The Mendoza thermal baths are probably the best pools we have been to so far. While not as natural (They are pools not springs) they definitely have a charm and and sense of fun about them. The access point is a cute town reminisce of a smaller San Pedro De Atacama with plenty of restaurants, bars and tourists around. In the springs you have your choice of boiling hot or freezing cold. There is an unusually powerful water fountain down the bottom section of the pools which tends to get in the way of any complete relaxation, but it definitely forces you to find the perfect spot. Meanwhile, up top there are more than enough hassle free hot relaxation points.
From the town and from Mendoza you can organise extra curricular activities like water rafting and rapelling down the side of a bridge.
If you’re cute little town that force you to relax then we recommend staying the night. But last bus back to Mendoza is at 7 and since the pools close at 6 (locker rooms at 6:30) this gives you more than enough time to browse some shops and have an after bath cerveza.
Mendoza is truly one of our favourite places in Argentina. Not only is it incredibly cheap (Despite everything we had been told) with hostels from $5 Aud but it also has a vibrant colourful and friendly feel to it. Of course the wineries that surround the city have something to do it with its charm and also make it a great pace to try the Malbec that it is famous for, but there is plenty to do outside of getting to the bottom of your wine glass, or during ;).
The giant parque offers great picnic, strolling or bike riding conditions with the options of taking the challenge to find your way to the top of the Cerro de La Gloria lookout point. Challenging mainly just when it comes to finding the entry point.
The many restaurants, cafes and bars around the city make for great meal after great meal and give you the chance to try Argentinas famous barbecues (Parrilas) and of course steak.
Our first day in Mendoza we spent biking around the vineyards and what a beautiful day we had!
Instead of going with a tour we decided to do it on our own (we defiantly recommend this!). We caught a local bus from the city centre and after about an hour we got of in Maipu. The bus drops you right outside a bike rental place where you (surprise surprise) rent your bikes for the day. You also get a map with prices and recommendations.
We started with the 3 vineyards furthest away, Tempus Alba being the first one. Here we had a beautiful lunch, the steak is a must and we had our first tasting. We then moved on to the smaller vineyard of the 3 (I can’t remember the name) and had..you guessed it, wine! We then had a snack break at Mevi vineyard with cheese & salami platters. The tasters at the vineyards are more like wine glasses. So after 3 of them we were all pretty light headed, which made biking a bit more difficult.
We biked towards our last stop, Domiciano vineyard. This is the more expensive one but its totally worth it. The wine here is amazing. The Malbec & Cabernet Sauvignon is a must try.
You will need about 4-5 hours if you want to fit in a lunch and about 4 vineyards. The more time you have the better. The vineyards close at 5 pm and between 5-6 the bike rental place has happy hour. They serve free wine thats pretty terrible but hey, its free!
We shared a bottle of wine on the bus on the way home (and missed our stop) which helped us keep going until about 1 am.
When its time to leave its time to leave. Say goodbye and head to the bus station to take the border crossing over to Mendoza. Its best to book tickets online as there are a bunch of different bus terminals around Santiago. Prices might be cheaper at the stations. But $50 Aud for a premium seat and border crossing is pretty good. We rode with Andesmar but any bus going over the border should do the trick just fine.
Driving in the night has benefits, you get to sleep. But you also get woken up 4 hours in to go through through border control, which is perfectly safe and organised, takes about an hour, just not enjoyable at 2 in the morning. If you do a day bus you can avoid the annoyance but have to ride a bus in the day. Which we personally think is always worse. However the views are amazing, if you love taking it all in as you drive through a country then the day bus is for you.
Make sure you don’t lose your entry receipt or you’ll have to pay a leaving fee. And if you’re Australian, catching a bus in and out of Chile will allow you to avoid the $150 Chilean Australian reciprocity fee.
Because no one likes photos of a bus, below is a few random ones!