Thanks to Amaya Williams for contributing the information and photos on this page. The story of her and husband Eric’s ongoing quest to cycle every country on the planet can be found at their worldbiking.info site.
Paso Internacional Los Libertadores, (also known as Cristo Redentor) is the main transport route connecting the Chilean capital city of Santiago to Mendoza across the border in Argentina. Spectacular views of Aconcagua (South America’s highest peak) and of the perfect series of switchbacks below make this demanding ride well worth the effort.
From the Chilean side, a paved road begins rising steeply in a series of 29 switchbacks approximately 50km from the city of Los Andes (elev. 800m) which lies 70km north of Santiago (500m). The first 20 switchbacks stretch over 4km with a change in elevation from 2,275m to 2,550m. Next, the road climbs gently for 2km to an altitude of 2,650m. The next 9 switchbacks begin here and take you up to an altitude of 2,800m over a distance of 2.5kms. From this point, it’s another 5km to the Chilean immigration post and then two more kilometers to the start of the old road leading up to the summit.
A few kilometers beyond the Chilean immigration post, at an elevation of 3,175m, virtually all traffic turns into the tunnel leading across the border into Argentina. Bicycles are not allowed in the tunnel, but the SOS tunnel service can provide free transport here if you decide not to ride any further. Energetic cyclists can continue further on the unpaved old road all the way up to the Christ the Redeemer statue at the summit. This road is comprised of rough gravel, sand and rocks and climbs steeply through a series of tight switchbacks. There is little traffic on the Chilean side, but you will probably come across one or two vehicles if for any reason you are in need of assistance.
Wind combined with the high altitude will make for some pretty slow going, but don’t worry, there’s a refugio at the top where you can relax over a cup of hot chocolate. The summit is at 3,840m, and it is here that you will find the famous Christ the Redeemer statue and enjoy breathtaking views of Aconcagua and out over the valley below.
The Argentine side of the pass is of a gentler grade and much better maintained. It also carries more traffic as many tourists drive up and back to enjoy the views. From the summit, you’ll descend approximately 1,000m over 9km before reaching the Argentine immigration post at Las Cuevas.
|Name of Pass||Paso Los Libertadores/Cristo Redentor|
|Where||Between Santiago de Chile and Mendoza (Argentina)|
|GPS Co-ords||32.8253 S, 70.0712 W|
View Paso Los Libertadores/Cristo Redentor in a larger map