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The heart of Argentina’s wine country, Mendoza is a genuine oasis of a town. An ingeniously irrigated small city in the middle of a desert, its leafy boulevards, plazas and cafes all ring to the soothing sound of running water. A hive of activity in the daytime, at night Mendoza really comes into its own. If you head into the area around Avenue Aristides in the evening there will be crowds flocking to the bars, restaurants and cafes. Truly the best way to soak up the city’s unique ambience and joie de vivre.
Plaza Independencia — The best place to start your Mendoza experience is this decorative square in the city centre. Bordered by delectable architecture and plenty of fine restaurants, you’ll also be able to enjoy some street shows here. At night the square is lit up magnificently whilst a large illuminated coat of arms installation creates a splendid focal point. The plaza is also home to the Mendoza Museum of Modern Art, making it a great spot in the daytime too.
Parque San Martin — This 420 hectare park is a particularly scenic and restful treat. You might want to just take a casual stroll along the side of the lake, or perhaps throw down a picnic blanket in the shade of the rose garden. If you’re feeling more energetic you might be tempted to make the climb to the top of Cerro de la Gloria. From here you’ll enjoy glorious uninterrupted views out over the city and the mountains.
Parque Provincial Aconcagua — Home to the world’s highest peak outside the Himalayas, this is a top destination for serious mountain climbers. If you’re hoping to make it to the top, then you’ll need to commit a fortnight to the endeavour and of course be an experienced mountaineer. Non-climbers however can still experience the majestic scale of the park by trekking to the base camps and shelters dotted beneath the permanent snow line.
Central Park, El Parral and Vendimiadores — This smaller modern city park has its own low-key charm, with delightful water features decorating a grassy hill. It’s a real draw for amateur painters, and you’ll often be able to enjoy the sight of aspiring artists practising their craft. Who knows, you might even be tempted to give it a go yourself?
One of Mendoza’s most delightful sights, and one rich with the influence of Spanish and Andalusian heritage, is Plaza Espana. With its splendid central statue and mural-decorated wall, it’s a lovely spot to discover this city’s roots. City Hall meanwhile affords some great vistas over the city, especially if you head up to the roof terrace. From there the view is truly panoramic and the best spot to fully appreciate the real majesty of your surroundings.
If trekking and mountaineering aren’t enough for you then there’s plenty more on offer in Mendoza. Paragliding is a year-round activity and with tandem flights available it’s one that novices as well as experts can enjoy. Horse trekking is another option, with full day and even overnight options available to keen riders. The Andes are the highest mountains outside of Asia and offers a ski season at Las Lenas that is consistently reliable and always incredible.