Trekking over the Andes – Mendoza to Santiago - 6 days


Trekking over the Andes – Mendoza to Santiago - December until March

  • 28 Dec 2024 until 03 Jan 2025
  • 28 Feb 2025 until 06 March 2025

Following the footsteps of San Martin on his 1818 expedition to free Chile (Argentine general responsible for Argentinean and Chilean independence), our trek has extraordinary beauty and great historical value. The pass we chose is one of 6 passes used by San Martin’s troops to liberate Chile in a historical expedition, considered today one of major feats in world military history.

Although the trek is right between Mendoza and Santiago, two major capitals, it remais quite unexplored and receives probably less than 300 visitors per year. It is quite common to see guanacos (relative of llamas), condors, rare birds, wild rabbits among other wild animals.

The trek is not easy. We have to cross two 4000 metre passes and a few major rivers. This itself is a great adventure and we need teamwork to do it. At the end of this exciting trek we get to Chile via Valle del Yeso. At the end of this adventure we will arrive at the thermal water pools in a place called Termas del Plomo, just after crossing the river Plomo.

Cruce de los Andes

This is the name of one of the greatest war maneuvers in human history. Cruce de Los Andes was an expedition led by General San Martin to cross the Andes and free Chile from the Spanish. In 1817 the general commanded more than 5000 men and used 6 different mountain passes to surprise the Spaniards who occupied Chile. The expedition was a success and the country gained independence. It is considered one of the great milestones in the history of Argentina, as well as one of the greatest achievements in world military history.

Central Andes Landscape

As it is a little explored region, it is possible to see Guanacos (similar to the llama), foxes, hares, the famous Condor (which is the largest flying bird in the world) and other birds and lizards.

Due to the isolation of this region, there is no heavy traffic of people. The peace and tranquility expected by trekkers are easily found when traveling this path. As a bonus of this hike, we have some river crossings that guarantee a little extra excitement to the adventure.

Requirements for joining this trekking are:

  • International Travel Insurance;
  • Trekking experience;
  • Good health and physical prepared;
  • Fill the booking and medical form;
  • Read all the information available in this website.

Legal requirements:

Please note we do not take responsibility on your legal situation in Argentina. You should be responsible to have a legal tourist or working stamp in your passport in order to leave Argentina legally. If your situation isn’t legal (i.e. you forgot to stamp when you walked through the Bolivian border or you crossed via an uncontrolled border, etc) you won’t be able to go higher than the Portinari check point and we won’t be able to take you to Chile. Please to make sure you comply with these requirements.


Trekking over the Andes – Mendoza to Santiago - 6 days

Day 1 – Meeting in Mendoza – 900m

Today we’ll meet in Mendoza for a briefing, equipment check, equipment rentals and go through all details.

Day 2 – Drive to Refugio Portinari / Scaravelli Hut – 3200m

Transport leaves at 8am from Mendoza and take us to Portinari (2500m) where we will find the police control and customs to oficially leave Argentina. We then drive to Scaravelli Hut where we will meet the arrieros (mule drivers) and spend the first night. Before that we’ll have a nice argentine BBQ. Included: Transport, afternoon coffee and dinner

Day 3 – Trekking to Real de la Cruz – 2900m

3 hours trek to Portillo Argentino (argentine pass) 4300m, the highest point of the trek. The descent takes 6 hours through an incredible valley up to Real de La Cruz, an army hut in a pretty deep valley called Tunuyan. Included: Night in a mountain hut, Breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Day 4 – Trekking to Meson San Juan – 4000m

We’ll take to a nearby peak that has amazing views of six 6000 metre peaks like Tupungato, Piuquenes, Alto, among others. The whole trek will take about 5 hours including descent. Included: Night in a tent, breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 5 – Hike to El Caletón – 3100m

The trek today takes up to 5 hours. Its a pretty amazing valley that takes us very close to the chilean border. Included: Night in a tent, breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 6 – Trekking to Termas del Plomo and transport to Santiago – 600m

Last day of trek! Today we cross the Portillo Piuquenes, a 4000 metre pass over the chilean border. Chilean mules and a chilean mule driver will come to pick up our equipment as argentine mules aren’t allowed in Chile. From the pass we take a very steep moraine down to Termas del Plomo where we will find our transport waiting for us with with snacks and drinks. We can now relax in the hot springs before traveling to Santiago. Time for last dinner together and to remember what a nice trek we’ve just had. Included: Transport, breakfast, packed lunch and afternoon snack

Day 7 – End of the services – 900m

After enjoying  a delicious breakfast we are ready to take . Included: Breakfast


** The above itinerary is subject to change due weather conditions, performance of the group, political / administrative problems and any other events not described.


Having good mountaineering equipment is one of the key points to have a safe and enjoyable trek. Please note all your personal equipment will be checked by one of our guides in the hotel. You can easily rent or purchase all necessary mountaineering equipment in Mendoza. Find out rental prices in our FAQ.

  • equipamento buff


    Buff or similar

  • gorro neblina cinza copia


    Woollen hat or similar for cold days

  • xNxExplorer noir vert J

    Sunglasses (cat 3 or 4)

    With side protection to fit your face

  • GG

    Sunscreen and lip balm

    30 FPS or more

  • xNxlanterna


    Working headtorch and spare batteries

  • Light down jacket

    Quantity: OPTIONAL
  • Summit Down Jacket

    Heavy hooded down jacket for cold conditions

  • Snowproof jacket

    A good snow, rain and windproof jacket

  • camiseta dry


    Synthetic fibre long or short sleeve t-shirt

  • Fleece jacket

    Used alone or as part of a layer system for better performance

  • Caláa de Trekking

    Trekking pants

    Light trekking pants

  • caláa segunda pele

    Base layer pants

    For very cold days and summit push

  • Caláa anorak

    Snowproof pants

    Goretex or similar pants will be used for high wind or during snow conditions

  • Luvas segunda camada


    Fleece or polartec gloves for every day use

  • Sandals or crocs

    Sandals or crocs for river crossing or hanging around camp

    Quantity: OPTIONAL
  • Trekking boots

    Waterproof trekking boots, try wearing them before the expedition

  • Meias de trekking

    Trekking socks

    Good thick trekking socks

Other Equipment
  • Water purifying tables/drops

    A reliable way to treat water

    Quantity: OPTIONAL
  • Carbo gels

    These gels help out on recovery

    Quantity: 1
  • Snacks

    Salty snacks, sweets, etc. Any sort of tasty ready food as complement. On high altitude mountains we don’t normally worry about vitamins and proteins as these kinds of food are too hard to digest. You can buy all these in a local market.

    Quantity: 500g
  • Stuff sacks or bin bags

    Helps to keep your stuff dry and organised

    Quantity: 2
  • Saco de dormir

    Sleeping Bag

    A good down sleeping

    Quantity: -10C (Comfort temperature) - rental costs U$40
  • Rucksack

    A decent rucksack with hip belt and rain cover

  • Altitude medicine

    Our guides already have pretty much any drugs you might need during any trip. However, it would be great if you could have a spare tab of the most used drugs:

    Ibuprofen (Advil)– This is an anti-inflammatory and works great for high altitude head aches
    Loperamide (Imodium) – controls diarrea (not to be used in case of digestive infections. Ask our guides)

    Quantity: kit
  • Personal Hygiene kit

    Soap, tooth brus, come, etc

  • Isolante tÇrmico

    Sleeping mattress

    We prefer taking 2 foam sleeping mattress because of sharp rocks. If you have an inflatable mattress you should also bring a foam mattress to protect the inflatable one against sharp rocks. Don’t forget bringing a repair kit if you have an inflatable mattress.

    Quantity: 2 (rental for U$12)
  • Water bottle

    Nalgene 1 litre bottles or similar are great for expeditions! We prefer to not use camelbacks as its hose pipe might freeze

    Quantity: 2 x 1 litre or 3 x 600ml
  • Duffel Bag

    Used to transport or store your equipment. In many cases, we transport your personal gear on animals and we don’t want your equipment to get wet or have mule smell…

    Quantity: 1 - Rental for U$18
  • Padlock

    To lock your duffel during transportation

    Quantity: 1
  • Bast∆o de caminhada

    Trekking poles

    Gives you more stability during walk and summit push.


What if the pass is closed?

This is unusual but if it happens we have several alternatives like trekking at Cerro Vallecitos and other wonderful treks.

How much equipment will I have to carry? Can I make it?

Your backpack will never weigh more than 7 kg. The rest of it will be carried by mules.

Do I actually need a passport?

Yes, on the 2nd day we have to go through Argentine customs and stamp our passports to officially leave Argentina. Your situation in Argentina has to be legal. If you don’t have an stamp in your passport, you won’t be able to leave the country and your trek is finished. So make sure your situation is legal in Argentina. Make sure your passport is at least 3 or 4 months before the due date.

Is there communication on the mountain?

The only communication we have is a VHF radio that allows us to speak with the police of both countries.

Would you guys call my family and tell them I’m alright?

Of course! Even better! We have a blog that is updated every day! We normally post messages or photos about the expedition progress. Please visit our Facebook page and check the latest posts.

Do I have to share tents to anyone?

Yes. All tents are shared by every 2 persons and this is previously agreed.

What if I abandon or quit the trek?

If you quit the expedition 1 week before departure, it is possible to recover part of your investment. Contact us and find out more.

If you quit the expedition in Mendoza, you can continue enjoying the services we provide you such as transportation and hotel. However we can not pay back the money you invested because logistics will already be hired.

If you quit the expedition after we left Mendoza, you will have to cover individual transportation and accommodation costs. Everyone who leaves the expedition for personal or health reasons, should pay these costs.

If you give during the trek, we will arrange all your transport to go back to Mendoza. Have in mind these costs will be yours regardless they might be due to health reasons.

What’s your philosophy?

We accept women and men of any age, experience or ambition. We ask our members to be patient, respect the leader’s decisions and never go up or down alone.

Remember that you don’t pay us to take you to your destiny, you pay mountaineering professionals with several years experience to assist you through the trek in the safest possible way. Still, you are the one who has to walk!

Our itinerary may seem slower than other companies, this is due to a longer acclimatisation plan based on safety. More days will actually improve the chance of reaching your goals!

How much money should I take?

You might have to spend money on dinner and lunch in Mendoza and Santiago, equipment rentals, telephone bills, tips, etc. You might also have extra expenses in case you decide to abandon the mountain. We recommend you to bring a total of $500 in US currency and 1000 argentine peso for the whole trip. Please check the expenditure list:

Dinner and lunch in Mendoza: U$25 per meal
Equipment rentals (average): U$150
Cost of abandoning trip: U$350

Can I use credit cards in Argentina?

We do not recommend you using credit cards in Argentina. In addition to the up to 25% tax, it is quite possible that your credit card might not work due to poor communication system. Only major hotels and supermarkets might accept foreign credit cards. The financial situation in Argentina is very unstable so we highly recommend you to bring US dollars.

Chile is very different and most shops or big stores accept credit or debit cards

What sort of training do I need for this trek?

For this trek we recommend you to start training at least one months before the trip, depending on your physical condition. Aerobic exercises like running and cycling are very useful. A very effective exercise is to go hiking with a rucksack on any trails. BEWARE of injuries! We have had some cases of clients who have trained too much and ended up hurting themselves.

What experience do I need for this trip?

We recommend you to have experience in multiple-day hikes.

How’s the weather up there?

Even though we’ll be going on summer, remember that we are in the middle of the Andes and the weather is unpredictable. On average the days are mild/hot, about 15ºC to 30ºC and nights can be fairly cold +5ºC to -5ºC. Occasionally we have snowstorms.

What if I have a special diet?

Please tell us in advance about any food issues you might have and also please remind our guides about it too. Unless you bring your own food, we cannot help you if you are macro-biotic, vegan or celiac due to extreme logistical difficulties. Contact us and let us know about your food restriction.

What’s the temperature my sleeping bag should stand?

We recommend you to bring good down sleeping bags with comfort temperature of -10 up to -15. Please note there are 2 types of temperatures shown in most of sleeping bags. We’re focusing on the “comfort temperature”.

What if I want to rent equipment?

It is very easy to rent equipment in Mendoza. Check out the list of equipment needed before buying anything. Rentals can be paid in dollars or pesos. These are the costs for the 2017 season. Prices are for the whole expedition:

  • Windproof Jacket USD 34
  • Trekking pole USD 16
  • Trekking boots USD 28
  • Duffel USD 20
  • Fleece jacket USD 16
  • Thick down Jacket USD 48
  • Sleeping mattress USD 13
  • Fleece gloves USD 8
  • Sunglasses or Goggles USD 16
  • Rucksack USD 28
  • Windproof pants USD 28
  • Sleeping bag -8ºC USD 40

Where will I sleep during the trek?

In the first 2 nights we sleep in beds in mountain huts. On the 3rd and 4th night we sleep in tents.

There is drinking water in the approach?

There is plenty of drinking water on the way. However we recommend you to treat it before drinking.

In which hotels do we stay in Mendoza?

In Mendoza we will use the 3-star hotel called Condor Suites which is located in the city center close to restaurants, supermarkets and shops. In Santiago we will use the Hotel Libertador also 3 star. It’s on Avenida Libertador O’Higgins, in the city center. Note that rooms aren’t included in our package but we can organise that for you if you wish to use the same hotels.

What if I need to be rescued?

Our guides are trained rescuers and also trained on WFR protocol. Additionally, the Argentine army will be very close to us most of time and can easily help us.

View our photos of Eduardo Tonetti:
Related links about Eduardo Tonetti:

Eduardo Tonetti

Mountain Guide and Trekking Guide

Language skills:

Portuguese - native speaker
Spanish -  near native speaker
English - good command

Eduardo Tonetti was born in São Paulo - Brazil and was in the advertising business for 15 years. In 2010 he decided to quit his career and guide for living. After 4 years of studies, Edu has graduated at EPGAMT Guiding School in Mendoza. He is now a professional mountain guide and a WFR trained rescuer, licensed to guide in Aconcagua among many other Andean peaks.

Edu has been a rock climber for 13 years and has extensive experience in several rock climbing areas. He specialized in high altitude mountaineering and climbed dozens of mountains in the region. Edu has climbed big mountains like Aconcagua (6962m, 11 times), Ojos del Salado (6898m), Tres Cruces Sur (6738m), Tres Cruces Central (6640m), Mercedario (6770M), Tupungato (6556m), Cerro Plata (5943m), Vicuñas (6087m), among others.

Eduardo has worked with human development and coaching in São Paulo, Brazil and he is now using mountaineering as coaching activities having amazing results!

He has been working in Aconcagua for the last 4 years in a row and started as a porter in 2012. He worked his way up and has now led several expeditions at Central and dry Andes.



DATE 1: 27/12/2023 until 02/01/2024

DATE 2: 09/02/2024 until 17/02/2024

PRICE Season 2020 USD 1.750, contact us to know the accepted payment methods.

What’s included:

  • Leadership of Eduardo Tonetti, EPGAMT mountain guide or any of our Andes Specialists mountain guides;
  • 1 or 2 assistant mountain guides (EPGAMT/AAGM certification) depending upon number or clients;
  • Help on purchasing and equipment rental in Mendoza;
  • Transport from Termas del Plomo to hotel in Santiago;
  • Transport from Mendoza to Scaravelli Hut (3000m);
  • Mules for personal equipment (up to 15 kg per person);
  • VHF Radio;
  • 2 night in basic mountain hut Real de La Cruz;
  • Transport/assembly of tents, pots, gas, food, water in all camps ;
  • Use of mountain tents and first aid kit in all camps;
  • Breakfast, packed lunch, dinner, treated water in the whole trek;

What is NOT included:

  • Hotel nights or meals in Mendoza or Santiago;
  • Flights from/to Mendoza;
  • Bus or flight from Santiago to Mendoza;
  • Personal equipment (check equipment tab);
  • Any costs due to excess weight (over 15kg);
  • Money return in case you abandon the trip;
  • Rescue expenses (if needed);
  • International travel insurance;
  • Reimbursement for loss or damage of your personal equipment.
Open chat
Chat via Whatsapp