Capital of its province, San Luis itself has no international attractions, but it’s the best place to arrange excursions to Parque Nacional Sierra de las Quijadas  and overland travelers to Mendoza  may stop over here. It’s also a backdoor approach to Córdoba Province  and its Sierras de Córdoba .
San Luis (pop. about 180,000) is 820 kilometers west of Buenos Aires  via RN 7, 257 kilometers east of Mendoza via RN 7, and 405 kilometers southwest of Córdoba via RN 148. Most sights lie between Plaza Pringles, at the north end of the commercial axis formed by the parallel streets Rivadavia and San Martín, and Plaza Independencia, four blocks south.
Most sights lie on or between the city’s two principal plazas. Distinguished by an imposing sculptured pediment, the neoclassic Iglesia Catedral (started in 1883 but not finished until 1944) faces lushly landscaped Plaza Pringles from Rivadavia, while the Art Nouveau Colegio Nacional Juan Crisóstomo Lafinur (1869), across the plaza, is the province’s most prestigious school.
The provincial Casa de Gobierno (1913) overlooks the equally well-landscaped Plaza Independencia from Calle 9 de Julio. On the opposite side, the city’s oldest building is the Moorish-style 17th-century Iglesia de Santo Domingo (25 de Mayo s/n), but most of it is a 1930s reconstruction; its outstanding original feature is the carved but weathering algarrobo doors.
Barhoppers will find a flourishing pub scene on Avenida Arturo Illia, running northwest from Plaza Pringles; several double as restaurants.
Among them are Baco’s Bar (Avenida Arturo Illia 180), which also has live music, and The Movie (Avenida Arturo Illia 187, tel. 02652/44-1470), immediately across the avenue.
Morrison (Pringles 830, tel. 02652/44-0818), as in Jim, is a rock ’n’ roll theme bar with above-average food.
Often full, the best budget option is Residencial María Eugenia (25 de Mayo 741, tel. 02652/43-0361, US$20 s, US$37 d, with private bath), near Plaza Independencia. Nearby, some of the large rooms at friendly, family-run Hotel Buenos Aires (Buenos Aires 834, tel. 02652/42-4062, US$22 s, US$40 d) have air-conditioning; all offer cable TV and parking.
Friendly, well-kept Hotel Castelmonte (Chacabuco 769, tel. 02652/42-4963, US$30 s, US$40 d) is more central. Its midsize rooms have firm beds and opaque windows that open onto interior patios.
Also often full, the Inka Hotel (Bolívar 943, tel. 02652/42-4923, www.inca-hotel.com.ar , US$32 s, US$47 d) has decent midsize rooms, but some mattresses are on the soft side.
One of the highlights at Hotel Aiello (Avenida Arturo Illia 431, tel. 02652/42-5609, www.hotelaiello.com.ar , US$65 s, US$80 d, with buffet breakfast) is the good-humored staff, but its sizeable rooms are impeccable even if relatively small windows limit the natural light.
The four-star Hotel Quintana (Avenida Arturo Illia 546, tel. 02652/43-8400, www.hotelquintana.com.ar , US$77 s, US$104 d) is a sparkling seven-story hotel with impeccable service and more-contemporary amenities than others in town. Though it has been the class of town, it’s getting competition from the Vista Suites & Spa (Avenida Arturo Illia 546, tel. 02652/42-5794, www.vistasuites.com.ar , from US$114 s, US$126 d).
For breakfast, the bus terminal’s Confitería La Terminal (Avenida España s/n) is better than most of its kind, with fresh croissants and espresso drinks.
An institution since 1945, La Porteña (Junín 696, tel. 02652/43-1722, or 02652/42-3807) has plain decor but an excellent menu with unusual (for Argentina) items such as pineapple chicken. Kopito’s (Avenida Illia 364) is the place for ice cream.
Aerolíneas Argentinas (Avenida Arturo Illia 468, tel. 02652/42-5671) flies to Buenos Aires’s Aeroparque Monday–Saturday. Aerolíneas Sol (tel. 0810/444-4765, www.sol.com.ar ) has recently commenced flights from Aeroparque but keeps no offices here.
San Luis’s Terminal de Ómnibus (Avenida España between Francia and Estado de Israel, tel. 02652/42-4021), six blocks north of Plaza Pringles, has frequent provincial and long-
distance services as well as direct connections to Chile.
Typical destinations, times, and fares include San Juan  (4 hours, US$13), Mendoza  (3 hours, US$10), Merlo  (3 hours, US$6), Córdoba  (5 hours, US$18–21) and Buenos Aires  (13 hours, US$38–45).
Aeropuerto Brigadier Mayor César R. Ojeda (tel. 02652/42-2457) is only about three kilometers north of town on RN 146, so a cab or remise is inexpensive.