A major road between Argentina and Chile runs through Mendoza and the city is a frequent stopover for climbers on their way to climb Aconcagua (the highest mountain in the West hemisphere)
After overnight in Mendoza and the next morning we drove up here.
We rather walk under the foothill, we have seen climbers participant get ready to climb
Walking below the mountain is a nicest thing to do if you are not a climber, there are many stalls selling local stuff and souvenirs
Aconcagua is 6962 meters the highest mountain in South America and the world's highest mountain outside the Himalayas.
The thin air, risk of severe weather conditions and the fact that you own the higher camps to design, make the climb to an extreme challenge
- Mountain Climbing
Fly Fishing in Mendoza
Fly fishing in the Andes is quite an extraordinary experience, even if you suck like me! Either way, our guide caught plenty of fish and my Dad and I finally did too. It was a nice side adventure and to get up close and personal with the Andes Mountains was worth it all.
- Farm Stay
- Horse Riding
2 small but weird museums
If you walk from downtown towards the airport (I did this on my way to Museo Fundacional) you’ll have the opportunity to visit two bizarre museums facing each other at Ituzaingo & Buenos Aires corner. You can visit them both in less that 15’ and they are cheap so take a look (avoid if you are Indiana Jones of course…):
1)Acuario Municipal Mendoza
The Acuario is open daily 9-21:00 and you’ll see some real ugly fishes, frogs and a poor crocodile TEL: 0261- 4253824
2)Centro Anaconda Serpentario
This one is open daily 9:30-13:00 and 15:30-20:00 and for the first time in my life I saw so many sauria and live serpents! A lot of snakes, small ones, big ones, disgusting ones but hopefully all of them in boxes and a woman feeding them one by one! :) If you want to see anaconda, a python, a boa or just coral snakes this is your place! address:Ituzaingo 1420 TEL (0261) 4251393
Although I stayed there only 15’ I desperately looked for the Museo Fundacional to recover!
- Museum Visits
Puente del Inca
One of the famous natural sights of Argentina! This amazing natural stone bridge looks like this because of the warm sulfuric waters of the Rio de las Cuevas that runs under there. There used to be a spa hotel many years before in the area you can see at the background of the photo but the hotel close down after a flood that killed many people. It was amazing thought because even when it was fully covered by snow the customers of the hotel they could walk under a tunnel close to the river and use the warm waters. There is a plan to build a new hotel, this time from the other side of the bridge (the one the visitors stand and take pictures of the bridge)
There are a lot of legends about the bridge, most of them about an Inca prince that was ill and his father brought him there to save him because he was told the waters was magic. Another story says that the bridge was made by the heads of the servants of the Inca king!
Puente del Inca is high at 2750m, 180km away from Mendoza and there is a bus that will take you there. You have to check out the return times though so not to spend the night up there! I used an organized tour up in the mountains and the transport to Puente del Inca was part of the package.
This is the rooftop terrace of the city hall. I went there one afternoon because I wanted to have a panoramic view while watching the sunset.
The problem was that when I tried to go up I couldn’t find the entrance. The main entrance (the one that locals use in the morning for their daily works with the city hall) was closed and some people I talked to couldn’t understand what I was looking for. I looked up at this thirty meters high building (that was built in 1969) but I couldn’t see anyone.
I had read before that the terrace it’s open 8:00-20:00 so there must be another entrance for the visitors. An old man told me to go from the back of the big building and I did that but no luck again. Anyway, here’s a photo of the city hall but if someone else did manage to get up there I’ll be happy to hear how! :)
address:9 de Julio 500
Los Heroes de Malvinas
Fighter planes in camouflage paint on stands in a small park near the airport in Mendoza form part of a memorial to the IV Brigada Aerea, the Mendoza-based wing of the Argentian Air Force, and the role they played in the war fought between Great Britain and Argentina over a few tiny islands in the South Atlantic. The planes and a sculptured map of the islands were erected to mark the 25th anniversary of the war known in Argentina as the Guerra del Atlántico Sur (War of the South Atlantic)
Although it was founded in 1912, until May 1, 1982, none of its planes had engaged in anything more than exercises and routine patrols. By the time the war ended, on June 14, 1982, the Fuerza Aérea Argentina had been well and truly blooded. Britain won the war and to the world at large the islands are still known as the Falklands, but in Argentina they are, and will remain, the Malvinas.
The memorial park lies to the north of the city, just off the road to the airport, on the area of the city known as Plumerillo. You can see the planes from the main road.
- Historical Travel
"Tonada" is a very representative music style of Mendoza, San Juan and San Luis. Is usually played by groups of 3 guitars.
The lyrics of the tonada are very poetic and usually talk about love to a woman, love to one's land or about enjoying life iwht friends.
The "cogollo" is one part of the tonada in which the singer/s dedicate the song to somebody, when the song finishes, that "somebody" must pay the tonaderos with a glass of wine and the rest of the public can do the same. Not to pay a tonada or not to accept the glass of wine is considered really really impolite. I've seen many tonaderos finishing their shows just for not being "paid"
Do what locals do
- Curse against government!
- In winter: complain about the cold
- In Summer: complain about how hot it is
- In Autumn: complain about the three leaves falling down
- In Spring: complain about the flowers' pollen in the air
- Get some bottles of wine and enjoy them
A Drive to the Top of the Andes
On the middle day of our 3 full days in Mendoza, we took our pre-booked tour drive up into the Andes Mountains, lasting from 7:10 AM until 8:40 PM. This tour was the most fun that we had during our entire 2-week stay in Argentina, and I would highly recommend it to anyone visiting the area (we used the local Huentata Touristico tour agency).
The trip consisted of a great bunch of fellow travellers on a mid-sized bus that will take you up into the Andes toward Santiago, Chile via the majestic and twisting Mendoza and Cuevas River valleys. The mountain scenery was among the most dramatic that I have seen anywhere. We were able to take ski-lifts part way up the mountains at a resort during a rest stop (photo), saw the snow-capped tallest mountain outside of the Himalayas and stood on the mountain-top border with Chile at 12,500 feet (3,810 meters) elevation!
To top it all off, we also toured the amazing Inca Bridge (see next Tip) and enjoyed a great meal with our small group of travellers. This was really a day to remember! For the full details, see my 'Provincia de Mendoza' page.
- Family Travel
- Road Trip
Natural Rock Bridge
The natural bridge and hot springs spa at Puente del Inca were one of the most amazing things that we experienced during our entire 2-week trip to Argentina (see my 'Puente del Inca' page for more photos and details)! We came upon this spot, not far from the Chilean border, when we took our day-tour up the Rio Mendoza and Rio Cuevas valleys to the Andes.
The mineral waters bubbling out of the volcanic grounds here are very rich in sulpher, resulting in a yellowish hue to the deposits that solidify once they reach the surface. Over the ages, a 90-foot long and 70-foot wide natural bridge was formed by these deposits, today providing an arch 70 feet above the brown and fast-flowing Cuevas River.
A luxury resort hotel was developed at Puente del Inca (1925-1965) to allow patrons to enjoy the benefits of the soothing thermal baths, but that all came to a sudden end with an avalanche. Today, the baths are derelict, but it certainly is fun to explore the ruins and walk beneath the natural bridge.
- Road Trip
- Family Travel
El Balcón - see the effect of earth history
If you do the "circle" around Mendoza, heading north to Villavicencio, and then the old road to Uspallata, don't miss to make a stop at "El Balcón".
This has been formed some ages ages ages ago, and shows the earths' activity in the past.
I was told that it came from the "folding" (?) of the geological platters.
But watch your steps - and your breath - the gorge is 1000 m deep !!!
- Historical Travel
- National/State Park
- Road Trip
Visit the 4 smaller plazas (e.g. Plaza Espana)
Plaza Independencia, the biggest one in Mendoza, is surrounded by 4 smaller Plazas - Espana, Italia, Chile and San Martin.
On Plaza Espana, there is also a mercado de artesanias during the day.
But what I liked more is the perfect design and decoration with spanish style ceramics.
Even the benches to sit and relax are made of ceramics.
Definitely a place to go and spend some quiet minutes :-)
- School Holidays
- Road Trip
- Budget Travel
Looking at a traditionnal dance performance
After an exhausting bike trip, we has a sort of consolation : a dance festival on a square in a southern part of Mendoza. We had chacarera (argentine folk dance) and a dance representation of the meeting of colonials and indians...Wonderful!
See the desert races
About half an hour outside of Mendoza is a desert 'race track'. Unfortunately, I was completely lost and I can't give any account of how to get to these races. I can say that its a great time for an asado and drinks while buggys and motos pass only a few feet away. I can only suggest asking your hostel/hotel receptionist or meeting a local for information about these races.
MENDOZA : ACONCAGUA
Aconcagua is the highest mountain in the whole of America. While not many of us is able to scale it, it is just a short hike away from Puente del Inca to VIEW it.
Walk towards the Chilean border. After a bridge, you will see a foot-path heading right. Sooner or later, you will come across Lago de los Horcones, a multi-coloured lake with a wonderful view of Aconcagua in the distance.
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