Heeding the advice of VT-member 'canuckmike', I took my footwear off when I entered the depths of the thermal spa! The warm 35 degC (94 degF) water felt great as it washed over my feet, even though the water temperature has reportedly dropped since the early years of the 1900s.There are all sorts of baths and small rooms located in the spa, all of...more
This 70-foot long sulphur rock bridge spans the fast-flowing and muddy Cuevas River, providing the only access to the old mineral water spa. One theory has it that, during glacial times, the sulphur-rich waters flowing from the hot-springs here deposited their sediments atop an ice base. With the eventual melting of the glacier, the sulpher rock...more
En 1925 se construyó el Hotel Puente del Inca que representó para su época un verdadero lujo al que asistían las personalidades más importantes. Cada una de las habitaciones poseía su propio baño termal. La grieta de agua se encuentra aún hoy detrás de la amarillenta construcción, que debe su color a la gran cantidad de azufre que recibe. Luego de...more
Just above the Puente del Inca (aprox 30 m) there are some small thermal pools. They were very warm and provided me with a soothing spa. The frozen peaks around you really puts your existence into perspective.The water temperature was about 20 degrees C. The air temperature was about 9 degrees C.The water was clean and the sulphuric smell was...more
This view was taken from beneath the natural bridge, looking back up the wet slope to where the mineral baths are located. Sue and our personal guide, Andrea, must be having an animated discussion about the curative effects of these amazing waters! (actually, Sue later told me that she was admiring Andrea's broach!)more
It was very interesting to actually see what the old thermal bathing rooms themselves looked like. These were arranged in a row behind the big windows of the spa, with a view out toward the river. There were also dark grottos behind that our tour did not really allow enough time for exploration - perhaps fortunately!more
The bright orange-yellow colour of the rocks was amazing. This photo shows the path leading from the thermal baths to beneath the rock bridge itself. In addition to the deep water channel seen here, shallow water is flowing on the surface in many areas as well, leaving it's sulphur mark behind. It was fun to walk barefoot on this stuff and it...more
Our day-trip into the High Andes was a part of our 4-day package tour to Mendoza. For US$500 each, we had jet transportation for the 1.5 hour flights between Buenos Aires and Mendoza, airport transportation, four nights accommodations with breakfast and guided tours of Mendoza, a local winery and the 12-hour High Andes trip (leaving one day free...more
This photo gives you an idea of the corridor used by the highway and railroad (now abandoned) snaking their way up over the Andes between Mendoza and Santiago, Chile. Taken only about 20 km from Puente del Inca and from a height of just over 12,000 feet above sea level, it shows the small town of Las Cuevas far below, virtually on the border with...more
Once we had finished our alloted time in the spa itself, our group was hustled back across the natural bridge to the area where local wares were being sold. There were quite a number of stalls there, so my wife and our guide Andrea browsed for several minutes, eventually settling on this very nice clay bowl at a cost of A$15 (or US$5). Sue had to cradle this in her arms for the last few segments of our trip, but it made it safely home!
One of the things about a tour, is that your time is tightly controlled - we only spent a total of 45 minutes here. When we first arrived, we happened to be in a cloudy phase of the sun/cloud mixture that had developed by late afternoon. Consequently, I was not happy with my initial photos of the the spa/bridge complex before we were ushered onward. Just when it was time for the shopping, the sun came out, lighting up the sulphurous rocks! I took this as my cue to jog to a few vantage points to get the pictures that I had first wanted! By then, I had lost the ladies in the crowd so I had to console myself with a cold Quilmes beer until we reloaded the bus!
When we pulled into Puente del Inca for our tour of the old spa, we found quite a busy little spot, geared up for tourists. There were a lot of tour busses here, most of them much bigger than ours, and plenty of little booths set up to sell the local wares.
The thing that most caught my eye was this huge Saint Bernard dog and the little boy that was with him. A cute scene, designed to lure the unwary tourist no doubt!
This view of Puente del Inca was taken looking up the Cuevas River toward the main ridge of the Andes in the distance. The spa here was developed into a luxury resort in 1925 with the construction of a stone hotel, church and hot-springs bathhouse. It could be easily reached by rail, since a track from Mendoza to Chile had been constructed in the early part of the century. What the hotel looked like is shown in my 2nd photo, a 1926 postcard that a reader of this page sent me (his grandfather had brought it back with him to London many years ago after visiting here). With the shapes of the distant background slopes and mountains, as well as the Cuevas River snaking past in the bottom right, the postcard shot was taken from a position almost identical to that of this 1st photo.
As we could see from the windows of our mini-bus during our climb up into these mountains, all man-made roads, railroads and buildings are totally dwarfed by the immensity of the mountains rising steeply on both sides of the river. There were numerous places where evidence remained of landslides that had cascaded down into the bottom of the valley.
That is exactly what happened to the resort in 1965. An avalanche thundered down the mountain, obliterating the hotel and leaving only a few stone remnants in the upper middle part of the photo, somewhere in front of where the stand of green trees is visible. Fortunately, the guests and workers had been evacuated into the small church still visible directly above the now abandoned spa. The Argentinians consider it a miracle that the avalanche spared those sheltering in the tiny building.
The incas bridge, is a natural formation. And the building you see in the photo were the old thermal baths under the bridge owned by an ancient hotel that dissapear under the snow.