Mendoza is a province in the Cuyo region of Argentina. It is located at the center-west of the country, bordered in the north with the San Juan province, in the east with San Luis and La Pampa provinces, in the south with Neuquén province and in the west with Chile, the Andes mountain range being the natural border. It has an area of 150,839 square kilometers. It is located 1,098 kilometers away from Buenos Aires, and only 380 kilometers away from Santiago de Chile, the Chilean capital city. This province is an important tourist destination in Argentina. It has the principal ski resort in Argentina, the most famous vineyards and wine producers (internationally recognized), the highest peak in South America, and beautiful places to visit.
- 1 Mendoza – The capital
- 2 Lujan de Cuyo– A major wine making city
- 3 Godoy Cruz
- 4 Maipu
- 5 Malargüe
- 6 Punta de Vacas
- 7 San Rafael – The second most important city in the province
- The 1 Aconcagua, the highest peak in the world outside Asia - (6,959.6 m (22,833 ft) over the sea) is located near the capital city. Because of this, an important number of mountain climbers arrive to this city each year, and provide a market on its own. Note that during low season, tourists are allowed to take only a short hike. High season begins on November 15th. Even towns that cater to tourists near Aconcagua have limited information about hiking, and it seems that hiking in the National Park is discouraged unless one hires a guide. Nonetheless, the roads in this area are famed for their scenery, especially RN 7, which connects the city of Mendoza, the entrance to the Aconcagua Park, and Chile. The surrounding scenery is well worth the drive, even if outdoor activities (with the exception of white-water rafting) are not well developed.
- 2 Las Leñas , near the city of Malargüe, is the most important ski resort in Argentina.
- 3 La Payunia It has been a Protected Area since 1988 and now it is a reserve, in the south of Mendoza, near Malargüe City. It is a zone with suggestive beauty and there we have the sensation we are seeing what Earth was like at the beginning of times. In this area there are the four classes of volcanos together! The people in the area say that this doesn’t happen in other parts of the world and this region is almost the first on Earth in volcano density per km2. On this land, where no people live, there is a little fauna and no more plants. It is like a desert. The rain, when it comes, may be very strong, and the wind too. There are only small paths, so it is necessary to go there with people who know the place (because we can get lost), or by van, or horse-riding, perhaps! There are a lot of petroleum machines working, so the men who supervise come from time to time. There are amazing landscapes, with a lot of colours (black, red, yellow, different shades of brown). In some parts we can see it as a lunar landscape, and in others the view is similar to the Sahara Desert. The Reserve is 450.000 ha (very large), and it is similar to the Patagonia.
To fly from Buenos Aires takes 2 hours in LAN and Aerolíneas Argentinas. It takes less than 1 hour to get there from Santiago, Chile, (by LAN). Also, there are 3 flights a week direct from Lima, Perú with Avianca. Flying in on an international flight to Mendoza is a good way for USA, Australia and Canada passport-holders to avoid paying both the hefty Argentina (payable when landing at the 2 Buenos Aires airports) and Chile (when booking your bags through and not exiting immigration at the Santiago airport) reciprocity fees.
On Wednesdays and Saturdays, there are Aerolineas Argentinas flights coming and going from/to Bariloche, Salta and Iguazu.
Mendoza is approximately 13 to 17 hours from Buenos Aires and 7 hours from Santiago.
By the routes 7 and 8 from Buenos Aires.
- The route 40 goes all along the Andes, with incredible landscapes although it is not paved in some places. It connects with the cities of San Rafael and Malargüe
- Bodega La Rural. One of the largest wineries in Mendoza is also one of the best for visits. they offer tours in English which includes the history of the place, the Museo de Vino, the wine processes and storage containers and finally a tasting of wines only offered at the end of the tour. Bodega la Rural makes 7 to 8 million liters annually and makes a full range of inexpensive to high quality wines. Brands produced at Bodega la Rural include Felipe Rutini, Trumpeter, and San Felipe (characterized by an oddly shaped bottle).
- Familia Zuccardi
- Finca Flichman
- Bodega Chandon
- Trapiche, one of the biggest and widely distributed wines in Argentina but it does not offer tours or tastings.
Learn Spanish in the city of Mendoza to appreciate the culture more.
As with many places in Argentina, there are a variety of Spanish courses and private lessons are available. There are two extablished language schools, both disorganized but fun, in Mendoza: Intercultural , has a range of afternoon activities especailly appropriate for young partiers, and is slightly more expensive; Greenfields (aka COINED, after the web bookers) is smaller and feels even less well organised, but many of the teachers work at both schools.
Another great option for individual are very small tailor-made quality group lessons with a highly trained instructor: Spanish in Mendoza, Argentina (SIMA) . This is a good option for those seriously interested in learning or improving their Spanish and the classes are very enjoyable.
You haven't gone to Mendoza if you haven't tasted its delicious wines. Mendoza's most famous varietal is Malbec from Maipú and Luján de Cuyo. Mendoza also grows very good Cabernet Sauvignons, Merlots and Syrah. Other important wine regions are Tupungato and San Rafael.
A very nice (and cheap) way to taste Mendoza's wines is to visit wineries around Mendoza city. You can see how the wine is made and then you can taste it. There are many wineries offering tours and wine tastings. Among the best are Bodega La Rural, which has a Museum of Wine, and Finca Flichman.