Strictly speaking, the provincial capital proper is a relatively small area with a population of only about 120,000, but the inclusion of the departments of Las Heras, Guaymallén and Godoy Cruz, along with nearby Maipú and Luján de Cuyo, swells the population of Gran Mendoza (Greater Mendoza) to a little over one million. Mendoza lies only 340km northwest of Santiago (Chile) via the Los Libertadores border complex.

The city’s five central plazas (in part, intended as places of refuge in case of an earthquake) are arranged like the five-roll on a die, with Plaza Independencia in the middle and four smaller plazas lying two blocks from each of its corners. Be sure to see the beautifully tiled Plaza España.

Av San Martín is the main thoroughfare, crossing the city from north to south, and Av Las Heras is the principal commercial street.

A good place to orient yourself is the Terraza Mirador, which is the rooftop terrace at City Hall, offering panoramic views of the city and the surrounding area.