Explore the many sights and tastes of Argentina during this 7-day excursion. Begin your journey in the city of Mendoza and sip on the local Malbec while soaking in the surrounding area. Visit the nearby town of Luján de Cuyo, where you'll do a winery bike tour and tasting, then horseback ride around the precordillera region of the Andes Mountains. Spend the rest of your trip in Salta, where you'll pick fresh ingredients from the market to make a local dish, and take a day trip to the village of Cafayate, which includes views of mountain landscapes and rock formations.

Highlights

  • Take a winery bike tour in Argentina's wine region
  • Horseback ride near the Andes Mountains
  • Shop the market to make a local dish in Salta
  • Enjoy a wine tasting in the village of Cafayate

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Mendoza Mendoza
Day 2 Winery Bike Tour in Luján de Cuyo Mendoza
Day 3 Horseback Riding in the Andes Mendoza
Day 4 Mendoza to Salta Salta
Day 5 Gastronomic tour of Salta Salta
Day 6 Cafayate Tour & Wine Tasting Salta
Day 7 Depart Argentina  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Mendoza

Plaza Independencia, Mendoza

Upon arrival in Mendoza, you'll have free time to explore. This relatively sleepy city of about a million people is more than the sum of its parts, as it sits in the heart of Argentina's world-famous wine region. This is ground zero for viticulture in the nation, and it's home to Argentina's flagship wine: Malbec. There's also impressive landscapes and interesting sights all around the city, from the high peak of Aconcagua to the Mendoza River to the little villages that dot the countryside, like Uspallata, which date back to pre-hispanic times.

You'll have free time to explore the city as you see fit. Or maybe, you'd just like to lounge by the swimming pool and make reservations for dinner at one of Mendoza's best restaurants. Whatever you decide to do, enjoy your day in Argentina's wine capital.

Day 2: Winery Bike Tour in Luján de Cuyo

A Malbec vineyard surrounded by mountains

After breakfast in Mendoza, you'll be picked up for a half-day bike tour near the town of Luján de Cuyo in the heart of Argentina's wine country, famed for Malbecs and other reds. Not only will you get some exercise as you pedal through the beautiful vineyards framed by snowcapped mountains, but you'll also tour two wineries and take part in tastings.

Your first winery stop of the morning is Carlos Pulenta’s CAP Vistalba. After a tour and tasting, including two of their best wines, you'll pedal to the second winery called Nieto Senetiner, a historic Argentine producer that dates back to 1888. Here, you'll taste three different wines, followed by a three-course lunch with (more!) wine pairings that will be served at the on-site restaurant.

At the end of the bike tour, you'll be transferred back to Mendoza where you'll have the rest of the afternoon to relax and explore the city.

Day 3: Horseback Riding in the Andes

Enjoy the mountain views

Today you'll saddle up for a horseback-riding excursion. It begins in the morning when you transfer from Mendoza to the precordillera region of the Andes Mountains. Once on the horse, you'll ascent mountain trails to elevations of over 5,500 feet (1,700 meters) above sea level. The scenery at these altitudes is incredible, as you'll be surrounded by views of snow-capped Andean, some of which are over 15,000 feet (5,000 meters) tall.

After the excursion, you'll return to your hotel in Mendoza. 

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Day 4: Mendoza to Salta

Salta's pink cathedral

This morning, a driver will meet you at your hotel and transfer you to the airport. You'll then hop a flight bound for Salta. This well-preserved colonial city has been a traveler's favorite for years and has recently come into its own as a popular tourist destination. It's easy to see why—Salta offers fascinating museums, great nightlife, and an expansive plaza lined with patio cafes that make great people-watching spots. 

Upon arrival, a shared car service will transfer you to your hotel, whereupon you'll have the rest of the afternoon to explore the town. Some recommended activities include:

Stroll the city center. Salta was founded in the year 1582 and its downtown area is impressively well preserved. You'll see this in the colonial mansions and 18th-century buildings around the city center. On the central Plaza 9 de Julio, you'll find the rose-hued Salta Cathedral, which was completed in 1882. 

Visit a museum. And there are many fine ones in this city. Salta has a rich indigenous history that informs much of its culture even today. You can glean a history of this culture in the Museo Historico del Norte, located on the south side of the plaza. For more indigenous history (particularly of the Incan variety), visit the Museo de Arqueología de Alta Montaña, which is also located on the plaza. 

Take a cable car up to Cerro San Bernardo. The most famous lookout point in the area is located on the outskirts of the city. Once at the top you'll find waterfalls, lookout points featuring panoramic views of the city, and a cafe serving delicious snacks. You can also hike up the hill if you're game for a bit of exercise.

Sample the local cuisine. Salteño cuisine differs greatly from that found in the capital of Buenos Aires. Here there's a heavy indigenous influence and ingredients like maize are prominent, and you'll find them in the humitas and tamales notable in this region. Argentina is famous for its empanadas, and the best come from Salta—best paired with a dash of hot sauce.  

Enjoy a night out at Calle Balcarce. From Thursday through Saturday this area, located about 10 blocks north of Plaza 9 de Julio, is ground zero for nightlife in Salta. Come and enjoy the discos and peñas (local bars that feature live folk music and traditional food). This area is also the site of an outdoor artisan market on Sundays.  

Day 5: Gastronomic tour of Salta 

A scenic view in Salta

For lovers of fine cuisine, enjoy a day of regional cuisine of the Northwest. In the morning, visit the San Miguel Market, where local products, spices and various oddities will capture your attention. There, you will be given a list of ingredients to find while connecting with the local culture. Later, you will help prepare a local dish with the ingredients alongside a local chef that you'll enjoy later on.

Day 6: Cafayate Tour & Wine Tasting

The village of Cafayate

Today you'll be visiting the village of Cafayate, located in the middle of the Calchaquí Valley. The optimum growing conditions here rival Mendoza so you're in for some scenic vistas with mountain landscapes and impressive rock formations. Upon arrival you will visit one of the area's famed wineries and, of course, indulge in a tasting. 

The excursion begins with a pick up at your hotel and a drive through the Lerma Valley, passing tobacco fields and colonial villages. You'll then enter the Quebrada del Río de las Conchas, where you'll see curious rock formations (the result of erosion caused over time by wind and water). There are many noteworthy sights here, with names as unique as the formations: the dunes, the toad, the bishop, the devil's throat, castles, and amphitheater, among others.

Then, continue along the National Route 68, arriving in the village of Cafayate, which is internationally recognized for its wine production. The most popular varietal grown here is Torrontés, which you'll get a chance to taste when you visit a regional winery. At the end of the day you'll return to Salta by the same route which you arrived; however, with the sun lower in the sky, the high-altitude landscapes will be all the more evocative.

Day 7: Depart Argentina

One last look at Buenos Aires from the air

After breakfast, you'll catch a flight from Salta to Buenos Aires (about 2 hours), then head to the international terminal for your return flight home. Buen viaje!

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