Argentina has been attracting more and more Brazilian tourists looking for natural beauty, quality cuisine, affordable prices and unique experiences in Latin America. With breathtaking scenery, from the cosmopolitan capital Buenos Aires, and its architectural icons, to the glaciers of Patagonia in the south of the country, Argentina has the ideal destination for all tastes and interests and is the perfect setting for anyone visiting adventure alone, for couples in love and also for family trips.
The city of Mendoza, located in the west of the country, at the foot of the Andes Mountains, is one of those places that cannot be left out of the travel itinerary. Known worldwide for the quality of its wines, which are produced in more than a thousand wineries in the region, Mendoza offers its visitors the experience of wine tourism, as well as breathtaking visual tours along Ruta Nacional 7 (which connects the country to Chile and passes through Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the Americas), ski resorts, adventure tourism (with rafting, horseback riding, balloon rides, thermal water pools and others), and restaurants by renowned chefs in the cozy city center.
Mendoza is located just over 700 meters above sea level and about a thousand kilometers away from Buenos Aires. Despite its dry climate, it remains cool because all the streets have small gutters through which the melting water of the Andes Mountains flows, guaranteeing even the irrigation of the soil in the grape and fruit plantations.
With its own airport, the city receives direct flights from Brazil, as well as buses and own cars from the Argentine capital or major cities in the region. To get around Mendoza, buses and taxis are available, as well as rental cars, and there are dozens of travel agencies that take tourists to the main tourist spots for affordable prices.
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Mendoza is responsible for the production of 70% of Argentine wine and, therefore, knowing at least one winery (name given to wineries in Spanish) is mandatory for anyone visiting the city. The closest bodegas to the center of Mendoza are about 15 km away, and offer guided tours, tastings, and sometimes even lodging. There are three main regions: Vale do Uco, Maipu and Luján de Cuyo, where the most famous Argentine wines are produced, such as Trapiche, Catena Zapata, Zuccardi and Ruca Malén.
To avoid drinking and driving, there are affordable options for those looking to tour one or more wine-producing regions. Whether you rent a car with a driver or take the Bus Vitivinícola, which passes through the hotels and takes tourists to the chosen route, fun and safety are guaranteed. Prices range from $1650 to $2500 Argentine pesos which, converted into reais at the current exchange rate*, would be around R$50 and R$75, depending on the day, route and duration of the tours.
Visitors pay to enter the wineries they wish to visit and prices are available on the websites themselves. If you choose to have lunch, you should consider this in the final value. The restaurants in the wineries have a tasting menu with renowned chefs and, of course, wine pairing. The experience is unforgettable on the palate.
The cozy city center
Anyone arriving in Mendoza for the first time is impressed by the amount of trees on the main streets. In the center of the city, a wide “calçadão” with shops, cafes, ice cream parlors, restaurants and snack bars welcomes the visitor, mixing the movement of tourists with the calm of the routine of local residents.
The squares of Mendoza also draw attention. Flat and tree-lined, they have space for craft fairs, illuminated fountains and even stalls with typical Argentine food. At Plaza da Independência, dozens of local families sell traditional cuts of meat that are roasted over the grill in the open air, offering the complete experience for those unfamiliar with the preparations. Among the main orders are the chorizo, the roast strip, the ancho steak and the famous choripan sandwich.
Another important tourist spot in the city is the General San Martín Park. It was designed by French landscaper Carlos Thays and occupies about a third of the city’s total area. Housing squares, lakes, fountains, space for picnics and barbecues, the park is one of the favorite spaces for residents to enjoy a day off.
The National Route 7
One of the most famous and oldest highways in Argentina, Ruta Nacional 7 is a mandatory route for tourists who want to discover the most distant beauties of downtown Mendoza. With little travel time on the route, which goes to Chile, the traveler sees one of the most beautiful landscapes in the region, the Dique Potrerillos. It is a dam on the Mendoza River, which, as it saves water from the melting of the Cordillera – the same one that bathes the city of Mendoza – has a color that draws attention. On sunny days, the view is stunning. Although visitors are not allowed to approach the water, the view is worth it. Take advantage of the photo stop and be thrilled with the true blue lake that forms between the high mountains.
Not far from the Dique Potrerillos, the thermal pools in the Cacheuta region guarantee the ideal rest for the elderly and fun for children. Despite the cold of the mountain, the region of Cacheuta has thermal pools, spa and a park that offer tranquility, comfort and a little luxury to visitors. Entrance to the park costs around $600 and $800 Argentine pesos (R$ 18 and R$ 23.5), and allows you to stay for the whole day.
The natural beauty of Puente del Inca
Still on the way to Ruta Nacional 7, Puente del Inca is a mandatory stop on the trip. At first glance, it looks carved by man, but the landscape is natural and the ocher tones have been left there over the years. It is 48 meters long and 28 meters wide from a bridge that today is close to a small village, but which was once part, in the last century, of a large hotel that, taking advantage of the fame of its thermal waters, built its facilities there. An avalanche destroyed the place, keeping only the thermal baths and a chapel that cannot be accessed by the public for security reasons. The breathtaking view is free and the perfect setting for the photos.
There are also some hostels on site and a fair where small neighboring artisans sell objects produced from the rock formation of the bridge. It’s an excellent opportunity to bring back a souvenir of this historic place. All High Mountain tours offered by agencies in downtown Mendoza have a scheduled stop on the bridge.
Adventure on the highest mountain in the Americas
If you’re an adventurer, you’ll love the Aconcagua Provincial Park, home to the highest mountain in the Americas and in the heart of the Andes Mountains. The park is one of the greatest natural beauties of Argentina and visitors can walk along peaceful trails to reach the viewpoint, which has one of the most beautiful views of the mountain, and can venture on trekking to participate in expeditions that last between 7 and 20 days . To enter the Park, the Latin visitor pays according to the route he intends to explore, with prices between $600 and $2500 Argentine pesos (R$18 and R$75).
Aconcagua is 185 km from downtown Mendoza and the high season takes place between November and March. However, it is possible to visit the place even out of season, in an experience with less cold and snow.
Snow sport lovers or those who like to have fun with this wonder of nature should also visit Las Leñas, one of the best ski and snowboard centers in the southern hemisphere, which has 29 slopes with 65 kilometers available for sports, including at night. . Very close to the ski center, there is no lack of accommodation options, whether luxurious or simple, including apart-hotels that are designed especially for families and larger groups.
There, tourists will find all the traditional resort services available, such as equipment for rent, restaurants, ski schools and even a small snow park for those who want to have fun and train their skills. Everywhere there is also the presence of qualified guides who guide and teach tourists to practice winter sports more safely. For the hippest, a shopping center, a small casino and night clubs further guarantee the complete experience in Las Leñas.
The largest winter sports complex in Latin America is located about 400km south of Mendoza, right in the heart of the Andes Mountains and can be accessed by land, with cars and buses, and by planes. As it is at an altitude of 2,750m, Las Leñas is surrounded by snow-covered mountains, guaranteeing the experience from the moment tourists open the door to their accommodation. The Vulcano and Retorno de Marte lifts, the Canopy Neve zipline and the Minerva III, Apollo and Venus runways cannot be missing from the sports itinerary, as they are the highlights of Las Leñas.
Another differential in the region is the Parque Aventura, inaugurated in 2013, which welcomes both those staying in Las Leñas and day visitors. The park is ideal for family fun and adults and children are invited to enjoy the Snow Tubing track, with more than 100 meters, in inflatable boats.
*Prices informed in the article are based on the blue dollar. Prices calculated from the official dollar may change.