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

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

Start Date :
End Date:
Initial time :
alarm1 pm
End Time:
alarm am
Meeting Point:
Tunuyan, Mza, Santiago de Chile
End Point:
Santiago de Chile, Chile
1300 km from Buenos Aires
7 days
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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 Andes climbing up a valley and crossing the Andes by the same place where one of the armies of the General San Martin has crossed over 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 2020
  • January 5th to 11th
  • January 19th to 25th
  • February 9th to 15th
  • March 1st to 7th



Day 1: Meeting and transfer from the bus terminal of Mendoza city at 10 a.m. It is a private transfer that we include in the program for those who are not already in Tunuyan. Preparation of our backpacks, presentation of guides + general technical talk, lunch in Tunuyan and transfer to the Portinari Refuge. Registration in Migrations  (please take 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 will savor under a starry sky.

  • Estimated walking time: 4-5 hours.
  • Meters uphill: 600 mts in ascent.
  • Starting height: 2500 masl.
  • Height of the camp: 3100 masl.

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

  • Estimated walking time: 3 hours.
  • Meters uphill: 300 meters in ascent.
  • Start height: 3100 masl.
  • Height of the camp: 3400 meters above sea level.

Day 3: Early breakfast to take advantage of the intense day: climb up to 4300 meters , border  El Portillo, from where the view is incredible: hills and glaciers over 6000 meters to go down to another valley, still inside Argentina. In the afternoon we descend in a very long stretch, through a valley, until finally reaching the camp next to the Real de la Cruz Refuge . In case of not reaching this camp, we will stop at La Ollada, two hours before this camp.

  • Estimated time of walk: 12 to 14 hours.
  • Meters uphill: 800 mts in ascent / 1400 mts in descent
  • Starting height: 3400 masl.
  • Height of the Step: 4200 msnm.
  • Height of the camp: 2900 meters above sea level.

Day 4: Absolute relax day. In case of having camped in La Ollada, we will walk only 2 hours to Real de la Cruz. On this day, we suggest relaxing by the stream or walking short distances. 

  • Estimated walking time: Nothing or 2 hours.
  • Meters uphill: 100 meters in ascent / 300 meters in descent / 300 meters in ascent.
  • Start height: 3000 meters above sea level.
  • Height of the camp: 2900 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.
  • Meters uphill: 300 meters in ascent.
  • Starting height: 2900 masl.
  • Height of the camp: 3400 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 his/her belongings plus some of the general equipment. Descent by 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.
  • Meters uphill: 550 meters in ascent / 1150 meters in descent
  • Starting height: 3400 masl.
  • Height of the Step: 3950 masl.
  • Final height: 2800 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.


Demanding trekking program without much weight since the carrier animals take care of  the general equipment .

speaker_notesIncluded 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 or 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.


speaker_notes_offServices 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. (Obligatory - Request Quotation).
  • Dinner in Santiago de Chile.
  • Expenses caused by abandonment of the program.
  • Tips

Contact and Enquiries

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