Mendoza is the capital of the province of the same name in Argentina and the center of winegrowing in that country. The city is an excellent operating base for trips along vineyards, but also to explore the impressive Andes. On the verge of the city lies a large park around a lake: Parque General San Martín.
The city itself has 'only' 110,000 inhabitants, but almost 1 million people live in the metropolitan area of Mendoza and surroundings.
Mendoza is located in the west of Argentina, on the foothills of the Andes. The highest peak of the American continent, the Aconcagua (6962 meters) lies over 100 kilometers west of the city, at the border with Chile. Mendoza's surroundings are dry by nature, but thanks to an extensive irrigation system grapes can be cultivated. The Chilean capital Santiago lies southwest of Mendoza, on the other side of the Andes. It's an experience to cover the road to Santiago, straight through the mountains, by rental car.
Mendoza's economy revolves around wine production. Olives are also grown in the area, of which olive oil is made. South of the city, in Luján de Cuyo, lies a refinery which processes the petroleum which is extracted locally. Mendoza also plays an important role in the trade with neighboring country Chile.
The city's airport is officially called Governor Francisco Gabrielli International Airport, but is better known as El Plumerillo International Airport. It's situated 8 kilometers northeast of the city center and is easily reachable by rental car via Av Acceso Norte (Ruta Nacional 40). Count on a 20- to 25-minute drive.
Mendoza has good public transport, consisting of buses, trolley buses and, since 2011, a streetcar line. The streetcar runs from the center via Godoy Cruz to Maipú (Gutiérrez) and will be extended to Luján de Cuyo south of Mendoza. Plans also exist to have an antique train, El Tren del Vino (the Wine Train), run through the vineyards near town.
Mendoza is a busy, active city and it'll require some flexibility before you'll feel comfortable as far as driving is concerned. Still, it's not difficult to find your way around, as the layout of streets is very orderly. Finding a free parking place in the city center isn't easy, but there are several parking garages where you can park your rental car. Most of the locations are signposted.
Mendoza has a good choice of hotels; most hotels can be found around the Plaza Independencia. As Mendoza is a typical commercial town, many hotels are geared towards business travelers, but you'll also find some family hotels. In contrast with the capital Buenos Aires, there aren't many short-term rental apartments. Budget hotels are mainly concentrated east of the city center.
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