Mendoza, Argentina: The land of sun and good wine. This is the perfect city for the adventurer, the wine connoisseur, or the casual world traveler. Mendoza is the third largest city in Argentina, but is a completely different city experience than the popular destination Buenos Aires.
Aconcagua and Puente del Inca (Bridge of the Inca)
At 22,841 feet tall, Aconcagua is the tallest mountain in South America. While hiking Aconcagua takes many days, and possibly oxygen tanks, you can make a day out of it with the nice pond and hiking paths around the base of the mountain.
Only a couple miles down the road from Aconcagua lies Puente del Inca. Puente del Inca is a rock formation that was created by the cold and ice of winter and the mixture of the hot water from the hot springs. Now, there is water flowing over the rock that is extremely mineral rich; this water deposits these minerals giving the rock its unique color. You can buy coke bottles and other mementos that have these minerals deposited on them. There are thermal mineral baths close by and other fun activities for every type of tourist.
The Vendimia is Mendoza’s celebration of the harvest. Of course, they focus more on their main export more than any other: wine. It starts in late January and culminates the last week of March with parades and parties galore. All of the water fountains in the city’s central park, the Plaza Independencia, are dyed red to look like wine. In the parade, there are dancers, celebrations of Argentine culture, and all of the queens of the Vendimia throw fruit out to the crowd.
In the province of Mendoza, water and wine are roughly the same price. Known as the Tuscany of Argentina, there are so many beautiful wineries to choose from you might be overwhelmed. Enjoy a day tasting delicious wines with the beautiful Andes mountains in the background. It’ll be a day you never forget. Check here for a complete list of wineries in Mendoza.
Taking a day to ride a horse around Mendoza is definitely a day well-spent. You’ll be able to ride through the vineyards or explore the base of the Andes mountains. Take time to learn about the local cowboys, the “gauchos.” They are nationalistic symbols for the country and have been celebrated in many poems and novels. See if you can learn to use a lasso or bola to herd cattle.
The Plaza Independencia is located in the center of Mendoza. A gathering place for local artisans to sell their goods, you’ll be able to buy authentic Argentine goods at great prices. You’ll also be able to enjoy beautiful fountains, greenery, musicians, magicians, and restaurants. In the middle of the plaza is the entrance to the city’s underground museum of modern art. There you’ll find art, free concerts, and theatrical performances.
Cerro de la Gloria (Hill of Glory)
This is a national monument found in the General San Martin Park, in Mendoza. It was completed in 1914, and is a monument to the Army of Andes. It is a hike to the top of the hill the monument is on, but it’s worth it to get a beautiful view of the whole city. If you don’t feel like hiking, you can hire a car to take you to the top.
The Estadio Malvinas Argentinas is also located in General San Martin park. Built in 1976 for the 1978 World Cup, it now houses the Godoy Cruz soccer team. Going to a soccer game here will be an experience you will never forget, because for Argentines, there is nothing greater than soccer. Be prepared for lots of screaming, and possibly fist fights. But mostly, be prepared to have a blast!