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Mendoza

Malbec Grapes © IanL
Malbec Grapes © IanL

The Mendoza Province rests at the foot of the Andes and is Argentina's main wine-producing region, peppered here and there with wine farms offering tours and tastings. The area is known for its Malbec, and also produces some good Cabernet Sauvignon. The city of Mendoza, a low-rise city since 1861 when it was almost destroyed by an earthquake, is characterised by wide, leafy boulevards and a massive network of canals. Well worth seeing is the Enoteca Giol wine museum and if visiting in late February, don't miss the Fiesta Nacional de la Vendimia, an annual grape-harvest festival accompanied by concerts and local celebrations. Bodega La Rural is one of the biggest wine farms in the area, offering tours that demonstrate the entire wine-making process.

Near the border with Chile lies Mount Aconcagua. At 23,000 feet (6,900m), it is the highest mountain in the Western hemisphere. The mountain and its surrounds are wonderful for hiking and mountain climbing, although it's important to note that during low season, tourists are allowed only short hikes for safety reasons. High season starts mid-November. Throughout the year, hiking without an official guide is discouraged, but even driving along the roads surrounding the mountain will give plenty of scenic views. The Mendoza Province is home to La Lenas, one of the biggest and most famous ski resorts in Argentina.