We admit it, we’re guilty of spending hours on hours scrolling through endless photos of fashion, food, travel and more on Instagram. We love it as a source of inspiration and also to keep up with what’s going on in the world with our favorite media companies and bloggers. As much inspiration as we find from Instagram, we are always on the hunt for Instagrammers that constantly inspire, take us to new places and introduce us to new things through their photos.
Here are our current faves right now:
Today, we are participating in a fun link up where a few bloggers along with us are answering the question “Who are your three favorite instagrammers and why?” If you love scrolling through Instagram for inspiration as much as we do, we’d love to point you in the direction of some other fabulous bloggers who are also sharing their recommendations today.
Biking by Day, Sunset Horseback Rides by Night
The closest wine producing region to the city of Mendoza is an area called Maipu. We seemed to constantly be stopping there throughout our time in Mendoza or passing through on our way to an activity further away.
We ended our time in Mendoza in the best way; a horseback ride at sunset through the foothills of the Andes. I grew up horseback riding weekly as a kid and our family usually went riding on yearly trips to Taos and even spent a week at a dude ranch in Colorado. It brought back fond memories of family time spent in the mountains. The ride ended with an absolutely stunning sunset and a family style asado dinner back at the ranch. Our guide played guitar and sang quite the range of old school Americana and popular Latin American songs for the perfect end to a perfect leg of the trip.
Earlier in the trip we spent an entire day bike riding and wine tasting in Maipu. Although I was skeptical of these two activities being a winning combination, it was actually much more successful than I anticipated. We rented bikes from Mr. Hugo (for about $7 for the entire day) and were pleasantly surprised by how well built bike paths and sidewalks were for us to winery hop. Maipu seemed to be much more of a backpacker/hostel mecca than many of the other areas we visited, and we saw quite a few groups of young people from all over the world while we were biking around.
The two wineries I’d recommend visiting in Maipu are Mevi and Trapiche. They appeared to be the most well established and popular and are both welcome detours from the summer sun. There are also a few olive oil tasting rooms along the different winery roads, so be sure to interrupt your wine tasting with one of those as well.
What to do in Mendoza
Upon exit from the small Mendoza airport, we were greeted with the kind of dry heat that reminded me of Texas summers. During our initial wandering around the city we figured out that our hotel was just a few blocks from Plaza Independencia, the heart beat of the city; providing a pulse of energy for families wanting to soak in warm summer evenings together. After dinner one night, we ended up watching a concert in the plaza and joined in on the dancing that locals were leading right by the front of the stage.
One of the things that our group was consistently impressed with was how much quality food we were eating at very reasonable prices. Our most memorable dining experiences in Mendoza were at Azafran and Siete Cocinas, considered to be two of the best restaurants in the city.
At Azafran the front room is a wine cellar and private dining room all in one (pictured above). Instead of having a predefined wine list, their sommelier is happy to pick a glass or bottle of wine to pair with your meal from the cellar. It was a lovely experience for our group to see the range of wines brought to our table to pair with our main courses.
Siete Cocinas was my meal to remember from the whole trip. A few of us opted for a four course regional tasting menu, where each course was associated with a different cuisine from a different region of Argentina. A simple salad with watermelon, tomatoes and basil was an extremely refreshing start to the meal. With each course, food which became richer and more flavorful until the main entree of slow roasted goat and potatoes appeared on the table. The atmosphere at Siete Cocinas was also hard to beat. It felt upscale, while still conveying the feeling of being in a friend’s home.
Another highlight of our time in Mendoza was a wine tasting appointment we had at The Vines Tasting Room on our first evening in the city. It was the perfect introduction to the different types of wine produced in the three major wine producing regions around Mendoza. We were lucky enough to be seated in a private room and had tastings of a range of wines from sparkling, to Viognier, to Malbec. Our Wine Specialist was extremely knowledgeable on everything we were tasting and helped us pick wines that matched the interests of our group.
Staying in the city was the perfect home base for our daily adventures that brought us outside the city limits. There is nothing like coming home to the variety of options a city has, while still getting to enjoy the Andes, wineries and surrounding towns during the day.
A day at the beach in Jose Ignacio, Uruguay
It was around 11 am when we rolled in to the beach side town of Jose Ignacio on the very last day of our trip. Not only were we surprised that we seemed to be the only ones there, but almost certainly the only ones who were already awake for the day. Although we felt like we were getting to the beach late by American standards, the notion hadn’t even crossed the minds of our South American friends who were clearly not accustomed to the day starting so early, especially when on vacation. It was honestly like the calm before the storm and we kind of loved seeing both the town and the beach before it exploded with the energy of vacationers for the remainder of the day.
Jose Ignacio is both glamorous and somehow completely unpretentious at the same time. The beachfront mega houses with their window walls and rows of Porsches parked outside show the wealth in plain view, while remaining perfectly juxtaposed to the “end of the earth” geography that the destination naturally greets you with.
Truth be told, this actually wasn’t my first rodeo in Jose Ignacio. I visited briefly when I was last in Punta del Este and my time there was as close to love at first sight as it can probably ever get. Much of that love comes from a beachfront restaurant that has been applauded and lauded all over the place (here, here) as a bit of paradise on earth. And, you guys … it is a lot of things that define my idea of paradise.
The main entrance to the beach is marked on the right by Parador La Huella, making it the ideal place to lazily make your way to after you’ve been basking in the sun for a few hours and are ready for real food and drink. They serve fresh fish dishes, Uruguayan grill classics and plenty of Italian food, which both Argentina and Uruguay consistently have on their menus. I’ve opted for seafood dishes both times I’ve eaten here, and they really don’t disappoint. They are simply prepared and served fresh, which I love when my toes are literally less than a foot from the sand.
I joked with the rest of the group while we were in Jose Ignacio that this would be my pick if I wanted to escape the hustle of the normal world and wake up somewhere remote and beautiful everyday. There’s just something about its laid-back elegance that I haven’t seen anywhere else that makes me feel at home.