The city of Córdoba is an hour’s flight west of Buenos Aires, at the southern end of the Sierras de Córdoba, rolling hills dissected by fertile valleys. Originally popular as an escape from the summer heat of Buenos Aires, today there are several estancias offering excellent riding and walking.
Mendoza, nestled under the eastern flank of the Andes and whose tree-lined avenues give it a fresh feel despite the Mediterranean climate, is best known for its vineyards. In the surrounding countryside many wineries offer stylish accommodation to visitors. A road to Chile crosses a high pass and takes you through truly spectacular scenery.
San Juan province, on Argentina's western border with Chile, is a mountainous and arid region. Fertile valleys, watered by rivers from the Andes, produce grapes and olives, and mining is another important industry. To the west the towns of Barreal and Calingasta make a good base for visits to national parks such as El Leoncito. The capital, San Juan, was founded in 1562. La Rioja province, to the north, is also in the foothills of the Andes and shares a climate of short winters and very hot summers.