Somewhere between Patagonia and Buenos Aires, the amazing city of Mendoza often gets forgotten when thinking of Argentina. However, this very livable city stole my heart instantly and after spending four days there I wasn’t ready to leave. For me, Mendoza was a place I just had to visit simply because I am a self-professed wine lover! Mendoza is famous for producing some of the best wine in the world! There are two main wine regions surrounding Mendoza making it the ideal place for anyone who loves wine to stopover. I expected amazing wine in Mendoza, but what I didn’t expect was such a modern, clean, and safe city. From Tango performances in the streets, a huge central park, and chic cafes on every corner – Mendoza became a city I remember now for so much more than just wine.
How to Get There
Probably one of the reasons many people skip Mendoza while on a trip to Argentina is its remote location. Mendoza isn’t close to Buenos Aires (which is where most international flights to Argentina land (and it isn’t close to Patagonia either. In fact, by land Mendoza is most easily accessed from Santiago, Chile than any other city in Argentina.
From Santiago, Chile Mendoza is only a short 6-hour bus ride and a border crossing away. Crossing the border between Argentina and Chile is a very easy process (believe me, I did it 6 times!) No fees need to be paid and as long as you don’t try to bring any fruit or nuts with you then you will be through in a breeze.
A comfortable coach-style bus from Santiago to Mendoza costs about $45 USD. Allow for around 7 hours total travel time with the border crossing. The bus terminal in Mendoza is located right in the city centre and likely only a short taxi ride or walk from your accommodation.
Coming from Buenos Aires a bus will take 18 hours so a domestic flight would be the most comfortable. Many other cities fly into the Mendoza airport so getting a flight shouldn’t be a problem. Flying over the Andes is an experience in itself so be sure to book a daytime flight!
Wine, wine, and more wine
Mendoza was made famous for the wine produced there. In fact, the state of Mendoza actually produces the majority of the wine made in Argentina! If you like Malbec wine, then chances are that you’ve already tried some from Mendoza before as that is the main wine produced and exported all over the world. However, many wineries also produce Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Tempranillo.
Whether it be the tasty world class-wine, the mountains in the backdrop or the fact that the grapes are watered with spring fed glacier water the wineries near Mendoza are sure to be an unforgettable experience.
The best way to experience the wine in Mendoza is to venture out and do wine tastings in one of the most famous regions near Mendoza. There are two ways to get from one winery to the next, either by car or by bike!
When I was in Mendoza I went on a bike and wine tour in the Maipu wine region which is only located about 45 minutes from the city. A tour typically costs around $100 USD and will include transport from the city to Maipu, bike rental, a guide, and several tastings at different wineries. Some tours also include lunch.
I loved biking around from vineyard to vineyard as it was absolutely gorgeous. I think that you get to enjoy the views better from a bicycle rather than being driven around in a car!
Note: If you are on a tight budget, it is possible to catch the local bus out to Maipu and then rent a bicycle for the day for about $15 USD. You will need a map and then just have to pay a small tasting fee at each winery.
Other things to do in Mendoza
Although the wine is amazing and touring through the vineyards is an unforgettable experience, there are a few other things that you can do in and around Mendoza as well.
The city itself is full of culture and offers modern amenities. The Parque General San Martín is famous for its large scale and various activities. In the park, there are several walking and bicycle trails, statues and water fountains, and even a campground! I went for a stroll here and got swept up in nature four hours!
The museum called Museo Fundacional is also a great place to check out to learn more about Argentina’s history.
If you want to venture a bit outside of the city, in the winter skiing is a popular activity. There are few different ski resorts near Mendoza city some of the most popular are Las Lenas, Vallecito, and Los Puquois.
Hiking is also popular as Mendoza is not far from the Andes mountain range. Cerro Arco is a short day hike only taking 3 hours to complete and close to Mendoza city. A trip to South America’s highest mountain Aconcagua is also a popular experience, although it can’t be climbed by amateurs visitors can still walk through the park and see spectacular views!
Overall, Mendoza was a lively city to visit! Reflecting back on it now I wish I would have spent more time there touring the other wine regions and relaxing in cafes. I would highly recommend Mendoza to anyone, wine lover or not!
By guest blogger Bailey Busslinger. Bailey has been travelling the world for 4 years now. Her sense of adventure means she is always seeking out something new and exciting. Bailey is a budget traveller which allows her to travel longer and further without breaking the bank. She blogs about her journey on her travel blog, Destinationless Travel.