Puente del Inca (Inca Bridge)



This natural stone bridge, once used by local Inca communities to cross the Río de las Cuevas in Mendoza, stands above the ruins of an old hot springs spa. It was formed by glacial melt, with sediments from the ice creating bright orange and yellow hues that make it a photogenic pit stop on the way to Aconcagua Park.

While the Puente del Inca is one of the region’s most popular natural attractions, it’s one that must be enjoyed from afar; instability in the structure means the bridge itself is closed to the public. Many guided day trips to Mount Aconcagua, the highest peak in South America, include a stop at the Puente del Inca, as well as Potrerillos Dam, the town of Uspallata, and the Penitentes Ski Resort. Also nearby is the Cementerio de los Andinistas, built in homage to mountain climbers—both those who perished in the Andes and those who had tremendous respect for the mountains.

  • Puente del Inca makes for a great photo op en route to Aconcagua Park.

  • Dress warmly, as winds coming down from the mountain can be chilly, even in summer.

  • Bring some local currency or US dollars in small denominations to purchase souvenirs from local vendors near the bridge.

The bridge is just off RN 7 between Uspallata and the mountain pass into Chile. Navigating the area’s remote mountain roads and unstable terrain can be tricky, so most visitors get there by taking a guided tour to Aconcagua from Mendoza.

The best time to visit the natural bridge is between November and March, when the weather is warmest. Crossings in this area are tricky in winter months due to blustery winds at the pass. Keep a close eye on the weather, and plan your trip for days with stable conditions.

The hot springs near the bridge have long been sought after for their therapeutic benefits, primarily by the Inca people. Today, they’re also used to create rather unique souvenirs. Locals soak items—shoes, glass bottles, ashtrays, and even backpacks—in the springs for several days until they’re encrusted with rust-colored minerals.




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