ituated on the eastern side of the Andes and settled in the crest of hilly terrain, Mendoza, Argentina is unforgettable and has the happy coincidence of being situated in a prime position for outdoor adventures such as mountaineering and rafting whilst also serving as an ideal location on the tourist trail. The perfect province for unwinding and enjoying the lazy, hazy atmosphere, be sure to include Mendoza in your South American travels.
- Hostel Prices: Hostels costs upwards of $25 USD for a dormitory room. Private rooms with a shared bath are generally double the price of dorm rooms. More: Tips for finding Cheap accommodation.
- Budget Hotel Prices: Hotels are around $60 USD per night for a double room.
- Average Cost of Food: Meal prices for even a cheap restaurant will begin at around $10 USD and move up from there. Most western dishes will cost about $7 USD for a burger, sandwich, or pizza with something just like home will cost $20 USD for a cheap meal and a drink. If you are looking for a really nice sit down meal with good steak and wine, expect to pay $30 USD. It costs about $40 USD per week for groceries.
- Transportation Costs: It’s possible to walk the center, but to get to wineries you’ll want to take the bus. Tickets cost around $.50 USD. In terms of taxis, you won’t pay more than around $6 USD for a ride.
Top Things to Do
- Hiking – Alternatively, if water is not your thing, take to the skies and go paragliding or go climbing, hiking and trekking on Cerro Aconcagua. If you’re still short on ideas, head to Cerro Arco and take the road less traveled by horse and finish it off with a spot of fishing. In short, there are boundless opportunities to have some outdoor fun here whilst immersing yourself amongst the glorious backdrop of Mendoza’s countryside.
- Parque San Martin - After all this activity, have a relaxing day in the grounds of the Parque San Martin. Complete with its own forested park, zoo, amphitheater, large lake, restaurants and camping spots and with 34 sculptures and the El Rosedal (rose garden), it is easy to see why the Park has become a major go-see and attraction for visitors and locals alike.
- Grape Harvest Festival - Mendoza’s largest festival, it begins in January and February with the crux of the festival beginning on the first Saturday of March and continuing until the beginning of April. Held in celebration of wine and the winemaking industry; events climax in the first week of March with hundreds of dancers of performers, a large firework display and the crowning of the Reina Nacional de la Vendimia.
- Plaza Espana - Plaza Espana, known for its beautiful coloured tiles, is considered a restful, tranquil place to visit. Situated amongst gardens and fountains, come here to get away from it all or even at the weekend when there is a charming Artisan’s Fair which offers local handcrafts.
- Historical Center -If you are looking from a diversion from all that outdoor activity and wine drinking, the historical center provides the option of visiting the Museo del Area Fundacional on Pedro del Castillo Square and the Musuo Nacional del Vino, perfect for learning more about the wine culture. Just outside of Mendoza is the Casa de Fader, an 1890 mansion once home to artist Fernando Fader which exhibits some of his artwork.
- Take a Wine Tour - Home to more than a thousand wineries, the vineyards of Mendoza are set apart in their uniqueness because of the beautiful landscape which they find themselves in. Reserve a place on a wine tour of your choosing in advance and you will learn more about the recipes and techniques of winemaking, perhaps you might even be able to see more of the equipment used. Most will also include a sample tasting afterwards. Going to one if not more than one of the wineries in Mendoza is simply a must.
- Uspallata - For soaking up even more of that wonderful scenery, head to Uspallata, a village which leads the crossing to the Andes between the region and Santiago in Chile. A place to relax and unwind, it is also of historical and cultural significance as this is the site where in 1817 José de San Martín sent his army to fight the Spanish royalists in Chile.
- Punte del Inca - Visit Puente del Inca, a natural stone bridge which owes its coppery-gold color to minerals in the river’s water. One of the natural wonders of the world, tourists were once transported here by the Transandine railway which then continued on via tunnel to Chile. Puente del Inca is also the name of the hot springs nearby. It is also a great point at which to go hiking.
- Aconcagua – While you are on the route to Puente del Inca and Uspallata, why not keep on going and head to Aconcagua; at over 6900 metres, it is the highest summit in America. Perfect to climb during the months of November and March, the mountain is also surrounded by 75,000 hectares of national park.
- Paragliding – There are many travel companies that offer paragliding tours from the base of the Andes Mountains over the wineries. About $50 USD per person.
- Museo Fundacional – The perfect museum for buffing up on the history of Mendoza, Argentina. Trace back through the city’s timeline and check out displays of the original city remnants, prior to the majorly destructive earthquake of 1861.
- Peatonal Sarmiento – Known commonly as ‘the pedestrian zone’, this area offers an escape from the congestion of the city. Open only to those traveling on foot, this is a great place to do some shopping, check out street performers and eclectic street vendors, or just grab a coffee.
- River rafting – For some of the best rafting in Argentina, head down the Mendoza River. Typically beginning at Porrerillos, this is typically an all-day activity. For those that are more adventurous, consider going on a full moon trip. Check out a variety of adventure companies until you find the right fit.
- Villavicencio – Surrounded by beautiful parks, gardens, and various walking paths, this hot springs is an ideal get away. Beyond the mineral rich waters, lies beautiful scenery, ‘Darwin’s Petrified Forest’, Los Caracoles, and ancient Inca rock paintings. Take a day for yourself and check it out.
- Get on a bike – For everyone from beginners to the advanced, taking a bike trip around the region is an awesome way to see the area. Most days are warm and sunny, perfect for slow rides around the mountains or tours through the vineyards. Consider a tour company or just grab a rental.
Budget Tips for Mendoza
- Bike - To save on taxi and bus fares, rent a bike for around $6 USD per day.
- Buy Wine Cheap - If you buy wine at the grocery store, you’ll get the same kind as at the bars and restaurants but cheaper.
- Travel Off Peak – You’ll find much cheaper flights and accommodation in the off season of April to December.