Argentina Driving Advice and Car Hire Info
The research for this website was carried out mainly in 2011 and 2012. Therefore there is a good chance that much of the information may now be out of date. This is particularly true of countries in the developing world, especially Asia and Africa where conditions can change often. Also, the political climate in many countries has changed a lot in recent years. Therefore the information on this website should be treated with caution. You should always check with your Government’s website or the UK Foreign office travel advice website before finalising plans to drive abroad.
Driving In Argentina
You need an International Driving Permit for driving abroad in Argentina.As with most countries, once you get out of the big Cities the driving is fine and the roads are generally in Okay condition. Buenos Aires actually looks quite simple to escape from on a map…in my opinion it isn’t! If you land at the harbour from Uruguay or at the airport which is quite near the town centre, you’re best option is to ask a taxi driver to guide you out. Be sure to tell him to drive slowly though –That does seem an alien concept to BA taxi drivers! You may occasionally encounter groups of demonstrators blocking major roads into and out of Buenos Aires during times of social unrest which can mean significant delays to your journey.In my experience theres usually a demo of some type every day in the centre. Driving style is generally fast and aggressive in the main cities and concepts such as speed limit adherence and lane discipline seldom apply.You should drive confidentally but defensively and expect the unexpected from your fellow drivers. Care should be taken when driving in the Province of Misiones close to the borders with Paraguay and Brazil. The area is used to smuggle goods across the borders. It would be advisable to seek local advice if you intend to drive in this area.
Many visitors to Argentina opt for an adventurous self drive tour of the Patagonia region, which is shared with Chile. The roads in Patagonia are isolated, often with few other vehicles and may pass through areas of desert. You may also find that mobile phone coverage is patchy, so if you’re not mechanically minded you may need to call upon other drivers for assistance in the event of a breakdown. Some Spanish would therefore be useful. You also need to be aware that most of the time you will be driving on gravel/rubble roads. In Argentina, only Route 3, some segments of Route 40, Routes 22 and 237 to and past Neuquen and the road connecting Esquel with the coast, are paved.In Chile, only Route 9 from Punta Arenas and Route 5 North from Quellon are paved. The main dangers driving on gravel roads are the obvious potential for flat tyres and damage to the underside of the vehicle. Also the potential for stones to be thrown up by passing cars. If a car is approaching from the other direction, you should slow right down when passing to minimise the risk of stones being thrown up. You should always drive with both hands on the steering wheel so you remain in control in the event of a blown tyre. There is also the possibility for the wind to create grooves in the road which are difficult to see and which could damage your car if you hit them at speed. You should always proceed with caution therefore on gravel roads.
Distances between towns can be huge in Patagonia and you should always take the opportunity to fill up at every gas station- you never know how far it will be to the next one. You’ll be out of range of radio stations, and the often monotonous, flat landscape can get boring so check whether your rental car will have a CD player and stock up on tunes if so.
This website provides useful route planning info for all countries in South America including Argentina.
Argentina Car Rental –
Sixt, Hertz, Europcar, Alamo, National,Avis, Budget, Dollar,Thrifty, have outlets here. Also usually features on Car rental broker sites such as Argus Car Hire and Web discount sites such as LastMinute.com
This is a local car rental broker site –
This broker site allows you to select which area of the country you want to rent a car in –
These are some local companies –
This company offer trips with self drive itineraries –
In Patagonia, this website allows you to find car rental companies by region, and town in both Argentina and Chile. Select the region you want to rent in, then the town, and choose the car rental option from the left hand menu
There are many local car rental options plus most outlets from most of the big international companies in Patagonia –
In (San Carlos de) Bariloche-
Avis, Thrifty, Budget, Hertz and Dollar all have outlets in Bariloche plus –
In El Calafate-
Dollar,Avis and Hertz have branches plus the local company below who have their own website. Other local companies can be contacted via the interpatagonia site.
Dollar and Hertz have outlets plus the large South American company Localiza. There only seems to be one local company with a website though you can contact others via the Interpatagonia site.
Budget,Hertz,Dollar ,Avis and Localiza all have outlets here plus the following local companies-
Argentina Self Driving Rules –
if you are travelling to Rio Grande or Ushuaia in Tierra Del Fuego and renting your car in BA or another part of Argentina you will need to pass through Chile. Most firms will allow you to purchase a permit to allow this for around $120. Sixt will allow you to travel to Chile,Brazil and Uruguay with a special permit costing around $90 but you must request this 10 days in advance of the rental period.
For rentals in Patagonia most companies will allow you to take cars between Chile and Argentina though I’ve been unable to find a company offering one way rental between the two countries. To take the car across the border you will need to pay for additional insurance and generally book the car in advance (ie not a ‘walk in’) .Different companies seem to have different rules- for instance Hertz don’t allow Argentinian nationals to rent a car in Chile and take it into Argentina. Budget require the driver to have an International Driving Permit to cross the border with one of their cars. My advice would be to check out the specific rules used by the company you plan to use at the time of booking your car.