For amazing landscapes and history, take a bicycle trip through the Andes or through South America’s largest wine region. You don’t have to be an expert mountain biker or a super athlete to bike to wineries or enjoy the majestic tranquility of the mountains. What do you need? A good guide, quality equipment and a desire to explore. Fabián Ezquerro, a passionate cyclist, owns Mendoza Bikers & Trek, a company located next to a historic church in Chacras de Coria. His company offers different bike routes, some of the most popular of which are winery routes through Villavicencio Reserve and Potrerillos. Fabián knows that everyone has a unique experience in Mendoza, which is why he offers customized trips as well. Don’t forget to make a reservation!
1. Wine routes
You’ll bike through the heart of Mendoza, where the deep blue of the mountains blends into the lush green of the vineyards. With fully-equipped bicycles, the tour begins in Vistalba, Luján de Cuyo and continues through one of the most beautiful farms in the province. The route includes three wineries: the classic Nieto Senetiner, the famous Kaiken and a third “secret” winery where you’ll enjoy some of the region’s best wines over lunch. At each, you’ll see how the grapes are harvested and processed, their modern irrigation systems compared with the old Huarpe system (named after an old town in the Cuyo region) and of course taste some delicious wines.
The package includes a bicycle, helmet, entrance and tastings in the wineries, lunch, insurance, a granola bar, a non-alcoholic drink, a specialized guide, bike mechanic, a support vehicle and transport to and from the hotel.
Difficulty: Easy – flat terrain
Duration: between 4 and 5 hours.
Price: U$D 220 per person.
2. Villavicencio Reserve
This trip includes a visit to the picturesque town of Cacheuta (famous for its hot springs), the Potrerillos dam and the remains of the Trasandino Train. You’ll pass the Tupungato volcano, a 6570-meter mass of stone and ice that trekkers climb as part of training for the Aconcagua. You’ll also visit the historic mountain village of Uspallata in the foothills of the Andes. The tour continues to the ghost town of Paramillos, which was a colonial Jesuit mining enclave founded in 1638. When Charles Darwin visited, he was fascinated by the natural environment and stayed to study a nearby petrified forest from the Triassic Period. From an overlook in this forest you can see condors flying and herds of wild guanacos at 3000 meters above sea level. Here you’ll begin the descent along the Road of 365 Curves to Villavicencio Nature Reserve, a verdant oasis in the middle of the mountains. The reserve’s hotel is a jewel of mountain architecture – there you’ll be able to sample local products.
It includes a bicycle, helmet, insurance, a granola bar, a non-alcoholic drink, a specialized guide, support vehicle and transport to and from the hotel.
Difficulty: Easy – flat terrain
Duration: full day.
Price: U$D 300 per person.
The Cordón del Plata delimits a sub-range of the Andes with some of the area’s most beautiful views. Its high-altitude valleys create a microclimate ideal for biking. After passing through several mountain villages, you’ll arrive at Las Vegas, a tiny town 75 km from Mendoza city, where the descent towards Potrerillos begins. Potrerillos is an old town named after the small valleys that served as pastureland (potreros) for the Huarpe indigenous communities’ cattle. But the highlight of the area is the stunningly blue reservoir – 900 hectares of water at 1380 meters above sea level. Take in the flora and fauna as you soak up rays of Mendoza sun.
It includes a bicycle, helmet, insurance, cereal bar and hydrating drinks, a specialized guide, support vehicle and transportation to and from the hotel.
Difficulty:Easy – flat terrain
Duration: from 9 am to 3 pm