This past weekend I went to a small bodega called Carmelo Patti in Lujan de Cuyo outside of Mendoza city. It was easily accessible by the local bus #19 and it took about 50 minutes to get there. My friend Cassidy and I decided to check out this bodega because it is really small and Carmelo is actually the one that gives the tour (only in Spanish.) It was amazing to see the wine making process of a small operation. When we arrived, they were hand labeling and cleaning the wine bottles before packaging them. Crazy! During the tour, Carmelo explained that he thinks 8 years is the perfect amount of time for his wine to age and he showed us articles about his wine from around the world. The best part of this visit was the tasting was free! My favorite wine that we tried was the Cabernet Sauvignon.
Travel Tip: When using the local bus make sure you have a bus card or $10 pesos to ask someone to use their card (current ticket price $8.50 pesos). The bus driver cannot accept cash. If you are more than 1 or 2 people you will need to buy a bus card but you can use it for your entire group and can put money on the card at numerous local kiosks around the city (look for a sign that says we charge red bus).
After the wine tasting, Cassidy and I decided to go to lunch as a restaurant close by. It was called Cava de Cano and it was one of the best meals I’ve had in Mendoza. The restaurant is in an old house that has been converted into a cosy, welcoming restaurant. We opted to do the mid-size menu. (There were only 3 options of what to order and all that varied was the number of courses.) Our first course consisted of a meat board, cheese board, and assorted tapas of beans, grains, vegetables, and fruit. It was absolutely delicious! The second course was a choice between pasta or meat. We both opted for the spaghetti bolognese. For desert, we had ice cream with dulce de leche sauce. The meal also included a bottle of wine, sparkling water, and a coffee to enjoy with our desert. We decided to enjoy the experience in true relaxed Argentine style and stayed that the restaurant for 3.5 hours! While the meal was a little expensive for Mendoza ($350 pesos) it was only around $20 USD and I definitely felt like it was well worth the splurge!
This weekend also happened to have a full moon and it is popular for the people of Mendoza to hike the local small mountain under the moonlight. The hill is called Cerro Arco and this was my third time hiking it since I arrived. The cerro is right outside of Mendoza city making it a great option for a quick hike. From the city center, you can take the local bus #114/115 and take it almost all the way to the last stop near El Challao.
Once you get off the bus, the trail starts along a dirt road off to your right. After walking for around 15-20 minutes you will see a building with snacks and usually several cars. It is here that the trail actually starts. It takes between 1-1.5 hours to climb up to the top depending on how often you stop. The view is amazing and I recommend going around sunset and then bringing a light to hike back down in the dark. Hiking under the full moon was definitely a treat and I loved seeing the city lights spread out below me. The hike down is slightly shorter from a time standpoint but it is pretty steep so assume around 1 hour to get back down.
I absolutely love being in a city that has hiking easily accessible from the city limits. This past weekend marked another great weekend! Only 5 weekends left in Mendoza and then I’m off to explore the rest of South America!