Due to being three people in Argentina, we discovered that the cheaper option for travelling around was to rent a car. Our usual way of travel throughout the trip has been using buses however the extortionate price of bus tickets put us off and we decided a road trip would be cheaper and a lot more fun! We looked into many different car options and the best company we found was Localiza. Having done the research we booked our car and headed to Jorge Newbery airport (located in the middle of Buenos Aires) to pick it up which was nice and easy and then set off on our journey to our first stop; Rosario.
Rosario is Argentina’s third largest city which Christie was especially keen to visit due to doing an exchange there six years prior. During our visit we therefore planned to meet her friend and explore the city. Having looked into different options for accommodation and discovering the hostels offered weren’t great we decided that the best option was to go for an Airbnb - the city offers some great apartments for pretty cheap so definitely worth a look! On arrival in Rosario we spent a beautiful morning walking along the river finding our bearings, the long Boulevards covered by arching trees reminded us of those in Buenos Aires - which we continued to discover is a common sighting in Argentina. We would highly recommend strolling from el ‘monumento historico nacional a la bandera’ along the river edge towards ‘museo de arte contemporáneo de Rosario.’ If you put these 2 points in google maps it takes you the perfect 20 minute walk along the river, where you end at Calle Oroño and can sit and watch the world go by at one of the local coffee shops. Along with this, during our day in Rosario we were also lucky enough to spend the day on Christie’s friend’s boat on the river; watching the sun go down behind the city was certainly a highlight and a great end to our day in Rosario.
The ten hour drive from Rosario to Mendoza was a long one… although we managed it in the time we’d expected, we must mention how unaware Argentinians are of other drivers! Dodging the cars that didn’t seem to know how to indicate was challenging, so be aware of this if you decide to pick the road trip option. Saying this, the roads were pretty much as far as the eye could see straight which was fascinating and made the drive a lot easier. We honestly have never seen anything like it, we also loved the odd traditional Argentine ‘parrilla’ barbecues that we came across on the side of the roads.
As we approached Mendoza we knew we were in for a treat, we started to drive through expansive vineyards that all looked so well kept and were a truly beautiful sight to see as the sun was setting. As we drew closer to the city, the backdrop of the mountains was mesmerising and we were all silenced by the true beauty of Argentina.
When staying in Mendoza we would recommend either staying at Chill Hostel or Alamo Hostel. These are the ones we stayed in during our time here and were a great place to relax after a day out exploring the city or visiting the near vineyards. Chill Hostel is located on one of the Avenue Aristides Villanueva which comes alive at night and has a large number of different restaurants to indulge in, if your looking for an outgoing evening we would definitely recommend a visit.
When in the region, as you probably guessed, we were very keen to visit some vineyards! Follow this link to have a read about the vineyards closer to Mendoza city https://www.findusfaraway.com/single-post/2018/01/21/Argentina-Cycling-round-Mendoza%E2%80%99s-vineyards. Along with the vineyards mentioned in this post we also spent the day going further afield to the Uco Valley, a region which is more high-end. Unfortunately we ended up visiting on a Sunday so most of the vineyards were closed, however, the vineyard SuperUco was open so we paid them a visit. The vineyard was really small and only produced 40,000 litres of wine per year and so the tasting and tour were all in the same room. Beside SuperUco is the Vines Resort and Spa, home to the famous restaurant Siete Fuegos by Francis Mallmann. Budgets in mind we only dropped in for a glass of wine, but it was definitely worth a visit as the hotel is really something. If you find yourself in the Uco Valley region then the other wineries we wanted to visit were Domaine Busquet and Andeluna… Just make sure not to go on a Sunday!
One of our favourite days spent in Mendoza was on a random day trip to a nearby lake called Potrerillos. We fancied a bit of nature and were unsure where to go, and after some extensive googling came up with this lake. When we got there, we instantly were shocked that it wasn’t more highly recommended, or a typical thing for travellers to do from Mendoza. Having the car for sure made it easier, as it was an hour from Mendoza city, however you can also access it by public transport if without a car. The lake was a crystal clear aqua blue colour and went on for 12km. We picked a spot to hop out the car about halfway down where we felt it was the most beautiful, and rented some canoes from a stand nearby. We were SO glad we made this random decision as canoeing out onto the lake was the most tranquil, beautiful afternoon. We jumped off in the middle of the water and it felt amazing to be swimming with such picturesque mountain scenery surrounding us on all sides. You can also do other activities such as rent bikes and cycle round the lake, or even practise kitesurfing when the wind picks up in the afternoon. All in all, Potrerillos ended up being an amazing day and if you are in Mendoza it certainly is a fab day out and very different to the vineyard tasting days!
Some of our restaurant recommendations in the city are:
La Lucia - amazing for grilled steak, appears really high-end but you’re looking at only £11 for a fillet steak!
Maria Antonieta - Parisian style cafe with a great outside area
La Barra - delicious steakhouse
Famiglia Perin - the best ice cream you will ever taste!
NEU Café - great for coffee
Brod Bakery - yummy croissants and gourmet sandwiches