Getting Here and Around

There are direct flights from Buenos Aires to Mendoza (about two hours), San Juan (1¾ hours), and San Rafael (1½ hours). Comfortable buses between the three major cities are cheap, and bus stations are centrally located. On arrival, you’ll find that all three cities have car-rental agencies and remises (hired cars with drivers), as well as wine-oriented tour companies that will take care of local transportation for you.

Hiring a remis for a full or half day is a good use of money, as frequent detours, road construction or washed-out roads, and misleading (or nonexistent) signs can make driving yourself frustrating. Further, finding wineries on your own requires not only a good map (most are off the GPS grid) but also a working knowledge of Spanish. That said, if you have the time and the temperament for it, exploring on your own—stopping to snap photos and chat with locals—has its rewards. Driving to Andean villages and the border with Chile is a particularly remarkable experience.

If you are using Mendoza City as a base for independent winery visits, just bear in mind that Maipú is about a 30-minute drive away; reaching Luján de Cuyo by car takes 45 minutes and the Uco Valley can take upwards of an hour. In San Rafael, you can reach many wineries by bike. In San Juan, some are within cycling distance, while others are on quiet, pretty roads that are best accessed by car; driving onward from San Rafael is also a practical solution if you're combining wine tours with a ski vacation in Las Leñas.

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