Essential Travel Info for Mendoza, Argentina
From the Rugged Andes to 900 Vineyards, Mendoza is a True Utopia
Mendoza is described by a single word – Diversity. Cerro Aconcagua, Las Leñas ski resort, 900 vineyards and annual Vendimia Festivals insure endless thrills for all.
Located in Western Argentina at the base of the Andes Mountains, Mendoza’s capital takes advantage of Inca-era Acequias to form a lush desert Oasis. The province, which receives only 200 mm of precipitation annually, is dry and arid.
The continental climate provides nearly constant sunshine with warm summer temperatures (30-40 Celsius) and cool winters (0-10 Celsius). Diverse activities and attractions make Mendoza a year-round destination.
Mendoza’s City life
Centered around five main plazas, downtown Mendoza provides endless options for accommodation, beginning with the economical Hostel Independencia, and rising to the new five-star Sheraton Hotel and Casino.
Restaurants abound in the city, and most offer much more than the typical Argentine fare of Parrilla and Italian dishes. While casual dining is available along the pedestrian only street in front of Plaza Independencia, anyone looking for a unique dining experience should head to the rooftop of Edificio Gomez, where El Decimo restaurant offers fine dinning with exquisite views.
The student population keeps a wild nightlife going until the early hours of the morning. Aristides Villanueva Street offers a variety of bars and pubs where locals normally begin their nights around 10. Around 2:00AM, the scene shifts to nightclubs in Chacras de Coria, about 20 minutes away by taxi.
Sightseeing in Mendoza
Parque San Martin, located on the edge of the city, houses endless opportunities to explore. Start by walking around the man-made lake where the Regatta Club de Mendoza practices before hiking Cerro de la Gloria. The city zoo, golf course and football stadium are also located in the park.
Many companies off an Alta Montana tour, but Campo-Base is likely the most reliable. They offer the tour daily, but travel via Villavicencio on Saturdays before venturing on the natural wonders at Puente del Inca and Cerro Aconcagua.
Tours to Laguna del Diamante are available only in December and January, but the rugged 4X4 trip is ideal for anyone looking for a less-trodden trip.
Adventurous Activities in Mendoza
Whitewater rafting on the Rio Mendoza is popular during the summer, while skiers flock to both the world-class Las Leñas Resort and locally renown Penitentes ski area during the winter.
At 6962 m, Cerro Aconcagua is both the tallest peak in the Americas and the highest point outside the Himalaya Mountains. It can be hiked with local guides between December and March. Although technical mountaineering skills are not required, a high fitness level is needed.
Cultural Attractions in Mendoza
The annual Vendimia festival takes place in March, as well. This not-to-be-missed cultural event includes elaborate parades, naming the Harvest Queen, nightly concerts and an impressive theatrical finale at the outdoor Teatro Griego Frank.
Nine hundred vineyards make up the province’s biggest industry, and no visit is complete before visiting wineries in both Lujan de Cuyo and Maipu. Any visit to Maipu’s wineries, whether by car, bus or bike, should include a stop at the Wine Museum, which offers insight into the province’s significant wine heritage.
How to get to Mendoza by Plane
Air travel to Mendoza is limited to the Southern Cone’s two capital cities, Buenos Aires and Santiago.
Aerolineas Argentinas offers up to five daily flights from Buenos Aires. Prices begin at US$120.00 but range up to $420.00 during peak season.
LAN offers two daily flights from Santiago. A promotional price of $100.00 is often available if booking a round trip, however, during winter when the highway is often closed due to poor weather, prices skyrocket to as much as $475.00.
How to get to Mendoza by Bus
Numerous bus companies offer services to Mendoza from all of Argentina’s main tourist hubs. Andesmar, El Rapido Argentino and El Mendocino offer a combination of reliability, comfort and low cost for the 12-hour overnight journey from Buenos Aires. These same companies connect passengers from most northern destinations via Cordoba.
Andesmar and Tramat both provide a 19-hour overnight service from Bariloche, with connections for passengers from Puerto Madryn in Neuquen.
Rugged mountain landscapes and heart-stopping switchbacks make the 7-hour trip from Santiago memorable for international arrivals. Several companies offer the service for $20 but Tur-Bus proves most reliable.
Things to Remember when Visiting Mendoza
- Security in Mendoza is a concern. Make sure to travel in groups after dark and to keep a keen eye on all personal belongings.
- Locals offering favorable exchange rates outside official Casa de Cambios often distribute counterfeit money.
- Tap water is both potable and surprisingly good. Although high in mineral content, it should provide no health problems.
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