Getting blown away by Mendoza’s Alta Montaña

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Time to go and explore the mountain range of Mendoza. Since Mendoza is located in the Andes, leaving town and doing some sightseeing is definitely a must. I had no idea before arriving to Mendoza that there are so many amazing places pretty nearby.

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High Mountains

I start a tour early in the morning named Alta Montaña. During the bus ride to the mountains the guide explains about many things here in the surroundings of Mendoza. He says that for example the water is more important for Mendoza than the minerals from miners, but there are so many colorful mountains to be seen which makes this info hard to believe. Anyway, if the guide says so, it’s probably true and I’m just thinking to much 🙂 Ah relax Renate, you’re on a tour, it’s a holiday. Isn’t it?

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The view during the bus ride

We pass a lot of amazing places during the bus ride, such as a tiny village where only 7 families live and we even cross the Mendoza river. So many nice things, that I don’t even know where to look anymore.

Old train rails

There’s a train rail right next to the road where we are driving and it looks like it’s old and has not been used for a while. it’s still beautiful to see. The guide explains that during 1880 and 1910 this 250km long train rail was used to bring people from Mendoza to the Andes in Chile within 5 hours. It only worked on Mondays and Fridays.
They currently want to build a new train, but the Chinese are the ones who have the technique to built it and there is money needed for that kind of intelligence. Mendoza needs an investor. Interested anyone?

Places on the route

Here’s a sum-up of the highlights I saw during the Alta Montaña day tour:

  • The Picheuta bridge

One of the first stops is the historic bridge of Picheuta which can be found in the middle of nowhere! Well, actually it’s on the Rutas Sanmartinianas, but for the foreigners that’s still unknown. The bridge is very fragile, because it’s very old, so no walking on top of it, but nearby it. Please do respect that.

Picheuta River Bridge
Picheuta river bridge
Rutas Sanmartinianas

Rutas Sanmartinianas

  •  Cerro Aconcagua

We are driving on the highway, but there’s a stop coming up just beside the road. When I look out of my window I can see the beautiful mountains, this time even covered with snow. This ain’t just any regular mountain I’m seeing now. It’s the Cerro Aconcagua, which means “stone warrior” in the Quechua Inca language. It’s the highest mountain in the Americas at 6,960 meters.

The highest mountain in the Americas at 6,960 meters

Cerro Aconcagua

  • Christ the redeemer of the Andes

There is a quite religious border between Chile and Argentina. At 4200 meters you can find a huge statue of Christ the redeemer of the Andes between the Argentinean and the Chilean flag. The surroundings are very colorful and I highly recommend you to walk around and to take a minute to stare at the amazing scenery’s!

Christ the redeemer of the Andes at 4200 meters

Christ the redeemer of the Andes at 4200 meters

  • Puente del Inca

One of the last stops is at the Inca’s bridge, which is quite fascinating. The Inca’s bridge or “Puente del Inca” is a natural arch that forms a bridge over the Vacas River, a tributary of the Mendoza River. I have to say that it’s really a pity that they have left the structure of a recent building (which seems to have been a hotel) in the middle of this natural miracle.

The Inca's bridge or "Puente del Inca" is a natural arch that forms a bridge over the Vacas River, a tributary of the Mendoza River

Puente del Inca

Animals

By the way, there are lots of animals living in this environment such as the Guanaco, Llama and the Alpaca. Besides that there’s also the condor. The guide has a funny story about the condor saying it’s a monogamous bird. He has only one wife during his entire life and if she dies he pays suicide by flying up to the clouds and letting himself free fall. But, when it’s the opposite it’s different. When the male dies the female condor flies up to the clouds to search for a new husband 😉

 

You’re in Mendoza and have some time to spend outside of town? Explore the high mountains! Have you been there already? Then please do let me know in the comments what you thought about this area.

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Ever since I left my home country I felt at home at any other place I went to. I enjoy getting to know more cultures by talking to strangers and hearing their philosophy about life. Speaking with gestures when you can not find a shared language, finding places only the locals go to and learn about their customs and values. Hanging out with local people makes me happy. The experience of every new place is a step out of your comfort zone where I like to wander around until it feels like a second home.

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