We can include Mendoza as a precursor to / or end of the rest of your South American travel itinerary. We would suggest a minimum of 3 nights here.
The city (population circa 111,000 in 2001) is located almost opposite Santiago de Chile on the other side of the Andes Mountains, making the city almost a neighbour to Santiago, and quite far from Buenos Aires. The main highway between Santiago and Buenos Aires passes through Mendoza (in reality it clips the outskirts), and is used as a stop-over by most travellers taking this route.
It was 1561 when Pedro del Castillo founded the city and named it Ciudad de Mendoza del Nuevo Valle de Rioja after the then governor of Chile, Don Garcia Hurtado de Mendoza. Prior to this the area was home to three indigenous tribes over varying periods: the Huarpes, the Incas and the Puelches.
In 1818, Jose de San Martin, then governor of Mendoza, supported Bernardo O’Higgins in Chile to fight for Chilean independence from the Spanish. The city endured a major earthquake in 1861 that killed around 5,000 people, but was rebuilt in a more robust way with numerous large and small plazas with wider streets and pedestrian areas.
There are a number of vineyards to visit and within the city Mendoza has a number of museums, including the Museo Cornelio Moyano – a natural history museum; and the Museo del Área Fundacional (Historical Regional Foundation Museum) on Pedro del Castillo Square. The Museo Nacional del Vino (National Wine Museum), is 17km southeast of Mendoza and focuses on the history of winemaking in the area. There is also the Casa de Fader at Mayor Drummond, about 14km south from the city – a historical, 1890’s mansion that was home to Fernando Fader, an artist of repute.
As with all wine-growing regions, there is an annual Grape Harvest (Fiesta Nacional de la Vendimia), which occurs in late March each year.
Our selection of hotels includes many of the most popular accomodations in South America. You’ll find the perfect hotel in your budget.
Mendoza is “just over the Andes” from Santiago and is famous for its wine and olive oil production, and is not far from the highest mountain outside of the Himalaya – Aconcagua, which is a major mountain-climbers destination.