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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Current Events: Winter Weather Closes Pass Between Mendoza and Santiago

Current event posts like this are mostly for our readers outside of Argentina. Our readers in Argentina all must know about the snowy weather that has closed the pass that connects Mendoza (Argentina) and Santiago (Chile) a few days ago. If it makes our news up here in the US, then it's safe to say everyone knows about it in Argentina. In any event, this current event is a fun bit of news that lets us mention a route often taken by tourists and expats alike: the road from Mendoza to Santiago.

This New York Times article about the storm mentions the fact that there are only 16 passes along the 2,500 mile border between Argentina and Chile. Of these 16 passes, it says only a few are paved. The main overland route from Chile to Argentina is through the Christ The Redeemer Pass. This heavily traveled route moves huge amounts of freight from Valparaiso, on the Pacific coast of Chile, on its way to places all around Chile and Argentina. The road goes from the port town of Valparaiso straight through to Santiago, then through the Andes mountains and the Christ the Redeemer tunnel (pass) to Mendoza 8 hours away (by bus), and then continues on to Buenos Aires. The pass is a crucial link for imports and exports for both countries, and it also makes a great sight seeing trip.

Many tourists and Expats will take the trip across the Andes on a luxury bus although flights to Santiago are readily available from both Mendoza and Buenos Aires. People take the 8 hour trip from Mendoza to Santiago during the day so they can enjoy the views along the way. Here are some photographs I found of the trip from Mendoza to Santiago. The road passes by Aconcagua, which is the largest mountain peak in all of the Americas (the next biggest mountain is in the Himalayas.) Looks like a fun trip to take, of course doing it in the Austral Summer (Dec-Feb) would limit the closed road problem that the 6,100 truckers up there are currently dealing with.

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Blogger ImagineArgentina said...

My wife and I have driven this specific pass four times so far and it is absolutely beautiful. However, be sure to avoid it between May and August! We got caught up there back in July of 2005 during the worst storm in 30 years. Semi-trucks were tipped over, immigration was backed up, and truckloads of produce were a complete loss since most food became a waste in the cold. However, if you do make it, take pictures, because not everyone gets to see the snow covered Andes! On another note, check out the pass between Salta and Atacama - breathtaking! And no snow!

6/20/2007 01:11:00 AM  
Blogger Patrick Furlong said...

Hey, stuck in Mendoza now because the pass is closed. How long till it opens up, usually? Know of any resources to see because goin to the bus station everyday only to get sent home is getting tiresome!

7/24/2007 07:36:00 AM  

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