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Towards Chile across Icalma Pass

 Estimated reading time: 2 min.Texts Mónica Pons   Photos Eduardo Epifanio
Icalma International Pass

The scenes close to the international border feature eye-catching rivers, lakes and woods as well as simple towns that are crossed by the international road.

Icalma Pass is the access to Chile from the District of Aluminé. It offers a pleasant environment to both sides of the border.

We accessed Icalma from Aluminé after getting past Villa Pehuenia. The road offered amusing views, as it goes alongside the Aluminé River, which reflects the image of the neighboring hills and green fields of the local farms. It was summer when we paid our visit. We stopped at one of the farms to buy some honey and fine fruit.

At one point of the itinerary, we found the image of Ceferino Namuncurá inside a natural grotto in rock. Its followers usually stop there to leave an offering.

Villa Pehuenia is a mountain village that has grown significantly during its short life and has become famous for the combination of serenity and the vertigo of adventure ports and fishing.
Icalma International Pass
The place where Lakes Aluminé and Moquehue are located is known as La Angostura (the narrowness). It was at that location that we turned in the direction of the border checkpoint and started to see monkey-puzzle tree woodlands that become thicker on the Chilean side. We imagined which ones were older, taking into consideration their height or their lost branches. On the other hand, some other greener specimens looked much younger.

Once the necessary Customs proceedings were carried out, we headed for the town called Icalma, whose main attraction is the lake bearing the same name. It is sheltered by some low hills with Valdivian rainforest vegetation.

We continued driving along a stretch lined by a river to our left, as we got past small rural villages. We continued towards Melipueco and Cunco, where we started our journey back to Argentina.
Icalma International Pass
Even though the local roads are not completely paved, the beauty of these sites is worth the slow difficult journey, which is an attraction itself.
Useful Data
How to get here
70 kilometers stand between Aluminé and Icalma International Pass. Take Provincial Route 23 towards the North across Villa Pehuenia. The detour towards the border lies at the same latitude as La Angostura.
145 kilometers stand between the border and the City of Temuco.
The pass is located at 1,260 meters of height and is open year round. In the winter, it is a valid alternative when all the other border roads are closed due to snowfalls.
Check timetable and road conditions with the local authorities.
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