A bustling city of wide, leafy avenues, atmospheric plazas and cosmopolitan cafes, Mendoza is a trap. Even if you’ve (foolishly) only given it a day or two on your itinerary, you’re likely to be captivated by the laid-back pace. Ostensibly it’s a desert town, though you wouldn’t know it – acequias (irrigation ditches) run beside the roads and glorious fountains adorn the plazas. Lively during the day, the city really comes into its own at night, when the bars and restaurants along Av Arístides overflow onto the sidewalks.
The name Mendoza is synonymous with wine, and this is the place to base yourself if you’re up for touring the vineyards, taking a few dozen bottles home or just looking for a good vintage to accompany the evening’s pizza. The city’s wide range of tour operators also makes it a great place to organize rafting, skiing and other adventures in the nearby Andes.