Viñedos de Mendoza
photo by xxxx

Mendoza is a city in western Argentina, in the desert Cuyo region. Mendoza is the center of the Argentinian wine industry, for which it is world renowned. It is also near the Aconcagua, the highest mountain outside of the Himalayas. Mendoza is the capital of the province of Mendoza.


Although it is situated in an extremely dry desert region, Mendoza has an extensive artificial irrigation system, which allows for greenery throughout the city as well as the growth of the grapes used to make its famous wines. Most streets have irrigation channels on either side, with bridges for pedestrian and vehicular traffic. These are periodically flooded with water diverted from the river.

A useful tourist kiosk is located at Garibaldi y San Martín. It is open from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m., and English is spoken. They can provide information on many specific aspects of the city.

Siesta (afternoon nap) is still taken in Mendoza. Most businesses close from approximately 1 PM until 4 PM, then re-open until about 8-9 PM.


Summers are extremely hot and dry in the city. January is particularly hot; temperatures of 40C (104 F) are not uncommon. The nearby mountains are cool, though, even in the summer.

Winters are moderately cold in the city and very cold in the mountains. Many ski centers are located near Mendoza.

Getting there

The bus terminal is about two kilometers from the city center. Taxis and remis (private taxis) are readily available (US$ 2-3 to the center).

There are daily bus connections to all major destinations including Bariloche and Santiago de Chile, a beautiful 8-hour bus ride crossing the Andes. Santiago de Chile is not always reachable by bus as the Andes pass closes after the first heavy snowfall in the winter months, normally around late April. (Check the following website for pass conditions (Spanish).

Mendoza has a small airport, El Plumerillo (airport code MDZ), with flights to Buenos Aires and Santiago de Chile, but tickets are very expensive as compared to bus fares.

Mendoza is a travel hub of sorts for Argentina, with connections to nearly every major city in the country.

Bus travel times to/from Mendoza:

  • 13-17 hours: Buenos Aires

  • 10 hours: Cordoba

  • 14 hours: Tucumán

  • 36 hours: Puerto Iguazú

  • 42 hours: Río Gallegos

  • 7 hours: Santiago de Chile

  • 8 hours: Valparaíso, Chile

  • 60-74 hours: Lima, Peru (via Santiago)

  • 22 hours: Montevideo, Uruguay

Buses from Buenos Aires: Micros de Retiro .

In the winter, the mountain passes to Chile can be closed if weather is bad.

Traveling around

Central Mendoza is relatively compact and walkable - for example it is a 20-30 minute walk from Plaza Independencia to Parque San Martin, however to get to the bogedas (vineyards) to the south walking isn't recommended as it they are at least 10km away.

Buses are cheap and plentiful, but a little confusing at first. Buses have two numbers, a line (linea) number, which is the big number at the top of the front of every bus, and a route number, which is two or three digits (ie 33) and is on a small sign behind the windscreen. Buses on the same line (eg Linea 3) all go to roughly the same place (eg Godoy Cruz) but the route varies by route number - so be careful not to get on the wrong route! You can pay cash for bus journeys (Ar$1.40, coins only) but if you plan to use the buses a lot it is better to purchase a Red Bus card (a prepaid proximity card) that you touch-in when boarding a bus. You can buy a Red Bus card from any kiosk near a bus stop for Ar$3.

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 Ar$12.

You can hire bicycles in town - most hostels can put you in touch with a bicycle hire outfit - prices are negioable (ie they will charge you as much as they think you are willing to pay) but you shouldn't pay more than Ar$30 - Ar$40 per day. You will need some form of ID to leave as deposit. Ask to see the bike before handing over your money - many are old clunkers.


  • Parque San Martín. 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.

  • Many bodegas (wineries) offer tours. 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".

  • Festivals occur often and are usually free. Each has a different theme, and they usually have a stage with singing and dancing and booths that sell food around a plaza. The harvest festival at the end of February is a major event.

  • 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). The Plaza is best visited at night, where you can see some nicely illuminated buildings and mostly, a beautiful big coat of arms of the city that is made of lights.

  • Plaza España, 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.

  • Central Park, El Parral & Vendimiadores, 10 blocks north of Plaza Independencia, A modern city park, contrasting with the tradition of the better-known Parque San Martin. Not a Mendoza must see, but the park has some nice water fountains and a grassy hill - often amateur Mendocinans set up their easels here and paint away.

Things to do

Many companies organize trekking, expeditions, horseback riding, and whitewater rafting in the desert and the mountains. Mountain cabins in areas with spectacular scenery are easily rentable in the city. Check the classified ads in the newspaper.

  • Campo Base Travel and Adventure , +54 261 425 5511, +54 261 425 5511, Peatonal Sarmiento 229, Mendoza City, Trekking-Rafting-Horseriding-Paragliding-Mountainbike-Aconcagua Trekking and Expeditions-High Andes tour-Wine tasting tours.

  • Kaua Spa , +54 261 441 1234, +54 261 441 1234, Park Hyatt Mendoza Hotel, Chile 1124

  • Aconcagua - America's highest peak Aconcagua (highest in the world outside the Himalayas) provides trekking and climbing possibilities. All travel agencies and backpacker hostels can organise trips - although a considerably cheaper and more flexible option is to take a Transportes Uspallata bus to the park from Mendoza's bus station.

  • Wine tour - The nearby vineyards will let you taste wine if you show genuine interest. It's possible to do a tour by bike, but there are also fully organised tours going from Mendoza. The most popular destination for biking and wine tasting is Maipu, a short bus or cab ride out of Mendoza. Many outfits rent bikes and provide a map of the standard route. Do yourself a favor and choose your bike company carefully. For example, Mr. Hugo has well maintained bikes, but Bikes and Wines had terrible old clunkers and there is no better wat to spoil your day than to battle with an awful bike. There are several excellent wineries on the typical route, including Tempus Alba, Viña El Cérno, Familia Di Tommaso, and Carinae. As an alternative, Bachhus Wines runs bike tours out of Chacras and will rent bikes for about $40, provide a map and call ahead to several vineyards. Please be careful with your belongings on the wine tours, as there have been cases of bags being snatched out of the baskets on bikes recently.

  • Paragliding can be done in Mendoza every day of the year. Tours include a tandem flight of about 20 minutes with an experienced pilot. Costs are about 35 US$.

  • Skiing is popular in the winter.

  • Hike up Cerro Acro, A pleasant day hike easily done independently from Mendoza, offering great views of both the Andean foothills behind and the vast expanse of Mendoza's plains to the front. Cerro Acro is the looming mountain to Mendoza's north west, topped with various antenna. It is also used as the base for paragliding. Take bus 114/115 (linea 3) from Plaza Independencia (or Parque San Martin on Av Del Libertador) to El Challao, at the end of the line 6km to the northwest. From here walk 2.5km west (gently) uphill following the road until it turns south, then take an unpaved track further west until you reach a small restaurant / mountaineering museum - then follow the track to the north (going through the gate). This is a popular hike for Mendocinas at the weekend but during the week it may be deserted. You can treat yourself to a hearty asado as the restaurant - although beware that restaurant has two menus, one more expensive than the other! From Challao the hike is about a 5 hour round trip. Afterwards you can visit the aircraft hanger sized church in Challao.

  • Horse riding Gaucho Experience , 0261 15 5592711, Every hotel, hostel and travel agent can organise horse riding trips close to the city - but these guys have one of the better reputations - can do day and overnight rides, look after their animals and speak good English. Expect to pay around As$120 for half a days riding. A late afternoon ride, with a return at sunset will enable you to avoid the heat of the day and night-riding is very atmospheric. If you phone them direct you will get a lower price compared to organising through a hostel.


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

  • The Green Apple, Avenida Colón 458. A good vegetarian all-you-can-eat buffet.

  • La Casa de Ofelia, +54-0261-4990159,, . Located in the peaceful valley of Lunlunta, this house is a perfect stop while you're visiting wineries and vineyards. Meals are prepared with traditional recipes and served personally by the house's owners. You can get the best specialties calling some days earlier to make a reservation.

  • 1884, Belgrano 1188 in the Godoy Cruz neighborhood. One of Francis Mallman's famous restaurants. The food is expensive but excellent and focuses on local meat and produce.

  • Tenedor Libres: (literally, free fork) Mendoza has many good buffets that serve reasonably priced lunches and dinners. Most offer 5-10 meat dishes freshly cooked on a giant grill and a variety of side dishes and desserts. The quality of the food can be quite good and it's an excellent way to try a selection of Argentine food.

  • Onda Libre Av. General Las Heras 446

  • Wasana Thai Restaurant , 0261 4256762, 9pm-late, 785 Aristes Villanueva, at western end of Aristes Villanueva, Mendoza's only Thai restaurant, recently opened in 2009, offers a nice change from standard Argentinian fare - set in an old house with contemporary decor and a nice upstairs balcony. Mains around Ar$40.

  • Sofia resto-bar , 0261-4299836, Aristides Villanueva 650, Stylish restaurant and one of the more upmarket on the Aristides strip. Extensive menu of meats, salads, pastas, and a curious 'exotic' range, including Wok Chicken, and more oddly, Wok Pizza.

  • La Nilda, 0261 423 2317, from 9pm, 780 Arístides Villanueva, near Parque San Martin, Pleasant Argentinian restaurant at the far end of Aristides Villanueva - a good choice on Friday and Saturday nights when the popular places nearer the centre are full and you don't have a reservation. Solid menu of beef and pork dishes, hearty salads, good wine list and reasonable prices. If this restaurant were closer to the action it would be full every night!

  • Zinc, Aristides Villanueva, near Ave Belgrano, One of the first restaurants you'll encounter walking up from Ave Belgrano. Not a bad choice for a uncomplicated meal - often runs promotions of 'steak + desert' for Ar$35 or so, aimed squarely at budget-conscious foreigners - and surprisingly the food is pretty good - beware of the cheap wine offerings, they are cheap for a reason.

  • Il Panino, 0261 428 5922, lunch & dinner, 147 Paso de Los Andes, A pleasant restaurant away from the bustle of Arístides Villanueva - the garden is a welcome oasis away from the traffic noise that blights al fuera dining elsewhere in the city. Serves perhaps the best pizza in the city, with thin Italian style bases with a traditional range of toppings (although still cheese-heavy). Also good salads, meats, and pastas. Often has a Ar$25 lunch special.

  • El Patio de Jesus Maria , 8pm-late, 788 Boulogne Sur Mer, at the end of Aristides Villanueva, Pleasant & pricey restaurant with, as the name suggests, a patio. Asado, steak, chicken and more steak. For an interesting dining experience have a meal whilst a football game at Club Independiente next door is underway.


Although Mendoza is a very liveable city, and many choose to say 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.


  • La Cava Hostel Av. San Martin 1702, Mza. Argentina. An old mansion converted into a hostel with a relaxed, social atmosphere. A great place to meet people and venture out to the many bars, restaurants, and wineries. It is located in a beautiful tree-lined street and is an easy walk downtown. The cheapest dorm rooms in town (35 pesos = 9 USD) are spacious, clean, and accommodate 2, 4 or 6 people. The price includes internet and WIFI, basic breakfast, kitchen, TV room, backyard with pool, 24hr hot water, and a bar.

  • Cuyum Mapu Hostel Av San Martín 2348, Mendoza. Located right in the center of the city, just seven blocks from the downtown area +54 261 4201147 $10/person/night A cozy, friendly hostel with big rooms, hot water 24/7, and a huge beautiful garden with bbq and pool in an old mansion. It's close to downtown, but on a shady pedestrian street so there is no traffic noise.

  • Hostel Lagares Corrientes 213 Downtown Mendoza; ten minutes from the bus station and 2 blocks from Ave. San Martin +54-261-4234727 $7.80-$18.20 A very friendly, welcoming hostel with big, bright rooms, each with a full bathroom, thick mattresses, daily cleaning service, lockers, wifi, breakfast, and large common rooms stocked with fun things to do. Very close to all the downtown restaurants, bars, clubs, shopping, and more.

Middle Range

  • Campo Base , (54-261) 429-0707, (54-261) 429-0707, Av. Mitre 946, A hostel with discounts for HI-members. Its definitely a party hostel. Well located, near Plaza Independencia. Excellent atmosphere for backpackers. Tourist information also available.

  • Hostel Internacional Mendoza , 0261-4240018, 0261-4240018, Av. Espana 343, A comfortable hostel, with excellent facilities, four beds rooms with private bathroom, excellent price. Also with great options for tours, including wine tours, horseback riding, rafting and excursions into the mountains. Expect to pay between AR$35 and AR$45 per night.

  • Hostel Mendoza Inn , (0261)4380818, (0261)4380818, Aristides Villanueva 470, Ideal location on the pubs and bars street if you are looking for nightlife. Located in a beautiful house with large open spaces, couches and big garden with swimming pool and hammocks for you to chill out. Spaceful and equipped kitchen for guests and a bar to buy beer and wine. Bedrooms are comfortable. The beds have new thick mattresses and lockers. Friendly and helpful staff that can recommend you lots of activities to do in Mendoza.

  • Break Point Hostel , 0261-4239514, 0261-4239514, Av Aristides Villanueva 241, Excellent Resto Bar, comfortable rooms, swimming pool, breakfast & friendly atmosphere.

  • Damajuana , 0261-425858, 0261-425858, Av Arítides Villanueva 282, Not a party hostel. With swimming pool and breakfast. Guests are crammed into small 6-bed dorms, while the larger, cheaper 12-bed dorm remains mysteriously half-empty. The staff think they're your parents. Ar$50 to stay in a six bed dorm during the high season, and AR$0 during the low season.

  • Hostel Lao , 0261 438-0454, 0261 438-0454, Rioja 771, Rated very highly on hostel booking sites. Friendly, sociable and relaxed hostel. Attractive garden and pool. Runs weekly wine tasting events. AR$40 per night dorm, private accomodation also available.

  • Alamo Hostel , 0261 429-5565, 0261 429-5565, Necochea 740, Less of a party hostel than the hostels located on Av Aristides. Located just off Plaza Chile, and _very_ close to a large supermarket, you can expect to pay around AR$45 or AR$50 pesos per night.

  • Hostel Lagares , (0054)261 423-4727, (0054)261 423-4727, Corrientes 213, A cozy hostel with a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.

  • Microtel Inn & Suites , 011(54261) 432-0503, 011(54261) 432-0503, Corrientes 213, Enjoy consistency, quality, reasonable prices and great service each time you stay with Microtel Inns & Suites.

  • Sol de Vistalba , +54-0261-4524757, +54-0261-4524757, An amazing lodge with great park, BBQ, swimming pool and wine tours.

  • Hostel Chimbas, , Acc. Este y Cobos 92, Beautiful hostel, charming owners. Approx. Ar$18. There is access to a pool, BBQ, brick oven, bike rental, and extensive excursion information.

  • Hostel Parque Central , +54-261-4251535, 25 de Mayo 1889, Located around 8 blocks from Plaza Independencia, is a decent point for exploring downtown Mendoza. Its staff is very friendly and helpful. They offer excursions and complete information what to do in the city. Breakfast and lockers are included.


  • Club Tapiz , (54 11) 4005-0050, (54 11) 4005-0050, Lujan de Cuyo, in the centre of Mendoza, Kiwi Collection recommended boutique hotel in the outskirts of Mendoza.

  • Park Hyatt Mendoza, Hotel Casino & Spa , +54 261 441 1234, +54 261 441 1234, Chile 1124, in Plaza de la Independencia, The hotel offers spacious rooms and suites featuring wireless internet access, turndown service, marble bath and executive bar. Facilities include Regency Casino Mendoza, Kaua Club & Spa, an outdoor heated pool and garden sun deck.

  • Sheraton Mendoza Hotel, Primitivo de la Reta 989, +54 261 4415500, 5 star hotel.

  • Cavas Wine Lodge , 54 261 410 6927 / 28, One of the nicest, if not the nicest lodge in the area. Outside of town, quiet. 5 star.

  • Posada Borravino , +54 261 496 4445, +54 261 496 4445, Chacras de Coria (wine country), Beautiful lodge in the wine country. Close to some of Mendoza's nicest wineries.

  • Tupungato Divino , (02622) 15 448 948/49, (02622) 15 448 948/49, Ruta 89 and Los Europeos street, Wine Hotel in Tupungato.


  • The wine is excellent and can be extremely inexpensive, although in terms of quality you get what you pay for (a 15 peso bottle of wine will be more akin to vinegar!). There are several wine boutiques which offer wine tasting. In general, you can buy the same bottles of wine at local supermarkets at lower prices.

  • Clothing tends to be fashionable and cheap for those paying in US dollars or Euros.

  • Electronics are imported and thus expensive.

  • There are several mountaineering and trekking equipment shops offering a wide variety of outdoor equipment. A couple of shops are on Av Juan B Justo near Av Belgrano.

  • Many unique home decor items are available at good prices.

  • Leather goods are also readily available and inexpensive. There are many shops on Las Heras Av.

  • Andes and More , For expeditions up Aconcagua with a local guide who has been working on the mountain for 16 years.

  • Monkey Hostel, 4231148, Sarmiento 681, Has a pool.


Be wary of scams, especially around the bus terminal. Occasionally foreigners will pretend to have been robbed and use your sympathy to "borrow" money for a bus ride.


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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