It is formed by the entire Department of Lavalle, and by the non-urban areas of the mountains and foothills of the Departments of Las Heras and Luján de Cuyo.
Located in the north of the Mendoza city and it is characterized by being a desert in its geographic aspect; its vegetation consists of shrub steppe, and the rainfall does not exceed 100 millimetres per year. Dunes of up to 60 metres high break the mostly flat landscape.
A few hundred years ago, the appearance of the North Zone was quite different. The waters from the ice and snow melting of the Andes would end up in Guanacache Lagoons, where in their shores, the former inhabitants, the Huarpes, used to develop their culture, which is still alive. Today Guanacache remains, however its former water resource, the Mendoza River, no longer has the flow of yesteryear, as it has been diverted repeatedly towards the cultivation of the oases in the Great Mendoza.
Apart from these lakes, there used to be large areas of sweet carob forests, noble trees, whose fruit and hard wood were widely used. Nowadays, it is the only natural forest in the province, called Telteca Forest.
The activities of the locals are focused on sheep ranching and on the production of wefts. They also have a great religious sentiment, which is reflected in their deepest devotion to their patron saint, the Virgin of the Rosary. At about 130 km of Mendoza City, there is the District Lagunas del Rosario, a place that is highlighted due to the unique role of the Historical Chapel, which began to take shape from the actions of the first Jesuit religious missions, which settled in the northeast of the Mendoza Province. It covers an area of approximately 230,679 hectares and its inhabitants live in “ranches” (formed by houses and stockyards). The ranches that are scattered throughout Laguna del Rosario territory are about 184 and it is estimated that the population total reaches 920. In October, the ponds in the desert are the stage to the traditional religious celebration in honour of Our Lady of the Rosary, and the Chapel of the Rosary and its surroundings revived the centennial festival that usually gathers thousands of worshippers, a cultural activity that has been kept alive through many generations.
There traditional customs that are reflected in the exhibitions of arts and crafts, in the guided tours and in the times when the music and dance arise spontaneously are revived.
LUJÁN DE CUYO AND LAS HERAS
The other portion of the North Zone consists of the high mountains which are shared by the departments of Luján de Cuyo and Las Heras, due to its structure it is possible to be administered this way. Along the Mendoza River, there is a fluid network of roads, including the International route to Chile, which provides good service and infrastructure, and at the same time places of particular beauty. There can be included the Aconcagua Mountain, named by the indigenous people as “the Stone Sentinel” (with 6962 metres high it is the highest mountain in the West). Puente del Inca, with its ochre colour stained waters; Uspallata, with a microclimate that is reflected in its fertile soil, and which holds elements of the Inca culture such as petroglyphs, ruins of typical farmhouses made stones embedded with amazing precision is another attraction. In addition, there is Potrerillos, with its beautiful mountain villas and the dam, which invite everyone to enjoy them all year long, and Cacheuta to enjoy its hot springs.
Depending on your preference, you may choose…
In the summer, the sunshine days make people want the freshness of the streams and the woodlots. In the autumn, everything turns ochre and yellow. In the winter, the mountain is covered with snow, inviting you to enjoy it. In the spring, nature reminds the rebirth of life with the green vegetation.