Yes, I could not believe it, but there is scuba diving possible in the middle of Mendoza Province :-)
Laguna de la Nina Encantada is a small lagoon, hidden north of the road to Las Lenas Ski Resort.
I did not have any experience in scuba diving (as the teacher said "nada de nada"), but they were extremely nice and helpful and took all the panic away from me.
After having solved this feeling of claustrophobia (haha) being forced in a tight jacket and breathing through this funny mouthpiece, he took me down into the water of the lagoon.
FANTASTIC !! The greenish color comes from algae on the stones in the water - and, believe it or not, the princess is reality.
Ok, it's the algae on one stone, which look like a maidens' face in the light :-)
They charge you 30 Pesos for 1 hour dive, which is extremely reasonable !
And even from my not experienced point of view, the equipment is ok.
Equipment: Nothing, they have everything you need.
You are right next to the Andes. There is a wide range of sports from skiing to white water rafting to climbing and more. Anyone of the numerous tourist information places can help you out to do these.
The picture doesn't show me doing rafting, but that's where the boats where and all the equiptment!
I loved it!!! it was a 30 minutes tour aproximatly, it's a river grade 2-3 , so it's really easy and kids can do rafting, it's not dangeours!
this was my second time doing rafting (2007) the 1st time was in 2003 with my sister! it was really fun!
Cost: around $arg 40
There are a number of hiking possibilities around Mendoza as I found out.
For a short hike, you can walk from Puente del Inca to Laguna Horcones at the foot of the Aconcagua. (See my tip on walking from Puente del Inca to Aconcagua park for more info)
10 km outside of Uspallata, there is a 20-25 km trail that roughly connects Hostel Uspallata (www.hosteluspallata.com.ar) to the town's bus station. The trail runs through a magnificent and rugged semi-arid mountainous landscape that looks like it's just out of a western. Along the way, there is a lookout on top of a small mountain which offers a breathtaking view of the fertile valley below and snowcapped Andes (including I believe the Aconcagua) in the distance. Further ahead, the trail leads to beautiful geological formations that include the natural landmark Cerro de los siete colores. This walk is an easy one as the trail is actually a 4x4 vehicle trail. Climbing is also not required (except to get to the first lookout mentioned above). This is one of the nicest hikes I did in my life and highly recommend it! Just ask the hostel owner for the directions. Also, bring lots of water as it can get hot out there with the sun.
I also noticed that there are very scenic areas on the way to Uspallata from Mendoza that could probably offer some good off-trail hiking opportunities, whether it is the rugged hills lying just outside of Mendoza, the abandoned railway running at the foot of the Andes along ruta 7 (across the river on top of a beautifully carved canyon) and the valley beyond Uspallata where there are some very pretty round hills, large gravel river beds and other flat surfaces to walk on. I guess the locals who are very friendly might be of help for choosing an itinerary (including a safe one!).
*If you decide to walk along that railway, it might be safer to check if there will be bridges (and crossable ones) along the way, just so you don't get trapped if the water in the river below (which separates the railway from the road) rises for some reason...
This is a good hotel, clean, friendly and well located. Staff are helpful.more
Hipolito Yrigoyen 774, San Rafael, 5600, Argentina
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Couples
Ruta 7 Km 1141 / 1142, Uspallata, 5545, Argentina
Good for: Families