What can be the ultimate dream of a wine lover…sun, calm and unlimited supply of wine to satiate both the heart and the soul. Mendoza, the capital of the Mendoza province in Argentina can without doubt be proclaimed the capital of wine production along with distribution for the entire country. And Mendoza produces a lot of wine. Two-thirds of Argentina’s wine production happens in this province and wineries in other regions like Norton which produce more than 10 million liters of this delicious nectar every year.
The numbers may be staggering but this is not the only thing this wine-crazy city can boast of. The University crowd gives it a youthful and eclectic vibe and keeps it buzzing with a thriving nightlife. The wide boulevard lined with great international bars and restaurants stands proud in the center of the city. One side of the downtown area is flanked by an enormous park along with some beautiful hiking trails ready to be explored.
As a wine lover, it would be unfair to begin my piece with anything else so here we go. The wine here is world class but affordable and delicious. Mendoza is best known for the Malbec grape variety, which gives a thick inky purple wine, with powerful dark fruity notes, a velvety texture and robust tannins.
Argentina’s “national variety” might be Malbec, but Mendoza also produces excellent Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Tannat, Tempranillo, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Torrontes and many more varieties.
(Non-Wine) Day Trips From Mendoza
Most of the day wine tours involve drinking copious amounts of wine and more wine, but after purple dyed lips, you may want to try something new. And thankfully Mendoza offers much more than just the beautiful wines in the amazing vineyards.
An entrance fee of 300 ARS ($20 USD) allows you full access to the trail. This full price will allow you to go all the way up to Aconcagua Base Camp, about a 6 hour return trip. The hike needs you to begin early as the park requires you to be back down for check-out at 4:30.
A nominal fee of just 20 ARS ($1.30 USD) lets you walk from the park entrance to the trailhead. This walk offers a beautiful view of Aconcagua mountain along with the surrounding Andes taking around 2 hours.
White Water Rafting in the Mendoza River
The Mendoza river has Class III rapids and you can find a few tour operators in town who arrange the trip. With the Andes mountains in the a backdrop, this is one memorable and adventurous trip.
Thermal Hot Springs
To relax those muscles after the strenuous hikes and rafting activities, the hot springs at Termas Chacueta, about 45 minutes from Mendoza city in the town of Chacueta are the perfect place to relax and soak your sore muscles.
Sites in Mendoza City
Mendoza isn’t really a touristy city, it’s more about nice restaurants, wine samplings, exploring vineyards and hiking and rafting. But the city also has a multitude of things to offer for those ready to soak it in.
This 971 acre park has 34 sculptures decorating the paths and roads and makes for the perfect place to run, stroll, cycle or just chill. A beautiful manmade river runs through the park where you often find rowers practicing and many people just enjoying the natural space.
Like any other typical plaza, this is a nice area for chilling.
Independence Plaza (Plaza Independencia)
The largest and most beautiful of the plazas in Mendoza, the Plaza Independencia is the ideal spot to relax, lap up some ice cream and people-watch.
To soak up some history, art and culture, check out La Enoteca Museum, Museo del Pasado Cuyano & Museo Casa de Fader.
The Hill of Glory (Cerro de la Gloria)
A beautiful statue standing on top of this hiking trail allowed you a stunning view over Mendoza city. The views are only good when there are no clouds, so pick a clear day for this one!
Mendoza is a big city, but you can easily get around via public transport, Ubers, bikes and taxis. The medium pace of the place actually comes back to remind you that haste is worthless and like how time and patience are the key factors of producing good wines, not rushing and fighting time can give us the insight to appreciate and enjoy the finer details of life. My wined and dined mind has absorbed the beauty of this place and I’m overdosed with what Mendoza had to offer!