Set in the foothills of the Andes mountains, Mendoza is an ideal honeymoon spot for wine lovers. With luxurious hotels, beautiful scenery, exciting outdoor adventures, and more than 1,500 wineries, it offers plenty to see, do, and taste. Plus, it's just a two-hour flight from Buenos Aires, and compared to many destinations, it offers more bang for your honeymoon budget. Here's what to see and do, and where to stay and eat on a wine-fueled honeymoon in Mendoza, Argentina.
In the center of the city, the four-star Park Hyatt Mendoza offers elegant rooms and suites, an onsite spa and casino, and several dining options. It's within easy walking distance to all of Mendoza's attractions and just 15 minutes by car from many wineries. If you'd prefer to be out in the vines, there's the Cavas Wine Lodge (above), an 18-room luxury resort set in the foothills of the Andes surrounded by 55 acres of vineyards. All rooms face west for spectacular sunset views and feature king beds, large private decks, outdoor showers, and private plunge pools.
Along with great wine, Mendoza is known for excellent food to accompany it. Head to Azafran for a modern take on Argentine classics, including tender Argentine beef wrapped in puff pastry, served with a selection of more than 500 Mendoza wines from the restaurant's cellar. For a more casual meal, check out El Palenque, a bustling nightlife spot that serves delicious cocktails and empanadas.
Malbec grapes have been grown in Argentina for more than 150 years, but only in the last few decades has the varietal risen to international renown. There are now more than 1,500 wineries in the area, and most are open to visitors. Some require appointments, and many only conduct tours in Spanish, so it's wise to hire a guide who can serve as both designated driver and translator if needed. A guide can also help you narrow your options based on your preferences and direct you to both smaller, lesser-known wineries like one-man operation Carmelo Patti as well as big names like Achaval Ferrer. Another option is to rent a bike and pedal from winery to winery.
For an introductory lesson in the city, head to Vines of Mendoza, a tasting room that features about 100 producers, where knowledgeable servers can help you sample various styles to determine your wine preferences.
Aside from eating and drinking, much of Mendoza's activities center around outdoor adventures in the Andes. There's horseback riding, hiking, white-water rafting, skiing, kayaking, and mountain biking, all within a short drive of the city. Within the city, the locals' favorite pastime is to head to one of five large plazas (which were created after an 1861 earthquake destroyed much of the city). Today they are the city's main gathering points. Go for a stroll, stop to watch local life, or relax with a picnic and a bottle of delicious Malbec.