Mendoza – Daytours4u http://www.daytours4u.com/en Tours, activities and travel tips in South America Tue, 16 Jan 2018 15:45:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.8 96832869 Argentinian Malbec: all you need to know before your trip http://www.daytours4u.com/en/daytours4u/argentinian-malbec/ Mon, 17 Apr 2017 17:04:16 +0000 http://www.daytours4u.com/en/?p=11350 On April the 17th, 1830, the Malbec grapes were brought to Argentina from France. That initiative was such a success that nowadays Argentina is the biggest Malbec producer in the world and Argentinian Malbec is recognized around the world. This is why on April the 17th everyone celebrates Malbec World Day. Travelling to Argentina without tasting [...]

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On April the 17th, 1830, the Malbec grapes were brought to Argentina from France. That initiative was such a success that nowadays Argentina is the biggest Malbec producer in the world and Argentinian Malbec is recognized around the world. This is why on April the 17th everyone celebrates Malbec World Day.

Travelling to Argentina without tasting this renowned wine is as unacceptable as not eating a good old asado or not going to a tango show. This article will allow you to fully take advantage of your experience in Argentina and will let you know all you need to about Malbec.

Argentinian Malbec / Bsas4u

The geography of Mendoza is ideal for Malbec / Picture by Daytours4u


Where do they produce the Argentinian Malbec?

The main viticultural region of Argentina is Mendoza – Maipú, the Uco Valley and Luján de Cuyo form the Mendoza Wine Route. However, you can also find these grapes in La Rioja, Patagonia, Salta and San Juan. The Pyros Barrel Selected Malbec 2014 was produced in San Juan – it was chosen as the best wine produced outside of European vineyards at the Japan Wine Challenge 2016.

Joaquín Alberdi, wine expert and owner of a wine cellar named after himself explains that “Malbec is the only continental wine in the world, since it is produced without any maritime influence”. That particularity, says Alberdi, is why the Argentinian Malbec became a symbol of the country and why every tourist travelling to Argentina “should try Malbec from different regions to experiment the difference in flavours and textures as the altitude changes”.

How is the Argentinian Malbec?

Argentinian Malbec / Argentina4u

Grapefruits used in the preparation of an Argentinian Malbec of the Bodega Domingo Molina / Source


Malbec is a dark and intense wine. Its aromas will leave a delicious taste of cherry, strawberry, plum, raisin and even maybe red pepper in your mouth. Besides, this sweet, hot and soft wine will overwhelm your palate with flavours. If the wine has aged in oak barrels, you will also notice coffee, chocolate, and vanilla notes.

The ideal plates to uncork a good Argentinian Malbec are red meat, hard cheese or pasta with tomato sauce.

Recommended Argentinian Malbec wine cellars

“Nowadays, all the Malbec of Argentina are of the highest quality”, declares Joaquín Alberdi. Therefore, making a list of the best cellars is a complicated task. However, you can find below four interesting options to suit all tastes and budgets.

1. Bodega Domingo Molina

Argentinian Malbec / Argentina4u

Different kinds of wine from the Bodega Domingo Molina / Source


This is a family cellar, located in North Yacochuy – the Calchaquí Valley, Salta province. The experienced Osvaldo brothers, Gabriel and Rafael Domingo run it. Since the cellar is 2 kilometers below sea level, at the foothills of the Andes, they can produce an unique Malbec.

What to bring home: Finca Domingo Malbec (About $225 Argentine pesos)

2. Bodega Viña 1924

Malbec de Ángeles of the Bodega Viña 1924 / Source


This cellar is located in the Vistalba Valley in Mendoza. This is one of the oldest vineyards in the area. The grapes grow between the Uco Valley and Luján de Cuyo, a pretty good location since it is 980 meters above sea level. Their wines are rather fruity and complex and if the consumer pays close attention, they will notice a taste of vanilla or cinnamon.

What to bring home: Malbec de Ángeles (About $385 Argentine pesos)

3. Bodega Altocedro:

Argentinian Malbec

Altocedro and its great range of wines


The artisanal wines of this cellar are produced in La Consulta, a viticultural region of Mendoza. This is a unique location for grape production thanks to its altitude, sun exposure, average temperature and also the water from the natural springs, ideal for irrigation of the grapes. In 2001, the first Altocedra wine range was produced and since then it has become increasingly well-known not only in Argentina but across the globe as well.

What to bring home: Altocedro Reserva Malbec (about $700 Argentina pesos)

4. Bodega Matervini:

Matervini was born out of the hard work of Santiago Achával and Roberto Cipresso. “A great question made us create this wine in 2008: “what comes after Malbec?”. Our answer then was: “More Malbec, from other places and with a different personality!”, state the entrepreneurs. Their wines are from the Uco Valley, Las Heras, Cafayate and Luján de Cuyo.

What to bring home: Alteza (about $1200 Argentine peso)

Argentinian Malbec

Matervini wine is one of the most popular wines of Argentina / Source


 Where to do wine tasting in Argentina?

If you want to bring a souvenir from Argentina, Malbec definitely is a great choice. Enjoy your trip to Argentina and taste a whole range of wines with a professional oenologist so that you can put one of your favourite bottles of Malbec in your suitcase.

If you travel to Mendoza, the viticultural region par excellence, be sure to book the Malbec Wine Experience Tour and visit three extraordinary cellars. You can also discover the main areas of the Mendoza Wine Route. In Salta, you cannot miss the High Altitude Wine Tour in Cafayate – the specialty there is the torrontés, a unique grape variety. If you only stay in Buenos Aires, do not worry! You can go to the Joaquín Alberdi Wine Tasting for a most complete wine tasting experience.

Discover all you can about the Argentinian traditions and live an authentic South American experience. Be sure to include Malbec and tango in your travel itinerary. If you want to know what are the other activities you cannot miss during your trip to Argentina, contact the expert team at  Argentina4u and Bsas4u to clarify any doubt you may have.

 

By Keilma Rojas, Venezuelan journalist specialised in culture and actuality. Writer in Spanish for Daytours4u / Translated to English by: Grégory Noël

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Beyond the wineries: alternative things to do in Mendoza http://www.daytours4u.com/en/argentina4u/beyond-wineries-alternative-things-to-do-in-mendoza/ Thu, 22 Sep 2016 09:00:19 +0000 http://daytours4u.com/en/?p=9584 Mendoza is so much more than wine – put down your glass for just a little while and enjoy some of the wonderful alternative activities on offer.

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It’s OK, we know that your primary objective in Mendoza is probably to indulge in some wine-tasting along Argentina’s spectacular wine routes. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of other exciting things to do in Mendoza. So make sure you put down the wine glass for just a little bit and explore the great alternative activities on offer.

1Tree-lined streets and picturesque plazas make Mendoza city a pleasure to explore / Photo by Daytours4u

EXPLORE THE CITY

While some of the biggest attractions lie outside the city of Mendoza, in the Andes, and amongst the vineyards, do make sure you spend some time in the city itself. You can take a city tour if you want the advantage of sightseeing with a bilingual guide well-versed in the city’s history and culture. The manageable size of Mendoza also makes it easy to explore independently.

The city is built in convenient blocks, centred around the main plaza, Plaza Independencia, and smaller plazas, making it simple to navigate. This was done after an earthquake flattened much of the city in 1861 and had to be rebuilt. Small canals run alongside the roads, watering the many picturesque trees which line the city, providing welcome shade in the hot summer. It’s wonderfully pleasant to wander the streets, popping into a good selection of shops, markets, restaurants and the all-important ice cream parlours.

2At the top of Cerro Gloria you’ll find great views and the San Martin Monument / Photo by Daytours4u

The western end of the city is flanked by San Martín Park, an expansive and beautiful place to explore, go for a walk, or have a relaxed picnic under the trees. It’s definitely worth heading up Cerro de Gloria, the hill rising up at the back of the park. Up here you will find a monument to San Martín and great views over Mendoza. You can stroll up, or take the shuttle bus which runs regularly from the information office in the park.

When you’re ready for a refreshment and some refueling, head to Arístedes Villanueva street. This is the main hub for bars, restaurants, and clubs, as well as many hostels. There’s a great atmosphere here at night and plenty of options whether you’re looking for a quiet dinner or a dizzying night out.

3Head deep into the high Andes for spectacular mountain vistas / Photo by Daytours4u

TOUR THE HIGH MOUNTAINS OF THE ANDES

The towering Andes mountains are the defining feature of Mendoza and are just waiting to be explored. Take a High Mountain Tour (Alta Montaña) from Mendoza all the way to the border with Chile to really get a feel for the incredible immensity of this part of the Andes.

The tour will take you through the pre-cordillera right up past Aconcagua, the highest peak in the Western and Southern Hemispheres. Some of the attractions along the way include the Pichueta Bridge, Puente del Inca, Los Penitentes Ski Resort, and the Christ the Redeemer of the Andes statue. The real highlight, though, is the scenery. Few words can describe how awe-inspiring these mountains are. It’s something you don’t want to miss out on in Mendoza.

4Puente del Inca is a natural arch that has formed over the Vacas River / Photo by Daytours4u

ADVENTURE ACTIVITIES

You might not know it, but Mendoza is a real hub for adventure tourism. The options range from hiking, cycling, and horse riding to paragliding, white water rafting, zip lining, and rappelling. Most of these activities take place close to Mendoza city, near Potrerillos in the Andes. The rivers and the mountains provide plenty of thrills and opportunities to get outdoors.

Slightly further afield in the province is San Rafael and the Atuel Canyon. Take a day tour here, or go for longer to take full advantage of the rafting and canoeing on offer. Alternatively, you can head into the mountains, quite literally, for a caving experience in one of the many mountain caves – Las Brujas Cavern in the Malargüe department is one of the most popular.

5The landscapes of Mendoza are perfect for outdoor adventure activities / Photo by Daytours4u

RELAXING SPA DAYS

If you just want to unwind for a day and recharge your batteries, then indulge in a spa day. The Cacheuta Thermal Spa (or Termas Cacheuta) is the most popular option. Located in a stunning spot in the mountains, the only thing better than the view is the natural thermal water. There are a number of stone pools ranging in temperature in which you can soak, and there are also mud baths, massages, and a delicious buffet lunch to be enjoyed.

Mendoza is so much more than its vineyards and wine. With so many fantastic things to do in, you’re sure to have an incredible time travelling around this beautiful region of Argentina.

Planning your travels? Visit argentina4u.com to book the best tours and activities in Mendoza!

By: Nicole Eberhard, travel writer and avid explorer, with a Masters in English Literature.

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How to Choose a Wine Tour in Mendoza http://www.daytours4u.com/en/argentina4u/how-to-choose-a-wine-tour-in-mendoza/ Thu, 15 Sep 2016 09:00:26 +0000 http://daytours4u.com/en/?p=9569 If you're in Mendoza - Argentina's oenophile heaven - a wine tasting experience is a must. Here, we guide you through the best wine tours available in the region.

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Whether you’re a proper wine connoisseur or you simply enjoy the occasional glass of rosé, Mendoza has a wine tour for you. This little slice of oenophile heaven is where most of Argentina’s wine is grown and produced. Not only is the Malbec (Argentina’s most famous varietal) exquisite here, but the setting of Mendoza against the snow-kissed Andean Cordillera makes it one of the most spectacular wine regions in the world.

With so many wineries to see, plus distinct wine routes, and different ways of visiting the vineyards, choosing a wine tour in Mendoza can be difficult. But don’t worry; Argentina4u has got you covered with our breakdown of how to pick the perfect wine tasting tour for you.

1The landscapes of Mendoza draw visitors from all over the world / Photo by Daytours4u

CASUAL WINE DRINKER

If you enjoy a glass of wine, but it’s all red and white and bubbly to you, a good entry level option is a Classic Wine Tour. You’ll have the chance to visit two wineries and an olive oil factory. This affordable tour is an easy introduction to Argentina’s finest wines, taking you on a journey to some scenic wine farms. The added benefit is that you’ll learn more about Mendoza’s other important crop – olive trees – and the production of olive oil.

2The Florentine-styled Trapiche winery is one of Mendoza’s most spectacular / Photo by Daytours4u

MALBEC OBSESSED

You know what Argentina is all about: Malbec, Malbec, Malbec. If your goal is to get acquainted with this sumptuous varietal, then a Malbec Wine Experience is the ideal tour for you. Visit three wineries that have played huge roles in elevating the status of Malbec around the world, and enjoy in-depth Malbec tastings, as well as a delectable lunch accompanied by more local wine.

wine tour in MendozaWhen in Mendoza, you can enjoy some of the world’s best wine-tasting experiences / Photo by Daytours4u

TOTAL OENOPHILE

Those that can tell their syrah from their cabernet sauvignon with their eyes closed should focus their attention on the wineries in the top wine-producing regions in Mendoza: Lujan de Cuyo and Uco Valley. Take a small-group, personalised tour or consider a private tour. Most of these tours include lunch at a top restaurant on one of the wine farms. If you’re after more than just a world-class wine tasting but want to gain an in-depth knowledge of how wine is produced in this area, there is also an Oenological Tour, which will take you on a guided visit to three wineries, accompanied by each winery’s oenologist.

4-1The wine region of Uco Valley is a picturesque wonder of nature / Image Source

MORE INTERESTED IN SIGHTSEEING

If it’s less about the wine and more about the sightseeing, then why not take a fun tour? One of the most popular ways of touring the vineyards of Mendoza is by bike. The best budget option is to take a bus from downtown Mendoza (171, 172 or 173 leaving from Catamarca and Rioja) to Maipú, where you can rent a bicycle and cruise to some of the many wineries close by. On Urquiza street – the main road – you’ll find many rental options. Mr. Hugo and Orange Bikes are two dependable options. You’ll be given a map when you rent your bike and from there you can choose your own wine adventure.

For something a bit more structured, and with more support, you can take a bike tour, which includes transfers, your tasting, and lunch. Or, for more intrepid travelling, there is also the unusual option of a winery tour on horseback.

5A wine tour on a bicycle is a really fun way to explore Mendoza / Photo by Daytours4u

Whether you decide to cycle through the vineyards of Maipú on a budget do-it-yourself wine tour, or you visit the premium wineries in the unbeatable Uco Valley, you’re sure to have an intoxicatingly good time tasting Argentina’s amazing wines.

To book your wine tour in Mendoza and to uncover other fun travel activities, visit Argentina4u.

By: Nicole Eberhard, travel writer and avid explorer, with a Masters in English Literature.

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Mendoza Airport will be Closed for Three Months http://www.daytours4u.com/en/argentina4u/mendoza-airport-closed-for-three-months/ Mon, 01 Aug 2016 18:15:24 +0000 http://daytours4u.com/en/?p=9708 As of September 7, 2016, the International Airport “Governor Francisco Gabrielli,” located just 20 minutes north of the City of Mendoza, will be closed until December 7 due to runway maintenance. While Mendoza’s principle airport will be temporarily shut down for renovations during these 3 months, there are various alternatives available to reach this classic [...]

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As of September 7, 2016, the International Airport “Governor Francisco Gabrielli,” located just 20 minutes north of the City of Mendoza, will be closed until December 7 due to runway maintenance. While Mendoza’s principle airport will be temporarily shut down for renovations during these 3 months, there are various alternatives available to reach this classic Argentine destination.

Mendoza AirportMendoza Airport / Image Source

Arriving to Mendoza during renovation – your alternative options

Aerolineas Argentinas will be offering a one-time option to move your trip up free of charge from August 7 to September 6.  If you want to postpone your trip you will be able to do it between the dates of December 8 to December 22 only. Remember, if you change your schedule again, you will be subject to additional charges. If neither of those options work and you are unable to take advantage of this offer, here are 4 alternative airports to help you reach Argentina’s wine capital:

San Luis Airport (LUQ)

Also known as Brigadier Mayor César Raúl Ojeda Airport, it is located in the San Luis province of Argentina. Distance to Mendoza City: It is a 3-hour drive to Mendoza. Combined flying and driving time from Buenos Aires is five hours. First take RN147 for 17 minutes until you reach RN7, then from there it is a straight shot.

Domingo Faustino Sarmiento Airport (UAQ)

Located in San Juan province. Distance to Mendoza city: This ride is slightly shorter than the one from LUQ, with a roughly two-hour commute. Combined flying and driving time from Buenos Aires is just under four hours. If you’re coming from here, take RN40 all the way to Mendoza.

San Rafael airport (AFA)

Conveniently located in the Mendoza region. Distance to Mendoza City: It is a 2 hour and 40-minute drive. Combined driving and flying time from Buenos Aires is 4 hours and 25 minutes.To arrive into the City of Mendoza, follow RN143 for an hour until you reach San Carlos, then you will take RN40 all the way to your destination.

Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport (SCL)

Arguably the best route for those of you planning a dual trip to Chile. After arriving at the airport in Santiago, a bus can be caught that will take you right across the border. Distance to Mendoza City: Travelling by car, you can take RN7 to Mendoza and arrive in 5 hours. Flying and driving time combined is seven hours.

Please note that round-trip shuttle services will be paid for by the Government from each individual airport to the bus terminal in Mendoza.

If you would like to book a shuttle service from the bus terminal in Mendoza, you can do so for only $26. For more information please contact us at info@argentina4u.com.

. . . 

Although your travel time may increase, the airport closing shouldn’t dissuade you from visiting Argentina’s most famous wine region. A glorious province, Mendoza still has much to offer those who choose to come here. To encourage you to take this trip, we have prepared for you a special deal of 15% off our best rated city tours. For the private wine tours, we will be giving you 10% off.

Remember, this promotion will be available during this time only. 10-15% off some of our most popular Mendoza tours and activities*!

Sightseeing in Mendoza 

Mendoza province is located in the Cuyo region of Argentina and is certainly a hotspot for some beautiful sightseeing. From the Aconcagua Mountain to Los Reyunos Dam, you are sure to have an enchanting time enjoying the natural wonders of this area. The city of Mendoza is the capital of Mendoza province and is widely known as the heart of Argentina’s wine country.

On our updated Argentina4u site, you will be able to explore Mendoza in depth – some of our best tour catalogues include: Wine experience, wine routes, day tours from Mendoza and more.

All of these tour options will have the special 10-15% discount.*

For those of you who should choose to forego the trip to Mendoza, alluring alternatives include a stop in Salta. If you still want a taste of our delicious Argentine wine, be sure to check out our High Altitude Wine Tour.

For more information on your trip to Mendoza be sure to contact us with any questions or concerns. Enriching your trip to Latin America starts with Argentina4u!

*Discount not applicable on products that are already on promotion or packages.

By Camille King, English News Contributor to Daytours4u

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What You Need To Know About Mendoza’s Grape Harvest Festival http://www.daytours4u.com/en/argentina4u/grape-harvest-festival-mendoza/ Wed, 25 Feb 2015 10:00:00 +0000 http://argentina4u.com/blog/en/2013/02/grape-harvest-festival-in-mendoza.html One of the highlights of the year on the Argentine cultural calendar has to be the Grape Harvest Festival in one of the world’s most famous wine regions, Mendoza. The Fiesta Nacional de la Vendimia takes places every year in the city of Mendoza itself, attracting thousands of wine lovers from Argentina and further afield. [...]

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One of the highlights of the year on the Argentine cultural calendar has to be the Grape Harvest Festival in one of the world’s most famous wine regions, Mendoza. The Fiesta Nacional de la Vendimia takes places every year in the city of Mendoza itself, attracting thousands of wine lovers from Argentina and further afield. It marks the start of the harvest and is a festive celebration of all things wine related.

Mendoza knows how to celebrate the harvest season in style

Mendoza knows how to celebrate the harvest season in style / source

Late February marks the start of the grape harvests in Argentina, and nowhere is this more celebrated than in Mendoza. Each of the 18 departments of the Province of Mendoza start preparing for the festival early on in the year, with the main event taking place during the first days of March. It is a huge event that fills the streets of Mendoza with a Carnival atmosphere and is the highlight of the viticulture and wine making tradition in Argentina.

The wine festival combines traditions dating back centuries, such as presenting offerings of fruit to the image of the Virgin of Carrodilla, the patron saint of vineyards and harvests. Other elements are more modern, with parades, a massive concert, the electing of a Harvest Queen, and of course plenty of wine flowing. Just as Rio de Janeiro has Carnival, Mendoza has the Grape Harvest Festival.

A spectacular show closes the Grape Harvest Festival

A spectacular show closes the Grape Harvest Festival / source

2015 Harvest Festival Guide

1 MARCH – SUNDAY
Bendición de los Frutos (Blessing of the Fruit)

A long-standing Catholic tradition, the Blessing of the Fruit gives thanks for the harvest. Grapes are offered to the Virgin of Carrodilla, asking for her blessing for the fruit about to be harvested. The image of the patron saint of vineyards is then paraded around the city.

Where: Prado Gaucho, in Parque General San Martín

6 MARCH – FRIDAY
Via Blanca de las Reinas (The Queen’s White Way)

A big part of the festival is the electing of a Harvest Queen. Each district of Mendoza elects a queen and princesses, who parade through the streets on the much anticipated Queen’s White Way parade. The queens ride on their district’s decorated float, as the procession makes its way through the cheering streets of Mendoza city on Friday evening.

Where: The streets of Mendoza city

7 MARCH – SATURDAY
Carrousel de las Reinas (The Queens’ Carousel)

Another parade of the queen’s takes place on the Saturday, this time during the day. They parade through town, throwing out fruit, wine and other gifts of the harvests to the waving crowd. The queens are joined by Argentine gauchos on horses.

Where: The streets of Mendoza city

7 – 10 MARCH
The Main Act

The festival culminates with a spectacular show in the Frank Romero Day Greek amphitheatre. On Saturday night, the 7th of March, the show kicks off, with a beauty pageant electing the official Harvest Queen, and a theatre spectacular including tango, choreographed dancing, music, gauchos and fireworks. There are additional shows on the following three nights (8th- 10th March) to give more people an opportunity to join in.

Where: Frank Romero Day Greek Theatre, Parque General San Martín

The Queen's Carousel parading through the streets of Mendoza.

The Queen’s Carousel parading through the streets of Mendoza. / source

Besides these main events, Mendoza will be buzzing with other activities during this time, including art exhibitions, food stalls, activities for children and plenty of festivities. But most importantly, people travel to Mendoza during the Grape Harvest Festival to savour the region’s renowned wine – free-flowing Malbec is reason enough to travel!

Continue celebrating Argentina’s wonderful wines by booking a wine tour in Mendoza during your travels.

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Argentina4u Review: Alta Montaña Day Tour http://www.daytours4u.com/en/argentina4u/argentina4u-review-alta-montana-day-tour/ Fri, 24 Oct 2014 16:35:05 +0000 http://argentina4u.com/blog/en/?p=2557 There are many reasons to visit Mendoza above and beyond going wine tasting. One of those reasons is the Andes. Mendoza City’s skyline is dominated by the impressive mountain range looming above it. Stretching the entire length of South America, the Andes also boasts the highest mountain in the Americas: Aconcagua. Situated conveniently close to Mendoza’s [...]

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There are many reasons to visit Mendoza above and beyond going wine tasting. One of those reasons is the Andes. Mendoza City’s skyline is dominated by the impressive mountain range looming above it. Stretching the entire length of South America, the Andes also boasts the highest mountain in the Americas: Aconcagua. Situated conveniently close to Mendoza’s capital, you can visit this peak, and other mountain highlights with the Alta Montaña (High Mountain) Tour.

Spectacular scenery on the Alta Montaña Day Tour

Spectacular scenery on the Alta Montaña Day Tour / Photo: Daytours4u

This full day tour starts with an early pick-up at your hotel in Mendoza, before setting off on the National Route 7, or Paso Internacional Los Libertadores, that connects Mendoza with Santiago, Chile. If this tour did nothing but drive this route it would be worth doing, because the scenery is absolutely spectacular. It is one of the most dramatic settings, with stark vegetation set against towering mountains of varied hues. As the tour crosses from the pre-Andes to the central range, and finally the mountains on the frontier with Chile, the mountains change colours, ending in white, with the highest mountains under a permanent blanket of snow.

As we drove along the road, besides the winding Mendoza River, our knowledgeable guide filled us in on the geography and history of the area, as well as the importance of the Mendoza River to the otherwise dry and desert-like Mendoza province. It’s incredible to think that all the greenness in the tree-lined city, not too mention the millions of rows of vineyards, are all watered by the Mendoza River.

This Andes excursion stopped first at the Potrerillos Dam, built as a back-up water source in case of low water levels in the river. After marvelling at the blue waters lapping at the base of the mountains, we moved on to Uspallata, where we stopped for a quick coffee and bathroom break. This strange little town, with a casino, a gas station, a few buildings and not too much else, serves an important purpose. Truck drivers using this pass – one of the most important trade routes in the southern half of the continent, connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans – often have to stop at this point for days on end when the border closes due to bad weather in the mountains.

The Potrerillos Dam, an important development for hydroelectricity, irrigation and flood control in this area

The Potrerillos Dam, an important development for hydroelectricity, irrigation and flood control in this area / Photo: Daytours4u

The history here is also important to the region, since this was one of the crossings down by General San Martin during the liberation of Chile and then later Peru. Although he himself crossed at another point in the Andes, this route was traversed by another group from the liberation army.

This area’s great historical importance is marked in the stops the tour makes. The tour wound down a dusty road off the National Route 7 to visit an old stone bridge built by the Spanish and used by messengers to cross the river as they passed through the mountains between Argentina and Chile. It is still in remarkably good condition, surrounded by an amphitheatre of mountains. Shortly past this point, the tour also passed the remains of an old fort – a reminder of this area’s military importance – before rejoining the main road.

Spanish Bridge

Spanish Bridge / Photo: Daytours4u

The tour continued through more spectacular scenery, with a great sighting of Condors flying above us, and more multi-coloured hues and jagged peaks. The landscape started changing as we gained height, ascending the road alongside the old Transandine Railway, long out of service. This Alta Montaña Day Tour then made a stop at the Los Penitentes Ski Resort, situated right alongside the main road. While the ski slopes were not open at the time, since we were there outside winter season, there was still plenty of snow to see at the top of the mountain. Here there is a ski lift you can take to the top for spectacular views. This activity is optional and costs around $100 pesos. Because of the blistering cold wind (which was about to usher in a snowfall), our group did not take this option. In nicer weather, I imagine the panoramic views here would be breathtaking.

Ski slope high mountain tour

Ski slope high mountain tour / Photo: Daytours4u

Finally we arrived to the Andes mountains’ star performer: Aconcagua. Considered to be the highest non-technical mountain in the world, the fact that summiting this peak doesn’t require much technical equipment means it is extremely popular with thrill-seeking hikers, who are looking for a challenge but aren’t quite up for Mount Everest. This mountain does come with its own dangers though: the cold and bad weather, as we found out when we reached the lookout point to Aconcagua only for most of the peak to be obscured in thick cloud, as the weather started worsening.

The peak of Aconcagua hidden by the clouds / Photo: Daytours4u

The good news about the weather, however, was that snow started falling as we left Aconcagua and headed to Las Cuevas, the town at the entrance to the tunnel to Chile. The bad news was this meant the tour itinerary had to be adjusted. As the world around us was softly coated in a layer of white, we tucked into a delicious and homely buffet lunch (cost not included), which did a good job of warming everyone up!

From here, we headed back down the pass to the Inca Bridge, or Puente del Inca, an incredible naturally formed bridge, caused by a steady erosion from the river and conflicting cold and heat from the nearby hotsprings. The area around the bridge is eerily desolate, yet peaceful. The hotel that once stood here, capitalising on the hotsprings, was destroyed by an avalanche. All that remains is the unscathed church and the tunnels under the bridge that led to the springs.

The Inca Bridge

The remarkable Inca Bridge / Photo: Daytours4u

Finally we drove back along the same road, taking in the scenery from the opposite direction, which was no less impressive, before being dropped off at our hotel. Note that the Alta Montaña tour usually includes an additional activity, where you can walk from Las Cuevas to see the massive Christ the Redeemer of the Andes statue. Because of the conditions at the time at the top of the pass, the tour itinerary was altered for everyone’s safety. Please be aware this is always a possibility because of the unpredictability of weather at this altitude in the mountains.

This truly remarkable landscape is breathtaking, in its grand scale, quiet isolation, and striking scenery. While I went on the tour looking forward to seeing Aconcagua, in the end the highlight for me was the scenery during the drive, along with the tour guide’s narrative which added to my appreciation of this region. So if you’re in Mendoza, tear yourself away from the vineyards for a day to take in the Andes Mountains with this High Mountain Tour. I can highly recommend it!

Click here to book this activity

Written by: Nicole Eberhard

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Argentina4u Review: Classic Wine Tour http://www.daytours4u.com/en/argentina4u/argentina4u-review-classic-wine-tour/ Fri, 17 Oct 2014 10:00:58 +0000 http://argentina4u.com/blog/en/?p=2541 Mendoza has become inseparable from its signature grape varietal and its booming wine industry, and frankly, we’re not complaining. Since no trip to Mendoza is complete without a wine tour, when I, being a bit of a wine lover, booked a trip to this famous wine region, I was quick to add this Classic Wine Tour to [...]

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Mendoza has become inseparable from its signature grape varietal and its booming wine industry, and frankly, we’re not complaining. Since no trip to Mendoza is complete without a wine tour, when I, being a bit of a wine lover, booked a trip to this famous wine region, I was quick to add this Classic Wine Tour to my itinerary.

Classic Wine Tour

The impressive barrel room at Bodegas Lopez / Credit: by Nicole Eberhard

This Mendoza Classic Wine Tour is the perfect way to spend an afternoon in Mendoza getting to know a bit more about the wine region. The biggest advantage of booking a tour is having a knowledgeable guide to explain the ins and outs of Mendoza’s wine industry.

As we were transported in a comfortable mini-bus to the Maipú wine district, our wonderful guide, Claudia, explained the origins of Malbec in Argentina and gave us some insight into why this grape has flourished here in Mendoza (it’s all down to the altitude, the sandy soil conditions, and the daily fluctuations in temperature).

Stop 1: Bodegas Lopez

After learning a bit more about the growth in the Mendoza’s wine production, we reached the first stop, Bodegas Lopez. Founded by José López Rivas from Spain, in 1898, this historic winery is still in the capable hands of the founding family. This winery represents everything good about Mendoza’s wine industry today: rich in history and a strong tradition of wine making, blended harmoniously with modern technology.

We quickly learnt that the advantage to being an English-speaking tourist in Mendoza’s wineries is that you end up lucking out with private tours of the wineries, separate to the bigger tour groups. Guided by a winery representative, we embarked on a private tour around the winery and cellars, seeing the wine at its different stages as our guide explained the wine-making process. The tour culminated in a delicious wine tasting in the winery’s immaculate tasting room. Needless to say, we did not leave empty-handed.

 

Classic Wine Tour Mendoza

The famous Malbec varietal / Credit: by Nicole Eberhard

Stop 2: Local Olive Farm

To break up the wineries, and to ensure everyone had some lining in their stomachs, the next stop was to an olive farm. Olive trees are Mendoza’s other significant crop, with the country’s top olive oils hailing from this region.

We visited Pasrai, a boutique factory of extra virgin olive oil as well as a producer of dehydrated fruits and vegetables, particularly raisins, from which it takes its name. This olive farm, keeping with the theme of the wineries visited, is also family owned.

We were treated to another expertly guided tour around the factory, as we learnt how olive oil is produced (fun fact – it takes an astonishingly large amount of olives to produce just one bottle of olive oil, especially as the olives preferred for making oil are small, with a small yield). I certainly left with a much greater appreciation for the price of olive oil, given the process that goes into it.

To end the visit here, we enjoyed a comprehensive tasting of the farm’s various cold-pressed olive oils, including unfiltered (incredible!) and flavoured oils, as well as a selection of the farm’s tapenade and dried fruits. It was a delicious way to cleanse the palate after the wine – and to prepare ourselves for the next winery!

 

Mendoza Classic Wine Tour

Olives are Mendoza’s second biggest crop / Credit: Nicole Eberhard

Stop 3: Cavas de Don Arturo

The final winery of the tour was Cavas de Don Arturo. In contrast to Bodegas Lopez, which produces a staggering amount of wine each year, this family run winery produces red wine only, which is exclusively available in the winery itself and to a small export market.

From the ultra-modern cellars of Lopez, this rustic, small-scale winery was a wonderful contrast. The tour here was very personal, run by the family themselves. Everyone is involved in the wine-making process, including the wonderful wife of the owner, who doesn’t drink alcohol but has an intimate understanding of the process of wine-making.

Free from the bustle of the bigger wineries, the personal touch, slower pace, and guided wine tasting here made this bodega feel special.

To round off the wine tasting experience in Mendoza, we visited the Church of Carrodilla’s Virgin. This figure of the Virgin was brought from Spain by Don Antonio de Solanilla in the 18th century, and is the Patron Saint of Vineyards and Harvests. The mysticism around her grew when the church holding her image was one of the few buildings to withstand the devastating earthquake that hit Mendoza in 1861. Today she is an important figure in Mendoza’s Grape Harvest Festival.

This was an excellent way to finish the tour, leaving me feeling like I had not only tasted some fantastic wines and cold-pressed olive oils, but that I was also walking away with a deeper understanding of the history and culture of Mendoza’s wine industry.

To book this Classic Wine Tour click here!

* Note that the vineyards visited on this tour may vary.

Written by: Nicole Eberhard

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From Argentina to Chile: Paso Los Libertadores http://www.daytours4u.com/en/argentina4u/from-argentina-to-chile-paso-los-libertadores/ Mon, 24 Feb 2014 16:30:28 +0000 http://argentina4u.com/blog/en/?p=2019 Paso Los Libertadores translates to “Liberators’ Path” and is named as such because Jose San Martin, the father of South American Independence, took this route when crossing the Andes with his army in January 1817. He managed to fool the Spanish forces into believing that he was further south than he was, thereby entering Chile [...]

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Paso Los Libertadores translates to “Liberators’ Path” and is named as such because Jose San Martin, the father of South American Independence, took this route when crossing the Andes with his army in January 1817. He managed to fool the Spanish forces into believing that he was further south than he was, thereby entering Chile unopposed just a month later.

The long and windy Paso Los Libertadores

The long and windy Paso Los Libertadores / source

Paso Los Libertadores is now the main transport route connecting the city of Mendoza to the Chilean capital, Santiago. From the top, you can see out over Aconcagua, aka ‘High Mountain’, and the perfectly formed winding roads below. Although it is no doubt a demanding ride, particularly with the wind and high altitudes, travelling this far up is well worth the effort for these spectacular views. There is also a refugio at the top, where you can relax and enjoy a hot chocolate.

Aconcagua: highest mountain in South America / source

Aconcagua: highest mountain in South America / source

At the summit, which is located at 3,840 metres, you will find the famous Christ the Redeemer of the Andes statue and it is for this reason that the route is often referred to as ‘Paso Cristo Redentor’ as well. From here, if you’ve come over from the Chilean side, you face a 1,000m descent before reaching the Argentine immigration post at Las Cuevas. From the Argentine side, the slope becomes a lot more noticeable as you descend into Chile, but the numerous curves make this easier and less daunting.

The famous Christ the Redeemer of the Andes statue

The famous Christ the Redeemer of the Andes statue / source

The basic facts

Names: Paso Los Libertadores/Cristo Redentor
Location: Between Santiago de Chile and Mendoza, Argentina
GPS co-ordinates: 32.8253 S, 70.0712 W
Altitude: 3,840km
Year of establishment: 1980

Note that the route may be closed in parts during winter due to snow or landslides.

You can book the Mendoza High Mountain Tour which takes you via Paso Los Libertadores up to Cerro Aconcagua, the highest peak in the Americas! Check out more Mendoza tours and activities on our website.


By: Milly Day – English Content Manager
For Argentina4u

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Discover the Best Wines in Argentina by Region http://www.daytours4u.com/en/argentina4u/best-wines-by-region/ Mon, 03 Feb 2014 18:51:41 +0000 http://argentina4u.com/blog/en/?p=1965 When we mention the best wines in Argentina your mind will no doubt turn straight to Mendoza. Whereas this region is the wine capital of Argentina and does indeed produce some incredible wines, you should not neglect the other famous wine-growing areas within the country. Below we have listed the best wines in Argentina by region [...]

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When we mention the best wines in Argentina your mind will no doubt turn straight to Mendoza. Whereas this region is the wine capital of Argentina and does indeed produce some incredible wines, you should not neglect the other famous wine-growing areas within the country. Below we have listed the best wines in Argentina by region and provided a brief description of each one.

Best wines in Argentina: Mendoza and the Malbec

Located in the foothills of the Andes, where the desert landscapes and high altitude provide the perfect conditions to produce rich, aromatic wines, Mendoza is the leading producer of wine in Argentina. It accounts for nearly three-quarters of the country’s wine production and over half of the entire wine production of South America. Previously, the region was most renowned for its varieties of Cereza and Criolla Grande, but nowadays it is Malbec not only one of the best wines in Argentina but also Mendoza’s most talked about wine, the best of which is produced in sub-regions Luján de Cuyo and Maipu.

Three examples of Malbec wine produced in Mendoza / source

The malbec is not just among of the best wines in Argentina but also the most representative. Three examples of Malbec wine produced in Mendoza / source

Best wines in Argentina: Salta and the Torrontes

The vineyards in Salta are some of the highest in the world producing some of the best wines in Argentina. The torrontes, planted between 4,900 and 9,900 feet. It is the pureness of the air and water at this high altitude that enables the production of high quality wines, such as the fragrant Torrontés, which is made in Cafayate. This floral white wine is made from a grape which goes by the same name and is the emblematic grape of the region, for it does not grow anywhere else in the world.

Torrontés is on of the best wines in Argentina. Its sweet floral white wine makes it special and wild at the same time

Torrontés is on of the best wines in Argentina. Its sweet floral white wine makes it special and wild at the same time / source

Best Wines in Argentina: Neuquen & Rio Negro means Pinot Noir

Neuquen and Rio Negro lie in the outer reaches of Patagonia, the southernmost winemaking area in Argentina, where the conditions are suited to creating cool-climate varietals. Although they are traditionally renowned for being the fruit producing centres of the country, both regions have recently seen growth in wine production, namely Pinot Noir, the most popular of the Patagonian wines.

Pinot Noir is the most popular of the Patagonian wines / source

Pinot Noir is the most popular of the Patagonian wines / source

Best Wines in Argentina: San Juan and La Rioja – Douce Noir

After Mendoza, the province of San Juan is the second largest producer of wine in Argentina. It is just over an hour from Mendoza city and, together with Mendoza and La Rioja, forms the Cuyo Region, ie the ‘land of deserts’. This region is a lot hotter and drier though, with summer temperatures regularly hitting 42°C. This warm, sunny climate means the grapes that grow in San Juan are rich in polyphenols and therefore produce wines with intense, fruity flavors such as Douce Noir, locally known as Bondarda. It also has a long history of producing sherry-style wines, brandies and vermouth.

Vines growing in San Juan

Vines growing in San Juan / source

Best Wines in Argentina: La Pampa Syrah

La Pampa is not a particularly large producer of wine, with just 531 acres of vineyards, but you can sample some highly distinctive flavours from here. The region receives very little rainfall each year but the wind blows constantly, which is beneficial to wine production as it makes for a clean, healthy environment and causes the grapes to grow thicker skins, leading to the creation of truly unique wines. Be sure to try the Syrah from La Pampa, as well as the Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.

If you’re a wine connoisseur or just enjoy a good glass of wine in a beautiful setting, be sure to book a wine tour on your travels to Argentina. Check out our variety of Mendoza wine tours or, if you’re heading to Salta, a day tour to Cafayate’s wineries.

By: Milly Day – English Content Manager
For: Argentina4u

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Five Unmissable Wineries in Mendoza http://www.daytours4u.com/en/argentina4u/five-unmissable-wineries-in-mendoza/ Mon, 20 Jan 2014 18:34:50 +0000 http://argentina4u.com/blog/en/?p=1920 Although you can find great wine all over Argentina, Mendoza is renowned for being the wine capital of the country, with a number of tourists choosing this destination primarily to visit its excellent bodegas. As there is so much choice, it can be a bit overwhelming, so for this reason we’ve compiled a list of [...]

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Although you can find great wine all over Argentina, Mendoza is renowned for being the wine capital of the country, with a number of tourists choosing this destination primarily to visit its excellent bodegas. As there is so much choice, it can be a bit overwhelming, so for this reason we’ve compiled a list of five of the best wineries in Mendoza based on their location, the quality of their wines and their tours.

1. Alta Vista

This winery can be found in Chacras de Coria, 15km south of Mendoza city. It was established over a hundred years ago and fully restored in 2003, with all the cutting-edge vine-growing technology, making it one of the best for wine tourism in Mendoza. Its small tanks enable the production of high-quality wines, its cellars are quite simply magnificent and its tasting room has been stylishly designed using old oak and barrel bands. After the restoration, Alta Vista was rebuilt in brick, preserving the charm of the original winery.

Bodega Alta vista: one of the best for wine tourism in Mendoza

Bodega Alta vista: one of the best for wine tourism in Mendoza / source

 

2. Kaiken

Kaiken’s fine wines are the result of both the exceptional harvesting conditions in Mendoza and hard work carried out by talented professionals. Not only can you sample seriously fine wines here, but you will also be exposed to some stunning views and have the chance to explore the vineyards, accompanied by a knowledgeable and friendly tour guide. Their Kaiken Corte is featured prominently in Wine Enthusiast’s “Argentina’s All-Price Bonanza” article in which the editor states, “Argentina is among the best in the world at delivering quality across all price points…my favorite among these Best Buys is Kaiken’s 2009 Corte, a blend of Malbec and lesser amounts of Bonarda and Petit Verdot”.

Enjoy beautiful views from Bodega Kaiken

Enjoy beautiful views from Bodega Kaiken / source

 

3. Mendel

Mendel is an old winery run by Roberto de la Mota – one of Argentina’s most respected and experienced winemakers – and his family, who produce approximately 80,000 bottles of wine a year. Their combination of passion, experience and attention to detail is their secret to producing remarkable wines and creating an ideal environment for tourists.

At Mendel, roughly 80,000 bottles of wine are produced each year

At Mendel, roughly 80,000 bottles of wine are produced each year / source

 

4. Pulenta Estate

This austere winery is often considered to be the best of all the wineries in Mendoza, due to the quality of the tours, its aesthetically appealing setting and, of course, the wines themselves. Standing at 980 metres above sea level, Pulenta Estate offers excellent climate conditions and incredible views over Mendoza. However, it is most renowned for its Sauvignon Blanc, a light, refreshing and fruity wine which can be tasted in the winery’s concrete underground cellar.

Be sure to try the delicious Sauvignon Blanc at Pulenta Estate

Be sure to try the delicious Sauvignon Blanc at Pulenta Estate / source

 

5. Ruca Malen

Founded just fifteen years ago, Ruca Malen is a fairly new, forward-thinking winery situated in the picturesque foothills of the Andes Mountains, providing fantastic views of the snowy peaks to accompany the delicious food and wine. It is equipped with all the latest technology, including a temperature and humidity controlled cellar, with the capacity for seven-hundred barrels. Not only does the tour include an informative circuit of the winery with a tasting, but you will also have the opportunity to learn about and practice blending wines with a sommelier in their unique tasting room.

Ruca Malen is a relatively new, forward-thinking winery / source

Ruca Malen is a relatively new, forward-thinking winery / source

 

For more information about wineries in Mendoza, or to book a wine tour, visit our website.

By: Milly Day – English Content Manager
For: Argentina4u

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