Since we had such a great time having our own apartment in Santiago, we decided that it was something we wanted to do again over Christmas in Mendoza. In addition to the privacy of having our own place, we enjoyed having a kitchen to ourselves which allowed us to cook the majority of our meals which kept our food costs at a minimum.
We found the apartment on Airbnb, which had a number of apartments in Mendoza. We selected ours as it was highly rated, within our budget and looked to be not only well decorated, but also clean. As an added benefit, booking through Airbnb saved us the extremely high 21% lodging tax that Argentina charges.
Via email, we coordinated to meet our hosts outside the apartment. We were happy that they were able to meet us at 9:30am since we had come from a night bus and I really wanted to take a shower. We met our host’s husband who spoke English and was able to give us a rundown of not only the apartment, but also the surrounding area. He noted on a map where the grocery store was, recommended some restaurants and gave us information on wine tours in the area.
The building itself is a newer building with only a handful of apartments. The majority of the apartments are people’s second homes or are rented out. I thought that since there were a number of renters that it may be loud but that was not the case. We did not hear anyone else during our time there.
The crazy thing to me, coming from the US where everything is extremely regulated, is how the building requires a key to get out of the front door. How this is not a fire hazard I don’t know. Once we got the hang of the skeleton key, something I had never used until we arrived here, we were easily able to open all of our doors.
The apartment was an open concept layout which felt like our apartment in Chicago.
There was a futon couch which made it possible to sleep another person or 2 in the apartment should there be a family or group of friends. The dining table was a nice size and while not the most comfortable, was perfect for enjoying a meal.
There was also a TV which we decided to turn on one night. We had somewhat given up on trying to watch TV since nothing ever seems to be in English. It must have been a Christmas miracle because not only was there an English program on, it was the Tonight Show which was something that we had fun watching.
Our kitchen had everything that we needed to cook up a number of pretty good meals – from roasted vegetable mac and cheese, one of Andy’s favorites, to Christmas morning French toast.
The cookware wasn’t the best that I have ever used, but it served its purpose and for a rental apartment, was all that I expected. I have to imagine that we cooked quite a bit more and more elaborate meals than most people that stay in the apartment.
The hardest part of cooking for us was lighting the stove. At home with a gas stove you turn the knob and the burner lights, here you have to use a match and after the stove is lit, continue to hold the gas for several seconds to ensure that the burner doesn’t lose its flame. Once we got the hang of it, it wasn’t too bad but at the beginning we struggled a little bit.
The bedroom was nice and had a chandelier which made it feel luxurious. There was a very large closet along one of the walls which was perfect for storing all of our gear.
Our bed was pretty comfortable and the air conditioner kept the room cool, even when it was very hot outside.
You could tell that the bathroom had recently been remodeled and was done extremely well. The bathroom was immaculately clean, something that I thoroughly enjoyed. Our shower had extremely good water pressure which felt great, especially after our 19 hour bus ride to Mendoza.
As we have come to learn is standard in Argentina, we had a bidet. I decided that before we left the country I had to try it. After my brother gave me a rundown on how to correctly use it, I gave it a try. It was actually better than I thought it would be and made me feel cleaner than using toilet paper alone.
The only oddity that we had for the bathroom was making sure that the water heater, which was located in the kitchen, was on before we took our showers. For some reason the gas would turn off on occasion and needed to be lit in order to have hot water. Don’t worry, we never smelled any gas nor had any issues lighting it.
Our hosts were absolutely amazing. They did everything and anything that they could to make our stay as perfect as possible.
We were at the apartment over Christmas and we were excited to see that they left us a few Christmas decorations. This made me happy since we rarely saw Christmas decorations in South America and it made the apartment feel a little more “Christmassy”. They also left us a bottle of wine, or Christmas cheer, to enjoy. It was a really nice bottle of red wine which we enjoyed over dinner one of our nights there.
There was a basket full of brochures next to the TV. Anything that we would need – from restaurants to maps and more was in that basket.
Whenever we had any questions we shot our hosts an email. They always got back to us very quickly. Also, since they only live 10 blocks away, it would have been easy for them to address any issues that may have come up during our stay.
Basically from the moment that we arrived, until the moment that we left, we had the computer connected to the internet, loading all of our pictures from Patagonia to our Google drive.
Mendoza can be hot! When I was reading about Mendoza before our trip, I learned to never book a place that does not have AC. When we were there, the temperature was in the 90’s, not exactly the Christmas weather that we’re used to. This required AC to keep any sort of comfortable temperature within the apartment.
Luckily, we had an AC unit in our bedroom. While it worked perfect for sleeping, it sometimes struggled to keep the kitchen and living room cool. We were also cooking a decent amount, so it had to work extra hard to cool that room.
It was a non-issue for us since if we were hot we could always retreat to the bedroom. This is something to consider though if a group would be staying at the apartment with some individuals sleeping on the futon.
Easy Check Out
Our check out could not have been easier. All we had to do was leave our keys in the mailbox just outside of the front door.
Since we were in contact with our hosts as to what time we were leaving, they asked us if we needed a taxi. When we said that we did, they coordinated a car service to take us to the bus station. While this was 80 pesos or $6 and our ride from the bus station to the apartment was 45 pesos or $3.50, it was extremely convenient to have a car ready to go instead of having to try and find a taxi, especially the day after Christmas, not a popular time for drivers to get fares.
We were in a neighborhood, around 15 minutes walking to the main square. While it wasn’t the most conveniently located, we didn’t do too much during our time in Mendoza. Our goal was to visit some wineries, which we did, but beyond that we weren’t able to do much since the city shut down over Christmas.
To Andy, our location could not have been better. We were located directly above an ice cream shop which served coffee ice cream. It was nice that the shop was open not only on Christmas Eve, but also Christmas day so we were able to get some ice cream on Christmas.
We’re extremely happy that we spent our time in Mendoza in an apartment. While we didn’t see much of the city, outside of the wineries, we had a great time. I know that our family and friends may not understand, but long term travel can be exhausting and sometimes you just need a break. We had a nice break and were able to recharge our batteries before we continue north in Argentina to Salta and Cafayate.
If we were to stay in Mendoza again, I would absolutely book the same apartment. We had an amazing time and had great hosts. Everything was clean and relatively near to where we wanted to go.