We booked our bus over the Andes to Mendoza, Argentina from Santiago, Chile on the Busbud website and picked the Radiomovil bus. It was a mini van rather than a bus. The other company that was available was CATA. They were slightly cheaper but they were double decker buses. We had read online and heard from people that the bus was better than the flight because there are such cool views as you drive over the Andes. Would I personally recommend it? I think I would recommend our company because I only took 6 hours rather than 8 and the early morning bus was ahead of the traffic and queues at the border control. Flying is obviously the easier option but the bus is cheaper and wasn’t as bad as I had thought it would be.
On our first full day in Mendoza we headed to the Maipu area to check out the vineyards and do some wine tasting. You can book tours but we decided to do it ourself because we wanted to be on our own time in the vineyards. We got the public bus (171,172,173) to Maipu and headed to Maipu Bikes to rent our bikes for the day. It was 300 pesos per bike and they had happy hour 5-6 for free wine when you returned your bike. Bargain! Would definitely recommend them and the free wine was pretty good! Tell them I sent you!
First vineyard stop was Tempus Alba. You could do a self guided tour of the vineyard if you wanted. We went straight for the wine tasting and tried 3 wines each for 120. We sampled the Malbec, temperillo, Syrah, Malbec and a Cabernet Sauvignon. They were all good!
Next stop was Mevi. It was a nice location with snow capped mountains in the background. We didn’t do a tasting here. We got a cheese board and a glass of Malbec and a glass of Syrah. The food, views and wine were good and we chilled out here for an hour or so taking in the views!
Then it was on to Entre Olivos for an olive oil, balsamic vinegar, jams, liqueurs and chocolate. It was nice and something different but there was no wine!! So make sure that if you do this one that you give yourself enough time for vineyards too.
We also wanted to go to Trapiche but it was fully booked with a tour bus, but there are loads of other vineyards along the road. Maipu bikes give you a map of them all too.
Food in Mendoza was so good. We went to La Barra and La Lucia. El Patio Jesus Maria was also recommended to us. I would recommend trying them out. You will find a lot of restaurants and cafes around the Independence Square area too.
We also walked to General San Martin Park. It was a long walk from our hostel but there were a lot of people having lunch and chilling out there. I wouldn’t say you have to go there but it was nice to get up and about and exercise too, especially after all of the Malbec and empanadas!
- We started at the vineyards in Mendoza at 12. If you want to do more than 3 I would recommend starting a bit earlier.
- You need a Bus card for the public buses. You can get it and top it up in any shop/newsagents.
- Get the Google translate app and download Spanish to your phone. It works off line and has a camera option.
Top Tip Traveller 🙂