Mendoza, a city of about 115,000 inhabitants, sits east of Aconcagua – the highest mountain in South America, in an area of plains and foothills. With the Andes as a backdrop and a sunny climate with low rainfall, it’s no wonder Mendoza draws visitors from around the world. They come for the wine and the food but there’s more to Mendoza than spectacular Malbec’s – the signature grape of the area.

Accessible by plane, it’s also an especially scenic eight hour bus ride away from Santiago, Chile. I can’t recommend that experience enough.

The Andes provide a stunning backdrop to Mendoza

The Andes provide a stunning backdrop to Mendoza

Here are 5 things you’ll want to try in Mendoza.

Start with a wine tour.

Mendoza is home to an incredible 1,500 plus wineries accounting for about two thirds of Argentinian wine. If you haven’t researched which winery to visit ahead of time, then have your hotel make recommendations. Don’t try to fit in more than three or four in a day. The wineries run the gamut from small, family run operations where you can see the cement holding tanks they used in the past to sleek modern, all stainless affairs like Bodega Norton. Meals at wineries are notoriously excellent as well but be sure to book in advance.

There’s nothing like having a few exceptional bottles of wine in your hotel room over your visit – reason enough to start your stay with a tour.

The Andes provide a stunning backdrop to Mendoza

Grapes looking plump in mid-January

The Andes as a backdrop for the wineries

The Andes as a backdrop for the wineries

Inside an old family run winery

Inside an old family run winery

The Norton winery is all about stainless steel

The Norton winery is all about stainless steel

Cycling in Mendoza

What better way to visit wineries – at least in my opinion than on a bike. You can rent one on your own in some of the mini regions like Maipú or Chacras de Coria or go with a local tour. Maipú is the most popular area for it also offers a wine museum and olive oil tours – another one of the fun ways to explore the area.

Some of the bike companies to consider are Bikes and Wines (we used them but consider asking for more biking and less tasting or you won’t cover much ground) Mendoza Wine Bike Tour and Mr Hugo – a family run bike rental located in Maipú.

Biking on flat, easy trails

Biking on flat, easy trails

Hiking in and near Mendoza

Mendoza is surrounded by dry hills and many of them make a perfect hiking destination. Terrain though can be rough underfoot and temperatures can soar. This is country where it’s worth hiring a guide for the local knowledge. Carry lots of water, wherever you go.

Exceptional hiking can be found a few hours’ drive away from Mendoza in the Andes. One option is to head to the beautiful Laguna del Diamanete, located in a moonlike landscape at 10,500 feet. Again, a driver and a guide will ensure a safer journey.

It's a dry, rocky landscape outside of Mendoza

It’s a dry, rocky landscape outside of Mendoza

Hiking in the hills around Mendoza

Hiking in the hills around Mendoza

Explore Chacras de Coria

Not far from downtown Mendoza, you’ll find Chacras de Coria, a leafy, green suburb with slightly cooler temperatures. It’s fast becoming a gastronomic destination. It’s also close to many of the bodegas so it also a good spot to stay overnight. On foot, it’s an easy and colourful area to explore but watch the broken down sidewalks that will trip you up if you don’t pay attention. When it comes to dinner, don’t do what we did and show up at 8:30 PM. Nothing happens until 9 PM but the food in this place is worth the wait.

Colourful homes and buildings on the backstreets of Chacas de Coria

Colourful homes and buildings on the backstreets of Chacas de Coria

Lunch one day in Chacra de Coria - and the reason for hiking and biking

Lunch one day in Chacras de Coria – and the reason for hiking and biking

Go horsebackriding

There are lots of choices when it comes to horseback riding. Tour a winery on horseback, ride for a half day to a day in the nearby hills or head off into the Andes for an overnight adventure. Hotels are great at helping you set up any of these tours. If you head for the nearby hills, you’ll get a scenic overview of the area, but it gets hot on a horse.

Horseback riding in the hills surrounding Mendoza

Horseback riding in the hills surrounding Mendoza

We spent four nights in total in Mendoza. In hindsight, I wish I’d had another day for a hike in the Andes and another day for the wineries. I think the rest of the group would have been fine hanging out by the pool.

The pool at Casa Glebinias where we stayed

The pool at Casa Glebinias where we stayed

5 Things to do in Mendoza, Argentina

Have you been to Mendoza?


Join the discussion 16 Comments

  • Mike says:

    Well, the first thing I learned here is that it’s December 1st! Where did November go? The vineyard reminded me of growing up in California – sans the beautiful Andes lol :) I would take your suggestions on both the bus ride and getting a local guide. What is the food on the plate, Leigh?? What a fun adventure :)

    • @Mike Our whole Argentina/Chile trip was one grand adventure after another. I’m shocked that we’re in December but happy as I look forward to longer days. What was that meal – a pork but I can’t remember the sauce. The food we ate in that part of the world was nothing short of outstanding.

  • Suzanne Stavert says:

    Do you like going in January? We were thinking of going to Buenos Aires for New Years (2015) and then to Mendoza. Your itinerary was super helpful. Loved the photos. Did you fly there directly?

    • @Suzanne January was a fantastic time to visit. We actually bused down from the north and then did the amazing bus ride through the Andes to Santiago. Hope you don’t mind eating late! And do make sure you have cash all the time as ATM’s run out. Money issues were an onging problem in Argentina as so many ATM’s only let you take out $40 at a time.

  • Mendoza sounds like a great food and wine destination. How great that you could burn all those calories off by hiking and biking!

  • Vijay says:

    Hi Bro,
    Awesome post which contain very useful information about travelling. Very interesting article. I liked it. Because I also like the mountaning and travelling. Thanks for sharing views. Have a great week ahead.

  • Paola Fuentes says:

    Ah, so many things to see in Argentina. I’m adding it to my “to-travel-to” list.

  • Kelly Henderson says:

    Thank you for the recommendation! My boyfriend and I are staying at that hotel in Chacras de Coria. We are spending two nights in Mendoza, any recommendations for hiking and specific vineyards to try? The hotel also recommended Hugo bikes to rent and tour vineyards. Thanks!

  • Faucet Shop says:

    Wow, so gorgeous and stunning photo, thanks for your sharing.

  • Wine Nomads says:

    I’m glad you had a great experience in Mendoza! I hope you can come some other time again. I’d like to let future travellers know that Wine Nomads Tours specializes in customized wine tours to Mendoza’s major wine areas. The offer private and group wine tours, bike tours and cooking classes in the house of a chef.

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