Dimitri had identified an area called Chacras de Coria, near Mendoza, as where we should stay but hadn’t made any reservations. Chacras is an irrigated plain, in an otherwise dry area, that produces some of Argentina’s best wines. We first went to Cavas, a hotel-resort in a field of vines, where the posted price is US $375 or so per day (double). They had availability, the rooms were spacious but they wouldn’t budge on the price. So even though it was dark, we pushed on to another hotel Dimitri had identified. Then, in the desert it started to pour and hail. I was sure that the hail would leave marks on the car, it was coming down so hard. We were on the highway south of Mendoza at that point. Just as we were getting off the highway we saw a huge crash involving several trailer trucks and cars in front of us. Every guidebook and advisory warns against driving in Argentina at night. Our first encounter with Argentina wasn’t auspicious.
We arrived at Lares de Chacras just as the rain was ending. The room they gave us was large and we were happy to pay US $110 a night at that point—10:30 p.m. (Lares de Chacras, Casona Rural, Chacras de Coria, Mendoza (54 261) 496-1268, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, web: email@example.com)
The staff was delightful and made us a spinach pie and a corn pie (fortunately our lunch at Jahuel had been huge). We happily downed our first bottle of Argentine Malbec and counted ourselves very lucky to have such a nice hotel and to be safe and sound. We were assured that it would be secure to leave the majority of our luggage in the car, with the bikes (locked) on top because there was a locked gate surrounding the property. We had a lovely night’s sleep in the countryside and all of our stuff was still in our car in the morning.
The next day after the (included) breakfast, we learned that the hotel where we were staying was booked solid over Christmas-New Year’s. So we set off to find a new one. We struck out. Everything was either booked or crummy in Chacras. So after 2 nights at Lares de Chacras we moved into Mendoza. We were given a huge suite at Reina Victoria (San Juan 1127, Mendoza (54 261) 425-9800) for AP$295/ US $92 but would have to move to a tiny room in 2 days. We decided to move out after only one night because the suite was so noisy we couldn’t sleep.