The route from Mendoza to the Chilean border is a traditional year round excursion on excellent paved roads which run along the edge of the Río Mendoza river. The first village on the route is Potrerillos with its huge dam and spectacular view of the whole valley below. Uspallata, our breakfast stop with a panoramic view, is 100 km from the provincial capital of Mendoza. This is where the Huarpe Indians lived in pre-Colombian times. Our next stop is Picheuta’s historic stone bridge, constructed by General San Martin’s troops during their march across the Andes on their way to liberate Chile from Spanish colonial rule.
The tour continues with visits to the towns of Polvaredas, and Punta de Vacas, from where we reach the famous town of Penitentes, Mendoza’s second largest ski center. Further on is the breathtaking Puente del Inca at an altitude of 2,720 meters. The Río Las Cuevas river has created a natural bridge by boring through the yellow and red stone of the mountain. The thermal springs doting the edge of the river are part of the legend behind the naming of Puente del Inca, the bridge of the Inca. It is said the rulers of the Inca Empire used to journey from their great cities in what is now Peru to bathe in the healing waters of the many hot springs located in present day Argentina.
Continuing our journey we will reach a natural viewpoint from where we can enjoy Mount Aconcagua in its entire splendor. With an elevation of 6,962 meters, Aconcagua is the tallest mountain peak outside of Asia. Continuing on the road towards Chile we find Las Cuevas. Built in a European style at an altitude of 3,200 meters, Las Cuevas is the last town on the Argentine side of the border. Weather and road conditions permitting, it is possible to climb to the monumental statue of Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer) overlooking the entrance to the international tunnel leading to Chile. At 4,200 meters above sea level, this monument symbolizes the brotherhood uniting Argentines and Chileans. This is the last stop in the excursion; we now follow the same route back to Mendoza City where our journey ends.
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