At the crossroads of three important routes—Ruta Nacional 7 from Mendoza across the Andes, Ruta 57 from Mendoza via Villavicencio, and Ruta 39 from San Juan via Barreal—this small town lies in the Calingasta Valley between the foothills and the front range of the Andes. Although most people will use Uspallata only as a food- and petrol-refill point, it's also a good base for memorable excursions into the mountains by
4X4 or on horseback. Metals have been forged at Las Bóvedas, the pointed adobe cupolas a few miles north of town, since pre-Columbian times. Weapons for San Martín's army were made here, and some of them were melted down to create the Cristo Redentor monument on the Chilean border; other big Andean attractions in the vicinity include Parque Provincial Aconcagua and Puenta del Inca.