Puente del Inca (The Inca's Bridge) Featured in
Puente del Inca is a true natural masterpiece, a bridge overhanging the Las Cuevas River. This wonderful creation of nature excites peoples' imagination: its length is 47 m and width is 28 m. The bridge is located at an altitude of 1,719 m above sea level and 180 km from the city of Mendoza. The shape of the bridge is a huge pile of yellow, smooth stones. Near Puente del Inca there are several thermal springs that have healing powers as well. Every spring has its own interesting name: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Saturn, and Champagne.
Previously, there was even a medical sanatorium. However, in 1986 it was buried under a mountain avalanche, leaving only a tiny dilapidated chapel from the colonial era. However, it adds more mystery to this cryptic place. As the nature of the structure is rather unstable, the area has been closed off, so you can't cross the bridge or take a hot bath. However, the photogenic area still draws thousands of tourists.
Puente del Inca is best to be visited when the weather is the most stable, that's during the warmer season. June to August is winter time then the weather is the harshest, and snow is likely to hide the beauty. So plan your visit for the period from September and May. And if you wish to do more hiking, choose the time between mid-November and March–the official hiking season. Argentina's highest peak Aconcagua is located just 20 km north-west of the Inca's Bridge. Two trailheads for climbing Aconcagua are located within a short distance from the Bridge. You might also want to see a Cementerio Andinista which is a cemetery of the unfortunate Aconcagua hikers. It's located just 1 km west of the site. Note that summer (December–February) is the most crowded time.
What is the history behind Puente del Inca?
Not built by one civilization alone, Puente del Inca enjoys a rich history of secrets and legends. The bridge's origins may have begun with the Incas, who built the bridge as a place for sun worship. During later years, Europeans rediscovered the nearby hot springs and their medicinal properties. With a history of collapses and rebuilds, one thing's for sure that the present-day structure is a natural marvel. Show more
Are there any nearby hiking opportunities available?
In addition to the wondrous Puente del Inca, visitors may take advantage of nearby trails. Two trailheads to climb Argentina's tallest peak, Aconcagua, are within short distances of the bridge. Although the official hiking season runs from mid-November to March, tourists may venture out year-round. A visit to the Cementerio Andinista, a burial ground for Aconcagua hikers, makes for a unique excursion in the area. Show more
What are the names of the thermal springs next to Puente del Inca?
Fascinatingly enough, the thermal springs adjacent to Puente del Inca bear unique names, such as Mars, Venus, Mercury, Saturn, and Champagne. Each spring contains different temperatures and mineral compositions with its specific therapeutic qualities. These springs are too unpredictable to bathe in, meaning visitors can only take in their beauty from a distance. Show more
What is the best time of year to visit Puente del Inca?
September to May are the most optimal times to visit Puente del Inca, with more favorable weather conditions. During June through August, winter weather may impede visits with possible snow coverage of the sights. Mid-November and March are officially Chile's hiking season, where tourists may venture out to view the mountains or the nearby cemetery. December to February is when the site is the most crowded. Show more
Can visitors cross the bridge or take a hot bath?
Regrettably, guests can neither take a hot bath nor cross the bridge when visiting Puente del Inca. Though the massive yellow stone structure seems lovely for strolling across, it is unstable and closed off for safety purposes. Likewise, the thermal springs may cause harm as their erratic nature presents dangers to visitors. Though there are some restrictions, visitors may still appreciate this sight's beauty via photography and sightseeing. Show more