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Mendoza

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For other places with the same name, see Mendoza (disambiguation).

Mendoza is a city in western Argentina, in the desert Cuyo region. Mendoza is the center of the Argentinian wine industry, for which it is world renowned. It is also near the Aconcagua, the highest mountain outside of the Himalayas. Mendoza is the capital of the province of Mendoza.

Understand

Although it is situated in an extremely dry desert region, Mendoza has an extensive artificial irrigation system, which allows for greenery throughout the city as well as the growth of the grapes used to make its famous wines. Most streets have irrigation channels on either side, with bridges for pedestrian and vehicular traffic. These are periodically flooded with water diverted from the river.

Siesta (afternoon nap) is still taken in Mendoza. Most businesses close from approximately 1 PM until 4 PM, then re-open until about 8-9 PM.

Climate

Summers are extremely hot and dry in the city. January is particularly hot; temperatures of 40C (104 F) are not uncommon. The nearby mountains are cool, though, even in the summer.

Winters are moderately cold in the city and very cold in the mountains. Many ski centers are located near Mendoza.

Get in

The bus terminal is about two kilometers from the city center. Taxis and remis (private taxis) are readily available (US$ 2-3 to the center), or it is a 15 minute walk.

There are daily bus connections to all major destinations including Bariloche and Santiago de Chile, a beautiful 8-hour bus ride crossing the Andes. Santiago de Chile is not always reachable by bus as the Andes pass closes after the first heavy snowfall in the winter months, normally around late April. (Check the following website for pass conditions [1] (Spanish).

Mendoza has a small airport, El Plumerillo (airport code MDZ), with flights to Buenos Aires and Santiago de Chile, but tickets are very expensive as compared to bus fares.

Mendoza is a travel hub of sorts for Argentina, with connections to nearly every major city in the country.

Bus travel times to/from Mendoza:

Buses from Buenos Aires: Micros de Retiro [2].

In the winter, the mountain passes to Chile can be closed if weather is bad.

Get around

Central Mendoza is relatively compact and walkable - for example it is a 20-30 minute walk from Plaza Independencia to Parque San Martin, however to get to the bodegas (vineyards) to the south walking isn't recommended as it they are at least 10km away.

Buses are cheap and plentiful, but a little confusing at first. Buses have two numbers, a line (linea) number, which is the big number at the top of the front of every bus, and a route number, which is two or three digits (ie 33) and is on a small sign behind the windscreen. Buses on the same line (eg Linea 3) all go to roughly the same place (eg Godoy Cruz) but the route varies by route number - so be careful not to get on the wrong route! You can pay cash for bus journeys (Ar$1.40, coins only) but if you plan to use the buses a lot it is better to purchase a Red Bus card (a prepaid proximity card) that you touch-in when boarding a bus. You can buy a Red Bus card from any kiosk near a bus stop for Ar$3.

Taxis are plentiful, metered and fairly cheap, costing about the same as in Buenos Aires. A trip across town from the bus station to Parque San Martin will cost around Ar$12.

You can hire bicycles in town - most hostels can put you in touch with a bicycle hire outfit - prices are negioable (ie they will charge you as much as they think you are willing to pay) but you shouldn't pay more than Ar$30 - Ar$40 per day. You will need some form of ID to leave as deposit. Ask to see the bike before handing over your money - many are old clunkers.

See

Do

Many companies organize trekking, expeditions, horseback riding, and whitewater rafting in the desert and the mountains. Mountain cabins in areas with spectacular scenery are easily rentable in the city. Check the classified ads in the newspaper.

Cacheuta, located about an hour outside of Mendoza, has a very large network of natural hot-tubs. During high season and weekends, you will pay AR$20 for entrance, and during low season the price is closer to AR$15. For easy transportation, inquire regarding Cacheuta at the Bus Terminal; busses depart mendoza in the morning (before noon) and return in the evening (last bus departs Cacheuta at 6:50pm). You will pay AR$4 for each way, and it is recommended that you purchase both directions before departing. If you're in for the full day adventure, consider bringing some food to cook on their plentiful and free grills.

Learn

As with many cities in Argentina, there is a variety of Spanish courses and private lessons are available. There are two extablished language schools in Mendoza: Intercultural [3] is the biggest, has a range of afternoon activities, and is slightly more expensive, Greenfields [4] (previously COINED) is smaller and feels less well organised, but many of the teachers work at both schools. Another option for individual or very small tailor-made group lessons: Spanish in Mendoza Argentina (SIMA) [5]

Buy

Eat

Good restaurants abound. For a round-up of Mendoza's more expensive eateries ask for the Guía Mendoza Gourmet from the tourist office. The main restaurant strip is on Aristides Villanueva, which runs east-west from Ave Belgrano (where the defunct railway tracks are) to Parque San Martin. It is difficult to have a bad meal here, although as a general rule be wary of special offers from places near the hostels - they may be cheap, but this shows in the quality. There are also some excellent (and pricey) restaurants on Ave Sarmiento running west from Plaza Independencia. A cluster of cheaper restaurants are on Ave Juan B Justo

Try world-famous Argentinian beef asado (roasted) from a parrilla (grill) restaurant, with a bottle of Mendoza's excellent wine. Mendoza's most famous varieties are the Malbecs from Maipú and Luján de Cuyo. Other good options are Cabernet Sauvignons and Merlots.

Even by Argentinian standards, Mendocinans eat late. On weekdays kitchens open around 9pm, but few diners arrive before 10pm. On Fridays and Saturdays things don't get going until 11pm.

Sleep

Although Mendoza is a very liveable city, and many choose to stay for a few weeks to take language courses and the like, there is not the same short term apartment rental infrastructure as in Buenos Aries. An internet search will bring up a few options but be wary of paying deposits before you arrive as the apartment may not live up to your expectations. Traffic noise can be a particular problem.

The most pleasant part of town is between Plaza Independencia and Park San Martin - with quiet street and well kept neighbourhoods, and the bars and restaurants of Aristes Villanueva within walking distance. East of the centre is the more low rent area, and contains the cheaper hostels.

Budget

Mid-range

Located in a beautiful house with large open spaces, couches and big garden with swimming pool and hammocks for you to chill out. Spaceful and equipped kitchen for guests and a bar to buy beer and wine. Bedrooms are comfortable. The beds have new thick mattresses and lockers. Friendly and helpful staff that can recommend you lots of activities to do in Mendoza.

Splurge

Stay safe

Be wary of scams, especially around the bus terminal. Occasionally foreigners will pretend to have been robbed and use your sympathy to "borrow" money for a bus ride.

Specifically, a guy claiming to be a Dutch/Belgian traveller who got 'mugged' at the station, having everything including his backpack taken. Do not help him out, he's a local and has been doing this for a while.

Related Information



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A list of contributors is available at the original article on Wikitravel. Additional modifications may have been made by users at TRAVEL.COM [7].

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