“Salud” is a word expats living in Mendoza will become quickly familiar with. The famous Hispanic drinking salutation is taken very seriously in “La Tierra del Sol y del Bueno Vino” (The Land of Sun and Good Wine). Mendoza is wine country. In fact, it is one of the nine Great Capitals of Wine in the world, and the largest wine-producing region in Argentina. Tourists come from all over the world to visit Mendoza's famous and renowned wineries and wine tours, so if you are living in Mendoza (even as an expatriate), you will probably be asked for your thoughts on the grape before too long. Of course there is more to Mendoza than its vineyards. Situated in the foothills of the Andes mountain range, the city is perfectly positioned for fearless hikers wishing to tackle the American continent's tallest mountain, El Aconcagua. In winter, the nearby mountains offer some of the best skiing in South America, making Mendoza ideal for expatriates who are outdoorsy types, as well as amateur sommeliers.
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Relocating to South America in general can represent a huge cultural change. For a start, the national language is Spanish, but even native Spaniards may struggle with the unusual South American accent at first. Before moving to Mendoza, try to track down an Argentinian Spanish teacher for a few lessons on pronunciation and slang. You can pick up tips on Latin American Spanish speaking, and finding a good teacher, through InterNations online expat community. Just check out our discussion boards and forums for expat hacks and stories. It is also worth being aware of the climate in Mendoza before you move. As a wine-producing area, the climate is quite temperate with minimal rainfall. However, as an inland city in the shadow of the mountains it can get pretty humid during the summers, so invest in a good air conditioning unit and pack a lot of sunscreen when moving to Mendoza.
Expats in Mendoza will quickly come to realize that it is a thriving city. Not only is it a popular tourist resort, it has a bustling city center surrounded by sprawling suburbs, and its location allows it to act as a major trade point between Argentina and Chile. Mendoza is linked with both the Chilean capital Santiago, and the Argentinian capital Buenos Aires, by Ruta Nacional 7, so expats working in Mendoza can access either one of these major metropolises with relative ease. There is also a train network connecting Mendoza city center with the suburbs and surrounding areas, but it is wise to get a car when you arrive and familiarize yourself with the local roads as quickly as possible! For tips and advice on driving in South America, check out the InterNations’ forums and learn from other expatriate experiences.