Wine and History: Salta to Mendoza

Trip Highlights

Description

Take the long and winding road from Salta to Mendoza, visiting lesser-known boutique wineries in Catamarca, La Rioja, and San Juan along the way.

This deep immersion into the wine and culture of Argentina is perfect for those who want to combine an exploration of the rich history of the region with some of its best off-the-beaten-track wineries, through some breathtaking scenery close to the Andes. Apart from Argentina’s classic red Malbec, we’ll be sampling lesser-known varieties like Tannat, and discovering the Argentine take on classics like Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, and Pinot Grigio.

Our journey begins in the highest altitude wine region in the world, the Valles Calchaquies in Salta, famous for its production of Torrontes, a white grape variety that is unique to Argentina. From Salta’s principal wine town of Cafayate, we take the iconic Route 40 south, through the emerging wine regions of Tucuman, Catamarca, and La Rioja, before arriving in the provinces of San Juan and Mendoza, producers of 93% of the nation’s wine.

Tour info

Duration
6+ days
Group Size
1-4 people
Price starts at
US$600 pp
Food
No
Languages
English and Spanish
Meeting Point

To be discussed upon booking

Dropoff location

To be discussed upon booking.

Why take this tour?

We travel south from Salta through the Valles Calchaquies, populated for centuries by aboriginal tribes, and the seat of fierce resistance to the Spanish invaders. In these parts, the only Spaniards welcomed were Jesuit priests bringing vines to produce wine for mass: starting what is now a thriving industry in the highest altitude wine region in the world.

After tastings at the best wineries in Cafayate, we continue south to visit the 1,000 year old settlement of Quilmes, the final pocket of resistance to the Hispanic invasion, where a proud tribe of indigenous warriors was only defeated in 1665, more than 100 years after the Spanish arrival.

Nearby is the work of one artistic genius: Hector Cruz, whose Pachamama museum at Amaicha del Valle is inspired by and dedicated to the indigenous culture.

We head south into the sleepy province of Catamarca to visit a vineyard in Santa Maria founded by Augustinian monks, with its rare (for Argentina) Barbera and tasty dessert wine before heading onto Hualfin, home to the 18th century church of Nuestra Señora del Rosario, and the 17th century ruins of rebel chief Juan Chelemin. Happily, there also happens to be a co-operative vineyard here producing excellent Torrontes and Malbec.

Further south, we visit the second oldest city in Argentina: Londres, founded in 1558, and named after the British capital to mark the wedding of the English princess Mary Tudor to Philip II of Spain.

Hidden in the forest nearby are the ruins of the most important Inca settlement in Argentina: Shinkal. This was the southern regional capital of the Inca empire and exhibits well-preserved sun and moon temples and ceremonial platforms.

From here we travel south along the Route of Adobe visiting boutique vineyards in Catamarca and La Rioja, producing some fine Tannat, Petit Verdot and Viognier. We can visit the co-operative winery of Chilecito with its award-winning organic fair trade Tilimuqui Torrontes and blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Bonarda.

Hugging the Andes, enjoying outstanding views of Famatina mountain, we drive through the impressive landscape of the Cuesta de Miranda before our descent into the heart of Argentina's wine region: San Juan and Mendoza.

We take the slow road through the Calingasta valley, home to some excellent Bonarda and Pinot Gris, before arriving in the mountain town of Uspallata and descending to Mendoza via the stunning mountain road of Villavicencio.

Included

  • Local Tour Guide

  • Own Private Vehicle

  • Wine Tasting

Excluded

  • Food

  • Water

  • Accommodation

Things to know

Your Budget

Argentina has a parallel economy in which the official rate of the dollar is roughly half its real value. What that means is you need to leave your bank cards for emergencies and bring US$ or euros in cash which we can change into pesos for your everyday expenses. You’ll find Salta city is a lo...

Argentina has a parallel economy in which the official rate of the dollar is roughly half its real value. What that means is you need to leave your bank cards for emergencies and bring US$ or euros in cash which we can change into pesos for your everyday expenses. You’ll find Salta city is a lot cheaper than Buenos Aires, and your holiday in Argentina is even better value once we take you on the road on one of our trips. Read our guide to the "Blue Dollar" here.

Covid-19

Our tour company conforms to national guidelines on Covid-19. Social distancing of 1.5m is recommended, and the use of protective hand masks is mandatory in enclosed public areas. Within our vehicles (normally 4x4 pick-ups), we will provide masks and sanitizer, and temperature checks for travelle...

Our tour company conforms to national guidelines on Covid-19. Social distancing of 1.5m is recommended, and the use of protective hand masks is mandatory in enclosed public areas. Within our vehicles (normally 4x4 pick-ups), we will provide masks and sanitizer, and temperature checks for travellers during our trips. Transportation vehicles and all equipment are regularly sanitized between use.

Accommodation & Food

Double rooms at the privately owned B&Bs and small hotels we work with start from US$50 per night. You can eat well in some of the simple rustic places we use where you will be rubbing shoulders with the locals for less than US$10 per person. And splashing out on a three-course meal with wine...

Double rooms at the privately owned B&Bs and small hotels we work with start from US$50 per night. You can eat well in some of the simple rustic places we use where you will be rubbing shoulders with the locals for less than US$10 per person. And splashing out on a three-course meal with wine in a smart restaurant is unlikely to set you back more than US$50 for a couple.

Pricing

Below are our daily rates for Argentina holidays, all with your own private vehicle and English-speaking guide. Prices are per person excluding food and accommodation:
One person - US$350
Two people - US$200
Three people- US$150
Four people (one vehicle) - US$125
Fou...

Below are our daily rates for Argentina holidays, all with your own private vehicle and English-speaking guide. Prices are per person excluding food and accommodation:
One person - US$350
Two people - US$200
Three people- US$150
Four people (one vehicle) - US$125
Four people (two vehicles) - US$200

Prices are per person and valid until 31 December 2022

Contact us for discounts on trips before the end of August 2022.

Group Size

We operate with comfortable 4x4s which can accommodate up to four people, but if you’re travelling with a larger group, please contact us and we will see what we can arrange.

We operate with comfortable 4x4s which can accommodate up to four people, but if you’re travelling with a larger group, please contact us and we will see what we can arrange.

Inquire about this trip now