Before I went to Argentina, I didn’t know much about it. It’s so far away, I never thought I’d actually ended up there but I was really lucky. Things I heard of Argentina was probably only about the tango, barbecue and wine. I have heard of Buenos Aires, Santa Fé and Iguazú Falls but I wasn’t going to any of those. I was going to Mendoza.
Mendoza is a city in Cuyo region of Argentina, decorated with the Andes mountains. It’s amazingly beautiful in Winter, with long range of vineyards and white, snowy mountain valleys as the background. It’s a perfect city that allows you to explore Argentine beauty and culture.
- Street vendors
- Live music
- Barbecue (Asado)
- Hot air balloon
- Plaza San Martín
- Calle Arístides Villanueva
In the centre of Mendoza, you can enjoy the culture by walking around and listening to live music from the street that has the tendency to lift your tango spirit and move those hips. It is perfect to admire the beautiful architectures by walking, while munching on some nuts and olives. Once you are tired of walking and feeling a bit hungry, you could just stop any where for some street foods or get yourself a full on Argentine barbecue or “asado.”
Not far from the city centre, there are many places that you can take a hot air balloon ride. It’s a nice way to get a handful of awesome pictures and footages. The height of those mountains as the backdrop never fail.
But if you are not a fan of height, you could also relax by Plaza San Martín. It’s a huge park with enormous monument. You could also see how earthquakes affected this place as well.
During summer nights, it is recommended to walk around the Calle Arístides Villanueva. It’s where the crowd is. There are some decent nightclubs for good parties. There are places where you can chill by the lounge on the pavement in which you can just order some wine, listen to some music and watch young people on their night out. It’s also a place where you can get your accommodation as there are many hotels on this street as well. These clearly explains why it can be quite busy and why you shouldn’t miss it.
Explore “Los Andes”
- Ruta 7
- leads into Chile
- Mount Aconcagua
- Cacheuta thermal baths
- Artificial lake Potrerillas
Apart from exploring the city, Mendoza is also a great door to explore Los Andes. I would recommend horse riding around the base of the Andes. Why not? You are in Argentina, you should be riding horses.
However, horse riding might not takes you as far. You might want to take Ruta 7, which is a road that crosses Argentina horizontally. It is accompanied by the Andes mountain ranges. These mountains separate Argentina and Chile, but with Ruta 7, you can enter Chile and reaches Santiago.
One of the spectacular mountain tops in the Andes is Aconcagua, which is the highest mountain peak outside of Asia. If you are a climber and you have about 22 – 28 days to spend then definitely check out Climb Aconcagua for more information.
You should also check out the Cacheuta thermal baths. They are natural hot springs that bubble in the middle of the Andes. It could be a good stop after a bit of driving or to simply soak yourself during winter days.
Though, if you want to cool down a bit during summer, lake Potrerillas could be a nice option. It’s suitable for big group of people as there are many activities for everyone. It’s an artificial lake that you, your friends or family can enjoy hiking, paragliding, rafting, kite surfing or just swimming.
- Olive oil
- Vineyards (Viña)
Mendoza is well known for its olive oil and wine. It’s a great place to learn a bit more about the agriculture and get drunk. You could check out various Olivícolas around Mendoza to stay under the shadow, taste the golden olive oil and could possibly bring back some healthy souvenir.
However, you don’t want to miss checking out some vineyards or “viñas” to study wineries. Also, it’s a place to taste all sort of wines and buy some bottles to bring back to people at home.
Grape Harvest Festival
- The Blessing of the Fruit
- 1 day
- The Queens’ White Way (Vía Blanca de las Reinas)
- 1 day
- in the streets of Mendoza
- The Grape Harvest Carrousel
- 1 day
- in the streets of Mendoza
- Main Act
- 3 nights
- at Frank Romero Day Greek Theatre
- Queen’s election
- Patron of the Vineyards (Virgen de la Carrodilla)
Mendoza is known as the Wine Capital and for that reason it houses the most important festival in Argentina, the Grape Harvest Festival. It’s an opportunity to go really deep into wineries and learn Mendocinos culture by witnessing “Fiesta Nacional de la Vendimia.” It happens annually during the last week of February and first week of March.
The festival attracts many visitors including tourists from around the world, performers, media, politics, winegrowers and locals. They gather to witness performances, fireworks and the selection of the National Vendimia Queen. It’s a folklore in the street. It brings magic, superstition to the people’s love of wine.
The festival lasts several days and in each day, there are different things to see. The first thing that they do before visitors arrive is what they call “The Blessing of the Fruit.” It usually happens during the last week of February.
During the first week of March in the main avenue of Mendoza, people would gather and wait to witness the march of the queens from all corners of Argentina. Queens will be dressed in winemaking tradition costumes, walking in the Queens’ White Way. The entertainment is also accompanied by the performers in glamorous costumes.
The next day is the Grape Harvest Carrousel, in which the queens will be carried on the chariots by men in Guacho on horses. They are also surrounded by performers from around the world, mainly from Argentina and Latin countries. This also happens at the avenue of Mendoza.
The last part of the festival is the main act. There are 3 nights and it happens at the Frank Romero Day Greek Theatre. The main act features the “Patron of the Vineyards,” queen’s election and it closes with fireworks.
If you have a chance, go to Mendoza during the festival as it’s a fun way to enjoy music and beauty, meanwhile surrounded by the great celebration. Plus, it’s also during summer.