When most people dream of Argentina this is the area they are picturing. Cuyo includes the provinces of Mendoza, Rioja, San Luis and San Juan.
Cuyo (Mendoza, San Juan, Rioja and San Luis)
When most people dream of Argentina this is the area they are picturing. Flowing red wine, mouth-watering steaks, snow capped mountains and a warm, fresh climate. Happiness breeds in the Cuyo region. Adrenaline junkies can take on Mt. Aconcagua, the highest peak in the Americas at a hectic 6,962 metres. Connoisseurs can revel in Maipu’s abundance of wineries and independent home farms producing delicious liquors, chocolates and olives. Those looking for a party will not be disappointed either, Mendoza’s Av Arístides is lined with dozens of bars that shake “til the early morn”. Wine is what this area is all about and even if you weren’t a fan before, you will be by the time you leave. I’m getting thirsty just writing this.
Expect: Lots and lots of wine, drunken cycling, adrenaline packed excursions and lush green plazas.
Pack: Sturdy shoes, a helmet, a spare liver and a taste for cycling drunk with a police escort.
Stranded in the harsh and barren landscape at the foot of the Andes, the city of Mendoza sparkles like an emerald in the dirt. On a clear day this dominating mountain range can be seen painted onto the horizon. As you sip your ever-replenished glass of Malbec, in one of the many leafy plazas, it can be difficult to believe that those distant shapes are anything more than just that, the flick of a painter’s wrist. With its own unique sleepy style, Mendoza feels a million miles from the adrenalin packed adventures the neighbouring peaks have to offer. But those seemingly distant traces are no trick of the eye, any of the numerous travel agents that line the streets will assure you of that.
Many people rave about Mendoza, and if you are looking to do some serious climbing or adventure travel there is probably no better place in Argentina. Aconcagua, the highest peak in the Western hemisphere (6,962m), is only a few hours drive away and home to some of the most visually dramatic and endurance testing (if not the most challenging) climbs in the Andes. The quality and range of excursions such as rafting, absailing, paragliding, mountaineering and horse riding is impressive. However, for some Mendoza is slightly too on the touristy side of things. San Rafael, 3 hours from Mendoza is a little more laid back and off the beaten track. If you’re looking for the kind of trekking where you just find a local guide and wander into the wilderness then wait till you’re in the northern provinces of Salta or Jujuy.
The definite highlight of any visit to Mendoza is the bicycle wine tour in Maipu. It might be touristy, but some things are touristy because they're bloody good, and this is one of them. It is a hell of a lot of fun. Urquiza road is lined with a mouth-watering array of wineries and local producers of olive oil, chocolates and liquors. All offer tours and tasting and you can spend a madly tasty day cycling around, getting increasingly pissed on delicious wine and handmade absinthe, all the while tailed by local police who ensure you make it back in one piece.
|MendozaMendoza, stranded in the harsh and barren landscape at the foot of the Andes, sparkles like an emer...|
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