Mendoza, San Juan and La Rioja provinces – plus the less interesting province of San Luís, to the east – make up the region known as El Nuevo Cuyo, or “New Cuyo”, formed by a 1988 treaty. The much older term Cuyo and the adjective Cuyano, which originally did not include present-day La Rioja, are widely used in the names of travel companies, newspapers and other businesses, for example. The etymological origins of the word cuyo are not entirely clear, but it probably comes from the native Huarpe word xuyu, meaning (sandy) riverbed. The original core area of the Intendencia del Cuyo, basically corresponding to the modern Mendoza Province, has strong historical ties with Chile from where it was first colonized, and among other things the local accent still reflects this – with, for example, the “-ll” and “-y” being pronounced as the “y” in yellow, as in Chile, rather than the “j” sound you hear in Buenos Aires.

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