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Hiking and Mountaineering
November through March are the best months for hiking and climbing. You can arrange day hikes with area tour operators. Of the longer treks, the most popular lasts four to seven days and begins at Puente del Inca, at 2,950 meters (9,680 feet), where you spend a night to get acclimated, and then set out for Aconcagua's base camp. On the first day, a steady climb takes you to Confluencia, where most people spend two nights and enjoy a day hike to the south wall and its incredible glacier. The hike continues to the Plaza de Mulas (4,260 meters/13,976 feet) and ends at the base camp for climbers making a final ascent on Cerro Aconcagua.
Centro de Visitantes. You can get permits for climbing Aconcagua through your tour operator or on your own in Mendoza at Centro de Visitantes, in Parque San Martín near the entrance. The center is open weekdays 8-6 and weekends 9-1. Av. de Los Robles and Rotondo de Rosedal, Mendoza, Mendoza, 5500.
Fernando Grajales. Guiding since 1976, Fernando Grajales is a veteran of many Aconcagua summits. His company leads 18-day excursions to the summit of Aconcagua, weather permitting, December 1-February 12. Mendoza. 261/15-658-8855 cell; 800/516-6962. www.grajales.net.
Inka Expeditions. These guides have more than 10 years of experience and hundreds of tours to Aconcagua base camp under their belt (and to the summit, if you are so ambitious). Av. Juan B. Justo 345, Mendoza, Mendoza, 5500. 261/425-0871. www.inka.com.ar.
Termas Cacheuta. Spend a day with your kids at this hot (65-102 degrees F) thermal water park, within walking distance of its namesake hotel. Slide into the wave pool, swim along the 270-meter canal through a tunnel and under a waterfall, or just loll about in the myriad indoor and outdoor pools. Even toddlers will enjoy the shallow pools with small slides. Picnic tables and covered eating areas are located along the river. You can grill your own bife in the many parillas provided or visit the restaurant. This park accommodates over 1,000 visitors on holidays. RP82, Km 38, Cacheuta, Mendoza, 5500. 2624/490-139 or 261/429-9133. www.termascacheuta.com. 35 pesos. Daily 10-6:30.
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