Trekking Crossing the Andes, Tunuyán, Cajón de los Arenales, refugio Real de la Cruz, Paso Portillo-Piuquenes, Santiago de Chile

More than 200 years after the crossing of the Cordillera of the Andes by General Jose de San Martin

  • Start Date : 2025-Feb-09
    End Date: 2025-Feb-14
  • Hora Inicio: 10 am
    Hora Fin: 10 am
  • Meeting Point:Mendoza bus terminal
    End: Santiago de Chile
  • Duration:7 days + trip
    Availability: 14 spots
Trekking Crossing the Andes Paso Portillo-Piuquenes


The path that marks history

Those extensive valleys of height, interrupted by some solitary mountain refuge. The imposing rock walls. The irregular peaks broken by the white mantles of the glaciers. Everything is still, as in a painting, being us the main protagonists of that painting.

The idea is to enter the heart of the mountain range, ascending through a valley and crossing the very Andes Cordillera through the same place where one of the armies of General San Martin did it more than 200 years ago, an experience that is not easily forgotten.


Expedition in cross-country mode (joining Argentina with Chile). We carry trekking backpack on the shoulders and with the support of porterage animals, we go up through one path and down through another. Overnight is on wild camps with no services and, occasionally, in mountain refuges (without the comforts of a campsite) in the middle of the Cordillera de los Andes. Physically demanding in 3 of the 7 days.

Dates Season 2023:
  • January 8 to 14th
  • January 22 to 28th
  • February 5 to 11th
  • February 19 to 25th



NOTE: Due to the decision not to open non-traditional border crossings such as Piuquenes in the summer of 2021 and 2022, we are going to wait until they authorize the official opening of the crossing, which would allow us to return to the original day-to-day plan that appears in this programming.

Day 1: Meeting 10 am; transfer from the bus station in Mendoza city. It is a private transfer that we include in the program for those who are not already in Tunuyan. Preparation of the backpacks, presentation of guides + general technical talk and transfer to the Portinari Shelter of the National Gendarmerie. Registration in the immigration books (bring ID or Passport, otherwise there is no possible crossing). Lunch. We begin the first section on foot: We head to the Scaravelli refuge, the first camp.

  • Camp: Scaravelli (3100 masl)
  • Estimated walking time: 4-5 hours.
  • Distance: 10km
  • Slopes: 600 meters in ascent.
  • Starting height: 2500 meters above sea level.
  • Camp height: 3100 meters above sea level.

Day 2: Breakfast and quiet morning. Walk of only 2 hours and little unevenness, to continue with the acclimatization, to the Yaretas camp. Camp set up. Lunch and free afternoon to enjoy the place and continue acclimatizing. The night finds us preparing a delicious meal, which we will savor under a curtain of stars.

  • Camp: Yaretas (3400 masl)
  • Estimated walking time: 2 hours.
  • Distance: 6km
  • Slopes: 300 meters in ascent.
  • Starting height: 3100 meters above sea level.
  • Camp height: 3400 meters above sea level.

Day 3: We have an early breakfast to take advantage of the intense day: ascent to 4,300 meters, we pass through the Portillo pass, from where the view is incredible: Hills and glaciers at more than 6,000 meters to go down to another valley, still within Argentina. In the afternoon we descend in a very long section, through a valley, until we finally reach a camp next to a stream with drinking water.

  • Camp: La Hoyada stream (3300 masl)
  • Estimated walking time: 11 hours.
  • Distance: 18 km
  • Slopes: 900 meters uphill / 1000 meters downhill
  • Starting height: 3400 meters above sea level.
  • Height of the Pass (highest point): 4300 meters above sea level.
  • Camp height: 3300 meters above sea level.

Day 4: This day we will continue descending through the valley, we will cross the river (first wade) and we will reach the valley of the Tupungato River; at the confluence of this with the Tupungato, we will ford this last river (with the help of horses) and then we will continue ascending through the valley to the next camp, El Real del Alambre.

  • Camp: Real del Alambre (3200 masl)
  • Estimated walking time: 5 hours.
  • Distance: 8 km
  • Slopes: 300 meters downhill and 100 meters uphill.
  • Starting height: 3300 meters above sea level.
  • Camp height: 3200 meters above sea level.

Day 5: Last day of camping on the Argentina side. We cross the Rio Palomares, then the Paso Hondo. Finally we will ascend on the way to the border milestone, to make the last camp, in Real de las Ovejas, at the foot of giants of more than 6000 meters such as Cerro Marmolejo.

  • Camp: Real de las Ovejas (3400 masl)
  • Estimated walking time: 7 hours.
  • Distance: 15km
  • Slopes: 200 meters in ascent.
  • Starting height: 3200 meters above sea level.
  • Camp height: 3400 meters above sea level.

Day 6: Day we cross into Chile. We set up camp and, together with the pack and accompanying animals, we headed to the Hito and Paso Piuquenes; once there, photos of achievement and celebration. We say goodbye to the muleteers and pack animals and begin the descent towards Chile. For 3 hours we will go down by hauling to the Rio Plomo, in the Termas del Yeso, the last hurdle before meeting the transfer that will take us to Santiago de Chile. Entry paperwork and transfer to the hostel.

  • Camp: Hostel in Santiago de Chile, final
  • Estimated walking time: 7 hours.
  • Distance: 10km
  • Slopes: 450 meters in ascent.
  • Starting height: 3400 meters above sea level.
  • Height of the pass: 3950 meters above sea level.
  • Final height: 2800 masl

Day 7: End of our services. Free after breakfast.


Note 1: The porterage of equipment and personal equipment is carried out until the Piuquenes Pass (section on the Chilean side, 3 hours downhill, all the equipment is loaded in the backpacks)

Note 2: Active program with a high degree of demand. It is a requirement to have walked at least once previously with a cross-country trekking backpack on a MOUNTAIN outing, even if it is for 1 day (8 hours). Have ever slept in a tent with a sleeping bag. Suitable for people over 13 and under 65 (cases outside these age ranges will be evaluated).

Note 3: All participants must present a physical fit, where the same family doctor enables them to carry out the activity.

Note 4: People with physical ailments or leg injuries (classic case of knees or other joints) cannot participate. Carrying 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 5: Program subject to climatic, geographic or political conditions. Modifications to it may occur on the fly depending on circumstances and various factors. The decisions will be made exclusively by the guides, baqueanos and coordinators of the company.

Included Services
  • Transfer from Mendoza city, bus station, or from Tunuyan to the Portinari Shelter of the National Gendarmerie.
  • Professional mountain guides and baqueanos.
  • Full board in the mountains (breakfast, energy drinks, lunch, snacks, dinner). From lunch on Day 1 to lunch-snack on Day 8.
  • General kitchen equipment (pots, heaters).
  • Equipment and main first aid kit.
  • Communication equipment for emergencies: VHF, Satellite Telephone or Spot Monitoring.
  • Tents for 2, 3 or 4 people, depending on availability. Individual tent option.
  • Porterage with animals for the general team throughout the journey to Paso Piuquenes.
  • Personal accident insurance.
  • Guides, coordination and permanent advice, before and during the journey.
  • Transfer out from Termas de Yeso to Santiago de Chile
  • Hostel in Santiago de Chile, room to share

Services NOT included
  • Transportation or trip of each person to Mendoza or Tunuyan.
  • Return from Santiago de Chile.
  • Personal camping equipment (sleeping bag, insulators, poles and backpack; possible to rent).
  • Expenses caused by abandoning 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 do 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 previous physical preparation, or be physically active. In this case, we suggest training well in aerobics (going for a run two to three times a week, cycling or swimming) and doing a good leg workout (gym, crossfit, AEX training, etc.)

Do I need to have previous experience?

It is a requirement to have walked at least once previously with a cross-country trekking backpack on a MOUNTAIN trek, even if it is for 1 day (8 hours). It is also important that you have slept in a tent in a sleeping bag.

Where do you spend the night?

The overnight is done in mountain camps in igloo-type tents, comfortable and for 2/3 or 4 people. To share.

The last night: we include one night of accommodation in a classic-simple hostel, with rooms to share, in Santiago de Chile. If you want to have another type of accommodation you can reserve yours on your own.

Do I have to bring a tent?

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

Is there a bathroom?

No. There are no toilets or chemical toilets. Everything is in nature, delimiting sectors. And you have to maintain the hygiene of the place, taking the papers.

What is the weather or temperature?

Although the time of year is optimal for this journey, in Andean and/or wild areas, temperatures tend to drop at night. There may be the possibility that a storm will touch us, hence the importance of personal equipment, they cannot miss anything that we detail in the equipment list.

Are there rest stops?

The stops are given with a frequency and graduation according to the intensity. There are stops for lunch, snack, and rest.

From what age can they do this activity?

From 16 years of age. We also recommend that you contact us before registering or registering a minor (minor must cross with the authorization of the parents, mother and father or guardians)

How much does the backpack weigh?

Everyone can walk lightly up to the Piuquenes border marker, but it is essential that you always carry an expedition backpack, not a small attack backpack, since from the border marker to the end, on the Chilean side, there are 3 hours of descent where each one must carry all their equipment (sleeping bag, insulation, used clothing, clean change of clothes, hygiene, etc).

Until the border milestone (almost the entire route), each person must carry only what they will use during the day: water (the longest day starts with 4 liters), coat, sunscreen/lipstick, flashlight, lunch box marching etc.

Is there a porterage service?

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

What do we eat?

In all our expeditions we offer the service of meals IN FULL BOARD PLAN:

  • March lunches (cold meals): Milanese and tomato sandwiches, cold cut sandwiches, appetizers, salads, tapas, etc.
  • Dinners: Vegetable-bacon-red chorizo ??stews, Chicken and vegetable casseroles, Pasta with various sauces or stew, Roast meat (Chivito), Chaw Fan, Chicken with rice in a saucepan....
  • 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 record to clarify if someone does not eat any type of food.

Difficulty 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.

Rental Equipment

Trekking sleeping bag

Booking in Advance

US$ 16 + options

Pair of Trekking Poles

Booking in Advance

US$ 10 + options

Rental mittens

Booking in Advance

US$ 8 + options

Pair of Crampons

Booking in Advance

US$ 15 + options

Rental : helmet, crampons and ice ax

Booking in Advance

US$ 36 + options

Combo Top: helmet, crampons, ice ax and full harness

Booking in Advance

US$ 50 + options

Category 3 sunglasses - Shepra Julbo Spectrom

Booking in Advance

US$ 5 + options

Backpack for trekking and mountaineering - Woman

Booking in Advance

US$ 10 + options

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Contact and Enquiries

RECOMENDACION: Pueden comunicarse de formar directa al 54 9 1124012278
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