At the crossroads of three important routes—Ruta Nacional 7 from Mendoza across the Andes to Ruta 57 from Mendoza via Villavicencio, and Ruta 39 from San Juan via Barreal—this small mountain town lies in the Calingasta Valley between the foothills and the front range of the Andes. It's a good base for excursions into the mountains by 4x4 or on horseback to abandoned mines, a desert ghost town, and spectacular mountain scenery where the 1997 movie Seven Years in
Tibet was filmed. Metals have been forged at Las Bóvedas, the pointed adobe cupolas a few miles north of town, since pre-Columbian times. Arms and cannons for San Martín's army were made here.