This small town of less than 3,500 inhabitants mainly receives visitors who are on their way between Chile and Argentina, as it is either the first or the last population center between the countries, which are separated by the nearly 4,000-meter mountain pass at Los Libertadores. Uspallata had a flash of fame as Seven Years of Tibet was filmed here, due to the similarity of the area to parts of the Himalayas. But that was years ago, and Uspallata has since turned back into the quiet, oasis town that it once was, with access to both Santiago several hours to the west, and Mendoza, 60 miles to the east.
From Uspallata, there are a few main attractions, and these include Bóvedas Históricas Uspallata, an area containing egg-shaped kilns that were used for metallurgy (gold, silver, zinc, copper, etc) in the 17th century. Another human intervention is the presence of the disused railroad station, which was in operation as part of a TransAndean line until 1984. At nearby Cerro Tunduqueral there are pre-Columbian petroglyphs. Uspallata is also a good point from which to take a trip to the Cerro de Siete Colores, a very colorful spot in the Andes, at which you can see seven different colors in the rock, though most visitors report seeing more.
Uspallata is a smaller, quieter alternative to a stay over in Mendoza when crossing the Andes from Chile to Argentina or vice-versa. It is also the closest town to Los Penitentes, a medium-sized ski resort that runs most years from July to early October.