Mendoza, nestled at the foothills of the Andes in western Argentina, is the heart of Argentina’s wine country, celebrated for its world-class Malbecs and picturesque vineyards. For those pondering things to do in Mendoza, embarking on a wine tour through the region’s renowned bodegas (wineries), savoring wine tastings against a backdrop of snow-capped mountains, and exploring the city’s leafy plazas and historic sites, like the Basilica of San Francisco, are top activities.
The city’s General San Martín Park, a vast green space with its rose garden, lake, and the Cerro de la Gloria monument, offers a serene escape from urban life. Nearby, the Andes Mountains beckon adventurers with hiking, skiing, and mountaineering opportunities, showcasing the region’s natural splendor.
Beyond its vinicultural appeal, Mendoza is a hub for outdoor enthusiasts, from white-water rafting in the Mendoza River to horseback riding through the foothills. For those seeking the best places to visit in Argentina, Mendoza’s blend of wine, culture, and breathtaking landscapes makes it a must-visit destination.
Table of Contents
Attractions & Things to Do in Mendoza, Argentina
1. Bodegas of Mendoza
The wineries, or ‘bodegas,’ are one of the prime attractions of Mendoza. As Argentina’s leading wine region, visitors can tour these establishments, understanding the process of wine production from grape to bottle. The Malbec varietal is especially renowned in this region, offering a deep red wine with intense flavors.
Travel Tip: Prioritize a guided wine tour to get an in-depth understanding of the region’s viticulture and for a chance to taste some of the best wines.
2. Aconcagua Provincial Park
The towering Aconcagua is the highest peak in the Southern and Western hemispheres, rising to 6,960.8 meters. Located within the Aconcagua Provincial Park, adventurers can take day trips to base camps or embark on multi-day treks to ascend the mountain. The park’s landscapes are breathtaking, with vast snow, rock, and ice expanses.
Travel Tip: Ensure you’re adequately prepared for high-altitude conditions and always respect the natural environment.
3. Plaza Independencia
Plaza Independencia is at the heart of Mendoza City, a spacious urban square surrounded by lush trees, fountains, and statues. It’s an ideal relaxing spot for people-watching, blending local culture and history. The plaza regularly hosts art and craft fairs, musical performances, and other events.
Travel Tip: Visit in the evening when the plaza comes alive with local artists and performers, making it a perfect spot for leisure and entertainment.
4. General San Martin Park
A vast green oasis in Mendoza, General San Martin Park spans over 420 hectares, offering visitors myriad recreational activities. From the picturesque Rose Garden to the serene Lake of Regatas, where one can rent paddleboats, the park is a haven for nature lovers. There’s also a zoo and various monuments, including the Cerro de la Gloria, dedicated to the Argentine army.
Travel Tip: Pack a picnic and enjoy a leisurely day in the park; the serene environment is perfect for unwinding.
5. Termas Cacheuta
Termas Cacheuta offers natural thermal springs nestled amidst the Andes mountains for those looking for relaxation. Surrounded by stunning landscapes, these baths offer therapeutic properties, and facilities range from mud baths to spa treatments.
Travel Tip: Visit during weekdays for a less crowded experience, and don’t forget to bring a swimsuit.
6. Museo del Pasado Cuyano
To dive deep into the region’s history, Museo del Pasado Cuyano is a must-visit. The museum showcases artifacts, documents, and relics tracing the evolution of the Cuyo region, giving visitors insights into its rich past. It comprehensively explains Mendoza’s cultural, social, and political history.
Travel Tip: Allocate at least a couple of hours to fully explore the museum, and consider hiring a guide for a more enriched experience.
7. Uco Valley
Situated south of Mendoza, Uco Valley is another premier wine-growing region renowned for its high-altitude vineyards and magnificent mountain views. The valley offers a combination of boutique wineries and luxury accommodations, making it a favorite for travelers seeking wine and relaxation.
Travel Tip: Combine a visit to Uco Valley with a stay at one of the local estancias or boutique lodges for an immersive wine-country experience.
8. Puente del Inca
A natural bridge over the Las Cuevas River, Puente del Inca is a geological wonder and a historical site. Rich in sulfur, the site once had thermal baths, believed to possess healing properties. The ruins of the old spa resort and the adjacent chapel can still be seen today, surrounded by the vibrant mineral-rich coloration of the rocks.
Travel Tip: The site can be chilly, even in summer, so bring layers. And remember, while the mineral-streaked bridge is visually stunning, walking over it is prohibited to protect its structure.
9. Casa El Enemigo
More than just a winery, Casa El Enemigo offers a cultural experience. Guests are treated to a blend of fine wines, literature, music, and art. It’s a space where wine tastings are often paired with philosophical conversations, poetry readings, and live music.
Travel Tip: Reservations are highly recommended. When booking, inquire about special events or readings that might be taking place during your visit.
10. Mendoza River Rafting
For thrill-seekers, the Mendoza River offers exciting white-water rafting opportunities. The river’s rapids range from moderate to challenging, catering to beginners and experienced rafters. Surrounded by the Andes mountains, the experience is as visually rewarding as it is adrenaline-pumping.
Travel Tip: Always go rafting with a certified and reputable company, ensuring that safety measures are strictly followed.
11. Peatonal Sarmiento
The bustling pedestrian street of Peatonal Sarmiento is lined with cafes, shops, ice cream parlors, and restaurants. Its lively atmosphere makes it a perfect place to soak in the city’s modern culture, try local delicacies, or pick up souvenirs.
Travel Tip: Visit in the late afternoon or evening, as many local businesses operate on siesta and may close for a few hours in the early afternoon.
12. Mount Paragliding
The mountains surrounding Mendoza provide a perfect setting for paragliding. Float above vineyards, cityscapes, and the vast expanse of the Andes for a truly unforgettable experience. Both tandem flights for beginners and courses for aspiring solo pilots are available.
Travel Tip: If you’re new to paragliding, opt for a tandem flight with a certified instructor for a safe and mesmerizing experience.
13. Olive Oil Tours
While Mendoza is best known for its wine, the region also produces exceptional olive oil. Numerous olive farms and factories open their doors to visitors, offering a unique insight into the entire process – from cultivation to extraction. Tasting sessions reveal the subtle nuances and flavors of high-quality olive oils.
Travel Tip: Combine a wine tour with an olive oil tasting for a well-rounded gourmet experience in Mendoza.
14. Villavicencio Natural Reserve
A scenic delight located north of Mendoza, the Villavicencio Natural Reserve is a haven for flora and fauna. Its surreal landscapes of mountains, springs, and unique geological formations make it a favorite for photographers and nature enthusiasts. The reserve is also home to the iconic Caracoles Road, known for its winding curves.
Travel Tip: Wear comfortable shoes, as exploring the reserve involves some walking. Don’t forget to bring a camera to capture the stunning vistas.
15. Las Leñas Ski Resort
During winter, the Las Leñas Valley transforms into one of South America’s top ski destinations. With a wide range of slopes catering to beginners and seasoned skiers alike, it offers a snowy retreat amidst the backdrop of the Andes.
Travel Tip: The ski season generally runs from June to October. Make sure to book accommodations in advance, especially during peak season.
16. Zuccardi Valle de Uco
A testament to innovation in winemaking, Zuccardi Valle de Uco is not just a winery but an experience in itself. With its contemporary architecture and commitment to sustainable practices, visitors can indulge in wine tours, tastings, and a culinary journey at their on-site restaurant.
Travel Tip: Don’t miss out on their specialty wine-pairing lunches, where regional dishes perfectly match Zuccardi wines.
17. Mercado Central
Mercado Central is a feast for the senses, a bustling marketplace in the heart of Mendoza. Locals and tourists flock here to shop for fresh produce, meats, cheeses, and artisanal goods. The market also boasts eateries serving up local dishes and snacks.
Travel Tip: Visit during the morning for the freshest produce and experience the market at its liveliest.
18. Los Pingos Horse Riding
Experience Mendoza’s landscapes in a timeless way – on horseback. Los Pingos offers horse riding tours through vineyards, mountains, and valleys, ensuring visitors have an intimate experience with the region’s natural beauty. Whether you’re a novice rider or more experienced, there’s a trail for you.
Travel Tip: Dress appropriately with closed shoes and comfortable clothing. Remember to wear sunscreen and a hat to protect against the sun.
19. Bike and Wine Tours
A unique way to explore the wineries of Mendoza is by cycling. Various companies offer guided bike tours through the scenic vineyards, stopping at select bodegas for wine tastings and vineyard tours.
Travel Tip: Stay hydrated and pace your wine tastings, especially under the sun. Opt for guided tours that provide all necessary equipment and prioritize safety.
FAQ About Things to Do in Mendoza, Argentina
What is Mendoza most famous for?
Mendoza is renowned for its world-class wineries and vineyards, especially those producing Malbec wines. The region is often called the “Wine Capital of Argentina.”
Are there any guided wine tours available in Mendoza?
Yes, numerous guided wine tours are available that take visitors to various vineyards and wineries in the region. These tours often include wine-tasting sessions, vineyard walks, and insights into the winemaking process.
What other outdoor activities can one enjoy besides wine tours in Mendoza?
Mendoza offers a range of outdoor activities, including hiking in the Andes Mountains, white-water rafting in the Mendoza River, and horseback riding through the countryside.
Is the Aconcagua Provincial Park worth a visit?
Absolutely! Aconcagua Provincial Park is home to Mount Aconcagua, the highest peak in the Southern and Western Hemispheres. It’s a popular spot for trekking and mountaineering.
Can I experience local Argentinian culture in Mendoza?
Yes, Mendoza has vibrant local markets, traditional dance performances, and local festivals that showcase Argentina’s rich culture and traditions.
Are there any thermal spas or hot springs in Mendoza?
Yes, the region around Mendoza is known for its thermal spas and hot springs, such as the Cacheuta Thermal Spa, where visitors can relax and enjoy the therapeutic properties of the mineral-rich waters.
What local dishes should I try while in Mendoza?
While in Mendoza, you should try traditional dishes like “empanadas mendocinas” (stuffed pastries) and “chivito” (goat meat), and of course, pair them with a glass of local Malbec wine.
Is Mendoza family-friendly? Are there activities for kids?
Mendoza is very family-friendly. Apart from the wine tours, there are many parks, museums, and recreational areas where kids can have fun. The city’s zoo and adventure parks are popular attractions for families.