A Town by the Historical Apple Tree
This is a picturesque and quiet spot that invites visitors to go on mountain tours of different style, especially, those full of adventure.
History goes that on his return from his trip to Peru, General José de San Martín had a rest at the very spot where a square pays tribute to him today. It is interesting to guess what his mood was, what words he exchanged with Colonel Manuel Olazábal under the shade of that apple tree and how his life went on after that.
Many years later, we visited the spot where a sprout of that tree still remains, surrounded by a square with irrigation ditches and a fantastic monument accessed through a staircase with plenty of steps. At the top, there is a sculpture of the Grand Captain riding a brown mule, dressed in an old Chilean poncho and a straw hat with a brim -quite an unusual outfit for such a great figure. He is accompanied by a child from Cuyo.
As this site began to receive so many visitors who came along to pay homage to the apple tree, some people resolved to stay. The fact is that this place has a micro climate as well as creeks like Las Pircas and Grande, which feature ideal nooks to spend the day. The vegetation and the proximity of the frontal mountain range have given origin to several campsites and cabins. Little by little, a better service infrastructure started to develop and today it is even possible to come across some expert mountain guide who will be willing to accompany tourists on vehicle rides with suitable equipment.
A sprout of that tree
A sculpture of the Grand Captain
Riding a brown mule
Return to the Motherland monument
Natural and cultural reserve
We talked to an old settler who told us: "People come here especially to head for Cordón del Portillo or Cajón de los Arenales and Mounts Verde, Punta Blanca and Keops. Those who do not enjoy climbing may go on horseback or mountain bike rides and even try paragliding".
Just like the apple tree sprout is taken care of because of what it represents within Argentinian history, there is also a special exhibition dedicated to San Martín at the Visitors’ Center, steps away from the square.
Paso del Portillo was one of the roads the Liberating Army took to cross onto Chile in January 1817. If we come to think of the means San Martín’s troops used to have, we may get an idea of the strong spirit of those men. Today, that rocky passage, full of snowdrifts and deep gullies is visited by experts who practice rock climbing and other adventure sports.
Paraje Manzano Histórico
Located at Los Chacales, District of Tunuyán, Mendoza
On the crossroads of Provincial Routes 89 and 94.
Mónica Pons / Eduardo Epifanio
How to get here: Accessed through paved Provincial Routes 92 first and 94 later from Tunuyán.