The land of wine and wineries Mendoza is an unmissable stop for anyone travelling through Argentina. Argentina used to be one of the more affordable South American countries to explore however inflation and hefty tourism taxes has made Argentina a slight stretch for the average backpacker.
Like the rest of Argentina, Mendoza can be expensive for tourists, however, there are ways to explore Mendoza affordably and without making too many sacrifices.
Hire A Car
In every other South American country, we have travelled everywhere by bus as it’s always been the cheapest option. In Argentina, we haven’t always found buses to be the cheapest option opting to fly or hire a car in some instances as it’s either a comparable cost or cheaper. We travelled from Buenos Aires to Mendoza by car returning the car to Buenos Aires a week later for just over £200. Although this might sound steep two-return bus journey’s would have cost us the same amount plus a car provided us with the freedom to explore the vast number of bodega’s in and around Mendoza without having to worry about the added expense of public transport.
Opt For Self-Catering
Despite there being hefty taxes on accommodation and travel, food is still relatively cheap to buy in Argentina, especially and most importantly steak and wine. There are masses of affordable private apartments available in the suburbs of Mendoza that are perfect for couples who are looking for some privacy and the chance to cook their own steak every night. We stayed at the Muras Apartment Hotel for £30 a night, which is a similar to what you would pay for a private double with private bathroom in a hostel. The added benefit of self-catering is that you can buy and store enough food and drink for the week which reduces the amount you spend on lunches and snacks.
The best and easiest way to explore Mendoza is by bike. There are a large number of tour companies that offer daily or hourly bike hire as well as a map to guide you through Maipu and around the various bodega’s. If you’re travelling at peak time (Dec-Feb) avoid cycling in the mid-day sun as it will be too hot to handle. The best time is late afternoon as you’ll find most of the Bodega’s remain open until early evening.
Pack a Picnic
We’ve become picnic pro’s over the past few months, building sandwiches in some weird and wonderful spots, mostly the back of buses or front seats of cars. Whether you’re road tripping by car across Argentina to Mendoza or cycling through the Bodega’s be sure to pack a picnic. Fresh bread is easy to come by every morning and with steak being so affordable you can enjoy steak sandwiches for lunch daily!
Seek out the free wine
The majority of the bodega’s in Mendoza offer free wine tours with some include free tastings. Take your time to do your homework before you head out and check which include free tastings. Check out this handy guide from the Guardian