About Argentina (AR)
Argentina (AR) is a massive country in South America with an elongated coastline along the South Atlantic Ocean. The eighth-largest country in the world contains both the highest and lowest points in South America: Cerro Aconcagua at 6,960 m, and Laguna del Carbón at 105 m below sea level, respectively. The capital city of Buenos Aires is an international hub of commerce, while the majority of the country is characterized by a range of topographical variations, from enormous plateaus and grasslands in the fertile central region, to soaring mountains in the south. Meanwhile, the Argentinian climate is famously changeable, with equally wet and arid conditions found in a number of different regions. The Patagonia region is perhaps the most well-known tourist destination, revered for its rugged conditions and majestic natural beauty.
Getting around Argentina by car hire is practically the only efficient mode of transport other than flying. Even visitors who plan to spend all their time in Buenos Aires will want to rent a car. Public transportation may be cheaper, but it certainly doesn’t offer comprehensive access to all destinations. Travelers to Patagonia will definitely need their own set of wheels to explore the landscape. For everybody else, major roads in Argentina are in good to fair condition, traffic patterns will be familiar to visitors from most Western countries, and local drivers are relatively civilized, especially in comparison to their neighbors in Brazil.
Choosing your car
Cheap car rentals in Argentina can be booked with Avis, Sixt, Europcar, Budget, Dollar, Thrifty, Hertz, and Alamo. The most popular rentals are midsize, standard, and oversize SUVs, but you’ll find everything from compact hatchbacks and minicars to 7-12 seater minivans and everything in between.
Tips and advice
Police checkpoints are common near border crossings and on the outskirts of major cities. Not all cars get stopped, but make sure all your travel documents are in order and within reach.
The cosmopolitan city of Buenos Aires is not without a few of its own traffic quirks, one of which is the practice of claiming right-of-way by honking your car horn at an intersection. He who honks first has the advantage. And like many other countries, small vehicles are generally compelled to give way to bigger vehicles.
Major highways circle the major cities, but the majority of the country is linked by two-lane roads called rutas. These roads can be a challenge for new drivers.
Fuel is rationed in the northern regions, so you may find it’s only possible to buy half a dozen liters at a time. It’s recommended to fill your tank at every available opportunity when driving anywhere in Argentina.
The northeast corner of Argentina is almost a no-go zone for solo travelers, and definitely off-limits for nighttime driving.
The majority of cross-country routes are laid out in a north-south orientation, with only a few east-west routes across the center of the country. Road services are scarce to non-existent in much of the central plains. Plan your trip accordingly.