ts name comes from the quechua language and it should be interpreted as “Stone Sentinel”.
Of course, it refers to the highest peak in all of America and it’s related to an ancient legend that tells the story about giants who, in immemorial times, dared to defy the keeper of 6.962 meters which the Aconcagua boasts, to obtain the water which turned the nearest valley green.
Declared natural protected area in 1983, the Aconcagua Park extends for 71.000 hectares enclaved on the mountain range of the province of Mendoza. Its main attraction: the mountain bearing its name, which can be accessed through two paths: Quebrada de las vacas and De los Horcones.
With temperatures which, in its lower areas of about 2.800 meters, range between 2 degrees below zero and 30 in the summer and the 15 degrees below zero and 10 degrees in the winter, this natural space counts with powerful rivers as the Horcones superior and inferior or the Vacas creek that goes through the gorge with the same name.
The area where it stands has both natural and historical value. Thus, the area was used by the armies of the Inca empire in times of expansion towards the central part of the Andes mountain range and in its territory social groups spread that had emigrated from Chile, Bolivia, Peru and even Ecuador. In addition, very close to the area, the crossing towards trans-andean territory by General José de San Martín took place.
The park has one of the main fresh water reserves which nourishes Mendoza and has a vegetation in which perennial herbs as the cola de quirquincho and the escarapela predominate the area aside from hard bush and rush.
In terms of the animals that can be found in the park, the species show adaptations which allow them to survive in a harsh weather. For example, the mammals show a soft and dense fur to fight the cold while other varieties appeal directly to hibernation to overcome the low temperature seasons.
Foxes, pumas, guanacos can be seen as the most important animals, while lizards, iguanas and frogs are among the ones which protect themselves from the cold. It’s very common to spot condors, hawks and birds of lesser size, such as the Andean humming bird, in the area.
An attraction to mountaineers from over the world, the Aconcagua park counts with a broad system of camps and roads that also allow people to visit glaciers. It is recommended to visit the site in the months of January and February.