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Argentina Expedition: Trek Mendoza and the Valley of Tears

8 days with Intrepid Travel   Rating: Budget

Click for Dates and Prices Day 1 Mendoza
Welcome to Mendoza, the heart of Argentinean wine country and perhaps the most beautiful setting for a city anywhere. Having grown up under the watchful gaze of the Andes, Mendoza is a popular stop for adventure enthusiasts thanks to the nearby mountains and, of course, a seemingly endless supply of delicious malbec wine. Meet your group at 2 pm and take an orientation walk around the town including the central market and Plaza Independencia, then why not organise a group dinner and share a bottle of malbec.

Day 2 Mendoza
When in Rome, do as the Romans do. When in Mendoza, drink wine. This morning you’ll meet a wine expert who’ll take the group to the heart of the winemaking region. Here, you’ll have an opportunity to learn about Mendoza’s traditional and industrial wineries. Visit three wineries and learn about the local soil, regional production and the different varietals and most importantly, you’ll be tasting some straight-up Andes juice from its heavenly source. Return to Mendoza in the afternoon to explore the city or, if you’ve indulged in the lion’s share of malbec, maybe take an afternoon nap.

Day 3 San Rafael - Base camp
Depart Mendoza after breakfast and travel by local bus to San Rafael, three hours south. Continue west by private vehicle until we reach our camp for the night, with dinner prepared at the campsite.

Day 4 Trek day 1 
After packing lunch and having breakfast we’ll start hiking up the Andes. We’ll cross three rivers along the way and hike for approximately 5-6 hours before reaching our first campsite at 2550 metres. It goes without saying that hiking in the Andes is an incredibly special experience, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a view that doesn’t take your altitude-affected breath away. On arrival at camp, please keep in mind that while our gear is carried by mules, this is participatory camping and the group is expected to help set up camp for the evening.

Day 5 Trek day 2
Take breakfast overlooking the peaks and valleys of the Andes and pack your lunch before starting today’s trek. We’ll be heading towards the Valle de las Lagrimas (the Valley of Tears), eventually reaching the Glacier de las Lagrimas (Glacier of Tears) early in the afternoon, located at 3600m on the border between Argentina and Chile. From here, we’ll climb up to a commemorative cross to pay our respects to the victims of this tragic accident. It’s easy to imagine the desperation the survivors would’ve felt upon seeing their location. We’ll then return to last night’s campsite.

Day 6 Trek day 3 - San Rafael
Today we’ll hike back down to our base camp before continuing to San Rafael for the night. The evening is free for you to explore the town centre and perhaps get dinner with the group.

Day 7 Mendoza
Return to Mendoza for a final afternoon and evening in this mountainous setting. Rest those sore muscles or, if you're up for it, continue exploring the atmospheric streets of Mendoza and maybe pull up a seat and watch the world go by with a glass of wine. Be sure to organise a farewell dinner with your group this evening.

Day 8 Mendoza
Your trip will end after breakfast and you're free to depart the accommodation at any time.
All This Included
On 13 October 1972, Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 crashed in the remote Andes with 45 people on board. Stranded at 3600 metres with minimal supplies and nothing around but rock, ice and twisted metal, the survivors spent 72 days on the mountain before 16 of them were eventually rescued. The accident, which was immortalised in the 1993 film ‘Alive’, received significant global media attention when it was revealed that the survivors had resorted to cannibalism to make it through the ordeal. Beginning and ending in Mendoza, the heart of the Argentinean wine region, this expedition takes you trekking through the Andes to the site of the crash where you can pay your respects to the 29 victims amid the bittersweet beauty of this rugged mountain range.
  • Meals - 7 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 dinners
  • Transport - Minivan
  • Mendoza - Wine tour
  • Mendoza - 4 Day/3 Night hike to Valley of Tears (airplane crash site)
  • Explore the heart of the Argentinean wine country then trek to the site of one of the most famous plane crashes in history.
  • Trek through the rugged Andes and see the bittersweet beauty the survivors were faced with.
Hotel (3 nights)
Camping (with basic facilities) (5 nights)
  • Ages: Min 17
  • Group size: Min 1, Max 12
  • This expedition involves trekking at altitude and a reasonable level of fitness is recommended.
  • Up to 5kg of personal belongings are carried by horse (including sleeping bag)
  • Participants are expected to help set up camp and with camp chores.
  • Please ask your Vacations To Go travel counselor for more information.
Terms and Conditions
For Intrepid Travel terms and conditions, please click here.

* The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines.