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.
Tree-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.
At 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.
Head 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.
Puente del Inca is a natural arch that has formed over the Vacas River / Photo by Daytours4u
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.
The 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.