Travelling through Ruta 27 (CH-27) in the Andes
Ruta 27 is a high mountain road located in the northern portion of Chile, on an arid high plateau in the Andes mountains.
The road is 156.19 km (97.05 mi) long. It’s paved but with some steep sections. It links San Pedro de Atacama and Paso de Jama, on the Argentinian border. Expect strong winds (dusty and dry), sunny conditions (dangerous without sunglasses), take plenty of water and bring at least two full-sized spare tires (they’ll be burning enough to bake a pizza). The road is remote, so extra care is required. Remember that you will be crossing the Andes, travelling through a semi desert area with few people and will be travelling at an average height of 3000 m.a.s.l. The road was opened on 6 December 1991, and is paved throughout since 2005.
The road tops out at Portezuelo Paranal, a mountain pass at an elevation of 4.832m (15,853ft) above the sea level. With such a high altitude CH 27 is one of the highest asphalted roads in South-America. This road is a good possibility for 2WD-drivers to experience a road at very high altitude in a landscape without vegetation for many miles, looking like the Mars planet. In spite asphalt and two traffic lanes, drivers should be careful because of high altitude, extremely low population density, strong radiation by the sun, strong enduring wind, missing connection for cellphone and up to 160 km (100 mi) to the next settlement with a petrol station on the Chilean part.
Road suggested by: Jorg Beyer