This vast valley divides the Pre-mountain Range from the High Mountain, and it is located in Cordon del Plata.
It offers all the possibilities to visit the site and practice adventure travel, fishing, trekking, hikes, horse-back riding and photographic tours. Uspallata valley is located around 1900 to 2500 metres above sea level. It is lined by Mendoza River, and San Alberto and Uspallata Streams.
In this region we can see beautiful alamedas and the typical forestry of High Mountain. Uspallata Valley has had a great historical importance as it was part of San Martin campaign, being where the two armies gathered before crossing the Andes; and a relay area during the Virreinato (Viceroyalty). It also marvels those people passing by, as it is the mandatory route to Chile.
In the town of Uspallata we can find hotels, hostels, cabins, restaurants, shops, ski rentals, gas stations and banks.
Bóvedas de Uspallata (Uspallata Vaults) is one of the few buildings that remain from Colonial times, and it is related to the Society of Jesus, who used this type of dome-shaped construction. They date back from the 1600’s, and were built with the purpose of melting gold and silver, which was brought from the Paramillos mine. It is believed that it was made by the Jesuits with Huarpe workers.
The chimneys, whose orifices were covered for protection, made up the domes; and had that shape to keep the temperature longer. The heat was preserved in the top region, and people could keep working with crucibles, bellows and forges, all processes involved in the melting of minerals. Later, the melted minerals were taken to Uspallata, then to Chile, and after that to Spain by ship.
Uspallata is a place of great historical relevance. Camino del Inca (Inca road) proves the importance this road between mountains had to the indigenous empire.
Likewise, after the Spanish conquest, which culminated with the foundation of Santiago del Nuevo Extremo in the General Captaincy of Chile in 1541, the colonization started. It affected this region of the mountain range, and in one of these conquests the city of Mendoza was founded, in 1561.
Uspallata valley was the binding path of the Spanish outpost, where pacific groups of indigenous people lived on a survival economy consisting in practice of a rudimentary agriculture, mainly corn growing, fruit recollection and llama pasture.
In 1562, an encomienda was established to make the most docile Indians work. The abundance of silver mines in the surrounding areas made this region into an outstanding circulation and provisions place between Mendoza and Chile. Since the end of the 17th century and during the 18th century the area was characterized for mine working and the melting of the minerals performed by the Indians, who were organized by religious people who were in charge of catechizing them. Politically, during most part of this period, Mendoza, as the rest of Cuyo area, was part of the jurisdiction of the General Captaincy of Chile, which depended on the Viceroyalty of Perú. In 1776, when the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata was founded, Cuyo became part of the new structure, and the mountain range was set as a political border between Chile and Argentina. Uspallata Valley kept the same strategic value.