Argentines speak Spanish, are super friendly and most speak at least a little English. From museums to theaters to everyday life in the plazas and parks, Mendoza culture is rich and authentic. Experience it firsthand and you´ll never want to leave.
Castellano Spanish is the primary language, but most of the tourist services like hotels, drivers, restaurants, wineries have bilingual staff that are friendly and helpful. That said, keeping a good Spanish phrase book with Latin American Spanish handy never hurts. It wil help you become friends with the locals and it's fun practice!
Why Latin American Spanish? Castellano is different from other types of Spanish in its use of vos (instead of tu) for the informal you form. There are many small word differences from traditional Spanish, particularly for everyday items. Also, it is generally spoken much faster than typical Spanish, with almost a sing-song intonation, and often many hand gestures, showing the region's Italian roots.
So, embrace learning Spanish where you can, and don’t be shy to speak. Locals are friendly and will be eager to help you out and try their English with you.
Mendoza has many museums, from Museo Cornelio Moyano, the natural history museum, to Museo del Area Fundacional, the historical regional foundation museum. The Museo Nacional del Vino (National Wine Museum) in Maipu gives an insider's view into Mendoza's winemaking history. Also well worth a visit is Casa de Fader, a historic house museum and 1890 mansion, which was once the home of artist Fernando Fader.
In 1923, Teatro Independencia was created to drive tourism in Plaza Independencia in downtown Mendoza. It was designed to look like an Italian Opera House, complete with a marble vestibule overlooking the concert hall where over 700 gather to watch performances. The Provincial Philharmonic Orchestra performs at the hall regularly. The building burned down in 1963, and was rebuilt in 1965 and further renovations were made in 2000. In September 2003, the theatre re-opened. Teatro Independencia is still open for opera and musical theater performances today, and Mendoza-native worldwide opera sensation Veronica Cangemi performs there from time to time.
Parque San Martin
There’s nothing like a day relaxing in a Mendoza park. Parque San Martin is a lush refuge ideal for exercising, sunbathing, or just a serene afternoon by the lake. This massive green space offers everything from miles of running, walking, and biking paths to a golf course to the local zoo. Climb to the top of Cerro de la Gloria (Hill of Glory) to see sweeping views of mountains and Mendoza and an impressive statue of San Martin himself.
Parque General San Martin was designed by Carlos Thays in 1896. The grounds, larger than New York’s Central Park, include a zoo, futbol (soccer) stadiums where Mendoza’s teams and sometimes famous international matches are played, as well as the Universidad Nacional de Cuyo. The top of Cerro de la Gloria (Mt. Glory) provides a view of the city.
Day to day, while Mendoza is a laid back town, it is an active society. In Parque San Martin, runners, joggers, rollerbladers, and other fitness enthusiasts are out and about at all times of the day. For those looking to make the most of their workout, there are stations to do sit ups, pull ups, and other basic machine exercises throughout the park.
For families and friends, drinking mate (a loose herbal tea) in the park is a sacred tradition that can last for hours on end. You can find many couples lip-locked throughout at the park at all times of the day as well.
Plaza Independencia marks the center of Mendoza. First built in 1886, and remodeled in 1941, the park is 55,000 square meters, with an enormous fountain in the center, with street vendors selling artisanal tourist trinkets and street food. Four smaller plazas, named San Martin, Chile, Italia, and Espana, are located two blocks off of each corner of Plaza Independencia. Each plaza displays sculpture and tilework that is reflective of each country’s style and feature artisanal markets as well as food festivals throughout the year.
If you happen to be at the plazas in the morning, be sure to grab a coffee and a tortita from one of the many men selling breakfast from their bikes. The coffee is served with warmed milk and lots of sugar -- like eating dessert for breakfast.