El Balcón - see the effect of earth history
If you do the "circle" around Mendoza, heading north to Villavicencio, and then the old road to Uspallata, don't miss to make a stop at "El Balcón".
This has been formed some ages ages ages ago, and shows the earths' activity in the past.
I was told that it came from the "folding" (?) of the geological platters.
But watch your steps - and your breath - the gorge is 1000 m deep !!!
- Historical Travel
- Road Trip
- National/State Park
Visit the 4 smaller plazas (e.g. Plaza Espana)
Plaza Independencia, the biggest one in Mendoza, is surrounded by 4 smaller Plazas - Espana, Italia, Chile and San Martin.
On Plaza Espana, there is also a mercado de artesanias during the day.
But what I liked more is the perfect design and decoration with spanish style ceramics.
Even the benches to sit and relax are made of ceramics.
Definitely a place to go and spend some quiet minutes :-)
- Budget Travel
- School Holidays
- Road Trip
Natural Rock Bridge
The natural bridge and hot springs spa at Puente del Inca were one of the most amazing things that we experienced during our entire 2-week trip to Argentina (see my 'Puente del Inca' page for more photos and details)! We came upon this spot, not far from the Chilean border, when we took our day-tour up the Rio Mendoza and Rio Cuevas valleys to the Andes.
The mineral waters bubbling out of the volcanic grounds here are very rich in sulpher, resulting in a yellowish hue to the deposits that solidify once they reach the surface. Over the ages, a 90-foot long and 70-foot wide natural bridge was formed by these deposits, today providing an arch 70 feet above the brown and fast-flowing Cuevas River.
A luxury resort hotel was developed at Puente del Inca (1925-1965) to allow patrons to enjoy the benefits of the soothing thermal baths, but that all came to a sudden end with an avalanche. Today, the baths are derelict, but it certainly is fun to explore the ruins and walk beneath the natural bridge.
- Road Trip
- Family Travel
A Drive to the Top of the Andes
On the middle day of our 3 full days in Mendoza, we took our pre-booked tour drive up into the Andes Mountains, lasting from 7:10 AM until 8:40 PM. This tour was the most fun that we had during our entire 2-week stay in Argentina, and I would highly recommend it to anyone visiting the area (we used the local Huentata Touristico tour agency).
The trip consisted of a great bunch of fellow travellers on a mid-sized bus that will take you up into the Andes toward Santiago, Chile via the majestic and twisting Mendoza and Cuevas River valleys. The mountain scenery was among the most dramatic that I have seen anywhere. We were able to take ski-lifts part way up the mountains at a resort during a rest stop (photo), saw the snow-capped tallest mountain outside of the Himalayas and stood on the mountain-top border with Chile at 12,500 feet (3,810 meters) elevation!
To top it all off, we also toured the amazing Inca Bridge (see next Tip) and enjoyed a great meal with our small group of travellers. This was really a day to remember! For the full details, see my 'Provincia de Mendoza' page.
- Family Travel
- Road Trip
"Tonada" is a very representative music style of Mendoza, San Juan and San Luis. Is usually played by groups of 3 guitars.
The lyrics of the tonada are very poetic and usually talk about love to a woman, love to one's land or about enjoying life iwht friends.
The "cogollo" is one part of the tonada in which the singer/s dedicate the song to somebody, when the song finishes, that "somebody" must pay the tonaderos with a glass of wine and the rest of the public can do the same. Not to pay a tonada or not to accept the glass of wine is considered really really impolite. I've seen many tonaderos finishing their shows just for not being "paid"
Do what locals do
- Curse against government!
- In winter: complain about the cold
- In Summer: complain about how hot it is
- In Autumn: complain about the three leaves falling down
- In Spring: complain about the flowers' pollen in the air
- Get some bottles of wine and enjoy them
MENDOZA : PUENTE DEL INCA
The natural bridge formed by sulphur hot springs, somehow solidified, is really interesting. It crosses Rio Mendoza at a height of 19m. It is 21m long and 27m wide. It is located at 2700m amongst the Andes, between the Chilean-Argentinian border and Mendoza.
A hotel had built thermal baths under the bridge. Decades ago, an earthquake or avanlanche destroyed the hotel and the baths now remained somewhat in ruins. Still, it is a great place to soak your feet or your entire body.
Better to wait for the day tourists to leave. Stay the night and head out to the thermal pool above the bridge and contemplate the Milky Way.
You have to be mentally strong to strip down to your swim-suit before you enter the natural jacuzzi. You have to be even MORE mentally strong to get out of the pool.
Los Heroes de Malvinas
Fighter planes in camouflage paint on stands in a small park near the airport in Mendoza form part of a memorial to the IV Brigada Aerea, the Mendoza-based wing of the Argentian Air Force, and the role they played in the war fought between Great Britain and Argentina over a few tiny islands in the South Atlantic. The planes and a sculptured map of the islands were erected to mark the 25th anniversary of the war known in Argentina as the Guerra del Atlántico Sur (War of the South Atlantic)
Although it was founded in 1912, until May 1, 1982, none of its planes had engaged in anything more than exercises and routine patrols. By the time the war ended, on June 14, 1982, the Fuerza Aérea Argentina had been well and truly blooded. Britain won the war and to the world at large the islands are still known as the Falklands, but in Argentina they are, and will remain, the Malvinas.
The memorial park lies to the north of the city, just off the road to the airport, on the area of the city known as Plumerillo. You can see the planes from the main road.
- Historical Travel
See the desert races
About half an hour outside of Mendoza is a desert 'race track'. Unfortunately, I was completely lost and I can't give any account of how to get to these races. I can say that its a great time for an asado and drinks while buggys and motos pass only a few feet away. I can only suggest asking your hostel/hotel receptionist or meeting a local for information about these races.
Parque Nacional Aconcagua
It had always been a dream of mine to climb this peak, the highest in the Americas standing at 6962m. Unfortunatly, when i arrived to Mendoza (closest big city to the mountain and where most people arrange their climb) it was not climbing season, the park closed (climbing season is from Nov. to Feb.). Still i wouldn´t leave till i got a glimpse of this savage mountain up close and so i took the 4 hour journey from Mendoza to the park and made my way to the view point perched next to a frozen lagoon. The view took my breath away and reasserted the feeling that i would someday be back to this place, but keep going just a little further...to the summit!
Mendoza has a very important Aquarium, with lots of different species of fishes, starfishes, snails, turtles, aligators... Just amazing!
From Monday to Sunday, from 9:00 AM to 7:00
Mendoza tiene un acuario realmente importante, con gran cantidad de especies de peces, estrellas de mar, caracoles, tortugas marinas, yacarés... ¡Impresionante!
La cordillera a todo color
Andes are always magnificent, but in summertime, when snow has melted, you can see all the colours of the rocks... red, green, black, yellow... and find forms and figures on them.
When you cross the Andes from Mendoza to Santiago de Chile, you can enjoy beautiful landscapes; a very special place on the highway is Puente del Inca (Inca's Bridge), an awesome construction.
La Cordillera de Los Andes siempre es magnífica, pero durante el verano, luego del deshielo, todos los colores de las rocas quedan a la vista... rojo, verde, negro, amarillo... Y se pueden buscar figuras y formas en las montañas.
En el cruce de Mendoza a Santiago de Chile, se disfruta de hermosos paisajes; un lugar especial en la ruta en el Puente del Inca, una construcción impresionante.
MENDOZA : ACONCAGUA
Aconcagua is the highest mountain in the whole of America. While not many of us is able to scale it, it is just a short hike away from Puente del Inca to VIEW it.
Walk towards the Chilean border. After a bridge, you will see a foot-path heading right. Sooner or later, you will come across Lago de los Horcones, a multi-coloured lake with a wonderful view of Aconcagua in the distance.
Puente del Inca
One of the famous natural sights of Argentina! This amazing natural stone bridge looks like this because of the warm sulfuric waters of the Rio de las Cuevas that runs under there. There used to be a spa hotel many years before in the area you can see at the background of the photo but the hotel close down after a flood that killed many people. It was amazing thought because even when it was fully covered by snow the customers of the hotel they could walk under a tunnel close to the river and use the warm waters. There is a plan to build a new hotel, this time from the other side of the bridge (the one the visitors stand and take pictures of the bridge)
There are a lot of legends about the bridge, most of them about an Inca prince that was ill and his father brought him there to save him because he was told the waters was magic. Another story says that the bridge was made by the heads of the servants of the Inca king!
Puente del Inca is high at 2750m, 180km away from Mendoza and there is a bus that will take you there. You have to check out the return times though so not to spend the night up there! I used an organized tour up in the mountains and the transport to Puente del Inca was part of the package.
A major road between Argentina and Chile runs through Mendoza and the city is a frequent stopover for climbers on their way to climb Aconcagua (the highest mountain in the West hemisphere)
After overnight in Mendoza and the next morning we drove up here.
We rather walk under the foothill, we have seen climbers participant get ready to climb
Walking below the mountain is a nicest thing to do if you are not a climber, there are many stalls selling local stuff and souvenirs
Aconcagua is 6962 meters the highest mountain in South America and the world's highest mountain outside the Himalayas.
The thin air, risk of severe weather conditions and the fact that you own the higher camps to design, make the climb to an extreme challenge
- Mountain Climbing