Hotel in the Andes Mountains in Mendoza, Argentina
Latin America,  Argentina,  Mendoza,  Travel

Mendoza, Argentina: The Most Popular Things to Do and See

Mendoza is by far one of the most popular destinations in Argentina! And for a good reason; With its delightful weather, exquisite wines, and breathtaking landscapes, Mendoza will leave you spellbound.

Nestled in the Andean region, near the border with Chile, Mendoza offers a tranquil escape from the bustling energy of Buenos Aires.

The city boasts a serene ambiance that instantly puts you at ease, allowing you to unwind and immerse yourself in the beauty that surrounds you. The surroundings offer some amazing mountain sceneries mixed with wineries. 

Located in the heart of Argentina, Mendoza is an ideal stopover for travelers heading north to Bolivia or south to Patagonia

So, whether you are embarking on an epic adventure or simply looking to relax and soak in the local culture, Mendoza has got you covered!

Argentina Travel Guide to Visit Mendoza

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Wineries in Mendoza, Argentina

Where is Mendoza?

Mendoza is located by the foothill of the majestic Andes Mountains, also known as la Cordillera de Los Andes in Spanish. Just on the other side of the Andes from Mendoza, you have Santiago de Chile, the capital of Argentina’s neighboring country Chile.

Getting to Mendoza is easy as it is located 652.2 miles (1,050 km) from Buenos Aires. You can choose to travel to Mendoza by car, bus, or flight from Argentina’s capital.

Renowned as Argentina’s wine capital, Mendoza boasts over 70% of the country’s wine production. With more than 1,200 wineries scattered throughout the region, you’ll have endless options to explore and sample exquisite wines.

Andes Mountains in Mendoza, Argentina

The Short History of Mendoza

Mendoza and the surrounding Andes Mountains are especially famous in Argentina for being the place where Independence fighter, San Martín, crossed over to help Chile and Peru with their Independence Fight against the Spanish Empire. In the Andes Mountains, you can find plenty of references to San Martin and people who fought with him in the names of the villages or mountains. 

In 1910, the Transandine Railway was inaugurated running from Mendoza through the Andes to the Chilean port of Valparaiso. The Transandine Railway was meant to be a competition to the Panama Channel, and a way to bring economic development to the region. However, it never became as big a success as hoped for. By 1984, a snow slide destroyed most of the tracks. Most of these were never rebuilt. 

Along the highway in the Andes, you will see plenty of small abandoned villages. Most of these small villages – pueblos or villas in Spanish – were founded with the development of the railroad. However, when the railroad was destroyed and never rebuilt, most of the villages got abandoned by their inhabitants. 

Before the new two-lane highway was built, there was a schedule for when vehicles could cross from Mendoza to Chile. And then another schedule for when they could cross the other way from Chile to Mendoza to ensure that nobody got stuck somewhere in the middle of the mountains.

City of Mendoza, Argentina

What to Do in Mendoza?

In Mendoza, there are plenty of things to do. The city center of Mendoza can easily be explored in around one to two days. But there are so many more activities to do outside the city center.

In Mendoza, they take their midday siesta break seriously! You will find most restaurants and bars in the tourist areas might be open at midday. But don’t expect shops to be open in the early afternoons.

Here are some of the best things to do in Mendoza!

Mendoza City

What to See and Do in Mendoza City?

In the city of Mendoza, take the time to stroll through its beautiful parks, tree-lined streets, and charming cafes from where to enjoy a glass of wine while watching the city life. 

Keep an eye out for the deep channels along the streets of Mendoza! They are the heritages of an old watering system dating back to the time of the Incas. However, they can be quite dangerous for an unaware visitor!

Sign up for a walking tour of Mendoza to learn about the city’s history and hidden gems.

Here are some of the main highlights from Mendoza City:

The San Martin Park and its Gates

The massive iron gates with a flying condor on top have become a landmark of Mendoza, and it a must-see if you are visiting Mendoza.

The gates guard the entrance to the San Martin Park or in Spanish Parque General San Martin. It is a huge park area with a lake and a rose garden where local families spend the afternoons and weekends enjoying the sun. The park leads up to Cerro de la Gloria, a viewpoint over the city.

The Hill of Glory, Cerro de la Gloria

A popular attraction to visit while in Mendoza is the viewpoint on Cerro de la Gloria or Hill of Glory The hill is located just outside the city center of Mendoza. 

It’s a memorial to the falling soldiers of the Argentine Independence War. Since the viewpoint isn’t too high up, the views over the city can be a bit disappointing.

The Independence Square, Plaza Independencia

The Independence Square, or Plaza Independencia, is the biggest square in Mendoza. At night can enjoy Mendoza’s coat of arms lighted in neon.

Avenida Arístides Villanueva

The street Avenida Arístides Villanueva is great for a good night out. Here you will find plenty of bars and restaurants.

The Spanish Square, Plaza España

My favorite square in Mendoza was by far Plaza España. As the name indicates it is a Spanish-inspired square with the most beautiful azulejos. It reminded me so much about my time living in Southern Spain.

City of Mendoza, Argentina


Local Wineries in Mendoza

How to Visit a Local Winery in Mendoza?

In and around Mendoza, there are more than 1.200 wineries. So, it is impossible to get to visit them all! 

In Mendoza, most of the wineries are open for visits all year round. However, the best time to visit the wineries is from October to April.

For visiting the wineries in Mendoza, you can either organize the visit yourself or book a guided tour.

If you are planning your visit on your own, it is important to reserve your visit to the wineries beforehand.

Most of the bodegas start with the first tours around 10 a.m. and have the last one at 3 p.m. or 3.30 p.m. After 5 p.m., most of the wineries will be closed. Some of the smaller boutique wineries, only offer one visit a day.

Wine Districts in Mendoza

When organizing your winery tour, you should also keep in mind that there are three main wine areas or departments in Mendoza:

  • Luján de Cuyo
  • Maipu
  • Valle de Uco

These three areas are located outside the city center of Mendoza. Below I have gathered a short description of these areas:


Maipú is the wine area closest to Mendoza City. It is a great choice if you are on a budget but still want to enjoy some wineries in Mendoza.

You can easily reach some of the main wineries in Maipú with the local bus or by renting a bike by the Maipú station.

Maipú can be reached by public transportation from the center of Mendoza. The red tranvía that runs through the center of Mendoza by Avenida las Heras and Avenida Belgrano, takes you directly to Maipú. Get off that the final stop on the line called Gutiérrez. This is the center of Maipú.

Museum Antigua Bodega Goli

Located in Maipu not far from the train station, it is Museum Antigua Bodega Goli. It is a strange thing between a wine shop and a museum. 

The Museum Antigua Bodega Goil is located in the buildings of what in past times was one of the biggest wineries in Mendoza – Bodega Goli. The winery stopped producing wines many years ago, and the tour was a bit like walking around a ghost winery. 

There is a lot of history in the place. But for me, at least, the interesting part about visiting a winery is to see where the wine is made. Since this winery hasn’t been in use for many years, the wine you will taste when visiting is from other wineries.

Luján de Cuyo

The Luján de Cuyo department of Mendoza is said to have the best Malbec wine in the whole region. Maybe even in the whole world! So, if you are visiting Luján de Cuyo, remember to try some of their Malbec! 

I did a private tour visiting Luján de Cuyo, and I can highly recommend two of the wineries included in the tour:

Alta Vista Winery

Alta Vista was the most professionally run winery I visited in Mendoza. Their wine tasting had a great selection of different types of wine.

The winery itself is picturesque and located in beautiful old buildings with a view of the Andes Mountains. 

Clos de Chacras Boutique Winery

Clos de Chacras is a boutique winery located in the Chacras de Coria neighborhood of Luján de Cuyo.

The winery produces some yummy wines, and their restaurant also offers a delicious lunch menu!

Valle de Uco

Valle de Uco is the last wine area in Mendoza. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to visit Valle de Uco.

Erin from Sol Salute strongly recommends visiting Bodega La Azul in Valle del Uco.

Wineries in Mendoza, Argentina

The Andes Mountains in Mendoza

Exploring the Andes Mountains is another must-do activity when in Mendoza!

You can take a day trip to the Andes Mountains, a longer trekking trip, go river rafting on the Mendoza River or horseback riding in the Andes. No matter what you choose, you are guaranteed to have amazing views!

For a truly unique experience to immerse yourself in Argentine cowboy, gaucho, traditions, consider trying a Gaucho Experience riding through the Andes mountains. Lindsey’s from Have Clothes Will Travel has shared her amazing Gaucho Experience in Mendoza.

Have you heard about the local tradition of leaving bottles of water along provincial highways in the Andes Mountains?

According to a local legend, there was a woman who ventured into the mountains in search of her husband but ended up getting lost. When she was finally found, according to the legend, she only managed to survive by drinking the water from the bottles left behind. As a result, locals continue to leave bottles filled with water, in case, somebody gets lost.

What to Explore in the Andes Mountains?

The Aconcagua Mountain

The Aconcagua Mountain is the highest peak in both the Western and Southern Hemispheres. With its breathtaking presence, Aconcagua is a symbol of adventure and an iconic landmark in the province of Mendoza.

The Aconcagua Mountain stands at an impressive height of 22,837 feet (6,960.8 meters). If you aren’t up for the challenge of seeking to conquer its summit, many tours will take you to admire it from a distance.

Potrerillos Dam

The Potrerillos Dam, also known as Embalse Potrerillos, is a significant hydroelectric and water storage dam. The dam is situated in the Andes Mountains, approximately 37 miles (60 km) southwest of the city of Mendoza.

The dam was constructed on the Mendoza River and was completed in 2003. Its main purpose is to regulate the flow of water for irrigation, hydroelectric power generation, and flood control in the region. But it also offers beautiful views over the clear blue water.

I did this day trip of the Andes Mountains which stops by the Posterillos Dam, and takes you all the way up in the Andes Mountains.

Puente del Inca

Puente del Inca, or translated the Inca’s Bridge, is a unique stone formation resembling a bridge, enriched with minerals and surrounded by flowing water.

The legend goes that the Incas in Peru went here to save an Inca prince who was very sick. Due to the high concentration of minerals in the water, the Incas that served the prince are said to have become be-stoned forming the bridge formation we can observe today.

In and around Puente del Inca, you will see some abandoned buildings. These are the remains of a luxurious hotel built on the sight. The spa of this hotel was located just on the outspring for the mineral water.

Join a day trip to the Andes Mountains to explore the Inca’s Bridge.

Relax in the Thermal Baths of Cacheuta

The natural pools and thermal baths of Cacheuta are another popular activity in the Andes mountains surrounding Mendoza. 

There are two ways to visit the hot springs. Through the public water park, Parque de Agua – Termas de Cacheuta, or by reserving at the Hotel and Spa Termas de Cacheuta. Read more about the thermal baths of Cacheuta.

Explore the Natural Reserve Villavicencio

The natural reserve for the mineral water of Villavicencio is a protected area located in the foothills of the Andes Mountains around 31 miles (50 km) from the city of Mendoza. 

The Natural Reserve Villavicencio offers visitors the opportunity to explore the region’s stunning landscapes. Hiking trails are winding through the reserve, allowing visitors to enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.

The reserve also features mineral springs. You might have seen the name Villavicencio on bottles of mineral water in supermarkets around Argentina.

Explore the tour options on Viator for visiting the Natural Reserve Villavicencio with a guide.

Puente del Inca in Mendoza, Argentina
Andes Mountains in Mendoza, Argentina

San Rafael

Extend Your Stay with a Visit to San Rafael

If you haven’t gotten enough of wines and stunning mountains in Mendoza, then consider extending your stay with a couple of days in San Rafael, Mendoza’s smaller brother.

San Rafael is less touristic than Mendoza and also offers some charming vineyards and scenic landscapes.

You can also visit San Rafael in a day trip from Mendoza and experience the highlights of Valle Grande Dam and Atuel Canyon.

Check out my complete guide to San Rafael.

San Rafael, Argentina

How to Get Around in Mendoza?

Getting around Mendoza is convenient with a well-connected public transportation system. Buses and trams provide easy access to various attractions and can even take you to and from the airport.

Public transportation can even take you to and from the Airport. There is a small bus running from the airport to the city center (bus line 680). So, no need for you to order a taxi!

City of Mendoza, Argentina

Where to Stay in Mendoza?

Mendoza offers a variety of options ranging from luxury hotels to budget-friendly hostels and guesthouses. Many local wineries also offer accommodation.

Explore the map below to find the accommodation that suits you the best:

When to Visit Mendoza?

Choosing the right time to visit Mendoza depends on your preferences. The harvest season from January to March is a popular time, especially during the Vendimia festival in March.

However, if you prefer a quieter atmosphere, visiting outside the peak season can still offer a delightful experience. I visited outside the popular harvest season and still enjoyed my visit very much.

Mendoza’s desert-like climate features cool evenings and nights, so it’s advisable to bring an extra sweater for the cooler moments, especially if you plan to explore the Andes Mountains.

Have you visited Mendoza? Or would you like to visit? Or maybe you are already planning a trip here? Share your thoughts and knowledge below!

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