Mendoza lies in the Mendoza province in the north of the country, and is the capital city of the province. Ruta Nacional 7 - the main highway that connects Buenos Aires with Santiago Chile - runs right through this city, making it a popular stop-over point. The city is a great place to visit for adventurous people as it has lots of hiking, mountaineering and climbing, horseback riding and rafting. Mendoza also has easy access to the Andes Mountains and offers some good skiing during the winter months. Another important reason to pay Mendoza a visit is for its famous wines: it is one of the largest wine producing areas in Latin America.
This city is a great place to visit; here you can explore the leafy streets and charming squares within the centre, or go out on some of the adventures to be had in the area. Below is our Mendoza travel guide with information on all the best things to do, places to go and what not to miss.
MUSEO FUNDACIONAL – This museum protects excavations from the formal colonial town council which was destroyed in an earthquake in 1861. It also contains a couple of small dioramas depicting Mendoza’s history. The guides are very knowledgeable, and you can learn a lot about the city’s past.
MUSEO MUNICIPAL DE ARTE MODERNO – This museum has a well-organized contemporary art exhibition. There are also free concerts and theatrical performances held here sometimes during the week.
PARQUE PROVINCIAL ACONCAGUA – This is the region’s most famous park, and for good reason, as it is home to Mount Aconcuaga. This mountain - standing 6962 metres high - is the highest mountain peak in the world outside of the Himalaya mountain range. It has become the main attraction in the area, and one of the must things to do in Mendoza. It takes about 10 to 15 days to reach the peak of the summit (including resting time needed to acclimatize).
PARQUE GENERAL SAN MARTIN – This beautiful park was designed by Carlos Thays in 1897. With a stunning lake, it is a great place to go for a walk along the shore and enjoy the beautiful nature. There is also a hill (Cerro de la Gloria) which has a monument on top: a tribute to San Martin’s army that liberated Argentina, Chile and Peru from the Spanish. It also offers a great view of the city from the top.
IGLESIA, CONVENTO AND BASILICA DE SAN FRANCISCO – This church has an image of the Virgen de Cuyo that survived the earthquake here in 1968, and many people of the city think of it as a miraculous sign. Inside the church there is a place where offerings are left to the Virgen, and also to San Martin. His daughter, son in-law and granddaughter are all buried here in this church.
MUSEO HISTORICO GENRAL SAN MARTIN – This museum honours the famous general Jose San Martin who, along with his army, liberated Argentina from the Spanish. He is one of the most famous people in Argentina, as his name is found all over the country and statues are built in his honor. He is dear to Mendoza because it is where he lived, as well as trained his army.
MUSEO POPULAR CALLEJERO – This is a very innovative outdoor museum that you walk along down one of the streets. There are numerous clay diagrams that display the change of one of Mendoza’s major avenues since its creation in 1830.
WINE TOURS – Mendoza is known for having some of the best vineyards in the country and in Latin America. There are organized excursions that run from Mendoza, and offer tours of the nearby vineyards. This is a great chance to taste the wine and see how it’s produced.
*** WHAT NOT TO MISS ***
Mendoza is a city of adventure. There are so many options to choose from, like visiting the vineyards and taking wine tours, going out into the Parque Provincial Aconcagua and into the Andes Mountains, and skiing. Get out of the main city and enjoy the adventure that the area has to offer.
There are good restaurants that can be found throughout the city of Mendoza - the main street being Aristides Villanueva, which has a few really great restaurants. There are also places that offer cheaper food (if you’re willing to forsake on quality). The food that Argentina is most famous for is their meat: you can try grilled meats as well as roast beef, perfectly accompanied with a great bottle of local wine.
Head to Fuente y Fonda (Calle Montevideo 675) for a traditional, home-cooked dish. The servings are very generous and tasty, and the staff are extremely attentive. If you’ve had your fill of meat, one decent veggie place is Govinda Vegetarian (Avenida Gral San Martin sur 948), which has a pay-by-weight service, and is buffet-style, with plenty to choose from. Another option if you’re after fast-food is Zitto (5501 Godoy Cruz), where you’ll find pizza, salads, sandwiches, and coffee.
Nightlife in Argentina is not just confined to Buenos Aires and Cordoba: Mendoza also has its fair share of parties. Aristides Villanueva is one of the best streets to find nightlife in the city - here you can find some more relaxed places which open earlier and offer beer, as well as the local wines. One such place is Bar Latina (Av. Aristides Villanueva 245), which serves delicious mojitos and has a great playlist. For a casual beer, head to Believe Irish Pub (Avenida Cristobal Colon 241), where you’ll find a mix of tourists and locals, friendly staff, and a great atmosphere. For clubbing, go to Geodisco (San Martín Sur 576) which plays electro music, and has occasional karaoke and live music nights.
November to March is the warmer time of the year, with the average temperature rising above 20 degrees Celsius, reaching up to 25 degrees Celsius during warmer months. April to September is the colder time of the year, and during the coolest months of June, July and August, the temperature is around 8 degrees Celsius. There is hardly any rainfall here in the city of Mendoza.
There is a bus station located in Mendoza, with buses to many of the main cities in Argentina, as well as to Santiago (Chile), Lima (Peru), and Montevideo (Uruguay). To travel from Buenos Aires, it takes 13-17 hours, and from Cordoba it’s 10 hours. From Santiago de Chile, it’s 7-9 hours (remember the border crossing involved takes time).
There is a small airport, but flight prices are expensive as only a few airlines serve Mendoza. Therefore, it’s recommended to travel by bus.
There are lots of options for accommodation in Mendoza, whether it be high-end hotels or low-end hostels. There is also the option of renting apartments in Mendoza. The best area is between Avenida Belgrado and Parque San Martin. This is the safest part of the town and is normally quieter. It is also within a short distance of Aristides Villanueva, where you can find bus terminal, but it is a lot less safe in in these parts.
One lovely place to stay is B&B Plaza Italia (Calle Montevideo 685), which is centrally located but tranquil, and whose hospitable owners will make you feel at home. For backpacker-style, check out is Hostel Mora (San Juan 955), which is located close to the bus station, but still within walking distance to the city centre. This is a quiet and simple place to stay, which offers a delicious breakfast, and whose accommodating owners can help organise activities, and provide information. Hostel Mendoza Backpackers (Calle San Lorenzo 19) is located close to the main square and attractions, and not too far from the bus terminal. The staff are very helpful, and there is even a nice terrace where you can enjoy a drink or two!
Be careful when outside of the main area of the city: one of the more dangerous places is near the bus terminal; fraudsters tend to hang out around here. Always use common sense and be cautious when wandering around the city; try to avoid scams.