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Mendoza, Argentina

Sun, snow, wine!

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Parque San Martin, Mendoza

Parque San Martin, Mendoza

Roberto Ingledew
Argentina's wines are growing in popularity, and most of the vineyards and wine industry are located in Mendoza province, (map) in the Cuyo region. The wine harvest festival, Vendimia, which falls on the first Saturday of March, actually begins in January in various locations around the province and then zeroes in on the city of Mendoza. The celebrations include folkloric festivals, religious ceremonies to bless the grapes, crowning of the Reina Nacional de la Vendimia, sports events and a lot of wine and merriment on into April.

Honoring the region's agricultural bounty, there are also festivals honoring melons and tomatoes, plus the Festival de la Tonada and the Fiesta Folklórica-ecuestre. The climate in Mendoza is hot and humid during the summer, but tree-lined streets, fountains in the plazas, an afternoon siesta and adapting to the mendocino lifestyle will add to your comfort.

There's much more to do and see in and around Mendoza. (See Mendoza, Argentina from space.) In the center of the city, centered around Plaza Independencia and Plazas España, San Martín, Italia and Chile, you'll want to see:

  • Museo Popular Callejero which displays the changes in Mendoza's city streets since its founding in 1561
  • Palacio Municipal
  • Camarín de la Virgen del Carmen de Cuyo in the Basilica de San Francisco, who was the patron saint of the Army of the Andes, General José de San Martín's army which marched over the Andes to help liberate Chile and Peru
  • Ruinas de San Francisco, which was a school built by the Jesuits and taken over by the Franciscan monks
  • Parque General San Martín, with the Cerro de la Gloria monument honoring San Martín and his army, is a forested park with a zoo and the amphitheater where many of the Vendimia events take place

Beyond the city limits, you'll see:

  • Winery tours, such as those offered by Bodega Toso and Bodega La Rural with their demonstrations of wine making and tastings, of course
  • Parque Provincial Aconcagua, where Cerro Aconcagua, at 22974 ft (6962 m), is the highest peak in South America. Climbers need at least two weeks, including acclimatization, to make the ascent. (See Mt. Aconcagua and the Andes from space.) You can take great photos from Laguna Horcones
  • Puente del Inca is a natural stone bridge over the Río Mendoza and one of Argentina's natural wonders. The coppery-gold color of the rocks comes from minerals in the water
  • If you stop by the Cementerio de los Andinistas, you'll see graves of people of all nationalities, most of them very young, who died on Aconcagua
  • Cristo Redentor is a must-see. Erected to mark the border dispute between Argentina and Chile, the statue of Christ the Redeemer at 13200 ft (4000 m) is open only when the road is open. Cannons used in the wars of liberation were melted down to provide the metal for the statue
  • Uspallata is a beautiful valley, with the remains of a pre-Colombian mining site and petroglyphs
  • Around Malargüe, you'll visit the lakes at La Niña Encantada, LLancanelo, Cavernas de Las Brujas, and the Bosque Petrificado, Petrified Forest

Besides wine tasting, scenic sights and festivals, Mendoza provides year-round sports:

  • skiing, of course, at Los Penitentes, Los Molles and Las Leñas
  • white water rafting and kayaking on the very fast Río Mendoza
  • climbing, hiking and trekking on Cerro Aconcagua and other peaks and foothills
  • paragliding from 2997 ft (700m) Cerro Arco
  • horseback riding, fishing, and wildlife watching

Whenever you go to Mendoza, take your appetite! Regional foods and wines are sure to please.

Enjoy your stay in Mendoza!

If you have questions or comments about the area, post them on the South America for Visitors Forum. If you're not already a registered user, you'll need to register, but it is easy and free.

Buen viaje!

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