Travel Guide South America Argentina Mendoza

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Introduction

Wine Bottles

Wine Bottles

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Mendoza is a city in the western region of Cuyo in Argentina. It's the capital of the province of Mendoza and the urban area has close to 1 million inhabitants (the city itself is much smaller though). Mendoza forms the centre of the Argentinian wine industry and closeby is the highest peak of the western hemisphere: the Aconcagua.

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Sights and Activities

  • Wineries (bodegas) - 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".
  • Parque San Martin - 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!".
  • 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 Espana - 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
  • Peatonal Sarmiento (pedestrian street) - Just a pedestrian walk surrounded by restaurants and cafés

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Events and Festivals

  • Vendimia Festival - This annual festival, held every March, celebrates the grape harvest. Mendoza is the premiere region for wine making, so this event is pretty spectacular. It is the largest festival of the year in Mendoza, and it includes parades, decorations, music, large stage productions, food, and of course, wine. Most popularly known, is the event's beauty pageant. Beautiful girls from the region enter this competition, they are voted upon, and in the end, one victor is crowned with the coveted title of "National Grape Harvest Queen".
  • Festival Nacional de la Tornada - A festival celebrating Argentinian culture and folk music. This important event draws large crowds and many performers from all over the region. Visitors can expect to see talented musical acts on a big stage with lots of lights and visual effects. Every year's program varies slightly, but the event is always sure to satisfy those who enjoy the sound of passionate musicians. This event occurs every year in February.
  • Mendoza Flamenca Festival - This annual event includes dynamic dance performances from some of the most talented flamenco dancers in the region. Visitors can expect to see incredible performances of this traditional dance, and some dance classes will be offered for those who want to learn. Performers are always dressed in beautiful dresses with flowing skirts and heels that help keep the beat as they dance. This event is held annually in May.
  • Mendoza Marathon - This annual festival draws thousands of running enthusiasts each year. For those visiting Mendoza for it's beautiful wine country, and you're looking for a way to burn off the extra calories you consumed, this race may be for you! Runs of varying lengths are offered, and runners will pass by many of Mendoza's best city offerings while on the route.
  • Winery Events - If you're not traveling to Mendoza during March, but you want to enjoy the festivities of this incredible wine-making city, there is almost always something going on. Just check the local winery listings on the link for upcoming wine events in the area.

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Weather

Mendoze has a fantastic climate. Summers last from November to March when average daytime temperatures are around 30 °C though it can be much hotter during some days. Nights are still pleasantly warm around this time, mostly between 15 °C and 20 °C. Winters last from June to September when it's usually around 16 °C to 18 °C but nights are just a few degrees above zero during the coldest months of June and July. Occasional frost and snow are not unheard of. Most of the precipitation though comes in the form of some heavy rainshowers during the summer months. Still, in total there is only between 200 and 250mm of precipitation a year, which basically means that it is located in a desert region.

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Getting There

By Plane

The international airport near Mendoza offers regular flights to Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo, Santiago de Chile, Cordoba and Neuquén.

By Bus

The large bus terminal is about two kilometres from the city centre. Taxis and remis (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). Mendoza has good bus connections with many destinations throughout Argentina as well as international connections.

Within the region, buses regularly go to Uspallata and Los Penitentes, the base for climbing the Aconcagua. At least daily connections exist with cities throughout the country, including Buenos Aires (around 15 hours), Córdoba (10 hours), Tucuman (14 hours), Puerto Iguazu (36 hours), Rio Gallegos (42 hours), and many more.

International destinations include Santiago de Chile (7 hours, across the Andes), Vina del Mar (7 hours) Valparaiso (8 hours) and even on to Lima (at least 60 hours!) and Montevideo (22 hours), with onward connections to Punta del Este (Uruguay) and several Brazilian cities. Long distance bus service is the most common way to travel from city to city within Argentina if you're looking to save some Pesos.

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Getting Around

By Car

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.

By Public Transport

Buses and even trollys ply most routes in the city and are cheap and easy (after a while) to get around. There's also the Metrotranvía which connects the Mendoza departments of Capital, Godoy Cruz, Guaymallén and Maipú.

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.

By Foot

You can walk most of Mendoza's centre without problems, but for a visit to the vineyards, you will need other transport.

By Bike

You can hire bicycles in town for around Ar$30 - Ar$40 per day, which is a good way to visit the outlying areas including the vineyards.

Touristic Bus

Mendoza's city tour recently started operating around the city. The price is about Ar$100 for a 24-hour pass.

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Eat

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 9:00pm, but few diners arrive before 10:00pm. On Fridays and Saturdays things don't get going until 11:00pm.

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Sleep

Although Mendoza is a very liveable city, and many choose to stay for a few weeks to take language courses and the like, there is not the same short term apartment rental infrastructure as in Buenos Aries. An internet search will bring up a few options but be wary of paying deposits before you arrive as the apartment may not live up to your expectations. Traffic noise can be a particular problem.

The most pleasant part of town is between Plaza Independencia and Park San Martin - with quiet street and well kept neighbourhoods, and the bars and restaurants of Aristes Villanueva within walking distance. East of the centre is the more low rent area, and contains the cheaper hostels.

View our map of accommodation in Mendoza or use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)

Booking.com

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Learn

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 (previously COINED) is smaller and feels less well organised, but many of the teachers work at both schools. Another option for individual or very small tailor-made group lessons: Spanish in Mendoza Argentina (SIMA).

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Keep Connected

Internet

Internet cafes are still widely available in most places, even in smaller towns, though many people are connected through the internet at home or by mobile device. Many cafes and restaurants offer free WiFi with an advertisement in their windows. All you need to do is buy something and ask for the password. Apart from specific places, including soms airports and major stations, quite a few cities are offering free wifi, including Buenos Aires, Mendoza and Iguazu Falls.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

The country calling code to Argentina is 54. To make an international call from Argentina, dial 00 followed by the country code and the rest of the telephone number. All 0800 numbers are toll-free numbers, except if you call from a mobile phone. Emergency numbers are available for Police (101), Ambulance (107) and Fire (100). Emergency dispatcher for Buenos Aires (city), Santa Fe (city), Rosario (city), Salta (province), Corrientes (province), and Buenos Aires (province) 911. In a mobile phone 112 forwards to 911.

You can get a prepaid Movistar / Claro / Personal SIM card for a few pesos / free at phone shops, all you pay is about 20 Pesos for your initial credits. Inserting the SIM card into your unlocked American or European mobile phone should work, although to register the SIM you have to enter your passport (or any 9 digit) number - you then have your personal Argentinean phone numbers. Calls cost around 1 Peso per minute. Receiving calls is usually free, except for international calls, and some cross network / inter-city calls - hence buying a SIM card purely to keep in touch with people overseas may not be worth it.

Without a cellphone, there are similar cards with credits for international calls. You get them at so called locutorios, where you can also use the phone booths. You dial a free number to connect to the service, then your secret number for the credits, and then the international phone number you want to call. Using these cards, a one-hour call to Europe will cost about 10 Pesos. Don't call without such cards or even from your hotel - it will be way more expensive.

Post

Correos de Argentina is the national postal service of Argentina. There are also two private carriers operating nationwide (OCA and Andreani) and a number of regional ones though Correos de Argentina will be the one most likely to be used by travellers. Post offices are mostly open between 8:00am and 8:00pm Monday to Friday and 9:00am to 1:00pm on Saturday, though there are regional variantions with longer hours in central post offices in big cities and shorter ones in small towns. Services are pretty reliable but slow, mostly taking about two weeks to deliver a postcard or letter to the USA or Europe, but usually within a few days sending it domestically. There is also a more expensive express options. You can track a package online at the Correos de Argentino website. Parcels take at least 3-5 days domestically and weeks internationally. Otherwise try international companies like FedEx, TNT, DHL or UPS to send parcels. It is probably more reliable as well as faster.

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Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: -32.88208
  • Longitude: -68.81562

Accommodation in Mendoza

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This is version 56. Last edited at 12:29 on Oct 4, 17 by Utrecht. 10 articles link to this page.

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