Los Caracoles Pass — or “The Snail’s Pass” — is a twisting mountain road located in a remote section of the Andes Mountains on the Chilean side of the border with Argentina. The path climbs to an elevation of 10,419 feet (3,175 m), has no roadside safety barriers, and is frequented by large trucks.
The Paso Internacional Los Libertadores, also called Paso Del Cristo Redentor, but it’s more commonly called Los Caracoles “Snails Pass”, is a mountain pass in the Andes between Argentina and Chile.
It is the main transport route out of Chilean capital city Santiago into Mendoza city in Argentina and so carries quite heavy traffic. Los Caracoles has a steep climb. There are many sharp turns and steep slopes on the road without security fences.
The road is almost always covered in snow. The road through the pass is totally paved, and passing through remote areas.
Chile and Argentina share over five thousand miles of roads, many of which are drawn along the majestic Andes peaks. The Argentine side of the pass has a gentle, slow climb to reach the tunnel at over 3,200 meters or 10,500 feet. The slope on the Chilean side is steeper and descends through a series of switchbacks.
The tunnel of the redeeming Christ, which was opened in 1980, is 3,080m long and serves as an important land crossing point between Chile and Argentina. The national border is located in the middle of the tunnel. It is the terminus of Chile Route 60, and Argentina Route 7. Winter snow can block the path and cause it to be closed.
Its name comes from the 4 ton Christ the Redeemer of the Andes “Cristo Redentor de los Andes” statue placed in 1904 near the Uspallata pass at an elevation of 3,832 meters. This was the highest point on the road prior to the opening of the tunnel. It lowered the maximum elevation by 600 meters, eliminated 65 switchbacks, and reduced the route by 10km (6 mi).
Nearly 15,000 Chileans were left stranded in Argentina on 19 September 2013. The pass was closed for 10 hours due to freezing temperatures and snow depths between 40-50 cm.