20% Up to 2000 masl.

40% + 2000 masl.

60% + 4000 masl.

80% + 5000 masl.

100% + 6000 masl.

Gradual Adventure Activity Difficulty System designed by Leandro Scheurle.
Copyright © 2009. All rights reserved.

Required equipment

MANDATORY  EQUIPMENT ***  (If this equipment is not taken, the guides reserve the right to define your participation in the trekking)
  • Backpack for trekking (60 to 80 liters)  ***
  • Warm sleeping bag (-5 to -10 degrees comfort)  ***
  • Insulated sleeping pad (10 to 15mm) ***
  • trekking poles ***
  • 1 waterproof / breathable jacket  (parka,ultrex,goretex)  ***
  • Authorization in case of Minors *** (permission before notary  or before the authorities that correspond, according to the place of birth)
  • Medical Fitness Certificate ***
  • Waterproof plastic bags to keep all the clothes inside the backpack


  •  3 pairs of trekking socks 
  • Underwear
  • 1 pair of trekking boots (in good conditions)***
  • 1 second pair of footwear  to cross rivers
  • Long trekking pants (NO JEAN)
  • 1 indoor long pants or leggings
  • 2 Dry fit synthetic short sleeve t-shirts
  • 1 Long sleeve shirt
  • 2 sweatshirts (fleece)
  • Warm jacket (made of feathers or synthetic) 
  • 1 sun hat (with flaps)
  • 1 handkerchief to cover your neck from the sun (multifunction scarves type Buff)
  • Warm gloves  ***
  • Warm hat ***


  • Passport or ID. Obligatory to do migratory procedures. ***
  • Medical insurance
  • Travel assistance insurance. Required. ***


  • Front flashlight with batteries (With spare batteries) ***
  • Sunglasses (Category III or IV)***
  • Sunscreen (not less than factor 45). Lip balm
  • Toilet paper. Wet wipes


  • Containers to contain water for at least 2 liters (can be plastic bottle)
  • Cutlery, plate or tupper and glass. (No glass or metal)


OPTIONAL, not mandatory (see space and weight)
  • SILVER TAPE tape, for blisters and repairs.
  • Steel thermos
  • Binoculars, monocle. Camera
  • Book, travel diary, pencil, pen.
  • Games; cards, dice, etc
  • Whistle and lighter.

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Copyright ©2009. All rights reserved.