Mendoza is closer to the Chilean capital than the Argentine, yet it has a feel that is neither Chilean nor Argentinean. This picturesque city has streets much like you’d find in many European cities, large tranquil parks, and a vivacious night life. The biggest draw to Mendoza for tourists is that it is the center of the South American wine industry, but as visitors will soon find there is much more to this city then readily available Malbec wines. In the region there is access to a number of great outdoor activities and some incredible sites. Mendoza has a way of capturing the hearts of those who spend any amount of time exploring the region or even just wandering through one of the variety of wineries.
Things to do in Mendoza
Parks and Museums: The two main parks in town are the Parque Bernado O’Higgins and the Parque General San Martin, which covers over 400 hectares of land and is home to lakes, fields and a number of nice walking trails. In town the Museo Fundacional is worth visit if you are interested in history. There is also a modern art museum in the Plaza de Independencia.
- Wine, Wine and more Wine: If you can’t find a winery tour in Mendoza then, well, you need to get out of your hotel room. There are a number of ways to enjoy the wine culture in Mendoza. I personally recommend taking a bicycle tour out to a couple of the wineries which will also offer you the ability to drink in the natural environment. It is possible too to simply rent a bike and get a map of wineries and do this on your own. For larger groups, it might also be worth while to rent a car, just make sure you have a designated driver.
- Hiking and Climbing: Maybe one of the most underrated activities in the area of Mendoza is the mountaineering. Those who set down their wine glasses and head into the mountains will not be disappointed by the sites, including the largest mountain outside Himalayas: Cerro Anconcagua.
- Skiing/Snowboarding: There are a couple of ski hills near to Mendoza. The best option for skiing and snowboarding is the Las Lenas slopes. It is possible to rent ski and snowboard equipment in Mendoza, and for fairly reasonable prices.
Where to Eat in Mendoza
Personally, I thought that the best place to spend a night getting some food and having a glass of wine was at the end of Avenida Sarmiento, although there is also a good set of cafes and restaurants on Avenida Aristides Villaneuva. Along the pedestrian street, Sarmiento, you will find a lively crowd as well as a number of good parrillas. There are a number of Italian restaurants including the well priced Tommaso Trattoria. You can actually also get pretty good Middle Eastern food on Villaneuva.
Where to Stay in Mendoza
Although there are cheaper options in Mendoza, I chose to stay at the Damajuana Hostel. The hostel had a nice staff and a swimming pool, toss in some red wine and good company and you’ve got a great hostel.
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