Explore Mendoza, San Juan and La Rioja
The cordillera south of Mendoza city contains two remote and little visited but stunning provincial parks – the fabulous Parque Provincial Tupungato, 80km southwest from Mendoza and dominated by the soaring volcano of the same name, and the Reserva Provincial Laguna Diamante, with a turquoise altiplanic lake, the Laguna Diamante, at its heart. The latter is a further 140km southwest of Tupungato and only open during the summer; both are well worth the effort it takes to reach them.
Now that Aconcagua has become almost a victim of its own success, anyone looking for a challenging mountain trek with fewer people crowding the trails and paths should head for the better-kept secret of Cerro Tupungato, an extinct volcano peaking at 6570m. Its hulking cone dominates the PARQUE PROVINCIAL TUPUNGATO, which stretches along the Chilean border to the south of the RN-7 at Puente del Inca, but is most accessible from the town of TUPUNGATO, reached from Mendoza via the RN-40 and the RP-86. The virgin countryside within the park is utterly breathtaking, completely unspoilt and unremittingly stark.
There’s little to see in the small market town, but this is where you can contract guides to take you to the top of the mighty volcano; ask at the Hotel Turismo, which also acts as the town’s tourist office. You’ll need plenty of time as the treks last between three and fifteen days, depending on how long you’re given to acclimatize at each level – the longer the better. Calculate on US$1000 per person. Buses run fairly regularly from Mendoza, arriving at Plaza General San Martín.Read More