Facts and Location
The Aconcagua mountain (6962 meters above sea level) is located in the Argentine Republic, in what is called Aconcagua Mountain Provincial Park in the province of Mendoza, situated in the Center West of Argentina, and it has an area of 150,839 square kilometers.
Mendoza is located 750 meters above sea level and is well known around the world for the quality of its wines, mainly the Malbec variety from Luján de Cuyo, one of the best worldwide. Mendoza is a modern region with an international airport, all means of transport, and lodging capacity for 15,000 people (campsites, apartments, houses, hotels, cottages, etc.)
The Aconcagua Mountain Provincial Park was created by Law 4807 on November 28, 1990; it is located in the district of Las Heras and comprises 71,000 hectares.
The harsh weather conditions of this reserve are due to the altitude of the ecosystem, and this explains its low bio-diversity. However, the local animal and plant species are of special interest and show an outstanding adaptation to the altitude. They are found in the lower areas of the park (up to 4000 meters above sea level).
The predominant vegetation is the steppe with low bushes. Besides, over sixty varieties of birds inhabit the area. Among them, the most typical species are the condor and the purple eagle. The most common land animals are the mountain rats, the agachona and the red fox. Other species worth mentioning are some amphibians and reptiles indigenous to high mountain regions. There are also large herds of guanacos predated by pumas. European hares abound and are an exotic species growing wild in the region.
A few meters from the first park ranger camp and the international road, tourists can visit one of the most exotic lagoons in the province of Mendoza for its blue color and its cold temperature, the Horcones Lagoon. This is home to a wide range of indigenous animals and wild plants.
There are also several climbing clubs and federations, such as Mendoza Mountain Climbing Club (CAM in Spanish) founded in 1935, which has one of the largest libraries on mountain issues in the country, as well as woodies and mountain shelters. The club also features a provincial school for mountain and trekking guides as well as a branch of the Argentine Association of Mountain Guides based in Bariloche and recognized by the International Union of Associations of Mountain Guides based in Switzerland.
In Cordón del Plata, 70 kilometers from the city, it is possible to climb several peaks over 5000 meters and one over 6000 meters in 3 to 5 day journeys, which is ideal for training and acclimation.
How to get
You can fly to Santiago (Chile) then Mendoza (Argentina). Or Buenos Aires then Mendoza. Take the bus to Puente del Inca or Penitentes. The entrance to the National Park is either at Puente del Inca (normal route and south face) or through the Vacas Valley near Penitentes (For the Polish Glacier, Polish Traverse and Vacas routes).
An issue if you go through customs at Santiago airport. There is a good chance that you will have all meat and dairy products from your expedition food confiscated upon entering Chile. Stay in transit and take a short (45 min) flight on LAN Chile or Aerolíneas Argentinas to Mendoza, Argentina. This will allow you to keep your food, get your permits, possibly see Aconcagua from the air as they fly close to it at times, and save the 100$ U.S. tax Chile imposes on Americans, Canadians and other nationalities. If you are entering Chile by bus this will not apply.