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Along the Chilean border, in the rain shadow of the highest Andes, Cuyo is Chile's wine country, and the city of Mendoza with its sycamore-shaded streets, quality restaurants, and improving nightlife, is the heart of it. Literally hundreds of wineries, many of them open for tours and tasting, lie within an hour of its central plaza. Very few of them charge for the privilege.

When visitors have sampled enough Malbec and need to work off the weight from gourmet meals, the "Roof of the Americas" is only a couple hours away. Mount Aconcagua, the Western Hemisphere's highest summit, is part of a provincial park with long hiking ...

Along the Chilean border, in the rain shadow of the highest Andes, Cuyo is Chile's wine country, and the city of Mendoza with its sycamore-shaded streets, quality restaurants, and improving nightlife, is the heart of it. Literally hundreds of wineries, many of them open for tours and tasting, lie within an hour of its central plaza. Very few of them charge for the privilege.

When visitors have sampled enough Malbec and need to work off the weight from gourmet meals, the "Roof of the Americas" is only a couple hours away. Mount Aconcagua, the Western Hemisphere's highest summit, is part of a provincial park with long hiking trails, though only a few are accessible in winter. That said, there are ski resorts nearby and one of South America's top ski areas, Las Leñas, is a few hours south near the town of Malargüe.

Other natural attractions include the redrock canyons of Sierra de las Quijadas National Park, in San Luis province, and San Juan province's Ischigualasto Provincial Park, the "Valley of the Moon" for its lunar landscapes and home to major dinosaur discoveries. San Juan, which has its own lesser but worthwhile wine route, is also home to one of Argentina's most offbeat sights, the shrine to the folk saint Difunta Correa.

Wayne Bernhardson
About the Expert

Wayne Bernhardson is the author of Moon Handbooks to Argentina, Buenos Aires (including coastal Uruguay), Chile (including Easter Island), and Patagonia (including the Falkland Islands).

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Wayne Bernhardson for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Southern South America, bordering the South Atlantic Ocean, between Chile and Uruguay
  • Language: Spanish, Italinan, French, English
  • Currency: Argentinian Peso
  • Research: Wikipedia | Wikitravel
  • Weather: Rainfall | Daylight
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Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    All year for wine; July-September for skiing; desert parks of San Juan and San Luis are ideal in winter.