Chile travel blog by Mark Berman -
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This blog focuses on the ascent by bus from Santiago Chile up to over 3000 meters above sea level at Cristo Redenter which is the border crossing over to Argentina
and Part 2 focuses and has photos of the descent all the way down to Mendoza, it is absolutely spectacular!
Bus from Santiago
The first leg of the trip took exactly 3hrs from
Santiago to the top of the mountains at Cristo Redentor but we were actually stopped at roadworks for a good 30mins during that time. After crossing the
official line separating Argentina and Chile it is another 10mins to get to passport control on the Argentinian side. As we left Santiago and headed through
the towns of Colina and Los Andes we passed farms and many vineyards, this is an area of green valleys surrounded by grey mountains. Tall green and yellow
trees color the landscape beautifully beside the road and river. The ascent begins up and through this dramatic and spectacular terrain.
Small Towns and Communities
1hr 40mins into the
journey we passed through the town of Guardia Vieja. From here it is 26kms to the next town of Portillo, 32kms to the Cristo Redentor Tunnel, 38kms to Las
Cuevas and 227kms to Mendoza. It is at this point the ascent becomes a little more extreme, it's amazing how they cut a road through it! It is steep in parts
and there are chair lifts for skiers up here, but there was no snow in April luckily for us. I would imagine if there was snow, it would add another 2-3hrs
to this trip. There are a few small communities up here, a few buildings grouped together in places. I didn't see the monument of Cristo Redenter but it is
at this point before the tunnel and official borderline that there is a right turn to get to it.
Now we crossed from Chile into Argentina and the journey
down the other side continues of course, in Argentina