With its endless rows of vineyards and world famous wines, Mendoza in Argentina is a wine-lovers heaven. Travellers come from all over South America to visit the Wine Capital and its many bodegas. With over 1,500 wineries in three different regions, it’s no surprise that they vary considerably in terms of size and structure. However, each has its own air of authenticity whilst sharing the same deep-rooted passion and commitment to wine.
Set in the hot, dry desert, Mendoza enjoys sunshine all year around but a clever irrigation system flows throughout the city, allowing for greenery and the all important growth of grapes. The Andes to the West tower over the city and provide some of the country’s most stunning scenery.
Mendoza itself is a beautiful city with a good scattering of eateries and stunning parks. However, even miles from the nearest vineyard, wine is difficult to escape. Free tastings are offered in the streets and even the fountains are tinted pink to look like giant pools of inviting red!
Places to Stay:
- Hostel Empedrado is a family run hostel in a great location, just a 5 minute stroll away from the Parque Central and Plaza Independencia. Its three best assets are the free wine offered during happy hour every evening, free use of their washing machines for laundry, and a free breakfast including cakes, croissants, and all you can eat pancakes!
- Hostel Lagares is a friendly hostel with spacious rooms and a great communal area, stocked with fun things to do on your evenings in. There’s also an outdoor terrace with a BBQ which is free for guests to use.
- Savigliano International Hostel claims to be the first ever hostel in Mendoza and has almost a decade of experience in dealing with backpackers. Its location is very convenient for travellers as it’s just across from the bus station and 5 blocks from the main street San Martin.
- Hostel Lao is a little more pricey but is arguably worth the extra expense. It’s within easy walking distance of everything in Mendoza and boasts a stunning garden complete with a plunge pool, hammocks and a traditional BBQ area.
Things to Do:
- Wine Tours are a must when visiting Mendoza. Organised tours will cart you around the best bodegas or you can hire a bicycle and do it yourself. The owners will gladly welcome you in as long as you show a genuine interest.
- Horse Riding is very popular in Mendoza and is offered by a variety of different tour operators. For the best experience find one which takes you on a sunset ride, followed by an unlimited wine evening around the campfire.
- Parque San Martin is a massive park with a stunning lake which is wonderful to walk or cycle around. It also houses a zoo and a science museum.
- Plaza Independencia is Mendoza’s main square which offers an expanse of green space, beautiful monuments and a daily market. It makes for the perfect picnic spot or ice-cream pit stop.
- Hike Cerro Acro for great views both over the Andes and Mendoza’s vast plains. The trek can comfortably be completed in a half-day. If you’re feeling particularly brave, you can book with a company to try paragliding from the peak.
- Parque de Agua is a bus ride away from Mendoza and is home to a network of heated outdoor pools. If you fancy splashing out you can stop at the hotel just before it where you’ll find fancy pools, jacuzzis and spa treatments.
- By Bus: Mendoza can be reached easily by bus from any major city in Argentina. The journey takes approximately 15 hours from Buenos Aires, 10 hours from Cordoba and 18 hours from Bariloche or Salta in different directions. In the months without snowfall the road opens up through the Andes, connecting Mendoza with Santiago, Chile. This scenic drive can take as little as 7 hours including the border crossing.
- By Plane: The International Airport connects Mendoza with these same major cities mentioned above. However, tickets are very expensive in comparison to bus fares.
- By Train: Metrotranvia runs between suburbs situated 15km outside the city into the old Mendoza railway station.
Where to go Next?
- Salta: North of Mendoza towards the Bolivian border lies Salta, a beautiful colonial town best known for its authentic architecture and stunning scenery.
- Buenos Aires: Argentina’s capital offers fantastic shopping, quirky markets and a wide variety of cultural hotspots. At night the city comes alive with some of the best bars and clubs in the whole of South America.
- Bariloche: Head South and you’ll find Switzerland of South America, with snow-capped mountains, alpine architecture and the best chocolate for miles around.
- Santiago: Take the incredible scenic drive through the Andes and you’ll soon find yourself over the border and into Santiago, Chile’s capital city.
Written by: Chiara Pelizzari is an English Graduate turned Advertising Executive who has taken a year out to travel the world. Check out her travel blog for more great info and inspiration for you South America adventure.