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Wine and Mountains in Mendoza

This guest post is by Stephanie Collard of QunoSpotter.

Argentina has a fantastic bus network, so if you’re flying into Buenos Aires you can get a bus to either of two recommended adventure travel destinations, Mendoza and Bariloche. If you prefer to drive it’s best to find a cheap car hire online beforehand and arrange a destination where you can pick up your car. Driving the 18 hours from Buenos Aires may not be your cup of tea and the added expense incurred may not be worth it.

Bariloche looks strikingly like Austria. Germans and Austrians settled here in the late 1800s and have left their chocolate shops and ski jumps behind. The architecture is Swiss in style and there are many winter sports shops here. Driving around Bariloche is a breathtaking experience as the Andes and the many lakes are seriously beautiful. The main ski station here is at Cerro Catedral.

Photo by longhorndave on Flickr

Mendoza is a popular destination for mountaineering, hiking, rafting and horseback riding. It is also good for paragliding. You might even spot an Andean Condor while you’re up there.
Arenales is Mendoza’s greatest rock climbing area. There are over 150 climbing routes across the spectacular pink granite walls. There are a couple of companies you can book tours with who offer tandem paragliding trips and the scenery really is unbelievable.

Canopying (ziplining) is also possible here. Go between mountain walls and over rivers harnessed to thick cables. You can combine canopying with climbing or other activities in the area. Rappelling is also popular here. A sport in itself, it’s a lot of fun to slide down the odd mountain face before heading off to another activity.

In Mendoza you can kayak in the Atuel River, the Tunuyán River, the Grande River, and, perhaps the best, the Mendoza River.

Photo provided by Ignacio Sanz on Flickr

Horseback riding is immensely popular here and even the least adventurous tourists often can’t resist a trek. This might possibly be attributed to the classically romantic notion of galloping through the pampas like some kind of knight or Western hero. The reality is that the terrain can make for a bumpy ride, especially for the inexperienced. Placing your sunglasses on your head may not be the wisest choice (I’m speaking from personal experience here). Happily, there are some great masseuses in Mendoza city who can work the knots out afterwards. Ask you hotel or hostel receptionist to recommend one to you.

Photo provided by jjay69 on Flickr

Mendoza city is pleasant and there is a bus that does a regular circuit. There are plenty of attractive squares to sit in as well as a large park with a lake.

After you’re done in Mendoza, you might want to explore the surrounding wine region with a winery tour. Argentina is famous for Malbec and steak. Combine the two and you’re in heaven.

Sophie Collard (@QunoSpotter) is a travel writer who you’ll find writing about the many elements of travel in various different places. She writes the blog QunoSpotter.co.uk which spotlights overland travel. She’s travelled over rails in the UK, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia.

The lead image was provided by twiga269 ॐ FreeTIBET on Flickr.

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