One of the best ways to explore Argentina is on four wheels, giving you the chance to explore the country at your own pace while soaking in the country's spectacular natural scenery. This six-day road trip takes you from the lively city of Mendoza to the polychromatic mountains of the north.

Highlights

  • Enjoy a guided tour of a Mendoza winery
  • Gawp at the awe-inspiring cliffs of Talampaya National Park
  • Take in the other-worldly scenery of the Valley of the Moon
  • Admire the curiously shaped rock formations of Quebrada de las Conchas

Overview

On this exciting road trip, you'll drive through impressive scenery of celebrated vineyards, eerie rock formations, and towering sandstone cliffs. You’ll visit some of the country’s most spectacular sights including the dramatic ochre-colored landscape of Conchas Gorge, and the Talampaya National Park, home to the world’s most complete record of flora and fauna from the Triassic Period, an era that saw the evolution of the first dinosaurs.

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Soak in the lively atmosphere of Mendoza Mendoza
Day 2 Tour one of Mendoza’s premier wineries Mendoza
Day 3 Cruise from Mendoza to the north San Agustín de Valle Fértil
Day 4 Visit Valle de la Luna & Talampaya National Park La Rioja
Day 5 Sit back and enjoy a glass or two of white in Cafayate Cafayete
Day 6 Travel on Road 68 along the impressive Conchas Gorge  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Soak in the lively atmosphere of Mendoza

Colorful tiles in Mendoza’s main plaza.

Located at the foot of the Andes and nearby Mount Aconcagua, bustling Mendoza lies at the heart of Argentina’s wine country. It’s a lively city home to gourmet restaurants, laidback cafes and picturesque plazas, with plenty of bodegas offering tastings of the area’s superb wines.

Upon arrival, you will enjoy a private transfer to your hotel and will be able to explore the city at your own pace.

Day 2: Tour one of Mendoza’s premier wineries

Snow-capped Mount Aconcagua overlooking the Mendoza vineyards.

Today you will have the chance to enjoy a guided tour of two of the country’s most exclusive wineries. You’ll be able to choose among a selection of bodegas, including Melipal, Chandon, Achaval Ferrer and Ruca Malen.

As part of your tour, you will enjoy a wine tasting session and will have the chance to purchase some vino too.

While Mendoza’s reputation lies firmly with its wines, the area around the city offers plenty of thrilling activities for outdoor enthusiasts. Its location at the foot of the Andes means there are plenty of hiking and biking opportunities, as well as exhilarating white water rafting along the Mendoza River. In the afternoon you’ll be able to take your pick from a number of activities, namely hiking, golfing, biking, horseback riding, and whitewater rafting.

Day 3: Cruise from Mendoza to the north

Rock formation in Ischigualasto National Park.

Today you will venture north, driving 254 miles (410 km) north to San Agustín de Valle Fértil, roughly a five-hour drive from Mendoza. The city serves as the ideal base to explore the Valley of the Moon in Ischigualasto National Park, home to otherworldly rock formations, some round and smooth as marble. The valley is famous for harboring some of the world’s oldest dinosaur remains and, along with the contiguous Talampaya Natural Park, it contains the world's most complete fossil record from the Triassic Period.

As you’ll spend a good part of the day cruising by car, you’ll explore the parks the following day.

Day 4: Visit Valle de la Luna & Talampaya National Park

The towering sandstone cliffs of Talampaya National Park

A one-hour drive from Valle Fértil takes you to Valle de la Luna, from where it’s about an hour’s drive to Talampaya National Park. The proximity of the two parks means you can visit both in one day.

Comprising two adjoining protected areas, the parks are home to an incredibly complete record of plant and animal life from the Triassic Period, shedding light on the evolution of vertebrates and the period’s palaeoenvironments. The parks are of exceptional scientific importance, providing a key understanding of paleontology and evolutionary biology.

While Valle de La Luna is renowned for its otherworldly rock formations, Talampaya National Park features giant ochre-colored sandstone cliffs with walls up to 200 m high that are truly a sight to behold.

Instead of spending another night in Valle Fértil, you can head directly to La Rioja, which lies northeast of Talampaya, about a 2.5 hours’ drive (132 miles / 213 km).

Day 5: Sit back and enjoy a glass or two of white in Cafayate

Cafayete is renowned for its torrontés grape.

From La Rioja, it’s a seven-hour drive (315 miles / 508 km) to Cafayate, the country’s second most important center for winemaking. The area is known for its reddish rock formations.

You’ll be able to stop off at key sights along the way. The Quilmes Ruins in the Amaicha del Valle are one of the country’s most important archeological sites, founded in the early 9th century BC. Once home to the Quilmes people, the site was a center of resistance against Inca invasions and later against Spain.

Once you arrive in Cafayate you can enjoy a stroll around town and sample traditional Argentinian cuisine in one of its many restaurants serving local dishes. You could perhaps try Argentina’s famous empanadas while savoring top local wines. The town is famous for its torrontés grape, which produces a rich and floral white wine, although it also produces fine reds from Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and Tannat grapes.

Day 6: Travel Road 68 along the impressive Conchas Gorge

Devil’s Throat in Quebrada de las Conchas

You’ll travel on Road 68 along Quebrada de las Conchas or Conchas Gorge, a wild landscape peppered with rock formations that have been eroded into a variety of shapes. Its distinctly shaped features have lent them all manner of nicknames including the Windows, the Castles, the Frog and the ominous-sounding Devil’s Throat. The most impressive of all is the Amphitheater, a semi-enclosed space that often hosts orchestras thanks to its outstanding natural acoustics.

This is undoubtedly one of the country’s most scenic drives, and it’s well worth hopping out of your vehicle to explore the canyon and appreciate the incredible landscape.

You will reach Salta after a couple hours’ drive (115 miles / 186 km) and, upon arrival, must return your rental vehicle.

Home to gorgeous Spanish colonial architecture and a fun vibrant nightlife, Salta’s compact city center is easy to explore on foot. To end your trip on a high note, visit a peña (folk concert), and celebrate the city’s cultural heritage with songs, dance and traditional food.

Map

Map of Road Trip from Mendoza to Northern Argentina - 6 Days
Map of Road Trip from Mendoza to Northern Argentina - 6 Days