Driving distance: 120 km. Duration: 4 hours. Departure from the city of Mendoza.
On NW freeway 52, which used to lead to Chile, there is an important landmark in General San Martin’s adventure: the Canota monument.
This is the place where the Andes Liberation Army split in 1817. The troop led by General San Martin headed north towards Los Patos or Llaretas crossing to Chile, and the one commanded by General Las Heras headed west.
We’ll then get to Villavicencio natural reserve through Vaquerias post. There is an interpretation center there that offers descriptions of the place’s flora and fauna. The tour goes around Termas Hotel (the one that appears in the famous mineral water label) for visitors to see its amazing gardens and climbing a ravine carpeted with native vegetation and get to the hotel chapel.
Villavicencio thermal water is highly valued due to its mineral and healing properties. It is actually rain and snow that have fallen on Aconcagua. Water filters among the rocks in the mountains and goes down to Devonian formations located very deep inside the mountains. The strong pressure and high temperatures there push it back up to the surface through a tectonic fracture, creating a hot water spring.