Mendoza is a wine and olive-growing city 1000 kilometers (600 miles) west of Buenos Aires. Situated at the foot of the Andes, it was founded in 1561. With 800,000 inhabitants it is Argentina’s fourth largest city and home to a large student population.
Once inhabited by three tribes – the Incas, the Puelches, and the Huarpes, the latter devised irrigation systems that Spanish settlers adopted to ensure water from snow runoff fed their fields and fast growing populace. It was this water supply that enabled the city to thrive in the middle of the desert, and streets in Mendoza today run parallel with open canals. Leveled by an earthquake in 1861, Mendoza was rebuilt with more open areas than any other Argentine city.
Known for it’s thriving bar scene and tranquil colonial plazas, leafy boulevards extend out in all directions from Plaza Independencia, the geographic center of Mendoza. Avenida Sarmeinto runs east to west, cutting the city in two. With tree-lined streets sheltering pedestrians from the fierce summer sun, Mendoza is a walking city, though pausing to meet the locals and share a cup of Mate, the quintessential Argentinean ice breaker, is all part of the experience.
Things to do in
Every season in Mendoza offers plenty of activities for visitors to choose from. Vineyards and olive groves surround the city, and production of oil and wine are Mendoza’s two main exports. Mendoza is firmly placed as the capital of Argentina’s newly created Wine Route, as 80% of the country’s wine is produced here. Most wineries have tasting rooms, especially in summer months, when music events often take place. Wine lovers can pay a visit to the Wine Museum, located 16 kilometers (9 miles) outside of Mendoza where machinery used in pressing grapes from the 19th century are still in use.
Many bars and nightclubs are located on Sarmiento Boulevard and attract a young, party minded crowd of students and independent travelers into the early morning hours. An increasing number of up market wine bars are opening in Mendoza, featuring labels from local wineries, in particular, Malbec, the most popular export.
Situated the Andean foothills, white water rafting and kayakers can navigate the nearby Mendoza River, while hikers can traverse numerous trails that wander through the foothills of the Andes. Paragliding is possible from the Cerro Arco peak.
In winter, skiers and snowboarders head for Los Penitentes, where superb powder attracts visitor from as far away as Europe and the USA.
Mountain climbers use Mendoza as the jumping off point to summit Aconcagua mountain, the tallest in the Western hemisphere, at 6962 meters (22,841 feet). As one of the world’s Seven Summits, the mountain is home to numerous glaciers.
Hotel Villaggio - located one block from Plaza Independencia
Lares De Chacras - rural hotel15 kilometers outside Mendoza
Park Hyatt Mendoza - business hotel in central Mendoza
Bohemia Hotel Boutique - has just 8 rooms, each uniquely decorated
Posada De Rosas - relaxed hotel situated in a quiet suburb of Mendoza
Cavas Wine Lodge - surrounded by 35 acres of vineyards