While it also offers adventure tourism including hikes in the Andes and rappelling in caves and old mines, Mendoza, Argentina is probably most well known for its many wineries. While I was there on a quick stop between Santiago, Chile and Buenos Aires, Argentina I decided to do a little exploring and I visited two of the region’s wineries as well as an olive oil factory – and, of course, enjoyed the samples.
I had done some research online but didn’t find any good deals for winery tours so I decided to wait until I got there and see if I could dig up a more economical option. Luckily, I was right! If you’re headed to Mendoza, I highly recommend holding off until you get there to book a tour as the ones I found were about 1/5 the price of what I saw online. This is likely especially true if you speak Spanish (I took a Spanish language tour) but you should still find a better deal on English language tours by waiting. Head to the main pedestrian street that connects the Plaza de la Independencia and the Avenida San Martin and you’ll see a number of tour companies. Just walk in and start comparing prices and you’ll find yourself a good deal.
Check out the video below to get an idea for what the wineries and olive oil factory were like (it wasn’t harvesting season so there’s not a lot of action with the machines, but it was still a cool experience). Bonus: random useless knowledge: green olives and black olives are actually the same fruit from the same olive tree, just at differing levels of ripeness.
To break up my trip from Santiago, Chile to Buenos Aires, Argentina I made a quick stop for a few days in Mendoza (known for its wine production) and one of those days just happened to be Argentinian Independence Day. While their were no fireworks (our standard method of celebrating our Independence Day in the United States) there were fountains dyed the color of the flag, a celebratory gathering of vendors, and live performances from child dancers and professional musicians alike.
It was a pretty low-key celebration, but it was lovely. Check out the video below to see for yourself.
How do you celebrate Independence Day in your country?
Instead of flying from Santiago, Chile directly to Buenos Aires, Argentina I decided to take the scenic bus route through the Andes and stopping in Mendoza, Argentina to visit the wineries and olive oil factories (which you’ll hear more about next week). All I can say about the bus trip is WOW.
I booked my tickets online via the Andesmar (an Argentinian bus company) website and all I had to do was show up at the bus station the morning of my trip with my printed ticket, my reciprocity fee receipt (Argentina charges all those traveling on a U.S. passport a $160 reciprocity fee in order to enter the country, which you must pay online in advance), and my luggage and check in at the Andesmar desk. My advice: if at all possible choose the a seat on the top level and in the very front of the bus for the best views.
While 6-8 hours on a bus isn’t really anyone’s idea of a good time, the views of the snow-capped Andes were absolutely amazing. Please check out the video below to get an idea, but it doesn’t do the journey justice at all. It was incredible to see and I am so happy I chose to cross the border by bus instead of choosing the more convenient flight.