Mendoza, Argentina - Spend more time here!
Lindsey and I flew to Mendoza from Santiago and were there from a Monday night to a Wednesday night. We arrived knowing that we wanted to eat at two specific restaurants, that we’d be staying at the Park Hyatt Mendoza, and that we’d be doing an all day (mostly) wine tour with Trout and Wine. We also planned to go paragliding, which we were STOKED about. But before you get excited to read about that experience, let me tell you that the weather and wind did not cooperate so we drove to the top of the hill, sat in the sun for 45 minutes to an hour and then drove back down the rugged, bumpy gravel/rock road and then back to our hotel. We were disappointed, but c’est la vie. We did SO MANY other fun things that I cannot complain, it was one small misfortune. I am sure that we both will have the opportunity to try again sometime.
Anyway, Mendoza was amazing. We arrived to the Park Hyatt and settled in to our suite and then I found a book with all of the things to do in Mendoza and showed it to Lindsey and we were both sad that we didn’t know ahead of time to plan more time there. Overall, that was the theme for both countries, so much to explore and see and not enough time in that trip. Anyway, what can you do in Mendoza? I said it seemed like a great honeymoon destination because there are spas, wine tasting, horseback riding, hiking and mountaineering in the nearby Andes, paragliding, mountain biking, rafting…do I need to go on? There is seriously something for everyone. The next day on our wine tour, we joined a couple who had just gotten married at the Park Hyatt Buenos Aires (where we’d be going to stay next) and they were Americans on their honeymoon who had a very small destination wedding in Buenos Aires. I can’t remember their names but they were so nice and sweet and I’m glad that we got to share our day with them.
I won’t spend too long on this, that would be silly because we were there for 2 days, but take the suggestions above, do your own research, and GO.
Azafran - Get a reservation here! As soon as you know you’re visiting Mendoza! Or you’re not going! We arrived to Mendoza after 6 pm and inquired about an earlier reservation than our 10 pm. Nope, they did not have one. Lindsey got that 10 pm reservation weeks in advance and we had a fancy room at the Park Hyatt and they probably could have worked their concierge magic anywhere else to get us in if we had not had a reservation, BUT NOT AT AZAFRAN. This place was delicious, packed, lively, and has a shop. Everything was fresh and delicious. We got to pick out our own wine from the wine room and we selected a local Bonarda (we didn’t know what that was until the sommelier told us) but it was from a vineyard owned and run by women. And the sommelier at the restaurant was also a woman.
Bowie Bar - Oh man, this place looked so cool, and it was! But after all of the wine on the tour and not enough rest and water afterward plus my decision to grab a BEER before going here meant that I ate one bite of a burger here then felt like I was going to die. I spent most of my time here looking at the burger (which Lindsey said was good) and trying not to barf. They had a lot of nude or semi-nude photography upstairs so if that upsets you, you’ve been warned.
Lujan de Cuyo Wine Tour with lunch - Our wine tour was amazing! We visited 3 wineries and had a four course lunch at the last one, then had a nice nap on the ride back to Mendoza (ha). The tour guides were very knowledgable about the region and the wineries, as well as Mendoza. It was also interesting to hear the guide’s perspective on the Bolivian community in Mendoza, who are basically migrant workers in the vineyards and in the agriculture industry. She welcomed them and their culture and was proud of them making a life for themselves in another country, and still bringing their Bolivian culture to the region and sharing it with locals. She did say that not everyone in Argentina welcomes the Bolivian workers and doesn’t want them in the country. However she also stated that there are not enough Argentinians who will do such hard work for so little pay. I never want to make my blog political, but if people want to work hard for a better life, I think we should encourage them to do so.
El Botellon - Craft beer was a little bit easier to find once we got to Argentina, and after a long day of drinking wine, I wanted to get something local and asked if we could get a beer here before heading to dinner. AND THAT WAS MY UNDOING. I was never drunk or even buzzed, but I think I was dehydrated and the IPA I drank at this bar was so hoppy. It was tasty, but it was too much after the wine tour. I thought food at Bowie Bar would help but it did not. This place was cool though, a good crowd, fun music, TONS of beers to choose from. I was sad that I felt sick and couldn’t drink more. I never even got sick, just felt icky all night and slept it off and drank a ton of water. Live and learn. I would totally go back there.
That’s all for Mendoza! I’ll review the wineries in a separate post to do them justice.
Photos: Welcome to Mendoza with a crazy neon sign, at Bowie Bar, Waiting it out on top of the paragliding hill, What? You don’t do splits when you’re waiting for the wind to go paragliding?