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Mendoza is the capital of the province o f Mendoza in Argentina. It is located in the northern-central part of the province, in a region of foothills and high plains, on the eastern side of the Andes. As of the 2010 census [INDEC], Mendoza had a population of 115,041 with a metropolitan population of 1,055,679, making Greater Mendoza the fourth largest census metropolitan area in the country.
Ruta Nacional 7, the major road running between Buenos Aires and Santiago, runs through Mendoza. The city is a frequent stopover for climbers on their way to Aconcagua (the highest mountain in the Western and Southern Hemispheres) and for adventure travelers interested in mountaineering, hiking, horse riding, rafting, and other sports. In the winter, skiers come to the city for easy access to the Andes.
Two of the main industries of the Mendoza area are olive oil production and Argentine wine. The region around Greater Mendoza is the largest wine producing area in Latin America. As such, Mendoza is one of the nine Great Wine Capitals, and the city is an emerging enotourism destination and base for exploring the region's hundreds of wineries located along the Argentina Wine Route.
|POPULATION :||• City 115,041|
• Urban 1,055,679
|FOUNDED :||Settled 1561; 455 years ago|
|TIME ZONE :||ART (UTC-3)|
|LANGUAGE :||Spanish (official)|
|AREA :||54 km2 (21 sq mi)|
|ELEVATION :||746.5 m (2,449.1 ft)|
|COORDINATES :||32°53′00″S 68°49′00″W|
|SEX RATIO :|
|AREA CODE :||261|
|POSTAL CODE :|
|DIALING CODE :||+54 261|
Mendoza is a city in western Argentina, in the desert Cuyo region. Mendoza is the center of the Argentinian wine industry, for which it is world renowned. It is also near the Aconcagua, the highest mountain outside of the Himalayas. Mendoza is the capital of the province of Mendoza.
Although it is situated in an extremely dry desert region, Mendoza has an extensive artificial irrigation system, which allows for greenery throughout the city as well as the growth of grapes used to make its wines. Most streets have irrigation channels on either side, with bridges for pedestrian and vehicular traffic. These are periodically flooded with water diverted from the river. The trees and the wide avenues give the city a beautiful ambience, a change from much of the bare feel of many Argentine cities.
To the immediate west is the Pre-Cordillera of the Andes towering over the city, with peeks at some of the snow-covered (throughout the year) Andes peaks beyond.
A Siesta, or afternoon nap, is still taken in Mendoza. Most businesses close approximately 13:00-17:00, then re-open until about 20:30-21:30. Banks are only open in the mornings 09:00-13:00, Monday to Friday.
On March 2, 1561, Pedro del Castillo founded the city and named it Ciudad de Mendoza del Nuevo Valle de La Riojaafter the governor of Chile, Don García Hurtado de Mendoza. Before the 1560s the area was populated by tribes known as the Huarpes and Puelches. The Huarpes devised a system of irrigation that was later developed by the Spanish. This allowed for an increase in population that might not have otherwise occurred. The system is still evident today in the wide trenches (acequias), which run along all city streets, watering the approximately 100,000 trees that line every street in Mendoza.
It is estimated that fewer than 80 Spanish settlers lived in the area before 1600, but later prosperity increased due to the use of indigenous and slave labor, and the Jesuit presence in the region. When nearby rivers were tapped as a source of irrigation in 1788 agricultural production increased. The extra revenues generated from this, and the ensuing additional trade with Buenos Aires, no doubt led to the creation of the state of Cuyo in 1813 with José de San Martín as governor. It was from Mendoza that San Martin, other Argentinian patriots and Chilean patriots organized the army with which they won the independence of Chile and Peru.
Mendoza suffered a severe earthquake in 1861 that killed at least 5,000 people. The city was rebuilt, incorporating innovative urban designs that would better tolerate such seismic activity. Mendoza was rebuilt with large squares and wider streets and sidewalks than any other city in Argentina. Avenue Bartolomé Mitre and additional small squares are examples of that design. Tourism, wine production, and more recently the exploitation of hard commodities such as oil and uranium ensure Mendoza's status as a key regional center.
Important suburbs such as Godoy Cruz, Guaymallén, Las Heras, Luján de Cuyoand Maipú have in recent decades far outpaced the city proper in population. Comprising half the metro population of 212,000 in 1947, these suburbs grew to nearly ⅞ of the total metro area of over 1,000,000 by 2015, making Mendoza the most dispersed metro area in Argentina.
Summers can be hot and dry in the city. January is particularly hot; temperatures of 40°C (104°F) are not uncommon. However, the lack of humidity makes both the heat and cool more bearable than, say, humid Buenos Aires. The nearby mountains are cool, though, even in the summer.
Winters are moderately cold in the city from late June to late August, and very cold in the mountains. Many ski centres are located near Mendoza.
The Zonda wind, a wind characterized by warm, dry air descending from the mountains frequently occurs in the winter, causing temperatures to raise as much as 20°C (36°F) in a few hours. These events can cause temperatures to be warm to hot, even in the middle of winter.
Climate data for Mendoza Airport
|Record high °C (°F)||44.4|
|Average high °C (°F)||32.2|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||25.1|
|Average low °C (°F)||18.1|
|Record low °C (°F)||7.5|
|Source #1: NOAA|
The city is centered around Plaza Independencia (Independence Plaza) with Avenida Sarmiento running through its center east-west, with the east side pedestrianized (peatonal). Other major streets, running perpendicular to Sarmiento, include Bartolomé Mitre, San Martín, and 9 de Julio (July 9th), those running parallel include Colón, and Las Heras. Four smaller plazas, San Martín, Chile, Italia, and España, are located 2 blocks off each corner of Independence Plaza. Unique to Mendoza are the exposed stone ditches, essentially small canals, which run alongside many of the roads supplying water to the thousands of trees that provide welcome shade. These deep ditches also represent a fall hazard to unsuspecting visitors, particularly in the dark.
The Parque General San Martín (General San Martín Park) was designed by Carlos Thays. Its grounds include the Mendoza Zoological Park and a football stadium, and it is also the home of the Universidad Nacional de Cuyo. A view of the city is available from the top of Cerro de la Gloria (Mt. Glory).
Prices in Singapore
MARKET / SUPERMARKET
|Beer (domestic)||0.5 l||$1.95|
|Bottle of Wine||1 bottle||$3.00|
|Dinner (Low-range)||for 2||$15.00|
|Dinner (Mid-range)||for 2||$25.00|
|Dinner (High-range)||for 2||$|
|Mac Meal or similar||1 meal||$6.20|
|Beer (Imported)||0.33 l||$3.60|
|Beer (domestic)||0.5 l||$2.95|
|Coctail drink||1 drink||$|
|Men’s Haircut||1 haircut||$|
|Mobile (prepaid)||1 min.||$0.35|
|Pack of Marlboro||1 pack||$1.90|
|Toilet paper||4 rolls||$|
CLOTHES / SHOES
|Jeans (Levis 501 or similar)||1||$|
|Dress summer (Zara, H&M)||1||$|
|Sport shoes (Nike, Adidas)||1||$|
|Local Transport||1 ticket||$|
Transportation - Get In
The large bus terminal is about two kilometres from the city centre. Taxis andremis (private taxis) are readily available (USD3-4 to the centre), or it's a 15 minute walk (not recommended at night, the area between it and the centre borders on the red light district).
There are daily bus connections to all major destinations including Bariloche and Santiago de Chile, a beautiful 7-hour bus ride crossing the Andes. Santiago de Chile is not always reachable by bus as the Andes pass closes after the first heavy snowfall in the winter months, normally around late May, but when it does snow heavily, the pass is usually only closed for a few days at most. The joint immigration/customs control for both Chile-out-stamps/Argentina-in-stamps (convenient) for entry into Argentina is located at Los Horcones near Puente del Inca, and the one for entry-into-Chile/exit-from-Argentina stamps is at Las Libertadores in Chile, 5 km past the tunnel (Check this Spanish language website for pass conditions).
Mendoza has a small airport, El Plumerillo IATA: MDZ, with flights to Buenos Aires (LAN and Aerolineas Argentina), and Santiago de Chile (LAN and Aerolineas Argentina), but tickets are very expensive as compared to bus fares (the fares to Chile and Peru are more reasonable, as you do not have to pay the foreigner premium for domestic flights). Flights to and from Salta, Iguazú and Bariloche started in 2010, on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays with Aerolineas Argentinas. From the airport, you can take a remis (a type of taxi) for fixed posted prices (as of 2014, it was 90 pesos to the centre). There is also a city bus (collectivo) that takes you downtown, but it comes only every 40 minutes and takes an hour to make it's way downtown (but you need to buy a buscard, not available at airport).
Mendoza is a travel hub of sorts for Argentina. It used to be the case that USA, Canada and Australian passport holders did not have to pay the Argentine reciprocity fee if entering Argentina at Mendoza (or any other entry points other than the two airports in Buenos Aires), making Mendoza a cheaper entry point for Argentina for some travellers. That's no longer the case, however; as of January 2013, the reciprocity fee must be paid before entering Argentina no matter how you're getting into the country. If you are flying through Santiago, book your bags through so you do not have to pay the Chile reciprocity fee for the same nationalities, payable only when leaving immigration at the Santiago airport,not for Chile land entry
Bus travel times to/from Mendoza:
- 13-17 hours: Buenos Aires
- 10 hours: Cordoba
- 14 hours: Tucumán
- 36 hours: Puerto Iguazú, Andesmar
- 42 hours: Río Gallegos
- 7 hours: Santiago de Chile (But actually 8-9 with the border crossing)
- 7 hours: Valparaíso, Chile
- 60-74 hours: Lima, Peru (via Santiago)
- 26 hours: Montevideo, Uruguay EGA bus lines
- 18 hours: Bariloche Run by Andesmar and CATA, there is a daily direct bus even during winter (but not along Ruta 40)
- 18 hours Salta
Buses from Buenos Aires: Micros de Retiro.
In the winter, the mountain passes to Chile can be closed for several days if weather is bad, but this is only intermittent.
Transportation - Get Around
Central Mendoza is relatively compact and walkable - for example, it's a 20-30 minute walk from Plaza Independencia to Parque San Martin. However to get to the bodegas (vineyards) to the south, walking isn't recommended as it they are at least 10km away.
Buses are cheap and plentiful, but a little confusing at first. Buses have two numbers, a line (linea) number, which is the big number at the top of the front of every bus, and a route number, which is two or three digits (i.e. 33) and is on a small sign behind the windscreen. Buses on the same line (e.g. Linea 3) all go toroughly the same place (e.g. Godoy Cruz) but the route varies by route number - so be careful not to get on the wrong route! Now, you cannot pay cash for bus journeys (ARS3.50, card only), it is necessary to purchase a Red Bus card (a prepaid proximity card) that you touch-in when boarding a bus. A switch to card-only entry to the buses was in the works in late 2013. You can buy a Red Bus card from some kioskos near a bus stop for ARS5, and charge them up at the same place. An interactive map of the city bus routes can be found on this city website: city bus map.
There are also Trolleys, which have the same price, coin machines and use the same RedBus card. There are two varieties on all lines: the new locally-made red jobbies and the more recycled Vancouver BC city discards only sold due to wheelchair accessibility rules there. A popular run is the Parque circuit, which takes you to the gates of the immense and green Parque San Martin gates every 10 minutes or so, which you can catch on 9 de Julio, Colon or Aristides Villanueva Streets downtown. At the gates, you could also return by catching the circuit at the same stop.
The Metrotranvía (MTM) is a modern electric tram-train system opened in 2012. The Green Line connects the city center with the south-eastern suburb of Gutiérrez in Maipú district and is currently being extended to Las Heras in the north of the metro area. It uses the same prepaid-card system than the buses, and combinations with buses can be made at no cost.
Taxis are plentiful, metered and fairly cheap, costing about the same as in Buenos Aires. A trip across town from the bus station to Parque San Martin will cost around ARS$ 35.
You can hire bicycles in town - most hostels can put you in touch with a bicycle hire outfit - prices are negotiable (i.e. they will charge you as much as they think you are willing to pay) but you shouldn't pay more than ARS80 - ARS100 per day. You will need some form of ID to leave as deposit. Ask to see the bike beforehanding over your money - many are old clunkers.
- BEST RATED -
- BEST VALUE -
- The wine is excellent and can be extremely inexpensive, although in terms of quality you most often get what you pay for. There are several wine boutiques which offer wine tasting. In general, you can buy the same bottles of wine at local supermarkets at lower prices.
- Clothing tends to be fashionable and cheap for those paying in US dollars or Euros.
- Electronics are imported and thus expensive.
- There are several mountaineering and trekking equipment shops offering a wide variety of outdoor equipment. A couple of shops are on Av Juan B Justo near Av Belgrano.
- Many unique home decor items are available at good prices.
- Leather goods are also readily available and inexpensive. There are many shops on Las Heras Av.
- Andes and More. For expeditions up Aconcagua with a local guide who has been working on the mountain for 16 years.
- Monkey Hostel, Sarmiento 681, 4231148. Has a pool and a black dog with mysterious eyes 35.
Good restaurants abound. For a round-up of Mendoza's more expensive eateries ask for the Guía Mendoza Gourmet from the tourist office. The main restaurant strip is on Aristides Villanueva, which runs east-west from Ave Belgrano (where the defunct railway tracks are) to Parque San Martin. It is difficult to have a bad meal here, although as a general rule be wary of special offers from places near the hostels - they may be cheap, but this shows in the quality. There are also some excellent (and pricey) restaurants on Ave Sarmiento running west from Plaza Independencia. A cluster of cheaper restaurants are on Ave Juan B Justo
Try world-famous Argentinian beef asado (roasted) from a parrilla (grill) restaurant, with a bottle of Mendoza's excellent wine. Mendoza's most famous varieties are the Malbecs from Maipú and Luján de Cuyo. Other good options are Cabernet Sauvignons and Merlots.
Even by Argentinian standards, Mendocinans eat late. On weekdays kitchens open around 9PM, but few diners arrive before 10PM. On Fridays and Saturdays things don't get going until 11PM.
- La Casa de Ofelia, , e-mail: [email protected].Located in the peaceful valley of Lunlunta, this house is a perfect stop while you're visiting wineries and vineyards. Meals are prepared with traditional recipes and served personally by the house's owners. You can get the best specialties calling some days earlier to make a reservation.
- 1884, Belgrano 1188 in the Godoy Cruz neighborhood. One of Francis Mallman's famous restaurants. The food is expensive but excellent and focuses on local meat and produce.
- Tenedor Libres: (literally, free fork) Mendoza has many good buffets that serve reasonably priced lunches and dinners. Most offer 5-10 meat dishes freshly cooked on a giant grill and a variety of side dishes and desserts. The quality of the food can be quite good and it's an excellent way to try a selection of Argentine food.
- Onda Libre Av. General Las Heras 446
- Sofia resto-bar, Aristides Villanueva 650, 0261-4299836. Stylish restaurant and one of the more upmarket on the Aristides strip. Extensive menu of meats, salads, pastas, and a curious 'exotic' range, including Wok Chicken, Wok Beef, and more oddly, Wok Pizza. mains circa Ar$40.
- La Nilda, 780 Arístides Villanueva (near Parque San Martin), 0261 423 2317.from 9PM. Pleasant Argentinian restaurant at the far end of Aristides Villanueva - a good choice on Friday and Saturday nights when the popular places nearer the centre are full and you don't have a reservation. Solid menu of beef and pork dishes, hearty salads, good wine list and reasonable prices. If this restaurant were closer to the action it would be full every night!
Not always open in the off season though. mains around As$40.
- Zinc, Aristides Villanueva (near Ave Belgrano). One of the first restaurants you'll encounter walking up from Ave Belgrano. Not a bad choice for a uncomplicated meal - often runs promotions of 'steak + desert' for Ar$35 or so, aimed squarely at budget-conscious foreigners - and surprisingly the food is pretty good - beware of the cheap wine offerings, they are cheap for a reason.
- Il Panino, 147 Paso de Los Andes, 0261 428 5922. lunch & dinner. A pleasant restaurant away from the bustle of Arístides Villanueva - the garden is a welcome oasis away from the traffic noise that blights al fuera dining elsewhere in the city. Serves perhaps the best pizza in the city, with thin Italian style bases with a traditional range of toppings (although still cheese-heavy). Also good salads, meats, and pastas. Often has a Ar$25 lunch special.
- El Patio de Jesus Maria, 788 Boulogne Sur Mer (at the end of Aristides Villanueva). 8PM-late. Pleasant & pricey restaurant with, as the name suggests, a patio. Asado, steak, chicken and more steak. For an interesting dining experience have a meal whilst a football game at Club Independiente next door is underway.
- Terruño (Club Tapiz), Pedro Molina s/n - Ruta 60 Km 2.5 - Russell – Maipú(Arrange with a driver or call ahead for specific instructions.), 0261-496 0131.Located 15 minutes south of the city center (close to suburban Chacras de Coria) and in the middle of one of the Tapiz winery vineyards, this stylish restaurant offers a series of regional dishes and a superb wine list. Make the best out of the visit by touring the vineyard, visiting "Pour la Galerie" a maginificent art space located beside the museum featuring works of renowned artist Sergio Roggerone, and learning about the Club Tapiz boutique hotel (see below). Reservations required.AR$ 45.
- Cafe Las Palmas, Alma, near intersection with Rioja (Mendoza). Offers good menu of salad, soup, main course, bread and drink for 20 Pesos.
- La Barca, Espejo 120 City Center (btw España & 9 de Julio). Open for Lunch and Dinner, this is a classic, family-owned restaurant that serves authentic, quality Argentine food. Great home made pasta. Daily specials. Friendly to English speakers. If you're in the city center and want a dependable meal, you can't go wrong here.
Sights & Landmarks
- Parque San Martín. This huge park is nice for walking or biking around. There is also a zoo at the north-west corner of the park with animals in small cages. Behind the zoo begins a path up to Cerro de la Gloria where there is a large statue and nice view over the city and of the mountains - particularly pleasant at sunset. You can rent a bicycle at "Bicis del Parque - Bike the Park!".
- Many bodegas (wineries) offer tours. Wine-tasting events are common; check the culture section of local newspapers or ask around. A good period to visit is during harvesting in March and April. Visiting wineries often requires reservations booked in advance, (Many are closed during weekends). Some major wineries (Norton, Rutini etc.) have regular "walk in tours".
- Festivals occur often and are usually free. Each has a different theme, and they usually have a stage with singing and dancing and booths that sell food around a plaza. The harvest festival at the end of February is a major event.
- Plaza Independencia. The central main square of the city is the best starting point to explore downtown Mendoza. It boasts some nice buildings around, restaurants and even some street shows. The Mendoza Museum of Modern Art is located under the plaza also (Ar$6, free on Wednesdays). The Plaza can also be visited at night, where you can see some nicely illuminated buildings and a beautiful big coat of arms of the city that is made of lights.
- Plaza España. Possibly the most beautiful square in the city, this square is an artistic expression of the special relationship that this city (and all others in Hispanic America) has with Spain. It is decorated in a splendid way with typical Andalusian and Spanish motifs all around the place. The central wall depicts some images and texts of the Spanish colonization and it is crowned by a gorgeous statue.
- Central Park, El Parral & Vendimiadores (10 blocks north of Plaza Independencia).A modern city park, contrasting with the tradition of the better-known Parque San Martin. Not a Mendoza must see, but the park has some nice water fountains and a grassy hill - often amateur Mendocinans set up their easels here and paint away.
- Casa de Fader. A historic house museum, is an 1890 mansion once home to artist Fernando Fader in nearby Mayor Drummond, 14 km south of Mendoza. The mansion is home to many of the artist's paintings. free.
Things to do
Many companies organize trekking, expeditions, horseback riding, and whitewater rafting in the desert and the mountains. Mountain cabins in areas with spectacular scenery are easily rentable in the city. Check the classified ads in the newspaper.
- Campo Base Travel and Adventure, Peatonal Sarmiento 229, Mendoza City, , e-mail: [email protected]. Trekking-Rafting-Horseriding-Paragliding-Mountainbike-Aconcagua Trekking and Expeditions-High Andes tour-Wine tasting tours.Another rafting company above Potreillos (same run) is "Rio Mendoza", and for a more leisurely raft, Betancourt Rafting below the reservoir.
- Termas de Cacheuta (Spas of Cacheuta), 2624 490 139. Cacheuta, located about an hour outside of Mendoza, has a very large network of "natural" hot-tubs called the "Parque del Agua". During high season and weekends, you will pay AR$70 . For easy transportation, inquire regarding Cacheuta at the Bus Terminal, Espreso Uspallata bus counter at the immediate south side of the terminal near platform 50; busses depart Mendoza in the morning (before noon) and return in the evening (last bus departs Cacheuta at 6:50PM). You will pay AR$14 for each way, and it is recommended that you purchase both directions before departing. If you're in for the full day adventure, consider bringing some food to cook on their plentiful and free grills. Bus times can be found online [www] .
If you want the natural hot springs, just go down to the river and find some rocks forming a pool. For free.
An upscale alternative is to go for the day to the Termas Hotel, about a km before", with swanky pools, masseuses, jacuzzis and an incredible buffet lunch, all for a hefty 180 pesos, but well worth the value - if you go, you had better book at the hotel a few days before for the package (do not bother staying at the hotel , the overpriced rooms are very cramped.
- Aconcagua - America's highest peak Aconcagua (highest in the world outside the Himalayas) provides trekking and climbing possibilities. All travel agencies and backpacker hostels can organise trips - although a considerably cheaper and more flexible option is to take a Transportes Uspallata bus to the park from Mendoza's bus station. Probably you would be happy just paying the 25 pesos at the park entrance to walk the short interpretive trail and lookout, rather than paying the hefty hiking fees past that you need to pay in town at the Provincial Park office in Parque San Martin (depending on how far and how many days you trek). If you want to see the top of Aconcagua, check the weather for the area before going, or you will waste your time and money.
- Wine tour - The nearby vineyards will let you taste wine if you show genuine interest. It's possible to do a tour by bike, but there are also fully organised tours going from Mendoza. The most popular destination for biking and wine tasting is Maipu, a short bus (line 10-173) or cab ride out of Mendoza. Many outfits rent bikes and provide a map of the standard route. Do yourself a favor and choose your bike company carefully. For example, Mr. Hugo has well maintained bikes, but Bikes and Wines had terrible old clunkers and there is no better wat to spoil your day than to battle with an awful bike. The most popular high-end wine tours are Malbec Symphony Wine Tours, Ampora Wine Tours and Trout & Wine, which take small groups to better wineries and include a multi-course lunch. There are several excellent wineries on the typical route, including Tempus Alba, Viña El Cérno, Familia Di Tommaso, and Carinae. As an alternative, Bachhus Wines runs bike tours out of Chacras and will rent bikes for about $40, provide a map and call ahead to several vineyards. Please be careful with your belongings on the wine tours, as there have been cases of bags being snatched out of the baskets on bikes recently. Budget from 80 to 140 pesos per person for "tastings", based on visiting between 4 to 6 wineries.
- Cooking Class - Ampora, who primarily does wine tours, also offers a cooking class for about $115 per person (less if paying cash). The four-hour course includes lots of wine, hands-on prep for several dishes and of course dinner. Finca Adalgisa, about 30 minutes from downtown, likewise offers a cooking demonstration several night per week. Unlike Ampora, this class is more of a demonstration than a hands-on class, but it is immensely popular. The teaching chefs for Ampora and Adalgisa both cooked under legendary Argentine chef Frances Mallmann (1884, Patagonia Sur).
- Vines of Mendoza - Located around the corner from the Hyatt in downtown (Avenida Belgrano 1194), Vines of Mendoza is the premiere wine bar in the city. They choose top wines from the region and offer various flight options, each coming with five glasses. Options include the Iconos (top wines), whites, reserves, Uco Valley reserves, Sensory Tastings and even a Blending Lab where you experiment mixing different varietals and take home a bottle of your own personal blend. The Vines hosts a (meet the) Winemaker Night on Wednesdays (7-9PM) during high season. Their website has great local tourist information and the definitive "Insiders' Guide to Mendoza."
- Paragliding (parapentes in Spanish) can be done in Mendoza every day of the year, depending on the winds of course. Tours include a tandem flight of about 15 minutes with an experienced pilot. Costs are about 100 US$. There are two companies going off Cerro Arco, both easily googleable: "zonadevuelo" (aka Fly Excursion) and "flyadventure"(aka mendoaventuras).
- Skiing is popular in the winter, but the season is short. Closest are Penitientes (bigger) and Los Puquios (beginner) on the highway almost to the Chile border. You could either take the Espreso Uspallata milkruns, or by bus tickets or packages from the many agencies on Las Heras Street, between Mitre and Peru streets, where there are also lots of ski equipment and clothes rental shops.
- Hike up Cerro Arco. A pleasant half-day hike easily done independently from Mendoza, offering great views of both the Andean foothills behind and the vast expanse of Mendoza's plains to the front. Cerro Acro is the looming mountain to Mendoza's north west, topped with various antenna. It is also used as the base for paragliding. Take bus 114/115 (linea 3) from Plaza Independencia (or Parque San Martin on Av Del Libertador) to El Challao Mirador, at the end of the line 8km to the northwest. From here walk across from the white nightclub following the dyke 100 metres, then take an unpaved track further west until you reach a small restaurant / mountaineering museum/ clubhouse - then follow the track to the north (going through the gate). This is a popular hike for Mendocinos at the weekend, but during the week it may be deserted. You can treat yourself to a hearty asado as the restaurant - although beware that restaurant has two menus, one more expensive than the other! From the Mirador, the hike is about a 3.5 hour round trip. Get out of the area well before dark. In the summer, go early to avoid the worst of the heat, and in the winter bring a jacket, as it can be cool and windy at the top. Afterwards you could visit the aircraft hanger sized church in Challao, a local version of Lourdes.
- Horse riding Gaucho Experience, 0261 15 5592711. Every hotel, hostel and travel agent can organise horse riding trips close to the city - but these guys have one of the better reputations - can do day and overnight rides, look after their animals and speak good English. Expect to pay around As$120 for half a days riding. A late afternoon ride, with a return at sunset will enable you to avoid the heat of the day and night-riding is very atmospheric. If you phone them direct you will get a lower price compared to organising through a hostel.
- Las Lenas ski resort (Mendoza), Valle de Las Leñas (San Martin 811), 254-261-4297730, e-mail: [email protected]. Las Leñas is definitely the most important ski resort in Argentina. The Andes Mountains are the highest outside of Asia with reliable skiing every ski season. Dry, plentiful powder, all levels welcome, Nordic skiing, incredible off-piste skiing and a base up at 2,240 metres describes Argentina’s most important ski resort, Las Leñas. Las Lenas Holidays is a subsidiary of Mendoza Holidays Vacations, the leader in providing vacation packages for the upscale traveller in the west of Argentina.
- Malbec Symphony Wine Tours (Wine Tours, Mendoza), 256 Rivadavia(Mendoza, Argentina), 549-261-543-3292, e-mail: [email protected].9-17hrs. Malbec symphony is an up and coming wine-tour specialized travel agency in Mendoza, Argentina. Our wine tours are directed by sommelier, Julian Dlouhy and his knowledgeable staff. Here at Malbec Symphony, we can organize wine tours to fit all your travel needs. Our goal as a travel agency is to offer the most interesting and educational wine tours in Mendoza, providing our clients with experiences they will never forget. We offer tailor-made, customized tours with chauffeurs and bilingual guides in Mendoza, and other Argentine wine growing regions (Patagonia, Salta, San Juan, Cafayate, Valle de la Luna, Talampaya). Our multi-lingual staff speaks French, German, English and Portuguese. Our vision is to provide our customers with a unique experience in Mendoza, therefore not only do we offer wine tours, but also, olive oil tours, cooking classes, mate classes, and spirit tours.
- Mendoza (Mendoza Outdoors), San Martin (811), 4297730. 9-19. Mendoza Holidays is a boutique operation specializing in upscale private tours, gourmet itineraries and specialty programs throughout Mendoza, Chile and other areas in Argentina such as Buenos Aires, Salta, Iguazu Falls, Patagonia and more. Recommended by Frommers and The New York Times Travel & Dining, Mendoza Holidays is the premier provider of luxury wine tours in Argentina.
Things to know
As with many cities in Argentina, there is a variety of Spanish courses and private lessons are available. There are two extablished language schools in Mendoza:Intercultural is the biggest, has a range of afternoon activities, and is slightly more expensive, Greenfields (aka COINED) is smaller and feels even less well organised, but many of the teachers work at both schools.
Another great option for individual or very small tailor-made quality group lessons with a highly trained instructor: Spanish in Mendoza, Argentina (SIMA) [www]. This is a better option for those seriously interested in learning or improving their Spanish, although the classes are very enjoyable.
Another interesting way to learn Spanish is by sharing accommodation. For people planing to stay for a couple of months, renting a room in a shared place could be the best option. Prices are reasonable low compared to hostels and hotels ranging from $700 pesos in a student apartment to $1300 pesos for a homestay with no meals. The best website for finding this type of housing is MiHouse:[www]. Here you will find previous roommates evaluations of houses, and the assistance of the website coordinator that will help you find roommates by providing all type of information: [email protected]
Safety in Mendoza
Be wary of scams, especially around the bus terminal. Occasionally foreigners will pretend to have been robbed and use your sympathy to "borrow" money for a bus ride. Specifically, a guy claiming to be a Dutch/Belgian traveller (blond/brown hair, about 40 years old) who got 'mugged' at the station, having everything including his backpack taken. Do not help him out, he's a European that has lived here for ages and has been doing this for a while. It has been confirmed that this man is continuing to operate the same con as of late 2013. If he approaches you and there is a police officer nearby report him.
Be careful arriving early morning on overnight buses. If you put your bags down, someone may try to take them.
As everywhere in Argentina, be careful of the vehicles. They do not honour the right-of-way-for-pedestrian or stop-sign laws (the police just stand around and watch the "fun"). Intersections are death traps, this cannot be emphasized too much, the vehicles are usually driven erratically, fast, without attention, wandering and without signalling. Look everywhere, and make no assumptions. Especially be careful when there is a bus or taxi approaching from any direction. Many pedestrians choose to jaywalk (not a crime here) in the middle of the block to avoid endangering their lives and limbs at intersections!