Day 3 (February 10, 2014). Today we crossed the border into Chile—at the Paso Internacional Los Libertadores—and reached the Pacific Ocean at Valparaiso. The actual crossing of the border takes place inside a 3 km-long mountain tunnel at approximately 3,200 meters (10,500 ft). The roads on both sides of the tunnel offers spectacular vistas. The climb up on the Argentine side is slow and gentle. On the Chilean side the road descends down very quickly on a long series of switchbacks.
We left the hotel at Uspallata after breakfast at around 9 am. The air was clear and crisp. Ruta 7 leaves Uspallata and follows the Mendoza River passing through a series of small settlements (Punta de Vacas, Penitentes, Puente del Inca, Las Cuevas) before entering the international tunnel. The views of the massive Andes in every direction are quite amazing. Many landscape scenes of the film Seven Years on Tibet were filmed here so if you saw the film you have already experienced the grandeur of this place. A few kilometers before the border we visited Parque Provincial Aconcagua where we hiked a short loop that offers great views of Mt. Aconcagua (6,960.8 metros ~ 22,837 ft), the highest mountain in the world outside of the Himalayas.
Going through customs to enter Chile took almost an hour and a half. We had to fill three forms and unpack everything from the bikes. The custom officers checked every single item we were carrying. We knew not to bring any foods or vegetables. I was worried about the Mountain House pouches I was carrying on my bike. The agent took a close look at the Beef Stew pouch and asked me what it was. I think that my description of the entrée made him feel both disgusted and sorry for me. He dropped the pouch in my bag and told me I could go.