Boasting a history as robust as its selection of grapes, Mendoza is a wine producing powerhouse. This city sits in a strategic location in-between Santiago and Buenos Aires on Ruta Nacional 7. With a metropolitan population that exceeds 1 million, Greater Mendoza is the most dispersed metro area in Argentina. Thanks to its dry climate and ancient irrigation systems, this sprawling metropolis is one of the seven wine capitals in the world. Their rare varieties of Malbec wines were adapted to thrive in the area’s high elevation. This timeless innovation makes Mendoza one of the most important places to visit in Argentina.
Even though Mendoza is booming, they can’t escape their resourceful history. Before the Spaniards arrived, the area was occupied by the Huarpes and Puelches native tribes. Realizing the need for improved agriculture, the Huarpes created an elaborate irrigation system that flooded the once dry area with water. Their methods proved to be so effective that the Spaniards built off them when they arrived. Today the city is surrounded by wide trenches (acequias) that line every street in Mendoza. Thanks to this original irrigation system, over 100,000 trees receive water within the city.
Despite having plenty of irrigation, Mendoza didn’t have many inhabitants until the 18thcentury. Up until 1600, only 80 Spanish settlers occupied the area. In 1788, the settlers started utilizing indigenous and slave labor to further develop their agriculture. Invigorated by a new workforce and fresh aqueducts from neighboring rivers, Mendoza slowly evolved into an agriculture powerhouse. When the war for Independence broke out, Mendoza’s governor José de San Martin organized Chilean and Argentinean patriots to rebel. This audacious coordination led to the area winning Independence.
Unfortunately, being subjected to foreign governments proved to be the least of Mendoza’s problems. In 1861, the city was rocked by a massive earthquake that killed 5,000 people. This disaster led to multiple adjustments being made when the city was rebuilt. To better withstand seismic activity all Mendoza’s plazas, streets and sidewalks were built wider than any other city in Argentina. Thanks to these wise renovations, the city effortlessly survived a 5.7-magnitude earthquake in 2006. While 600 older buildings were damaged, no one died in this potential disaster.
Natural disasters aside, Mendoza is a gorgeous view into the heart of Argentina. Its strategic location allows visitors to easily travel to either Buenos Aires of Santiago, Chile. Even those who are searching for closer thrills aren’t disappointed by its wide variety of attractions. From skiing in the Andes to visiting the desert, Mendoza has plenty of natural wonders to visit.
While most travel blogs expound upon Mendoza’s infamous wine, this isn’t one of those articles. Here at Gringo Famoso we dedicate ourselves to bringing fresh viewpoints to topics that are already diluted to the point of redundancy. Prepare to get an intimate look at the coolest things to do in Mendoza. There’s plenty to do around here aside from sipping wine, so get ready for a wild ride!
Coolest Things To Do In Mendoza
Activity #1: Parapente – Out of all the extreme sports available in the area, hang-gliding steals the show. Thanks to a wide range of mountains surrounding the city, Mendoza is an epic place to fly. These jump off points are located just a half hour outside the city. Soaring over the valley provides spectacular views of both the metropolitan area and surrounding mountains and hills. It’s an epic way to tantalize your senses, so get your adrenaline pumping next time you’re in Mendoza!
Activity #2: Smoke 5-MeO-DMT – Mendoza’s desert surroundings are the perfect place to enjoy the untamed beauty of 5-MeO-DMT. This wildly intense psychedelic is so strong that it makes Ayahuasca look like a cute tea that causes diarrhea. Even though the Sonora Desert toad lives thousands of miles from Argentina, a small community is emerging in Mendoza. This close-knit group provides OTAC ceremonies hosted by Dr. Octavio Rettig Hinojosa. This Mexican toad prophet is one of the most captivating and entertaining people we ever had the opportunity to meet. To get exclusive details of the OTAC ceremonies in Mendoza, check out this article.
Activity #3: Termas Cacheuta – This immaculate series of hot springs lies about an hour outside Mendoza. While some of the pools are covered, others boast gorgeous outdoor views of the neighboring mountains and desert. These pools range in intensity from 25 to 50 degrees Celsius (77-122F). They also have an impressive amount of minerals that are supposed to heal a slew of ailments.
Out of all the hot springs we visited in South America, this was the best maintained. The area is completely spotless and the visitors are well-behaved. Aside from the dozen pools, their elaborate gardens and picnic areas provide breathtaking views of the Mendoza river. There are also plenty of restaurants and shops, which makes it a welcoming place to spend the day. Public transportation leaves every hour from Mendoza, so there’s no excuse not to visit!