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Undoubtedly the greenest destination in Mendoza’s Alta Montaña zone, Uspallata takes advantage of the water supplied by the Rio Mendoza and Arroyo San Alberto by housing decades old tree plantations that give the town an oasis-like appearance. Situated at 2039 m (6689’), the town is home to nearly 7000 residents. The nearby mountains are dyed shades of green, red, and yellow due to the soil’s high mineral content. Surprisingly, the town remains opposed to industrial development; the zone’s only mine, Minas de Paramillos, has been closed for several years. Instead of exploiting the mineral content, residents have opted to exploit the natural beauty through tourism. Rafting the Rio Mendoza, horseback riding through dry mountain landscapes, and skiing throughout the winter are the zone’s most famous activities. The Gran Hotel Uspallata and Hotel Valle Andino are undoubtedly the two largest tourism businesses in town, but several smaller hotels, including Los Condores and Hostel Uspallata, offer great value for a weekend spent outside of Mendoza. Restaurants lack variety, but good parrilla can be found at El Rancho, while Al Juan’s Restobar offers up cheap staple items, like milanesas and pizzas, along side some spicy Mexican food.

The town hasn’t always thrived on tourism. The stark contrast between the colorful tourism industry and regimented military is easily viewed in Uspallata. The core of the town’s population is made up of countless soldiers who arrive to train at the town’s military academy. During the end of Argentina’s dictatorship, many Mendocinos feared these training grounds. Many locals, serving mandatory military training in 1981-1982, were sent from Uspallata to the front lines of the short Falkland Islands War against the British.

The town suffered a short slowdown when the Trans-Andino railway was abandoned, but quickly recovered, as the highway between Mendoza and Santiago became the Mercosur’s main transportation route. A shocking number of cargo trucks pass through town on their way across the international border located in Las Cuevas.


Other places nearby Uspallata: Los Penitentes, Puente Del Inca, Cacheuta, Las Cuevas and Potrerillos.

23 Jul 2010

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