Mendoza Journals

Mendoza for Budget Travellers

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An August 2004 trip to Mendoza by Robert Raymond Ingledew

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Quote: I already mentioned in another report the sky-high prices of Las Leñas, a beautiful ski resort. Mendoza is an important city, and does not have those excessive prices, but still is more expensive than Mar del Plata, Bariloche or Iguazu. Here are some tips for saving money.

Mendoza for Budget Travellers

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Overview

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Quote:
Mendoza is a beautiful city, with all the advantages of large cities, and none of its problems. Being so near Chile, it is literally invaded by Chilean tourists due to the favorable exchange rate, not only for touring but also for shopping. Although Mendoza's prices are not as good as those you will find in Córdoba (Ituzaingó street) or in Buenos Aires, it still offers good options for buying. If you want fashion, you will go to the Palmares Shopping Center in Chacras de Coria or to the one located on Avenida de Acceso Este in Villa Nueva (it used to be called Gigante when I lived in Mendoza, but now has another name). I lived three and a half years in Mendoza and never would have left, but I lost ...Read More
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Mendoza is a miracle of human effort. It is in the midst of the desert and the effort of man, starting with the Incas and Huarpes Indians who constructed the main irrigation channel (Cacique Guaymallen), converted this desert into a huge oasis. This channel existed in 1563, and probably even before that. The Incas, who had already arrived here, taught the Huarpes Indians their agricultural secrets, and this is why, from Lake Potrerillos, I was able to see cultivation terraces in the mountain. Maybe they were not many, but there they were. Mendoza has one of the lowest rainfalls in all of Argentina, but irrigation has converted this land into a paradise. Practically all streets have their irrig...Read More
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San Rafael is a medium-sized city (some 50,000 inhabitants), is an important vineyard and winery area, but also has beautiful places that, in some cases, can be visited by bus. Valle Grande,the lower part of the Atuel Canyon, is only 20 miles away and can be reached in the local bus services, Empresa Buitroni. If not, a taxi there will cost you $20-$25, or you can take a local tour, that will require 8 hours less than if you take a tour from Mendoza city. Valle Grande is a relatively easy rafting area and, downstream from the dam, there is class II rafting with some rapids, but only problematic for kayaks; I saw one upside down. It is near to the upper Atuel Canyon, but if you are not fond of exha...Read More
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The tour to Las Cuevas/Aconcagua Provincial Park is the milestone of any tour to Mendoza. The Aconcagua is the highest mountain in the American Continent, over 23,000 feet high. It is on the international road to Chile, so when you travel from Santiago to Mendoza, Córdoba, or Buenos Aires you will see it from the bus, although flying over the Andes from Santiago to Mendoza is a fascinating experience. The tour starts off early in the morning (about 7am) and goes through the residential district of Chacras de Coria, then crosses the Mendoza river, that now has crystal-clear water since the construction of the Potrerillos dam, and passes in front of the Lujan de Cuyo oil refinery. I should say he...Read More
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THE ROAD TO THE ACONCAGUA (PUENTE DEL INCA, POLVAREDAS, PENITENTES, AND LAS CUEVAS) The second last time I took this tour (in September, three years ago), I was fortunate. As the road to the Cristo Redentor was blocked by the snow, they took us to the Aconcagua Provincial Park. The stop there was for nearly two hours, and there was enough time to walk to the Horcones lagoon. However, walking at an altitude of 12,000 feet is not that simple. I walked about half the way and as soon as I reached a place where I had beautiful views of the Aconcagua and Tolosa mounts I just stopped there, took beautiful photos, and returned to the bus. The last time I went the road was open all the way to the Cri...Read More
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Las Leñas is beautiful and expensive. International skiers come to train here, because a combination of three tracks allows them to ski some seven miles at a time. During the high season, July, a single room in a hotel like Skorpio costs $270 per night. In August, that rate drops by 40%, and in September it drops to about a third of the original price. The ski lift pass is also expensive, and you are not allowed to go up without skis. I was given a free pass as a Senior citizen—you have to request it at Public Relations—and then was not allowed to board the chairlift. In any case, the whole scenery is beautiful, and if you walk along some of the few roads towards the mountain (I went towards ...Read More