Bus challenged in Mendoza

We’ve been in Mendoza for two weeks. We’ve been doing quite a bit of in city wine tasting.

this one's good, better have a third glass

But, the real wine tasting to be done here is in the country at the actual wineries.  Or so we’ve heard. We haven’t actually been to any yet.

Why you ask?  Mostly, because we want to take a bus.

We know the bus – #173. We even know how to pay – with coins or a bus pass. But, it’s taken 2 weeks to actually get the means to take the bus.

Forget coins. You know that jar of change you have sitting on your dresser? Well they don’t have those here.  No one gives out change. We’ve been saving up. After two weeks we have enough for one of us to go one way.

This is not going to be enough.

We even stopped in the nearby casino.  I put a paper bill into a slot machine expecting change to come out in coins (and maybe some winnings).  Out poured tokens (no winnings) which I ended up using to gamble.

If you can't take a bus, might as well gamble.

But, that’s fine.   They have bus passes here.  They even have a website in English explaining how to purchase the card.  Check out these FAQ straight from the site.


The card is called  “Red Bus.”   They are sold at kiosks. That is a fabulous thing because there are kiosks everywhere.  There are two to three kiosks on every block, and they are open all the time.  Early in the morning, after midnight, on Sunday, you can always find an open kiosk.

On our first day in Mendoza, Jeff went on a bike ride and I ran out to get a Red Bus pass.    There was a kiosk half a block from our apartment.  I figured ten minutes tops.   Two hours and nine kiosks later I still didn’t have a bus pass.

Every day,  Jeff went out riding and I roamed the city looking for a kiosk that sold a bus pass.  No one sold them. Everyone would shake their head and point down the street to the next kiosk.

After almost two weeks I decided to take my video camera and Jeff on my quest.   I planned out the video. Jeff would ask for the card while I video taped the person saying no. How funny would that video be of person after person saying no they didn’t it have the cards.

Can't wait for them to not sell us the card.

We got to the first kiosk.  I went in with Jeff, video camera ready. Jeff asked for the cards. I giggled as I waited to see the customary shake of the head and hear “no.”    But, instead, the very first guy sold us two cards  It took about two seconds.   I’m not sure if there was a city-wide shortage that ended yesterday,  luck, or Jeff has magical powers. But now we have our Red Bus cards.

Of course the wineries are all closed on Sundays and we move apartments on Monday.  But Tuesday is the day. We will finally go wine tasting at the wineries.

I’ve also learned an important lesson. Always take Jeff and a video camera on all errands.




14 thoughts on “Bus challenged in Mendoza”

  1. Re: Jeff and his magical powers. Sheryl, next time send Jeff to accomplish the mission, and you
    enjoy a glass of wine. You look beautiful in the picture drinking the wine. Love, Rochelle & George

  2. The Fiesta Nacional de la Vendimia (The National Grape Harvest Festival) occurs in early March each year. Part of the festivities include a beauty pageant, where 17 beauty queens from each department of Mendoza Province compete, and one winner is selected by a panel of about 50 judges. The queen of Mendoza city’s department does not compete and acts as host for the other queens.

    In 2008 National Geographic listed Mendoza as one of the top 10 historic destinations in the world.

    1. Unfortunately, we missed Vendimia, got here one week too late. They do have all the photos of the beauty queens up at the casino though.

  3. Did you check with Jeff to see if you were pronouncing the words bus pass correctly? Just kidding. Casey and I were in Spain and we wanted some ice to take to our room to make drinks. Casey asked a few restaurants if he could buy a bag of ice from them since the hotel didn’t have an ice machine. They all said no and one place suggested he try McDonald. This seemed rather odd since we were in Toledo. Toledo is one of those walled in cities that is a billion years old. We were pretty sure there wasn’t a McDonalds in there. We got back to the hotel and Casey asked the guy behind the counter. He figured out Casey was asking for a BAG OF ICE CREAM and not a BAG OF ICE. We still laugh about that. I don’t speak Spanish but apparently the words are pretty similar.

    1. That is hysterical on ice vs ice cream. I could actually go for a bag of ice cream right now. Our first time in Mexico we rented a car and got a flat tire. When Jeff went to go get help he told someone. “Can you help me, I’m tired.”

  4. When larry and I were in florence I wanted to take a bus to a little town that was a little too far to walk to. I had the bus number and directions to the bus terminal. After a tour of the city on a city bus tour bus, going every direction that we were pointed to, standing at bus signs even though they didn’t say number 7, we decided that there really was no number 7 bus in or around florence.never did see that little town and now I’ve even forgotten the name of it. I hope you actually arrive at a winery with your bus pass.

  5. What did I say about Mendoza? It’s so much harder to visit the wineries than you think it will be. I look forward to hearing the next step in the process.

    1. You are so right! We haven’t even started trying to get reservations yet. Oh, and we were told if we go to one area we might get mugged. Nice.

  6. Sheryl, it really isn’t as hard as you think. If you are familiar with the buses just take the one that goes to Maipu (there are 3 171 – 172 – 173) they all take you there. This bus will take you to the city of Maipu, you can get a map anywhere.
    The closer you get to Maipu you’ll start seeing bicycle rentals to go up to El Camino del Vino which is basically a road you bike on to see wineries such as Trapiche and Tempus Alba that always have people there no reservation needed. I have pictures up on my facebook profile, we did it lasy year and it was a lot of fun.
    There’s this one bike rental place that I was suggested on couchsurfing (because things seem to slip right through quality control) called Mr. Hugo right across from the Coqiombito police station (they have one in Maipu too)- but all the bus drivers know where it is, just say “bajanos en Mr Hugo (silent H: U-GO)?” and if he nods then he should have undersood you.

    1. Thanks for the info! I’m a complete disaster on a bike. I’m not sure I can drink wine and ride a bike unless it has training wheels or is an adult tricycle. 🙂

  7. Don’t worry, Mr. Hugo has Tandem Bikes, I’d wait a wile for Maipu though. They’re fixing the road up to Tempus Alba- but how many wine tastings can you handle on a bike? LOL

    1. Awesome! If Jeff is doing the pedaling, balancing, watching for traffic and stopping and starting I can totally ride on the back. One winery is probably all I can handle on a bike or off. 🙂

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