The secrets behind Puente del Inca

One of the attractions that attracts the most attention from visitors to Mendoza is the famous Puente del Inca. With a millenary and ancestral tradition, it directly evokes the legacy of the native Andean peoples by being part of the “Qhapac Ñan” or Inca Trail road system. This wonderful tourist attraction is a must that we always visit on our private high mountain tour and it is undoubtedly one of our favorite activities to do in Mendoza Argentina.

This natural wonder was declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco and basically consists of a natural bridge of biomineral origin over the Cuevas River made up of a layer of colluvial sediments that was cemented by salts that come from the thermal waters that emanate from there. Its thermal waters reach a temperature of approximately 34 ° Celsius, an attribute that made the attraction one of the most renowned thermal centers in Argentina during the 20th century.

Although that is the scientific explanation for the formation of this natural wonder, in the region we always comment on the ancestral legend that links it to the presence of the Incas. This picturesque legend tells the story of the Inca king and his heir to his throne: a young man affected by an unknown disease that paralyzed his body and prevented him from moving more and more. His father, deeply affected by the ailment of his only heir, decided to embark on a journey through the cordon del plata in search of the hot springs that promised to at least calm the physical ailment of his son. Embarked on a tremendous adventure accompanied by a retinue of subjects and after enduring the adversities of nature, they finally reached the area of ​​present-day Mendoza. When crossing the river caves, his faithful subjects submerged their bodies in the water, creating a bridge for the king to cross with his son in his arms and the legend tells that it was at this exact moment that the king turned to thank his procession and to his surprise: they had become a massive bridge.

And you, do you prefer the scientific explanation or the legend of the Inca people?

Because Mendoza is not only wine (but almost)

Even in Argentina, when someone refers to the City of Mendoza, it is almost automatically related to the world of wine. Mendoza, the eighth wine capital of the world: a true land of vineyards, high peaks and spectacular Malbec.

But of course, no city can be reduced to just one aspect of its culture. Therefore, in this note we will do a brief review of some of the wonders that Mendoza has to offer beyond the vineyards.

1. Aconcagua Park
The area is home to Cerro Aconcagua, which at 6,962 meters is positioned as the highest mountain in the Western Hemisphere and, therefore, in America. The park not only stands out for this hill, but it is an area of ​​great archaeological value due to its character as a ceremonial site of the Incas. This park is part of the road system and known as ‘Qhapac Ñan’ or ‘Inca Trail’, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

2. Puente del Inca
Located 183 kilometers from the City of Mendoza, very close to the Chilean pass and also to the main entrance to Aconcagua Park, is this natural wonder that is also part of the ‘Qhapac Ñan’ or ‘Inca Trail’. The so-called Puente is a rock formation that forms a natural bridge over the Las Cuevas River. Its name is due to the fact that historians assure that the Inca royalty descended to the river to receive the medical and healing powers of the hot springs in the area.

3. General San Martín Park
It is considered the green lung of the City of Mendoza. It was created in 1896 and is the largest artificial park in South America with its 400 hectares of trees that manage to stay alive in the middle of the Mendoza desert thanks to a complex system of irrigation canals. The park, as the people of Mendoza call it, attracts thousands of tourists every year and is definitely a must visit in our City.

With exemplary landscaping and architecture combining the best of each period, this park boasts a series of postcard-worthy monuments, fountains and man-made attractions.

4. Gastronomic circuit
And of course … when talking about tourism in Mendoza it is impossible not to mention the gastronomic options that attract so much experts in this world. In the City there are three restaurants that have been awarded with Michelin stars, among which the following stand out: Casa Vigil, Espacio Trapiche and Ruca Malén. Is it a coincidence that they are all restaurants from Mendoza wineries? Our opinion at Driver in Mendoza may sound a bit arbitrary, but we are lovers of the world of wine and we believe that there is no better combination than a gourmet experience paired with a good Mendoza wine and that is why, in our private wine tours through Mendoza, the opportunity will never be missing. to make a toast to our land and the flavors it generates.

Everything you need to know about the main wine regions of Mendoza, Argentina

Welcome to the new Driver in Mendoza blog! In this space we will share reviews, stories, sites of interest and information in general that may be of help to all those who wish to visit our city in the future.

In this first edition, we will be presenting the three main wine regions of Mendoza: their differences, similarities, landscapes, their most well-known wineries and labels. The regions that we will talk about in this article are: Maipú, Luján de Cuyo and Valle de Uco or Uco Valley.

1. Maipú: everything you need to know about the first wine-growing region
First of all, you should know that Maipú is a department in the province of Mendoza that was created in 1858, a fact that is not minor when talking about the long history of winemaking in Argentina. Even before its formal creation as a location, the area is definitely a pioneer in the region in terms of Argentine wine production. In our wine tours through this region, we like to highlight the way in which you will find a great mix of wineries: from the oldest and most historical, to the most modern and innovative. The region has 154 wineries and 35 olive farms, many of them open to national and international tourism. The wineries most visited by Driver in Mendoza passengers are: Familia Zuccardi, Rutini, El Enemigo (Casa Vigil), Trapiche, and Trivento, among others.

The region enjoyed an impeccable reputation as it became the richest industrial area for Argentine viticulture, even today Maipú is in the first place on the olive-growing map of the province for a significant production and quality of olives, which has marked the production of dozens of products derived from the olive tree such as oils, olives and even cosmetic products. The geography of this town is characterized by being a plain within the Mendoza territory, which together with the rivers that cross the region have allowed an optimal development of agriculture, mainly for the vine, olive trees and other fruits and vegetables.

2. Luján de Cuyo: an unmissable Malbec classic, from Agrelo to Las Compuertas
Located on the banks of the Mendoza River is the department of Luján de Cuyo, land of the world famous Malbec. A region known for its famous wineries and incredible landscapes that meet the vineyards and the Andes. This department of the province of Mendoza is located only 19km south of the capital and has managed to position itself as one of the most chosen destinations by tourists who visit Mendoza. Luján de Cuyo seems to bring together the best of Mendoza: mountains, rivers, vineyards and wineries, reservoirs and even has one of the most important gastronomic centers in Mendoza: the picturesque town of Chacras de Coria is a small urban center always at the forefront of the latest gastronomic trends, ‘Chacras’ as we people from Mendoza calls it, have become one of the must-see destinations for those who visit us. A dinner in this town followed by a walk through its main square is a must.

On the other hand, it is worth highlighting the famous Agrelo region in the world of wine, noted for its production of high quality Malbec, it has its own denomination of origin controlled since 1989, becoming the first region of Mendoza to receive this very important distinction. Agrelo is home to some of the most important wineries in Mendoza such as Catena Zapata, Viña Cobos, Chandon, Dominio del Plata, Ruca Malen and Pulenta Estate, among others. However, despite the fact that this is the best known region of Luján, we cannot forget that in this department there are also other renowned wineries such as Lagarde, Luigi Bosca, Norton and Nieto Senetiner, among a dozen other large, medium and little.

3. Valle de Uco: high altitude wines inspired by the Andes Mountains

The world-famous Uco Valley is located 90km from the City of Mendoza and extends throughout three departments of the province: Tupungato, Tunuyán and San Carlos. The newest and most innovative region in the Mendoza wine industry, specialized in high altitude wines, is located at an altitude of 1,200 meters. Valle de Uco is an area that borders the Andes mountain range and, therefore, is characterized by altitudes that range between 900 and 1700 meters high. It is the optimal combination of climatic and geographical conditions: high altitude, 250 sunny days a year, little rain and temperature range, among others, that make Valle de Uco wines unique in the world.

Within the Uco Valley, of course there are micro regions such as Gualtallary or Paraje Altamira, micro regions that stand out for having small differences with respect to the terroir of other areas of the Uco Valley. Differences that in the final result of each label seem not to be so small and that is why each of these regions has been struggling for some years to obtain its own controlled designation of origin. Among the most visited wineries in the Uco Valley are Salentein, Andeluna, Monteviejo, La Azul, Piedra Infinita de Zuccardi, Clos de los Siete and Piedra Negra.

This area, home of luxury wine tourism in Mendoza, not only has large wineries of international weight, but also in the area there are more and more luxury hotel developments specialized in providing a wine experience in Mendoza, an example of these resorts are complexes such as The Vines, Casa de Uco, Casa Petrini, Posada Salentein, Lodge Atamisque and Alpasion Lodge, among many more.

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