The city of Mendoza at the Western edge of Argentina is a secluded gem in comparison with the hustle and bustle of the country’s capital. At the heart of the wine region, tucked in next to the majestic Andes mountains, Mendoza will surprise and delight travelers who make the journey to visit its intimate plazas and vast vineyards.
As well as savouring bottles of the finest vino, Mendoza offers no shortage of breathtaking scenery, culinary delights and adrenaline-filled adventure to suit all interests and budgets.
You’ll want to spend at least a few days here to experience the best the city and region have to offer. Keep reading to learn more about the history and culture as well as our top recommendations in Mendoza, including things to do, how to get there, what to do, where to eat, and where to stay.
The city of Mendoza dates back to 1561 and the Spanish colonial era when conquerors arrived in the region from what is now modern-day Peru. The city was the base for the Crossing of the Andes in 1817, in which José de San Martín led the Army of the Andes over the mountains to liberate Spanish ruled Chile. The crossing led to the Battle of Chacabuco and ultimately Chilean independence from Spain.
Later, in 1861, Mendoza was very almost completely destroyed by a 7.2 magnitude earthquake and had to be rebuilt nearby. For this reason, original colonial architecture is almost completely absent from the city.
It was at the end of the 19th century that wine production really began in the region and the arrival of European immigrants, especially Italian, developed the industry’s production processes. Nowadays the region produces 70% of Argentine wine and is the 5th largest economy in the country.
How to Get to Mendoza
Bus services run regularly throughout Argentina and from Chile headed to Mendoza. If you have time and want to save money consider taking an overnight bus from Buenos Aires – it will cost ~$75 USD but takes 15 hours!
From Santiago, Chile buses leave daily and take around 8 hours, but can vary if you get held up at the border. The cost is around ~$32 USD. We highly recommend taking a bus during the daytime for this route as they scenery crossing the Andes is stunning in itself!
LATAM and Aerolineas Argentina operator daily flights between Buenos Aires and Mendoza for ~$50 USD one-way, dependent on how far in advance you book.
From Santiago, Chile, SKY Airlines operates direct flights to Mendoza from as little as $11 USD! Book well in advance for the best prices.
Things to Do in Mendoza
If there is one thing you should do when in Mendoza it is touring the region’s wineries which produce some of the best wine in the world. Mendoza’s prize grape is the Malbec and you’ll get to learn all about the process of cultivation to production and of course sample some of the best bottles.
Enjoy a tour to three wineries
with transport included as well as a five-course meal at one of the bodegas
, with the stunning backdrop of the Andes mountains for a truly unforgettable experience.
For those on a budget, it’s possible to rent bikes in the city and spend the day leisurely cycling between the vineyards. Make sure you take plenty of water, especially in the summer months when temperatures can be sweltering!
Less well-known than it’s wine, olive oil is also a prime product in the region with a long heritage. Don’t miss the chance to visit some of these olivicolas, we especially recommend a visit to Pasrai – a key producer and exporter of Mendoza’s olive oil and raisins. The expert guides will walk you through the production process and a sampling of a range of their infused olive oils is also included. They also produce beauty products such as moisturisers with this premium product.
City Walking Tour
While most tours will take you outside of the city, don’t miss the chance to wander the streets and learn more about the fascinating history which occurred in this region of Argentina. A walking tour with a local guide will lend you a unique insight into the events that shaped the city as it is today and explain the city’s quirky landmarks and statues.
A typical Argentine asado
(BBQ) should be on the menu of any traveler visiting Argentina. These are often included with tours, but if not there is no shortage of steakhouses where you can savour a famous Argentine steak. Be sure to check out Cordillera Vinos y Fuegos
for award-winning steak and wine pairings.
Horseriding is an integral part of Argentine’s gaucho culture and it’s a fantastic way to experience the region. Full-day or half-day tours are offered into the Andes mountains, some including a traditional Argentine asado along the way!
A short drive from Mendoza is the settlement of Villa Potrerillos which is home to the Presa Embalse de Potrerillos, a man-made reservoir with an abundance of water activities. Try your hand at white-water rafting and kayaking, or enjoy a hike in the nearby Andes trails.
Where to eat in Mendoza
- Casa El Enemigo ($$$$) – El Enemigo holds the prestige as the best restaurant in Mendoza, and for good reason. The owners of this stylish restaurant also produce their own wines which can be sampled alongside the fare. Prices are high but worth it.
- Anna Bistro ($$-$$$) – Serving up a collection of Argentine and French dishes, Anna Bistro is a favourite in Mendoza with travellers and locals alike. Enjoy the excellent food on the picture perfect patio where flowers cascade from the timber frame.
- Fuente y Fonda ($$-$$$) – Argentine home cooking at its finest. This quirky eatery located on the Plaza Italia serves up huge sharing portions of Italian-style Argentine fare. Go as a group and go hungry!
- Havanna ($-$$) – This Argentine chain is the one-stop shop for the traditional Argentine Alfajor. Choose from a variety of flavours to enjoy alongside a coffee, or even pick up an entire box to take home with you!
- Brod Bakery ($$-$$$) – This cute little bakery serves breakfast, brunch, pastries and authentic espresso coffees in a beautiful courtyard lined with palm trees.
- Black Jagger Club – One of Mendoza’s most popular nightclubs regularly hosts both national international DJ’s, as well as comedy nights and live music performances.
- Uvas Lounge & Bar – An upmarket wine bar located in the city’s best hotel, the Park Hyatt.
- Hangar 52 – When you’ve had your fill of wine, head to this bar for servings of craft beer with a vibrant atmosphere.
Where to Stay in Mendoza
If you are looking for where to stay in Panama City, look no further. Staying in Casco Viejo, you’ll be close to all the best restaurants, nightlife, and sightseeing spots. Here are some of our hotel recommendations:
- Budget: Gorilla Hostel is a small comfortable hostel with an outside garden, swimming pool and regular BBQ’s for guests. Buffet breakfast with fresh Argentine medialunas and scrambled eggs included.
- Mid-range: La Magdalena is a family run hotel located just a couple blocks from the main square and features a sun terrace and small pool. A continental breakfast is included each morning.
- Splurge: Park Hyatt Mendoza Hotel, Casino and Spa has an unbeatable location right on the Plaza Independencia and oozes luxury. Rooms feature spectacular views of the Andes or Mendoza city.