Mendoza is one of the most visited areas in Argentina. Known for its amazing wine region at the foot of the imposing Andes mountain range, Mendoza is perfect for couples, families, backpackers and solo travelers. We check out the 15 things you can’t miss on your visit to Mendoza.
South America’s highest peak is located in Mendoza, so this is a unique place from which to watch the sunset. Although you don’t need to be an expert climber to make your way up the slopes of this mountain, it helps if you want to get to greater heights. If you reach Camp 2 on the Normal Route, you are almost guaranteed a mind-blowingly beautiful Andean sunset if the sky is clear.
This is one of the oldest wineries in Mendoza. The main building was constructed in 1901, but was immaculately restored in the early 2000s and is now one of Lujan de Cuyo’s main attractions. From the sprawling vineyards to the vernacular architecture, to the wine and gourmet restaurant, Bodega Benegas will take you on a journey through both time and wine.
In Mendoza’s Maipu Valley, the Trapiche Bodega and Vineyard is one of the standout attractions. The battle for the best bodega is a tough one, but Trapiche puts up a good fight, and since its foundation in 1883, this winery has been at the forefront of innovation in its wines. While the imposing stone winery and its associated buildings may have the appearance of ancient industry, Trapiche uses modern technologies to craft its famous wines.
BIKE TOUR VINEYARDS
Biking around the picturesque vineyards in the wine valleys of Mendoza is surely one of the quintessential Mendocino activities. There are plenty of places to rent bikes both in the city and the valleys, and this is a great way to spend a day cycling around and tasting wine without having to worry about driving back to your hotel in the evening. Make sure to stay hydrated and bring sunscreen, as you will be pretty exposed as you navigate your way around Mendoza’s valleys.
WHITEWATER RAFTING ON THE MENDOZA RIVER
Although Mendoza might be more well known for its wine region, there are also plenty of things to do, places to see and activities to participate in for those who are looking for something a bit more outdoorsy. The Mendoza River not only provides an irrigation system for the vineyards, but it is also a great place to go white water rafting. Tackle the rapids with an experienced guide on one of the many tours to the river available in the area.
PARQUE SAN MARTIN
Take a turn around one of Mendoza’s most idyllic parks, Parque San Martin. This impressive urban oasis was designed by famous urban planner and landscape architect Carlos Thays back in the late 1800s, and still retains its 19th century charm. Check out the 34 sculptures that are dotted around the park, have a picnic beside the picturesque Regata Lake or walk around the rose garden with your paramour.
WINE TASTING AT CATENA ZAPATA
The quintessential Mendoza activity is to go wine tasting. This can be done at any of the region’s many wineries, or at wine bars and restaurants in the city itself. These can be done independently by reserving or just showing up at a winery and asking to taste, or by taking part in group tastings or wine tasting tours. However, one of the best experiences to be had is an in-depth tasting and day-long tour where you learn about wine and get shown around the winery and vineyard at Catena Zapata.
BOVEDAS DE USPALLATA
This quirky museum is located in the Uspallata area of Mendoza, just over 100 kilometres (62 miles) outside the city itself. Dating from the end of the 18th century, these beehive structures were constructed as mineral treatment plants for materials that were extracted from the San Lorenzo mines. They were built by the Jesuits and as such are a unique example of industrial architecture executed by religious colonisers. The factory has been converted into a museum so that you can visit the ovens, mills and water tanks that were used in the treatment processes.
SKIING IN PENITENTES
When visitors to Argentina think of skiing, their minds would perhaps naturally drift to the slopes of Cerro Catedral in Bariloche. However, Mendoza has its very own ski resort, Penitentes. The slopes here are also perfect for hiking and trekking in the summer, so it doesn’t just need to be a winter destination.