Argentina: Mendoza

Mendoza is known internationally for two things: fine wine and Aconcagua – the world’s highest mountain outside of Asia (6956m). We went to see both.

A Colombian friend of ours, Juanita, popped up from nowhere one of our last days in Buenos Aires – and Marte and me met her again in San Rafael, in the south of the Mendoza district. Together we took the opportunity to see the stunning Cañon del Atuel, go rafting in Valle Grande (it’s only a level 2 raft), and bicycle around from vineyard to vineyard, sampling some of the region’s produce.

But the most amazing wine we tasted a few days later, at Weinert vineyard, a 30-minute bus ride outside of Mendoza city. A wonderful Cabernet Sauvignon, and a Malbec, that is going to cause both Marte and me problems with over-weight on the plane back home, as well as with strict Norwegian customs officials. And the tour there was interesting and informative, as well as more personal than the other vineyards we’ve visited. (We were only four in our group.)

Although the hostel (Campo Base) in Mendoza was both cramped and stuffy, the people were friendly, and we had a superb excursion to Alta monta̱a. Besides the spectacular views of Aconcagua and the a snow-covered volcano, the trip included being drenched in waterfalls, visiting at border to Chile at 4200m (it was freezing with the strong wind Рbut a hot chocolate in a refuge on the Argentina side, and a mix of honey and aguadiente on the Chilean side helped).

Puente del Inca

Puente del Inca bath

We also went to Puente del Inca – a natural bridge over the Cuevas River. There is an old legend about this place and the thermal waters that flow there at up to 35°. Here are also the ruins of an old hotel that worked like a thermal centre in the last century. Sitting in one of the hot baths within the ruins give an eerie feeling, however it is said that the water have both healing therapeutic properties.

In Mendoza I also tried to go paragliding but unfortunately, the wind was too strong to go up.

Juanita is probably going to the south of Chile now, while Marte and I have executive class tickets (fully flat bed) on the bus back to Buenos Aires, before we head off to the beaches in Uruguay.

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