Active + Adventure

The World's Highest Destinations

by Jonathan Trew

La Cumbre pass, Argentine/Chilean border

High Notes: Before a tunnel linking Chile and Argentina was opened in 1980, unfortunate travelers between the two countries had to navigate La Cumbre, the scary mountain pass at the highest point of the old road link. From the village of Las Cuevas, the road winds upwards for a vertiginous five and a half miles before peaking at 12,572 feet. Anyone who makes it that far can be forgiven for thinking they're hallucinating when they get to the top and spot a 22-foot Jesus. But it's not the lack of oxygen playing tricks: The figure is a statue, Christ the Redeemer of the Andes, erected in 1904 to remind the two countries that in times of heightened border tension it was better to stop and think "What would Jesus do?" than automatically roll out the artillery. These days, it's only tourists who travel up to La Cumbre (also known as Los Libertadores) and then only in the summer months. During the winter, the temperature drops to a bone-numbing 22 degrees below zero.

Where to Catch Your Breath: The pass is 125 miles from the wine center of Mendoza. Cavas Wine Lodge, 20 minutes out of town, has 14 spacious rooms with minimalist decor, set in 35 acres. There's also a well-stocked wine cellar that will help steady your nerves.

Doubles at the Cavas Wine Lodge from $500 ($290 from July to Sept. 15)

Next: Reach for the stars >

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.



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