Can you do the Cruce Andino route in winter? For sure!

September 6, 2019 - 3 minutes read

If you’re not heading to Patagonia during the upcoming southern hemisphere summer, why not consider a 2020 autumn or winter adventure through the Andes?

Not as crazy as it sounds.

That’s because the Cruce Andino road-and-water route between Argentina and Chile operates year-round. If you think the lake and mountain scenery is gorgeous during warm weather, imagine what it’s like covered in blazing autumn scenery or a fresh sprinkle of snow.

Undertaking the trip between June and October also puts you on the doorstep of Argentina’s premier winter destination — Bariloche. We’re talking everything from Nordic, Alpine and heli-skiing to snowboarding, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling. Not to mention backcountry skiing that will blow your mind.

Cerro Catedral, located in the breathtaking Nahuel Huapi National Park, is around 10 miles from downtown Bariloche. The largest ski resort in the southern hemisphere offers 75 miles of pistes served by a combination of 34 chairlifts, cable cars and rope tows.

Bariloche is also a convenient hub for other ski resorts — Cerro Bayo that is 40 miles north of town; Cerro Chapelco near San Martin de los Andes is 100 miles north; while Perito Moreno ski area near El Bolson is located about 75 miles to the south.

At the end of the day on the slopes you can return to Bariloche for a dinner that might include Argentine steak, lamb, or trout served with fabulous local wines or craft beer, before settling in for the night at accommodation that suits all budgets.

Over on the other side of the Andes, Osorno Volcano in southern Chile offers a smaller but no less spectacular ski area. The steep, rugged volcanic terrain makes it an entirely different downhill or snowboarding experience. Activities like tubing and winter trekking are also available on the mountain. And in case you’re wondering, the 8,700-foot, glacier-covered stratovolcano last erupted in 1869.

The views from Osorno are incredible — huge lakes on either sides of the mountain, the snowcapped Andes running north and south, and on a clear day, maybe even the far-off Pacific Ocean.

Located about an hour west of the Osorno ski area, Puerto Varas offers various accommodation options from hostels to hotels, as well as restaurants, pubs and other apres-ski outlets.

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