As with many cities in Argentina, there is a variety of Spanish courses and private lessons are available. There are two extablished language schools in Mendoza: Intercultural is the biggest, has a range of afternoon activities, and is slightly more expensive, Greenfields (aka COINED) is smaller and feels even less well organised, but many of the teachers work at both schools. Both easily googleable
Another great option for individual or very small tailor-made quality group lessons with a highly trained instructor: SIMA: Spanish in Mendoza, Argentina . This is a better option for those seriously interested in learning or improving their Spanish, although the classes are very enjoyable. The website
The Vines of Mendoza Tasting Room is a stylish addition to the Mendoza wine scene. They offer a great introduction to the wines of a number of the region's major wineries in the hands of their experts who will guide you through the subtleties of bouquet, the influence of soil, altitude and climate, grape varieties, etc. Another advantage here is that it gives you the opportunity to taste wines from several different wineries without enduring yet another full tour through the wine-making process. One room full of barrels looks much the same as another after the first couple of visits and you're probably not intending to write a thesis on oenology so all those facts and figures can begin to pall.
This is the only place in Mendoza that presents the wines of different wineries in this fashion. You can opt for a full-blown session working your way through "flights" of wines, (a flight is typically a comparative tasting of 5 different wines, sometimes all of the same grape variety, or maybe different reds or whites). Standard flights here at the tasting room cost 30 pesos., more esoteric groupings are offered at varying prices. You can also simply buy a bottle of wine to enjoy in the central courtyard - we opted for a bottle of local Chandon method champagnois as we didn't have time to include a visit to the vineyard before we left for Chile.
The information centre here can offer you advice on where to go to taste particular styles of wine, organize itineraries for you and generally give all sorts of wine-related advice. They also run a wine club.
It wasn't just the fact that the lovely hotel we were staying at (Club Tapiz) was owned by the Tapiz winery that makes me say this was our favourite winery. Nor was it that as guests we were given a private tour - though that was very nice too. We'd already sampled several of the wines at the hotel's nightly pre-dinner wine tastings - where "tasting" meant a generous glass or two of a different red and a white each night rather than the usual few centilitres in the bottom of a glass - so we knew the quality was there. The best thing was the relaxed way the tour was conducted by the young assistant winemaker who not only knew all the technical ins and outs of the winery's production but was an integral part of the process and loved what she did.
We tasted wines at all stages of their development, tapping straight from the barrels as we went, before finishing with some very fine vintages and reserves., including a wonderful old vine Malbec and a deliciously fruity Torrontes - a white varietal that is an Argentinian favourite.
Tours at Tapiz usually include a horse and buggy ride through the vineyard, which we didn't get as our visit was on a day when the winery was actually closed for tours.
I'm afraid the first thing that came to my mind when we arrived at Catena Zapata, the third winery (actually the first of the day) we visited during our stay in Mendoza, was "Which way to the sacrificial altar?" I kept expecting an obsidian-knife-wielding priest to step out from behind a stone archway at any moment. It rather put me off the wine.
This was the certainly the slickest operation we visited. The building and grounds gets raves from lots of quarters but I found it overbearing, stark and rather pretentious, there was certainly none of the warmth and good-feelings that associations with wine usually bring to mind. Similarly the tour was efficiently conducted but rather clinical, as was the wine tasting that followed - and this was the only place where were required to pay for the tasting.
We booked this tour before leaving home. They have great reviews, which they live up too.
We were picked up at 9AM and once we picked up one more person we headed out for our all day wine tour.
We visited three wineries all unique and offering excellent wines. A gourmet lunch is included with more wine pairings than I could handle.
This was an excellent tour ,through a beautiful country and well worth the money.
Cost is $150.00per person.
Alta Montana (The High Andes) is where Cerro Aconcagua is situated. Cerro Aconcagua is the tallest peak in the Andes at 6962m above sea level and also the tallest in the world apart from the Himalyas ranges. The day tour, the one I went on, includes a stop at Parque Provincial Aconcagua (Entrance fee: 15 ARP (November 2008) and you can do a circular hike up to the Mirador Aconcagua and Laguna de Horcones. The hike lasts approximately 40-50 minutes and it is highly recommended especially on a clear day. We also stopped at Uspallata, famous for the move, "Seven Years in Tibet" starring Brad Pitt and where the mountain scenery and the river vally meets. You also stop at Fortin Pichueta and Puente Del Inca, a natural stone bridge and a spa resort was built in the 1940s but destroyed by the flood. The ruins have a high mineral content making them yellowish/brownish in appearance and the present day village has a wild west feeling to it.
You can visit the viewpoint trail, it costs about 25 pesos to get in the gate to the park for a foreigner. It is a half-hour walk, and if it is clear you can get a good view of the top. There will be snow and it will be cold, so dress very warm.
The trail, beyond, to the base camps are closed from ealry May to late Novemeber.
On July 1, which is a Thursday, you could catch the local mikrun bus, Espresso Uspallatta (EUSA) from the terminal (ticket booth south side) at 6 am (it leaves at 7 am on Weekends and Holidays). You would arrive there about 10:20 am, do the trail, and then walk the half hour down to Puente del Inca to look at the natural bridge and hot srings. The bus returns from both the park gate and Puente at about 4:40 pm. The cheap way to go, or you could take a tour.
I am not a Spanish teacher here in Mendoza, but have been teaching English for several years, and I am familiar with many of the Spanish schools and teachers here, and have talked to a lot of foreign students who have studied Spanish over the years.
Yes, it is true that most Spanish teachers do not have qualifications or training to teach Spanish in Argentina. In fact, many do not have teaching qualifications at all. There are few places to get training as a Spanish language teacher in Argentina, and most that have teaching credentials have English or Spanish Literature credentials. The best ones have DELE certification from the Cervantes Institute of Spain.
Also, there is no such thing as a "certified" language institute in Argentina. There are advertising groups for "partner schools" that call themselves associations, but they are just a loose net of different schools that join together to give "recommendations" in different cities. For example, the " SEA - Asociación de Centros de Idiomas " which has many "member schools, has no real educational development function at all, it is just a way for "member schools to advertise, and many of their schools are terrible (I know, because I have taught English at many of these schools, in BA and In Mendoza, at one time or another). Be carfeul. The best way to be sure is to get personal recommendations or references from former students. Some of these schools have some good Spanish teachers, but most are only mediocre, it is often a question of luck.
Also, be careful of websites from places like New York, Madrid and London who say they have "schools" in places like Mendoza or BA. They are nothing more than agents that charge large sums to Spanish schools in Argentina as a way of attracting students, which is the big battle here. If the sites (and probaly they are the majority of the sites that you get after a search) do not give the address and/or telephone number of the school (because they do not want you to contact them directly so they lose their big commission), do not deal with them. Be satisfied only after diorect contact and after you feel confident in the school administrator or teacher.
There are some excelleent Spanish teachers in small schools or who offer private lessons to smmall groups and individuals. For example, I have had excellent comments form foreign tourists and expats I have met in the cafes about Spanish instruction from:
Also , be carfelul about the accomodation arrangements of many of the institutes or other places, either they are overpriced or they are homestays wghere you are not really welcome. Again, personal recommendations from many students are always the best measue.
Enjoy your visit and studies here in Argentina, it is always a pleasure to run into people like you! Suerte! :)
PS : For comments from various Couchsurfers on studying Spanish in Mendoza, check out the thread from the Mendoza section:
Hi. You can visit Around there but you cannot climb. You should need a special permission cause there is no base camp operating in that period because of the high snow. The only period you can climb is on Summer. Here you can find something more about Aconcagua: http://buenosaires.giorgioshouse.com/giorgio%27s_house__000044.htm
I really enjoyed the drive between Mendoza and Santiago and think it is a very scenic trip. We did it in our own car and I know that all we had to do was purchase travel insurance just before the border to be able to drive a Chilean car in Argentina and I assume it would be similar the other way around. Only thing I am not 100% sure about is whether you can take a rental car across the borders.
It might be worth looking at booking a daytime bus trip between Mendoza and Santiago. That way you get to see the sights and have the benefit of no hassles with rentals across borders and insurance. You would probably only be able to get off the bus though at the two immigration checkpoints which is the one downer about the bus.
About 1000 vehicles do this crossing every day and the majority are trucks so the whole trip can take some time (6- 8 hours usually).
Wine tasting is unquestionably one of the great reasons to go to Mendoza! And while I didn't know alot about the various bodegas in the area, we were lucky to meet brothers, Juan and Gerardo, who own a tour guide company and they set up a custom wine tasting package for us.
We explained that we would have 2 days for wine tasting and wanted to visit a combination of larger, more well known bodegas and requested suggestions for some smaller, more intimate tours, as well.
One suggestion for a wine tour and lunch was Bodega Dolium. We knew nothing about it and trusted their recommendation. Upon arriving to the bodega, it is much less impressive than the previous massive Mayan looking structure we'd just left, but stepped inside and were greeted by a very friendly guide who took my friend and I and a couple on a tour of the premises. After a brief history of the property, we were greeted by the winemaker. He took us downstairs to the wine storage area, where we sampled varietals directly from the tanks! This is incredibly uncommon, in fact, I've never heard of a basic tour offering this experience. It was amazing to taste the wine in the tank for just a few months, compared to the same grape that is almost ready for bottling. Believe me - there is a big difference!
If this wasn't an incredible experience on its own, we walked back upstairs to get ready for lunch and were greeted by the owner, Ricardo. He and his wife, Gabriela, would be joining us for a casual home-cooked meal upstairs. Fabulous!! What a welcoming couple and fascinating to hear their perspective on the business of running a vineyard and daily tasks involved in distributing the product internationally.
This was a truly unique afternoon, but it didn't end there! Gabriela enjoys dancing and invited us to meet her at a tango club in Mendoza that evening :-) The concept of getting to know people in a place like Argentina rarely compares to the experiences I am familiar with living in a big city! So, we met her out that night and I learned to tango...but that's another story...
Dolium is located in Lujan de Cuyo region:
Ruta Provincial 15
Juan and Gerardo's office is located just off the Paseo Saramiento (pedestrian walking street that is in the center of town). Details below:
Juan and Gerardo Llado
Viajes y Turismo Internacional
One of the reasons I came to Mendoza was because it’s located at the foothill of Andes. Some of the mountains are gorgeous to see. In fact Aconcaqua is the hightest peak in America (6950m).
If you are into (hard) climbing you need almost 2 weeks (including acclimatization) with a professional guide. Of course you can go lower just for trecking. Have in mind that permit to the park costs 250pesos for treckers(7 days) and 1600pesos for climbers(20days) in high season and slightly cheaper in other periods.
Of course an organized bus tour to the mountains don’t go so high. Usually the mountain excursions by bus go along the Mendoza river and stop at the border with Chile (3800m) where you can see the famous monument Cristo Redentor. Although it was hot down in Mendoza up there the freezing air pushed to wear our jackets. What’s more the oxygen level was low so we walked slow. The view was amazing….
And everywhere on the route I could say stop to the driver for taking photos. Before the Cristo monument we had made several stops at some other areas like at Puente del Inca, the famous weird natural bridge (see separate tip) or Las Cuevas (where we had to eat a not so tasty lunch).
Along the way to the mountains I noticed some areas with houses inside big walls. They are houses of rich people that live there separate from the city for security reasons. There’s a big issue of course what kind of life their children have there, some of them never seen a local bus etc
I was confused with the mountains, in fact there are 3 rows of them, the first one is the lower and the oldest one. Aconcaqua is at the third the higher one and the newest one. Most of the time the bus goes along the river inside the valley, a big valley I think, it’s almost 250km! We passed through 14 tunnels and it was very funny because the argentinian people use to clap their hands every time they cross a tunnel for good luck! The only animals I noticed up there were some condors.
The city center has 5 squares arranged like the five-roll on a dice. The main one is Plaza Independecia and then 2 blocks away from its corner are the other 4 squares so you can walk from one to the other and see the differences because every square has different colors, statues etc
1)Plaza San Martín. Like in every argentine city here’s the San Martin square with the statue of the general San Martín riding a horse. Jose de San Martin(February 25, 1778 - August 17, 1850) was the leader of the southern part of South America’s successful struggle for independence from Spain.
2)Plaza Italia. This is a nice square with a fountain that is covered by about 1500 ceramic tiles, a monument and some statues but I didn’t stay too long.
3)Plaza Chile. The square has a monument that represents the bond between the two countries after the help of Chile to the victims of the earthquare of 1861. The fountain isn’t something special but at the heavy sculpture you can see San Martin and O’Higgins again, the two heroes of the independence war.
4)Plaza Espana. This one is my favorite because of the beautiful tiles all over the pathways and the seats! If you want to see one square, this must be the one!
5)Plaza Independencia. This is the main square of Mendoza and much bigger than the others, covering four blocks. You can relax under the trees (a big part of the square is a garden) and you will notice that a lot of locals gather here in the afternoon, socializing next to the big fountain. There were also some stands selling local leather products, people playing music. The square hosts concerts, fairs and other cultural activities and here you will find the museum of Modern Arts. The square was founded in 1863 after a big earthquake that hit Mendoza in 1861.
I did this year a Mountain bike trogh wineries in Mendoza with kahuak, and it was an amazing experience.
Kahuak picked up us at about 9:30am and we went to Chacras de Coria to looked for the bikes and ther we started the tour.
We visited 2 wineries, Nieto Senetiner and Lagarde in the morning and then we went to had lunch in Cavas CAno, this place waas perfect, the food was excelent at the same of the service.
We finished the tour in Carmelo Patti, another small winery.
The tour was perfect and the guide too.
Thanks for all.
The Basilica del San Francisco was built 1875 in a renaissance style and although there are older churches this is the oldest church of the new city, after the big earthquake of 1861.
I wasn't impressed by the church so much but this church is famous because the main altar holds the original image of Nuestra Seρora del Carmen de Cuyo, What's more, in the mausoleum of the church lie down San Martin’s daughter, his son in law and his granddaughter.
This is a good hotel, clean, friendly and well located. Staff are helpful.more
Park Hyatt Mendoza is a 185 room hotel locted In the heart of town. The only 5* stars in Mendoza.-more
Very pleasant play to stay. The staff are friendly and helpful. The price was included in the trip I...more