Mendoza: need-to-knows & nice-to-knows

Get all the best need-to-knows and nice-to-knows of fun and useful facts for visiting Mendoza!

Mendoza is one of the most popular destinations in Argentina, and for a good reason!

It is famous for its wine production and the possibility to visit some of the region’s many wineries, but the city of Mendoza is also a lovely place to visit. If you ask Argentines from other parts of Argentina, they will most likely go like “Oh, Mendoza is so linda” (e.g. pretty)

Instead of the usual “what to see, where to eat and sleep”-information about Mendoza, I have collected some useful tips and funny information about Mendoza for you to be as prepared as possible for your trip to Mendoza.

Keep on reading to enjoy these need-to-knows and nice-to-knows about Mendoza!

Get all the best need-to-knows and nice-to-knows of fun and useful facts for visiting Mendoza!

NEED TO KNOW

Mendoza is Argentina’s absolute wine capital, and about 70% of all wine production in Argentina take place in Mendoza. The Luján de Cuyo department of Mendoza is said to have the best Malbec wine in the whole region… Yes, maybe even in the whole world!

NICE TO KNOW

The busiest season in Mendoza is the harvest season which run from January to March. This is also the recommended season to visit Mendoza. However, I visited out of season, and it also had its charm.

NEED TO KNOW

In Spanish, a person from Mendoza is called Mendocino (male) or Mendocina (female). The adjective can also be used for products and things – if you pay attention you will most likely see this word all around town.

NICE TO KNOW

Mendoza is located just by the foothill of the Andes Mountains. Actually, just on the other side of the massive mountain chain, you have Santiago de Chile, the capital of Argentina’s neighborhood country; Chile.

Get all the best need-to-knows and nice-to-knows of fun and useful facts for visiting Mendoza!

NEED TO KNOW

Mendoza has a desert-like climate with cold evenings and nights and warm days – so remember to bring an extra sweater for the evenings and early mornings. Especially, if you are planning to visit the Andes.

NICE TO KNOW

In Spanish, the Andes Mountains are referred to as la Cordillera de Los Andes. You might head that name quite a lot when in Mendoza.

Get all the best need-to-knows and nice-to-knows of fun and useful facts for visiting Mendoza!

NEED TO KNOW

All water in Mendoza come from the snow in the Andes Mountains. Therefore, it is essential for Mendoza that it snows in the Andes. However, climate change is challenging the region, and there is still falling less and less show in the winters in the Andes region.

NICE TO KNOW

Despite all the focus on wine production, the main industry in Mendoza is actually the oil industry.

The city of Mendoza

NEED TO KNOW

The center of Mendoza Capital can easily be explored in around a day. There are plenty of beautiful parks, wide streets covered in trees, and restaurants and cafes to visit. However, most of the activities of Mendoza is outside the city (keep on reading for more info).

Get all the best need-to-knows and nice-to-knows of fun and useful facts for visiting Mendoza!

NICE TO KNOW

Plaza Independencia is the biggest square in town, and where you at night can enjoy Mendoza’s coat of arms lighted in neon.

However, my favorite square by far was Plaza España; a small Spanish-inspired square with the most beautiful azulejos that reminded me so much about my years living in Southern Spain.

Get all the best need-to-knows and nice-to-knows of fun and useful facts for visiting Mendoza!
Get all the best need-to-knows and nice-to-knows of fun and useful facts for visiting Mendoza!

NEED TO KNOW

The city of Mendoza has a surprisingly well-organized public transportation system. At the moment of writing (October 2019), it works with a special transportation card, the REDBUS card, but they should (slowly) be implementing the SUBE transportation card which you use in Buenos Aires.

NICE TO KNOW

In Mendoza, they take their siesta seriously! So, even though restaurants and bars in the more touristic areas might be open at midday, do expect most shops to be closed in the early afternoons.

Get all the best need-to-knows and nice-to-knows of fun and useful facts for visiting Mendoza!

NEED TO KNOW

You can even take public transportation from the Airport to the city center – no need for you to order a taxi. There is a small bus running from the airport to the city center (bus line 680) which costs 35 Argentine pesos (as of October 2019). Unfortunately, you can’t buy a REDBUS card at the airport, but if you have change the driver might let you board the bus anyway.

NICE TO KNOW

The street Avenida Arístides Villanueva is filled with bars and restaurants for a good night out.

NEED TO KNOW

A popular attraction to visit just a bit outside the city of Mendoza is Cerro de la Gloria – Hill of Glory – which is a memorial to the falling soldiers of the Argentine Independence War. Being on a small mountain I was quite disappointed with the limited views of the city from up there.

NICE TO KNOW

The deep channels along the streets of Mendoza are heritages of an old watering system which is said to date back to the time of the Incas.

Get all the best need-to-knows and nice-to-knows of fun and useful facts for visiting Mendoza!

The history of Mendoza

NEED TO KNOW

Mendoza and the surrounding Andes Mountains are especially famous for being the place where Independence fighter, San Martín, crossed over to help Chile and Peru with their Independence Fight against the Spanish Empire. You will, therefore, find plenty of references to him around Mendoza and the region, in general. 

NICE TO KNOW

In 1910, the Trasandine Railway was inaugurated running from Mendoza through the Andes to the Chilean port of Valparaiso. It was thought of as a competition to the Panama Channel, and as 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 them were not rebuild. 

Get all the best need-to-knows and nice-to-knows of fun and useful facts for visiting Mendoza!

NEED TO KNOW

Along the highway in the Andes, you will see plenty of small abandoned villages. Most of these small villages – pueblos or villas in Spanish – where founded with the arriving and development of the railroad. However, as the railroad was destroyed and it took forever to rebuild it, most of the villages were abandoned. 

NICE TO KNOW

Before the new highway was built, it was a schedule for when vehicles could cross from Mendoza to Chile, and then another schedule for when they could cross from Chile to Mendoza to assure that nobody got stuck somewhere in the middle of the mountains.

Get all the best need-to-knows and nice-to-knows of fun and useful facts for visiting Mendoza!

NEED TO KNOW

Along the provincial highways running through the mountains, people leave bottles with water because of an old legend. The legend says that a woman went out in the mountains in search of her husband, and got lost on her way. When she was found again, the legend says, that the only way she had kept herself alive was by drinking the water of the bottles left behind. Therefore people started to leave bottles filled with water for the people lost in the mountains.

So, it is not (only) that they don’t want to care about the environment if you see huge piles of plastic bottles.

Get all the best need-to-knows and nice-to-knows of fun and useful facts for visiting Mendoza!

Outdoor activities in Mendoza

NEED TO KNOW

A part from the visits to the wineries, other popular activities are the day tour to “Alta Montaña” (High Mountain) which takes you up through the Andes Mountains towards the Chilean border. The views are amazing… 

Get all the best need-to-knows and nice-to-knows of fun and useful facts for visiting Mendoza!

NICE TO KNOW

…Or how about going rafting in the Mendoza river or horseback riding in the Andes?

Read more here about Lindsey’s Guacho experience of horseback riding in Mendoza over at Have Clothes, Will Travel.

NEED TO KNOW

One of the main attractions in the mountains surrounding Mendoza is Puente del Inca. The legend goes that the Incas in Peru went here in the search of saving a prince who was very sick. Due to the high concentration of minerals in the water, the Incas serving the prince are said to have become be-stoned forming the bridge formation we can observe today

NICE TO KNOW

The abandoned buildings in and around Puente del Inca is 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

NEED TO KNOW

Other popular tours include visiting the natural pools and thermal baths of Cacheuta or the natural reserve for the mineral water of Villavicencio (you might have seen the bottles of the mineral water in supermarkets around Argentina).

NICE TO KNOW

Other than that, the Andes, of course, offers plenty of possibilities for hiking to enjoy the amazing views.

NEED TO KNOW

The last city on the Argentine side of the border is called Las Cuevas (the Caves) – don’t ask me why, but it is cold up there!

Get all the best need-to-knows and nice-to-knows of fun and useful facts for visiting Mendoza!

Have you ever visited Mendoza? Or are you planning your trip there? Did I miss any piece of important information?

Please feel free to share your story, ideas or tips in the comments below!

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