Would you like to know part of the historic road that connected Mendoza and Chile for centuries? This wonderful tour offers the natural beauty of the Villavicencio Reserve, the archaeological heritage of the Paramillos mines in Uspallata, and the winding altitude of Mendoza’s mountains, with its 365 curves.
What does the experience consist of?
A full day to experience Mendoza‘s landscape, history and gastronomy. We will see a diversity of flora and fauna, so there will be encounters with guanacos, foxes, birds and perhaps we’ll get to spot condors flying overhead.
We will leave Mendoza on route 52, to begin our journey into the magic of the Andes. We will drive past the emblematic Villavicencio Hotel, and we will go up to Paramillos through the road of the 365 curves, with its high ridges and views of Mount Aconcagua. There will be plenty of photo stops to take postcardlike pictures.
Then we will be amazed by the archaeological heritage of the Paramillos mines. Can you imagine the history of mining ruins discovered more than 300 years ago? And to top off the experience, we will enjoy in Uspallata (the city through which San Martin’s armies passed) a traditional Argentine asado, with wine and dessert.
Who is the Villavicencio and Uspallata Tour recommended for?
For people of any age and physical condition, who are looking to get to know Mendoza’s mountains in a different tour, full of history and landscapes. As this is a 100% in-car tour, it is not necessary to be in good physical condition, and no previous experience is required. Dare to explore!
Places we will visit
Villavicencio Nature Reserve:
It is a protected natural area whose 62,000 hectares are home to native biodiversity, water resources, as well as historical and archaeological heritage. There we will find species such as guanacos, pajonal cats, foxes, eagles, condors, and more. The landscape, with its local flora, is truly amazing. Inside the reserve we will see:
- Villavicencio Hotel:
Although we will not be able to enter the hotel -because of its opening hours- we will have the opportunity to pass by the front of the facade of this tourist complex that operated between 1940 and 1979, with its spring water bottling plant. And our guide will tell you all about its history.
- Villavicencio’s winding road:
350 curves that will take us from 1,750 masl to 3,000 masl. The incredible panoramic views and the diversity of animals will invite us to make stops to observe and take pictures.
It is one of the richest areas in terms of cultural, historical, natural and heritage assets. There we will have the opportunity to observe close up testimonies of native populations, paleontological sites, and a biological diversity that is unique in the area. Two fun facts? Charles Darwin was there in 1835 studying this area, which is also part of the San Martin route.
We will visit:
- Cruz de Paramillos:
Here we will have reached our highest point of the tour: 3,100 meters above sea level. It is a place with a lot of Jesuit history and an unbeatable viewpoint of the entire Central Andes and the great colossus of America: Aconcagua.
- Ghost town / Paramillos mines:
We will visit these old lead, silver and zinc mines, which are considered the first mining exploitation of the Argentine Republic, and one of the most important of what was once the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata.
A city with history: San Martin’s armies, prior to the Crossing of the Andes, gathered there to advance towards Chile, and free it from the crown. They did it through the Uspallata Pass, 204 years ago! In this place we will enjoy an excellent Argentinean barbecue, with wine and dessert included.