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710km (440 miles) NW of Buenos Aires; 721km (447 miles) SW of Córdoba

This picturesque city lies at the heart of the Cuyo, the name of the region that comprises the provinces of Mendoza, San Juan, and San Luis. It was founded in 1561 by Spanish colonialists, and retains an idyllic serenity that has carried over from centuries past.

Mendoza locals may be complaining these days about too much traffic, too much development, and too much change, as their little country pueblo starts looking more and more like a big city, but there is still much tranquilidad here. It's still Argentina's loveliest, most livable, city, with a unique vibe blending cosmopolitan shopping and dining with rural country life. An artificial oasis, Mendoza receives no more than 5 days of rain per year. A scarce commodity, water is celebrated in the trickling fountains of the city's many lovely plazas, and in the shade of the dike-supported trees that line the boulevards. Give yourself time to linger in Mendoza's cafes, plazas, and many fantastic restaurants, which bustle from noon to night.