By Caitlin Hornik
The Mendoza wine region has been named one of the nine Great Wine Capitals in the world! However, Mendoza offers much more than Malbec. Here are some of the top attractions and reasons why Mendoza should be included in your South American vacation!
Mendoza’s city is a vibrant one, full of culture, good wine, and delicious food. It can be overwhelming to pick a starting point! Plaza Independencia is located in the heart of the city center and features a gorgeous fountain and shady spots for relaxing. Next to the Plaza Independencia is a lively street called Sarmiento. Here you’ll find bustling shops, cafes, restaurants, and more! Grab a seat outside, and perhaps a glass of wine, and watch people come and go as the trees lining the street sway in the breeze!
General San Martín Park
Located just outside the city, General San Martín Park has a beautiful rose garden and lake-- Perfect for an afternoon picnic! The park was designed by a French architect, but named after the war hero who raised an army and helped Argentina win independence from Spain. You’ll find that no matter where in Mendoza you wind up, the vibe is generally much more laid back than most cities.
The Andes Mountains provide a stunning setting for many outdoors activities! Mendoza is situated at the base of the mountain range, 2,300 feet above sea level. Activity options here include a horseback ride through the mountains, white water rafting on the Mendoza River, kayaking, cycling, fishing, and so much more! There is something suitable for visitors at all levels of physical endurance, so don’t be intimidated!
From classes to shows, tango is a must while visiting Mendoza! The tango originated in Buenos Aires in the 18th century. It has since spread throughout the country and is known internationally as one of the most famous dances in the world! There are many tango clubs in and around Mendoza, so don’t shy away from the opportunity to experience a highlight of Argentine culture!
Of course, it would be silly to venture all the way to Mendoza to not drink wine! Within Mendoza are smaller noteworthy valleys including Maipu, Lujan de Cuyo, and Uco Valley. There are over 1,500 wineries between these three valleys alone! Some are more commercialized, while others are small, family-owned. Touring a mix of wineries will give you greater perspective on the process of harvesting grapes, the history of wine-making in Argentina, and more delicious wines to sample and take home!
You may or may not know that another big agricultural product of Argentina is olive oil! While visiting Mendoza, consider a trip to the Maipu valley, where you can sample wines AND olive oils! In fact, during harvest season, visitors of Familia Zuccardi can pick olives and use them to make their own olive oil! Consider this an excellent souvenir to bring home with you.
Argentina may be well-known for wine and tango, but it’s also known for traditional grilling! This method of slow cooking meats comes from burning wood embers. In Mendoza specifically, beef, lamb, and goat are Carne Asada specialties! So if you find yourself at a traditional Argentine restaurant, a Carne Asada/Malbec pairing is your Mendoza dream team!