With its vast desert landscape and backdrop of the snow-laced Andes, Mendoza has a lot to offer those that love the outdoors. The city, a popular stopover for those heading to and from the Chilean border, is perhaps most famous for its booming wine industry, and touring the region’s many wineries is a popular pastime for visitors. The easiest way is to rent a bike and plan a DIY tour of the local vineyards, most of which are within easy cycling distance.
With the towering Andes close by, Mendoza also makes a popular base camp for hiking and climbing expeditions, with a number of key hiking areas and historic Inca routes to choose from. The biggest challenge is attempting the summit of Cerro Aconcagua, the world’s highest mountain outside of the Himalayas at an impressive 19.7 feet (6,900 meters), but the less adventurous can enjoy the numerous trails in the surrounding 185.3-acre (75,000-hectare) national park. Winter snowfall offers skiing possibilities too, with Argentina’s premium ski resort, Las Leñas, looming 6.56 feet (2,240 meters) above the city and home to a number of 16.4-foot (5,000-meter) peaks and challenging off-piste routes. Another way to explore the scenery is on horseback and the Cordon del Plata valley is a popular haunt for Argentine gauchos. Be sure to pay a visit to the famous Villavicencio hot springs en route, renowned for the alleged healing properties.
For something a little more daring, paragliding and hand gliding from Cerro Aconcagua are both possible, and white water rafting along the Mendoza River is a popular activity with plenty of level three and four rapids to get your kicks on. At a distance of 37.2 miles (60 km) out of town, the El Carrizal Lake is a popular holiday destination for locals, with water-skiing, windsurfing, jet skiing and motor boating all on offer.