Mendoza, Argentina: Vacations and Travel Info
Located in western Argentina in the foothills of the Andes Mountains and surrounded by some of the world's tallest peaks, Mendoza is known as the "Oasis City". This town of plazas and tree-lined avenues offers its visitors a diverse range of attractions and activities, from relaxing wine tastings and horseback rides along mountain trails to colorful nightclubs and wild river rafting.
Travelers come in from all over the world to experience the unbeatable skiing and snowboarding available in the nearby Andes, offering powdery snow and excellent off-piste adventures from June through early October. Whether you are looking for a quiet romantic getaway or the high-adrenaline trip of a lifetime, you will enjoy many unforgettable experiences in Mendoza, Argentina.
The unique stone canals running alongside the avenues of Mendoza provide water for the canopy of elms, poplars and sycamores that give shade to this fascinating city. The impressive irrigation system has existed since before the founding of the city, having been an important tool used by the local Huarpes and Incas to sustain life in what would be a dry, arid region.
Mendoza is situated around downtown's Plaza Independencia and its four surrounding plazas: San Martin, Chile, Italia and Espana. It offers all the attractions of a big city with theaters, bars, nightclubs, great restaurants and amazing shopping, while maintaining its small town charm. Restaurants and shops with traditional tile floors and high ceilings line pedestrian streets, closing for siesta each afternoon until five, when the city reawakens.
This desert oasis receives only eight inches of rain annually. The nearly constant sunshine provides for hot January summers and cool July winters. The excellent climate and amazing surroundings allow for a wide variety of activities throughout the entire year.
Previously occupied by the Huarpes, the Incas and the Puelches, the city of Mendoza was officially founded in 1561 by Pedro del Castillo. Its population didn't surpass 80 men until nearly 50 years later, when Jesuit influence in the area increased productivity. The region continued to grow and prosper with the later addition of sophisticated irrigation techniques to increase agricultural production. In 1861, the "Old City" was torn apart by a devastating earthquake. A stronger "New City" was then built, including wider streets, larger plazas and better infrastructure, all of which characterize the Mendoza of today.
The Mendoza region is gaining fame as the "next Napa". The enormous irrigation system of channels, canals and reservoirs allows Mendoza to produce over a billion liters of wine each year. The area produces two thirds of Argentina's wine at over one thousand wineries set in the shadows of the Andes. Most of these wineries are situated near the capital, providing great opportunities for locals and visitors alike to plan amazing day trips. The area is known for its bold flavors and accessible prices, offering the world's highest ranked Malbec wines along with excellent Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.
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