West Argentina: Highlights

West Argentina Highlights

Argentina mendoza

Mendoza - The capital of the Mendoza Province is a lively place to spend a few days and is well catered to the wants and needs of tourists with good accommodation and high class food and drink. Nightlife is busy due to the large student population in the city and the atmosphere is characteristically relaxed and friendly. Wine lovers flock from all over the globe to sample the world famous Malbecs and Merlots which are produced in the region and there are endless bodegas to visit and wine tasting sessions to enjoy. The city is dramatically set at the foot of the Andes making it a perfect base for exploring the surrounding areas or going on one of the many tours offered. For more information check out our Mendoza, Argentina city guide

Parque Provincial Aconcagua - Home to the tallest mountain in the Americas, this is the place to come if you fancy embarking on the mammoth trek 6959 metres up to the peak of Aconcagua. There are several trails to follow, but most people take the one going up the western side. It is necessary to take a guided tour unless you are very experienced as the ascent is tough. The mountainsides are believed to have been used for religious and sacred customs in the pre-inca and inca periods. For more information on the most popular National Parks in Argentina click the link.

Puente del Inca

Puente del Inca - This incredible bridge designed and built by nature herself is an indisputably an extraordinary sight. The rock of the bridge and the surrounding land is stained an unusual mustard yellow colour owing to the huge amount of sulphur found in the hot waters that run beneath the ground. Despite avalanches and floods having washed away the spa hotel that once operated from this spot, the bridge itself continues to stand the test of time whatever the weather.

La Rioja - This little city is a real beauty in its dramatic setting amidst the Sierra de Velasco. It was originally founded in 1591 when it was given the rather long winded name of Ciudad de Todos Santos de la Nueva Rioja (All Saints City of the New Rioja). For a small place there is plenty to do and the inhabitants are big on parties, having made their carnival celebrations (La Chaya) famous throughout the country, whilst the Festival del Viñador (March) is any wine lovers idea of heaven. Click the link for more information on Festivals in Argentina. The city was effected badly in the earthquake of 1894, however, most of it has been rebuilt and there is still a lot of interesting original architecture standing which fuses together bold colonial design with earthy materials from the local area. Whilst in La Rioja you can visit Argentina's oldest convent, the Convento de Santo Domingo, built in 1623 as well as two cathedrals and a good sprinkling of museums. By night, La Rioja has got a surprising amount of choice of bars and restaurants, making it a great stop off point to spend a few days in a contagiously laid back atmosphere.

Parque Nacional Talampaya

Parque Nacional Talampaya and Parque Provincial Ischigualasto - Also known as 'Triassic Park', these two protected areas contain weird and wonderful rock formations, triassic remains and an undeniably otherworldly atmosphere. Definitely worth a visit! For more information on the most popular National Parks in Argentina click on the link.

San Juan - This tranquil city gets stonkingly hot in the summer time and visitors very quickly learn to adopt the sleepy way of life that the natives follow. San Juan was pretty much devastated in Argentina's biggest earthquake which struck in 1944. Therefore there is not much in the way of historical sites, however the Plaza 25 de mayo acts as the heart and soul of the city and there is always a buzzing atmosphere in the many bars and cafes which surround this square. The very modern looking cathedral has a bell tower which offers panoramic views of the beautiful mountians which surround the city. This is a great spot from which to explore some of the regions extensive bodegas too, and get a good bit of wine tasting into your trip!

San Juan is also the best starting point for trips to Parque Provincial Ischigualasto and also displays the lion's share of the dinosaur remains found around the park in the Museo de Ciencias Naturales.