Mendoza

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Aconcagua

The Aconcagua is the highest peak in the Americas and the highest in the world outside Asia, with almost 7000 meters tall.

Aconcagua
Aconcagua

This peak is located at the Aconcagua National Park on the north-west of the province almost in the limits with Chile and the argentinian province of San Juan.

 

During the winter season (see weather section), this park is closed due to the big ammount of snow in the area and the presence of ice covering the roads.

 

Despite it's 7000 meters tall, you can't see the Aconcagua from the city, and local buses don't cover the park's area.

Peaks at Penitentes
Peaks at Penitentes

You can, however, take a long distance bus to the area, but there's only two each day. One to get there and one to return.

 

The area has several hot spots to visit so you can only see one each day, unless you hire a guided tour that takes you to all or most of these spots.

 

In the area the stops are Penitentes, Inca's Bridge, Aconcagua Park, a small village right in the border with Chile called Las Cuevas, and the Cristo Redentor.

Penitentes

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Penitentes
Penitentes

Penitentes means "those who await" and this name refers to the strange ice formations by the sides of the mountains of this area.


These curious huge icycles resemble climbers kneeling on the floor praying before going to the mountains, and
looking up to the sky wating for their prayers to be heard.

Penitentes is a ski center with really low prices even for argentinian standards, and there are many agencies all over Mendoza city that offer packages with everything included for the lowest prices you can find for this sort of activities.

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The final image in this video, is a marvellous sight of the Tupungato Volcano. It's easily identified by the cloud of smoke on top of it...

Tupungato means "Stars viewpoint" in the natie language.

Penitentes and all its surronding areas are very, very calm and quiet.

Inca's Bridge

The Inca's Bridge is as beautiful as it is mysteryous.

 

 How and when it was built, no one knows exactly, and this is why the native tribes have not found an opposite theory to their story so far.

 

The Inca's bridge is set on a thermal spring at the feet of the andes. Here the waters can get to 35º Celcius degrees, and it's said they have healing powers that can even cure stress.


This water has such high content of salts that any object in contact with it, will be completly covered in rust in 40 days.

Inca's Bridge Legend

The natives say that before the Spaniards arrived to the continent, the heir to the Inca throne fell badly ill and was affected by a serious and odd paralysis.

 

After trying many things, the witches and wise of the village told the prince he would only be healed by the waters a small southern waterfall.

 

So him and a troup of his best warriors started the journey, and after some months they reached an area in the Andes where thermal waters  sprung behind a deep valley.

 

The inca warriors, loyal to the prince, decided to make a human bridge by linking hands and arms together, so the prince could walk on their backs and get his cure.

 

After the boy was healed, his father turned his back to thank the warriors but they had turned into stone as symbol of their eternal help.

Real Mistery

In most brochures you'll see this rocky building advertised as the Inca's Bridge, but in truth, this is not the natural marvel.


This building, is in fact, an old luxurious hotel built in 1925, and destroyed in 1965 by a landslide.

 

The mistery lies in how this natural phenomena managed to destroy the hotel but left the church before it absolutelly intact.

 

You can see the church behind, in this photograph, and it's where the hotel's staff found refuge.

 

The hotel set on the very therm, used it's great location to provide each room with its own thermal baths.

About The Place

The Inca's Bridge is a few miles from Penitentes so can't walk from one spot to the other, or at aleast it's not adviseable unless you're staying at Penitentes, which you can well do, but remember it's ski center.


Also, there's a restaurant right next to the Bridge so you can have dinner there or just get a drink or simply use the toilet. There is no need to buy anything to use the facilities of the place.

Aconcagua Park

Aconcagua Park
Aconcagua Park

Aconcagua means "Stone Guardian" in the native language.


The Aconcagua Park is of course named after the important peak is was built around. It's 18 thousand acres big and the entrance to the park is free. The only fee is for professional climbers.

The Incredible Inca Path

The Aconcagua Park hosts part of the incredible Inca Path.

 

Built by the ancient civilization, it connects the ecuadorian city of Quito with Chile's capital city Santiago. Thus linking Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Argetnina and Chile.


The two most famous spots the path goes across are the Aconcagua Park and Machu Pichu.

The Aconcagua Park hosts part of the incredible Inca Path.

 

Built by the ancient civilization, it connects the ecuadorian city of Quito with Chile's capital city Santiago. Thus linking Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina and Chile.


The two most famous spots the path goes across are the Aconcagua Park and Machu Pichu.

The Hole of Souls

The Hole of Souls is an amazing spot which unfortunatelly can't be reached via anything else but car or a hired tourist guide.

 

But, unlike many other spots in Mendoza, this place can be visited during any time of the year.

 

It's a natural formation constitued by two holes in the ground, one before the other one.

Once upon a time...

Before Argentina was a country, there were warlike native tribes all over the territory of Mendoza, who had a incredible rivaly with the Chilean neighbour tribes.

 

On one occasion, one tribe was hunting the other one down, across the Andes in the middle of the night, when suddenly the chasing had to be stoped as one tribe realised the other one had gone quiet all of a sudden.

 

Fearing an ambush, the hunting tribe decided to go back and come back the next moring.

 

When they did, they found two very deep holes in the ground and sorrows could be heard from afar. As they walked closer to the edge of the deepest hole, they saw the drowning bodies of their rivals lying down at the bottom, crying for their fate.

 

You can still hear the screams if you visit the area.

The wind of the Andes in this area, is captured by the shape of the Hole of Souls, causing a sound similar to human sorrows.

Pond of the Charmed Girl

This pond though owner of a great beauty, is currently closed to the public as the land was bought by private owners and shut down.


Its curious name derives from a local legend in which a native princess threw herself to this pond in the arms of her beloved, to kill themselves when they were being chased by her father's warriors to force her to marry another man.