Mendoza mountains

Is Mendoza Worth Visiting? 11 Pro’s Of The Wine Region

Mendoza is located in the foothills of the Andes and is at the centre of Argentina's wine country. Many visit Mendoza for the world-renowned wineries and vineyards but it’s also a popular destination for outdoor activities such as hiking in Aconcagua National Park or rafting at Lake Potrerillos. Here are 8 reasons why you should visit Mendoza.

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Is Mendoza Worth Visiting?

Mendoza is well worth a visit for several reasons:

 

 

  • It’s Argentina’s top wine producing region and you’ll find some of the best vineyards in the world here
  • It’s the closest city to Aconcagua National Park where you will find the highest mountain in the Southern Hemisphere
  • It’s a lively city with great weather year round 
 
Keep reading for the full list of reasons why Mendoza is worth your time whilst travelling in Argentina: 
Mendoza mountains and vineyard

11 Great Reasons To Visit Mendoza

1. The Wine Bike Route

Mendoza is Argentina’s number one wine producing region with over 1,200 wineries and vineyards in the surrounding area. 

 

The region is particularly known for its Malbec wine, which is considered to be some of the best in the world. 

 

One of the best activities in Mendoza is the ‘wine bike route’.

 

On the outskirts of Mendoza city centre, you will find several of the best wineries all along the same road. Here you can find bike rental shops offering to rent cheap bikes and provide a map to the best wineries. Maipu Bikes is one of the best. 

 

All the wineries allow you to visit and enjoy a tasting from somewhere between 200-500 pesos. Sitting in the gardens or atop the balconies of each bodega and enjoy a selection of wine tastings in the sun is the perfect way to spend a day in Mendoza.

 

One of the best bodegas is Trapiche, where you can sit out on the balcony and look out over the vineyard whilst getting sloshed.

 

Once you done three or four tastings you can head back to Maipu bikes to drop off your bike. They have a small outside bar and everyone ends back here at the end of the day to drop off their bikes and enjoy some final drinks.

If you want to combine a trip to Chile alongside Argentina, then there are several ways to do this with a simple border crossing. The three itineraries in the post below can help you cross the borders a 3 different points in Argentina to see Chile:

 

 

Vineyards In Mendoza (Argentina)

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2. Trekking In Aconcagua Provincial Park

Aconcagua is the highest mountain in the Southern Hemisphere. Visiting this national park is a must if you are a lover of epic scenery and hiking.

 

The mountain is a few hours drive outside of Mendoza in the Andes mountain range and its summit stands at 22,841 feet (6,959 meters) above sea level.

 

It is a popular destination for hikers from around the world, and is often considered to be one of the Seven Summits (the highest peaks on each of the seven continents).

 

Most backpackers won’t be looking to summit the actual mountain though as it take up to 20 days, but trekking in the park is still a great experience that will provide beautiful views of the Andes.

How To Get To Aconcagua Provincial Park

You have several options:

 

  • Tour – Many tour companies in Mendoza offer guided tours to the park, which includes transportation and a guide. This tour is a good option if you want to have a more comfortable and organized trip without too much trekking.
  • Bus – you can make your own way their on public transport. It’s a long journey so you’ll likely need to stay overnight in the closest town of Uspallata. Use Busbud to check schedules. 
Mendoza Argentina, a sign in the mountains

3. Explore The City On A Free Walking Tour

Using a free walking tour is a great way to see the city. Mendoza is home to many parks and plazas that are perfect for relaxing in, enjoying the beautiful weather and people watching. 

 

You always get the best insights from local on one of these tours too, and will leave with lots of great recommendations for bars and restaurants.

 

I used Vivimza. They offer tours Monday to Sunday at 11:00AM and Monday to Saturday 3:00PM. You can book through their website.

 

If you prefer to do your own thing then here are a couple of places to check out:

 

  • Start at the Plaza Independencia, the main square of Mendoza City. This is a great spot to get your bearings and take in the sights and sounds of the city. The square is surrounded by historic buildings and monuments, including the Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of Mercedes and the Governor’s Palace.

 

  • Next, head to the Parque San Martín, a beautiful park located just a short walk from the Plaza Independencia. The park is home to a number of statues and monuments, including a statue of General San Martín, the liberator of Argentina, Chile and Peru.

 

  • Other places to check out include the Mendoza Museum of Modern Art which offers a great collection of contemporary art from Argentina and other countries, the Mendoza Wine Museum to learn about the history of wine production in Mendoza.

Bariloche and Mendoza are two popular places in Argentina, and travellers can often deliberate between visiting one or the other. If you want to see a detailed comparison along with my personal opinion of which is better, head to the post below:

 

 

fountains in Mendoza

4. Enjoy Steak, Wine And Empanadas

Mendoza is known for its excellent cuisine, with a variety of restaurants and cafes offering traditional Argentine dishes such as asado (barbecue) and empanadas.

 

But Mendoza is probably best known for its excellent beef and there are many great steak houses in the city. Some of the best can be found along Av. Sarmiento, close to Plaza Independencia. Most restaurants have outside seating, and you can sit on the pavement and enjoy your food in the sun.

 

Some of my favourites include:

 

 

  • La Lucia: A classic steakhouse, this restaurant is known for its hearty portions of beef and friendly atmosphere.

 

  • Estancia La Florencia: This steakhouse is known for its excellent cuts of beef and cozy atmosphere. They also offer a wide variety of traditional Argentine dishes and a great selection of Argentine wines.

 

Ask the waiters for their recommendations on the best cuts and wine pairings and you will also get another chance to sample some of the best wines from around Mendoza. 

Visiting Mendoza is one of the highlights of a trip to Argentina. But there’s so much more to see in this incredible country.

 

To see how to combine Mendoza into a three-week or one-month itinerary that covers the entire country, head to one of the posts below:

 

 

5. Stay At Gorilla Hostel

Mendoza is a popular destination for international backpackers but also for Argentinians and many flock to Mendoza in the summer months to enjoy the laid-back vibe and escape the big cities.

 

When I stayed in Mendoza, I spent a week at Gorilla Hostel.

 

They host weekly a weekly asado (barbeque) and the whole hostel will be sat around the tables in the garden enjoying barbequed meat and wine whilst they socialise. Before long everyone will be nice and tipsy and eventually head out into town for a night out together.

 

Aside from the social atmosphere, the outside bar and pool are also essential if visiting in the summer!

 

Stay at Gorillas if you are looking to party, make new friends, and enjoy an authentic Argentinian night out.

Gorilla Hostel is one of my favourite backpacker hostels in South America, one for the all round social vibe it creates, and two, because it is also a great party hostel. For a full list of the best backpacker hostels in South America, head to the post below:

 

 

Gorilla Hostel, Mendoza (Argentina)
The pool at Gorilla Hostel, Mendoza (Argentina)

6. Head To Lake Potrerillos For Watersports

Lake Potrerillos is a man-made lake on the outskirts of Mendoza and a popular spot for outdoor adventure activities.

 

Boating and water sports are the most popular, with options such as paddle boats, canoes, and jet skis available for rent. There are also boat tours available that take visitors around the lake to enjoy the scenery and wildlife.

 

One of the best activities is white water rafting and there are options for Grade III and IV rapids.

 

Check out this tour if you are interested.

 

Whitewater rafting isn’t the only option though and you can also go fishing, hiking, horseback riding and ziplining.

 

Check out Potrerillos Explorer for more tour options.

 

Also, it’s a great place to relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings of the Andes. There are some accommodation options around the lake such as cabins and camping areas where you can stay and enjoy the lake if you want to stay a day or two.

Are you struggling to work out how many days you need in Argentina overall? Head to the post below to see a selection of itineraries that can help you:

 

 

Mendoza lakes and mountains

Preparing for your first trip to South America? 

 Here are 22 FAQ’s to help you prepare for the trip of a lifetime: 

7. Easy Access To Chile

One of the next logical stops after Mendoza is crossing the border into Chile. Santiago is a 5-hour drive away through the Andes mountains.

 

Firstly, this is a beautiful journey. You will wind your way through the Andes with high altitude lakes and snow-capped mountains all around.

 

Once in Santiago, you can take a quick detour to the coast to Vina del Mar or spend some time in the capital before heading south to Patagonia.

 

Many backpackers cross the border here and then head down to Chilean Patagonia.

Check out this expertly planned itinerary to see how to combine Argentina and Chile into an extended South America trip:

 

 

Mendoza vineyard

8. Start An Epic Road Trip

Argentina is the perfect place to plan an epic road trip.

 

Route 40 is a legendary highway that runs through the heart of Argentina, stretching over 4,200 km from the northernmost point on the Bolivian border to the southernmost point of the country in Tierra del Fuego (the closest southerly point to Antarctica).

 

The route passes straight through Mendoza and will take you through some of the most spectacular landscapes in Argentina.

 

If you rent a car in Mendoza and start heading north along route 40 you will reach the middle of the country, you can follow the ‘wine route’ through towns like Cafayate and Salta to enjoy the more of the wine regions in the country.

 

Or if you decide to head south, you will eventually reach the lake district of Patagonia and you can visit the beautiful town of Bariloche before carrying on down to El Chatlen and El Calafate.

If you are interested in the northern part of this road trip, head to the post below to see how to make your way north from Mendoza:

 

 

9. It's Super Easy To Get To

With flights from Buenos Aires only taking 1 hour and 30 minutes, and costing somewhere between $75 and $150, visiting Mendoza for a weekend is an absolute no brainer.

 

You can fly from Buenos Aires in the morning and be exploring the vineyards and sipping on wine by lunchtime. 

I’ve been using WayAway Plus to book all my flights whilst travelling in Argentina. 

 

They’ll find you the cheapest flights and give you cashback on each booking!

 

You will also get 10% off if you sign up with the link below.

See how you can do all the amazing things Buenos Aires has to offer along with a quick escape to Mendoza with the 7-day itinerary options in the posts below:

 

 

Aconcagua National Park, Mendoza (Argentina)

10. Sunset Horseback Riding

Escape Mendoza’s hustle for an idyllic day in the Andean mountains.

This tour is run by the hospitable owners of the ranch. You’ll saddle up with them for an unforgettable horseback riding adventure.

You’ll spend the day winding through picturesque trails, pausing at sunset in the mountains to soak in panoramic views.

After the ride, you return to the ranch to indulge in a traditional Argentine barbecue.

Succulent cuts of pork and beef sizzle over flames, complemented by crisp salads, roasted veggies, and top-notch wine. 

Views of Aconcagua

11. Termas Cacheuta Spa

For a slightly more relaxing escape from the city, why not head to a Termas Cacheuta.

 

 

Surrounded by the breathtaking beauty of the Andes and bordered by the soothing waters of the Mendoza River, this thermal spa retreat is the perfect escape after a few days trekking in Aconcagua National Park.

 

 

You can enjoy natural thermal springs across a variety of pools, cold plunges, mud therapy or book yourself any number of spa treatments.

 

You can visit for the day but I’d suggest staying overnight.

 

The hotel is all inclusive, with buffet breakfast and lunch, and a set dinner menu. They also offer transfers to and from Mendoza, and package deals that include day trips out to Potrerillos Lake.

 

 

TOP TIP:  I would avoid booking this online or through a tour operator as you'll likely over pay. Businesses in Argentina use WhatsApp and I've found messaging them first to book is the best way to get the cheapeast prices 

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Why Skip Mendoza?

Here are some reasons why you might want to skip Mendoza for somewhere else in Argentina:

 

 

  • You don’t like wine – if you arent a big wine drinker then there isn’t much point visiting to Mendoza. 

 

  • You aren’t a big hiker – Aconcagua draws a lot of people to Mendoza, but if you aren’t a big hiker or prefer shorter and easier day hikes, then visit other places in Argentina instead.

 

  • Short on time – if you’re short on time I’d recommend leaving Mendoza and visiting other places in Argentina. Whilst it’s a great town, other places such as Bariloche have much more to do

When Is The Best Time To Visit Mendoza?

The best time to visit Mendoza is in the spring and summer months in Argentina. 

 

 

  • Spring – from March to May you’ll have pleasant temperatures in Mendoza with few tourists. This will be the best time for cheaper prices and less crowds.

 

  • Summer – from December to February you’ll have the best weather in Mendoza, with sunny days. However, crowds will be bigger as this is the summer holidays in Argentina. You may also need to book ahead for popular winery tours.
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Do You Need A Car In Mendoza?

If you’re only staying in Mendoza for 2-3 days and are happy to stay in the city then you probably don’t need a car.

 

You can take the bus out to Maipu to visit the wineries and you can book guided tours to any other places you wish to visit.

 

However, if you’re planning to do an extended stay in Mendoza (5-7 days), then I would recommend getting a car.

 

Many of the best things to do are outside the city and require driving. For example:

 

  • Uspallata/Aconcagua – 120km / 1h 20m drive 
  • Potrerillos Lake – 70km / 1h drive 
  • Termas Chaceuta Spa – 40km / 50m drive

 

Renting a car gives you the freedom and flexibility to visit all these places on your own schedule. 

 

I always use Discover Cars when looking to rent a car in South America.

How Many Days Do You Need In Mendoza?

I would recommend 2 days and 2 nights in Mendoza.

 

I would only recommend staying longer if you want to explore some of the adventure activities on offer such as hiking Aconcagua.

 

Here’s a quick breakdown of how many days needed in Mendoza:

 

  • 2 Days In Mendoza – more than enough time to see the wineries and see the city.
  • 3 Days In Mendoza – perfect if you want to relax and enjoy the city at a slower pace or include on adventure activity outside of the city.
  • 5 Days In Mendoza – only necessary if you are looking to visit Aconcagua, have a car and want to explore outside the city or want to stay in a fancier hotel.

For see these itineraries laid out in full, head to the post below:

 

 

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