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It is because of Mendoza’s great mountains, pure Andean snowmelt and abundant sunshine that it is one of the great wine capitals in the world. All those features are responsible for making viticulture and winemaking possible, but they are also the reason that Mendoza is one of Argentina’s top tourist destinations.
Taking advantage of all of Mendoza’s natural assets is the global winner of the Great Wine Capitals Award for Wine Tourism Services last year, Kahuak. The number of tours on offer might feel overwhelming at first, but if you have a week in Mendoza you’ve got plenty of time to get to grips with the highlights of wine country and enjoy a splash of adventure.
You can explore all three of the main wine regions in Mendoza with Kahuak in different day tours. The closest to the city is Mendoza’s oldest wine region, Maipu, which offers tradition and history as a wine region as well as being home to some of the best olive oil in the region. The next wine region in distance from the city, is Lujan de Cuyo which is known as the cradle of Malbec because it produces some of the Malbecs that made the variety famous. And the furthest region is the Uco Valley which is home to many architecturally outstanding new wineries that take full advantage of the beautiful mountain setting. For those with a more active nature you can also explore the wineries by bike, however you might want to save your energy for some of the mountain excursions.
While most tourists think of Mendoza as the mecca for Argentine Malbec (and rightly so!) most Argentines associate the region as the launch pad for San Martin’s campaign to liberate Latin America. Ever since he set off to Chile on horseback across the Andes in 1818, Mendoza has been renowned for legendary mountain routes best discovered by riding on a trusty mount. The Andean equestrian tradition is a trademark of Mendoza, and getting up into the hills on horseback is a quintessential Mendoza experience. Kahuak boasts excursions that range from a couple hours through to a full 10 days crossing the Andes.
If you aren’t into horse riding you can still enjoy the Andes by foot with their trekking excursions, by car with their driving tours, by raft along the gushing rapids, by zipline between mountains, and even in your bikini soaking up the hot springs.
Mendoza is more than just Malbec, and Kahuak offer plenty of ways to prove it.
By Amanda Barnes (www.amandabarnes.co.uk, @amanda_tweeter)