Best things to do in Mendoza
Find out more about those top places in Mendoza
Mendoza is the laid back capital of Argentina’s world-famous wine region. While the city is located in what is ostensibly a desert, thousands of kilometers of irrigation canals dug well before the Columbian era have transformed the city into an oasis of tree-lined boulevards, grand fountain centered squares and shaded parks. Today, Mendoza is one of Argentina’s most cosmopolitan cities with an array of wine bars, chic cafes and upscale restaurants to choose from. What is more, the city makes the perfect base for exploring the surrounding wine country, which stretches into the foothills of the Andes, with many of the wineries offering guided tours and tastings.
The rolling landscape surrounding Mendoza is prime Argentinian wine country so there is no better place to take a vineyard tour. One of the best ways to explore the array of wineries is through the hop-on hop-off bus tours that run between the various vineyards throughout the day. Of course, most tours finish with the all-important tasting where you can sample the country’s finest wines.
Just west of Mendoza the rolling plains of central Argentina give way to the cragged rock faces of the towering Andes. Tours of this remarkable area take you to the fascinating Uspallanta Valley, which still bears traces of pre-Hispanic culture, the fabulous ski resort of Los Penitentes and the awe-inspiring peak of Aconcagua, the highest in the western hemisphere.
This 420 hectare park is Mendoza’s crown jewel. Peppered with rose gardens, thousands of mature trees and numerous historical monuments that recall the city’s illustrious history. Make sure to pay special attention to the entrance gates, which were originally forged for the Ottoman sultan Hamid II.
For anyone interested in the colonization of Argentina, a visit to the Museo Fundacional is a must. Exhibits detail the layout of the original city of Mendoza, which was destroyed by an earthquake in 1861, and the arrival of European settlers to the area. Guided tours of this fascinating museum are available throughout the day.
This small museum in central Mendoza details the life of the city’s most famous son, General José de San Martín, who is rightly famed for his role in liberating Argentina and Chile from Spanish rule. If museums are not for you, his legacy can be seen throughout the city from the many streets and statues named in his honor to his palatial former family home.
The Mendoza River is one of Argentina’s most spectacular and its many white water rapids make it perfect for river rafting tours. Starting in the picturesque town of Cordillerano de Poterillos, rafting tours take you downstream to the Poterillos Dam, where you conclude the tour with refreshments.