Mendoza Procedures

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Unless you have signed up to an organised tour, when you arrive in Mendoza you will need to complete a number of tasks before you can leave the city for the mountain. The precise order of the tasks will depend on the locations of your service company's office and the gear shops you intend to hire equipment and purchase fuel from.

The climbing permit can be paid for in US Dollars or Euros but you may need local currency to hire gear, buy food, etc. Most banks close between 14.00 and 18.00 in the afternoon. During this time you will have to use the black market to buy Pesos. However, as most shops are open in the evening so you can wait for the banks to reopen.

Mendoza is built on a grid system so navigation is easy. The city centre is quite spread out so if you are not careful you can find yourself walking along way in the midday sun. The climbing permit office has recently moved from the city centre to a large park on the west of the city. To avoid a long uphill walk you might want to use a taxi.

Mendoza Airport roof top

Mendoza Airport

If you have booked the services of a local support company you will be met at the airport and transferred by car or minibus to your hotel in the city centre. A taxi ride will cost around 150 Pesos (Jan 2018).

Add the support telephone number of your service company to WhatsApp so you can contact them easily should your flight be delayed or you cannot find your driver at the airport.

Inka offices, Mendoza

Support Company

After you have checked into your hotel you will need to visit your support company to pay any money you owe them for their services and to collect the climbing permit application forms.

There are two sets of forms: (1) the document to present to the Pago Facil to pay for the climbing permit and (2) the documents to give to the permit office. The documents are in Spanish but your service company should have completed them fully.

Pago Facil, Mendoza

Pay for Climbing Permit

You can pay for the climbing permit at one of the several Pago Facil offices in the city centre. Just about everyone uses the office close to the Secretaria de Turismo de Mendoza at Garibaldi 5 Loc 2, Mendoza. Mon-Fri: 09.30 to 19.30, Sat, Sun, Holidays: 09.00 to 12.00, Dec 25, Jan 01: Closed (times correct at Jan 2018).

The reason for this is: (1) the office has a priority queue for Aconcagua permits, i.e. locals ahead of you in the queue have to wait while you are being dealt with, and (2) at this office you can pay for the permit in US Dollars and Euros.

Climbing Permit Office, Mendoza

Collect Climbing Permit

After you have paid for the climbing permit at the Pago Facil you will be given a receipt. Take this together with the other documents your service company has given you to the permit office at Av, del Libertador y Av, Las Tipas Parque Gral. San Martin. Mon-Fri: 08.30 to 17.30, Sat, Sun, Holidays: 08.30 to 12.30, Dec 25, Jan 01: Closed (times correct at Jan 2018).

The clerks in the permit office speak good English. They will check your documentation and then issue your permit. They are a good source of local knowledge so ask them any questions you may have of Mendoza or the Aconcagua National Park.

Banks and currency exchange, Mendoza

Local Currency

You will need local currency to hire gear, buy food and drinks in the supermarkets, restaurants and bars and to pay for taxis, etc. The Peso is worthless outside of Argentina so only buy enough to cover your expenses in Mendoza. On the mountain the common currency is US Dollars.

You can exchange money at banks and bureau de exchange offices in the centre of town. There is also a thriving black market, men will approach you outside banks asking if you want to exchange money. Banks close between 14.00 and 18.00 in the afternoon.

Orviz gear rental, Mendoza

Hire Gear

Independent climbers usually want to purchase and use their own gear but if you don't climb to high altitude very often it might be better to rent equipment. Mendoza has lots of shops to hire gear.

Purchase fuel for your trip before you leave Mendoza. It is worth considering taking a VHF radio with you, especially if you are climbing on your own. A radio can be hired from Orviz for around 70 US Dollars. With the radio you can contact the Park Ranger service in the event of an emergency and your local support company for weather reports.

    

Readers' Comments

  • Sun 21 Jan 2018, 15:49
    Steve Wilco

    In my view the black market for exchanging money is best avoided as the rates they offer are very similar to the bank rates, sometimes they are worse. In the afternoons for example, when the banks are closed the rate will often go down as they know you need them to give you the Pesos. But anyway, even if they offer a better rate, unless you are changing a lot of money the difference is so tiny you may as well you the official banks.