Thinking of traveling to the province of good wine and sunshine? We recommend the best Mendoza travel itinerary in five days.
Mendoza is one of the most beautiful provinces to visit in Argentina. The mountains of the Andes, wineries, reservoirs and rivers give it that ideal charm for a getaway where nature is the protagonist.
We have designed this itinerary to travel around Mendoza in 5 days and visit the must-see places.
How many days are necessary to visit Mendoza
If you want to visit the main attractions surrounding Mendoza, such as the Aconcagua mountain, visit a winery, go to the Cacheuta hot springs and visit San Rafael, you will need at least 4 or 5 days. If you want to visit places further away from Mendoza city, such as Malargue or Las Leñas, you will need at least 7 days.
How to organise a car trip in Mendoza
If you are travelling from Buenos Aires, it is a long way to drive the 1050 kilometres in one day to Mendoza. Therefore, it is advisable to spend a night in a place halfway, or even closer to Mendoza, such as Laboulaye in Cordoba or Villa Mercedes in San Luis.
Once you arrive in Mendoza, our advice is to base yourself in one place and then drive around for the day to visit the sites. Mendoza city is the best place to base yourself because of the number of hotels, restaurants and nightlife, although if you want more peace and quiet you can stay in Uspalla or a cabin on the outskirts.
We stayed on the outskirts of Uspallata, in a cabin overlooking the mountain range and highly recommend it.
Most of the places to visit are close to Mendoza City. The furthest site on this itinerary is the Atuel Canyon, so you could spend the night near the Atuel Canyon or in San Rafael that day.
Finally, it is important to observe the weather forecast to make the visit, especially if you go in winter due to the presence of snow. At the same time, on days with Zonda wind, it is recommended not to visit because the strength of the wind and the dust it raises is impressive.
In this article we will focus on a tour of Mendoza in 5 days, mainly in its capital and the natural sites that surround it.
Map Mendoza travel itinerary in 5 days
Day 1: Mendoza City
With its irrigation ditches and parks, the capital of the province is one of the places to base yourself if you are touring the province of Mendoza. Among the many places to visit is the large green space called Parque San Martín, designed by Carlos Thays.
Don’t forget to visit the wrought iron gate at the entrance to the park with the Mendoza coat of arms. Inside the San Martin park there are many places to eat or have a drink overlooking the artificial lake.
Another place to visit in Mendoza is the Cerro de la Gloria with the monument of the liberator San Martin and perfect views of the city.
In the center of the city, a visit to Independence Square and the museum of the Foundational Area, which exhibits relics of the city over the centuries, is a must. Around the Plaza Independencia are the four satellite squares, for us the Plaza de España is the most beautiful, recently remodeled, with mosaics, fountains and a playground ideal for children.
📷 Book here the free tour of Mendoza city with an expert guide. It’s free!
For a drink or dinner, the restaurants and bars located on Arístides Villanueva Avenue are an excellent option. Also on the pedestrian street Paseo Sarmiento there are coffee shops, ice cream parlors and places to eat.
If you are looking for hotels, we made this article with recommendations on where to stay in Mendoza city. Don’t miss it!
🔝 Looking for more ideas? Read this article about things to do in Mendoza city.
Day 2: Villavicencio Reserve and visiting wineries, an experience to do in Mendoza in 5 days
In the morning, you can travel the 55 kilometers that separate the city of Mendoza from the Villavicencio Natural Reserve. The façade of the old hotel is the symbol of one of the best known brands of mineral water in Argentina and one of the emblems of Mendoza. There is an entrance fee and the visit is guided through the gardens and the exterior of the old hotel.
📷 Book here the tour to the Villavicencio Reserve from Mendoza City. Includes: transfers and guide.
Mendoza is catalogued as the land of good wine, as a result of the great wine production that takes place in the province, mainly in the south of Mendoza City in the towns of Lujan de Cuyo and Tunuyan.
The arid and dry climate of the area is ideal for planting vines and their subsequent transformation into wine. There are numerous wineries such as Chandon, Vistandes, López, Viniterra, Lagarde, Luigi Bosca, among many others.
Most visits include a tour of the vineyards, the place where the barrels are stored for fermentation and a tasting of varieties by the sommelier. Many of the wineries also have restaurants where you can enjoy a meal accompanied by a good wine in the middle of the mountain landscape.
We had the experience at the Lagarde Winery and it was amazing. First, because you eat next to the vineyards and under the shade of the trees. Second, because their menus are excellent, we tasted the 4-step menu, but they also have a seven-step menu.
💯If you choose to visit several wineries, try that at least one of them is producing sparkling wine, as the storage and elaboration is different from the rest. One of these wineries is Chandon.
Also in the area you can visit olive plantations from which olive oil is produced.
📷 Book here the wineries and vineyards tour from Mendoza city. Includes transfers and a visit to two wineries in Mendoza.
Day 3: Potrerillos reservoir and Cacheuta hot springs plus rafting on the Mendoza river
Route 82 borders the Mendoza River until it reaches the Potrerillos reservoir, a large artificial lake formed by the dam on the river and which is very popular with locals for water sports such as kite surfing or simply kayaking.
The environment of the reservoir is characterized by being surrounded by mountains of the Andes foothills. You can also picnic or eat at the lakeside picnic areas.
On the way back to Mendoza city along route 82, stop at the Cacheuta hot springs. This thermal water complex with more than 10 pools is ideal for relaxation. Not only adults can enjoy, there are water slides and water jets for children. There is also a restaurant and a barbecue area.
The thermal baths of Cachueta are open every day until 6 pm. If you visit the Potrerillos reservoir first, you should arrive at the thermal baths at 2 pm at the latest, to enjoy the relaxation and the water park as much as possible.
📷 Book here the excursion to Potrerillos and Cacheuta reservoir from Mendoza city. Includes: transfers and guide.
Rafting on the Mendoza River is one of the best adventures to do in Mendoza in 5 days. Test your adrenaline in this river with jumps in circuits of 12 or 30 kilometers. Book here your rafting trip on the Mendoza River.
Day 4: Route 7, Aconcagua Park, Inca Bridge and Cristo Redentor
Route 7 will take us from Mendoza city to the border with Chile, bordering high mountains and with many places to make stops.
The main protagonist of the road is the Aconcagua Park, whose entrance is at the side of the road. Through a trail of little physical difficulty and a wonderful environment, you will arrive in about 45 minutes to the viewpoint of the highest mountain in America whose height is around 7,000 meters. The landscape is simply perfect.
📷 Book your high mountain excursion in the Andes here. You will visit Uspallata, Puente del Inca, the Aconcagua viewpoint and Christ the Redeemer. Includes: transfers and guide.
Also on Route 7 is one of the most important ski centers in Mendoza, the Los Penitentes mountain. With many trails and lifts, it has a great infrastructure that includes hotels and restaurants. An ideal activity to do in Mendoza in 5 days in winter!
Already on the border with Chile, a winding and steep road over the mountain reaches the Cristo Redentor, built in the early twentieth century as a symbol of peace between Argentina and Chile. Nestled at an altitude of 3850 meters above sea level, it allows you to take dimension of the mountain range.
If you drive up to Christ the Redeemer, do it with caution and warm clothes. The wind is intense at all hours and the gravel road is steep and windy.
Finally, the Inca Bridge is another symbol of the trail. The Puente del Inca Hotel, famous for its thermal baths, is located on this natural yellowish bridge over the Las Cuevas River. It is currently abandoned and in danger of collapse.
For lunch, there is a parador next to Puente del Inca. It doesn’t have much of a menu but it is one of the few places open for lunch on the way from Uspallata to Aconcagua Park. If not, you can take a picnic lunch with you and eat with the fabulous views of the Cordillera.
🏨 Do you want to spend the night in Uspallata? Find here the best hotels in Uspallata.
🔝 Do you want more recommendations? See things to do in Uspallata and surroundings and the best trekking inside the Aconcagua Provincial Park.
Day 5: Atuel Canyon and Grande Valley
Near the city of San Rafael, the Atuel Canyon is one of the must-see places to visit in Mendoza in 5 days by car. The Atuel River narrows and meanders between rock formations of different colors, producing one of the most beautiful landscapes of Mendoza.
On the way you must visit the Valle Grande reservoir and its viewpoints, continue along the Atuel River along route 173 stopping to take pictures, until you reach the Nihuil reservoir. The whole road is lovely, so keep your camera and cell phone ready.
In the Atuel Canyon, there are a wide variety of activities to do: rafting, canoeing, rappel, rappel, zip line, catamaran rides and more.
For lunch, there are places along the Atuel Canyon route, which also offer excursions. We recommend going to the city of San Rafael and eating at the restaurant Al Antojo del Cocinero. The dishes are excellently presented and the food has a lot of flavour. We ordered lamb and loved it. As the place is small, it is advisable to make a reservation.
📷 Book here the excursion to the Atuel Canyon and Valle Grande from Mendoza City in the day.
🔝 Discover all there is to do around the Atuel Canyon in this article about things to do in San Rafael Mendoza.
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