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Visit Mendoza

How to Spend Your Downtime in Mendoza

The city of Mendoza has lots to offer all who decide to visit it. If you are thinking about studying Spanish in Argentina and you enjoy the great outdoors combined with a lively urban city and an adequate dose of culture and a drop of wine thrown in too for good measure, then Mendoza could be the place for you

Like many Argentinean cities, Mendoza is laid out in a grid-like fashion, and it is also relatively compact, making it easy to navigate on foot. The central Plaza is Plaza Independencia. It is spacious and picturesque with grassy areas for lazing in the sunshine, fountains and frequent concerts and other forms of entertainment. It also contains the city's Modern Arts Museum. Around this central plaza you will find many other pleasant and unique plazas and parks spread throughout the city such as the ornate and artistic mosaic decorated Plaza España and the enormous Parque General San Martín which houses a zoo, rose gardens, large lake and impressive views over the city.

Bikes and Bodegas

Ok, enough beating about the bush, the main activity that Mendoza is renowned for is of course wine-making, which means you don't have to go far to either get a taste of the stuff or find an agency or hostel that is advertising trips to the many vineyards in the area surrounding the city. Even McDonalds has gotten in on the action, where you can buy a Mendozan Special Meal of an Angus Beef burger, served with two meat filled empanadas and a glass of Malbec wine. The Maipu district, just a short bus ride outside of Mendoza city is one of the most popular areas for taking wine tours or hiring bikes and going on a bit of a do-it-yourself tour. Most companies will provide you with a bike, bottle of water, map outlining the main vineyards and upon return a bottle of wine and some snacks (much better idea than giving it to you before you get on the bike). Some of the best tours are to be found at the Trapiche Bodega, Familia Zuccardi and La Bodega Rural which also contains the Wine Museum. This is a great way to get spend an afternoon after you finish Spanish language lessons. You could even go with some of your classmates and practice your vino-related vocabulary!

More than Wine

Believe it or not, Mendoza is not all about wine. It also happens to be a great area for treks, hikes, short walks and adventure activities such as horse riding, hang gliding and white water rafting. The region's Parque Nacional Aconcagua is a popular destination for climbers as it contains the highest peak in the Americas, Alta Montaña. There are several trekking routes and a less strenuous trail to a look-out point. Cerro Arco provides another pleasant spot for walking of a much less serious form. It is only 15 minutes from Mendoza's city centre by bus and also offers the possibility of going hand gliding for some spectacular bird's eye views of the city. Other outdoor activities on offer in Mendoza include horse riding, particularly Gaucho style experiences where you can live the life of an Argentinean cowboy for the day and white water rafting on the Mendoza River.

If all of this has left you feeling a bit saddle sore then luckily for you that Mendoza is also home to a host of outdoor natural hot springs and thermal spas. In Villavicencio you will find natural hot springs and the Hotel Terma which offers day packages where you can spend the day relaxing in the delightful and warming natural outdoor pools and fill up on a delicious buffet lunch with traditional Mendozan specialty dishes. The drive out to this area is one of true beauty, as is the one from Villavicencio to Uspallata should you have the time to take the journey, visiting sights such as Darwin's Petrified Forest and the Puente del Inca along the way. It is said that the Inca bridge was formed when an Inca chief, in search for a cure from the thermal waters for his ill son, could not find away across the strong flowing waters he came to and so his army of Inca soldiers lay down and embraced one another, forming a bridge for the Chief and his son to walk across. When the Chief and his son looked back, the men had been turned to stone where they lay, leaving the bridge that you see today. All 100% true of course...

Mendoza is the perfect place to learn Spanish as it mixes the experience of life in a modern Argentinean city with that of tradition and culture and the great outdoors. There is plenty to do and see, not to mention eat and drink and all in the middle of an area of outstanding natural beauty. So when you finish up Spanish classes for the day, get out and about and explore in Mendoza and learn Spanish in the most active way possible!