10 Things you Need to Know Before Doing a Road Trip in Argentina

Argentina Travel Posted on 06/03/2021

If there is something beautiful in this life, it is traveling by car through Argentina. The enormous extensions of territory that comprise Argentina, range from Pampean plains and extensive coasts to Patagonian forests and deserts. If you are planning to make a road trip in Argentina, how lucky of you to find this article!

Everything is ready for your next road trip in Argentina: You have your mate (Argentine infusion par excellence), your ham and cheese sandwiches and your notes. Also, you have your rented car and your luggage. But you need a little bit more… If you’re planning to go on a road trip to Argentina, you should do a lot of research. But today is your lucky day because in Say Hueque we’re going to tell you 10 things you need to know before doing a road trip in Argentina.

The 5 most important things you need to know

The choice of vehicle

When it comes to taking any trip by car, but perhaps even more especially in Argentina, it is necessary to consider where you are going to determine which is the best vehicle for that particular route. For example, cars in Argentina have right hand drive and can be rented both manual and automatic.

Also, Argentina is a country that still has several gravel and unpaved roads. That is why perhaps it would be better to consider an SUV or a station wagon. But in other cases, this will not be necessary. Some words that can help you when renting a car can be: “volante” (steering wheel), “rueda” (wheel), “freno” (brake) and “luneta” (rear window).

We recommend that you talk to your car rental company for guidance on this issue.

The beautiful Cascada Ñivinco in The Route of the Seven Lakes in Argentina

Compare prices in different rental companies

Car rental prices can vary greatly from one rental company to another and also from one branch to another. We suggest you check how much it costs to rent the vehicle from different cities and that you make the best decision taking this into account. Some of the best known in Argentina, and that have many branches, are: Avis, Hertz, Sixt, Alamo and Europcar.

Checking the documentation

If you are going to rent a car in Argentina, at the time of picking it up you must check that the following documentation is available and current in the vehicle:

  • The vehicle technical verification (VTV) 
  • The green card (expires only for third parties)
  • Blue card for third parties
  • Your document
  • Driving record
  • Proof of payment of the patent
  • Auto parts engraving wafer and proof of vehicle insurance

You’ll have to ask for this documentation to your rental car agency, and you’ll have to bring with you your document and your drivers licence. In addition, it is important that you know that to drive outside your country, it is necessary to consult, depending on the destination, if you need to manage the International Driving Permit.

General condition of the vehicle

When you rent a car in Argentina, or anywhere, before you hit the road, you must check:

  • The oil
  • Water
  • Brake fluid
  • Wiper and wiper levels
  • Check the correct operation of the lights
  • Verify the presence and conditions of fire extinguishers
  • Triangular beacons
  • Cricket
  • Coss key and reflective vest
  • Check the inflation pressure of the tires according to what the manufacturer’s manual indicates

If you have a problem with the car on the route, all car rental companies offer toll-free telephone numbers with lines open 24 hours a day to communicate and report the damage. Anyway, it is also important that you know the most important service stations, not only to load gasoline but also to inflate the wheels or check the oil and water. The best known in Argentina are: YPF, Shell, Axion.

When visiting Mendoza, don't miss the route of wine and discover beautiful vineyards

Organization of the road trip

You should check before the trip if the weather conditions are adequate, as well as establish which is the best way, including the identification of service stations, restaurants and aid stations.

If it is a very long journey, it is necessary to plan a route in sections that allows an appropriate rest before continuing. In Argentina, unlike other countries, there are long routes without service stations or without a cell phone connection. That is why you must be careful and fill the tank with gasoline twice a week.

If you use Google Maps you know that it is an app with an incalculable utility … but an Achilles heel: if you run out of data and have no WiFi nearby (something normal if, for example, you are driving on the road) you can say goodbye to its usefulness.

For that, there are apps that allow you to download maps offline and that work only with GPS. 

  • MAPS.ME: quite simple and only contains the basic functions to allow localization
  • HERE WeGo: It allows voice navigation and offers a very good service when it comes to consulting different public transport, with recommendations for the fastest and cheapest options

The 5 most beautiful routes to travel by car in Argentina

Being such a large country, Argentina has a lot of landscapes and different routes to travel. Discovering it with a self-drive trip will be amazing. When booking with us, we’ll share with you our insider tips to discover Argentina and you’ll receive 24/7 assistance from our local experts!

We believe that the best way to travel is to “put your feet in the mud”: live the experience without intermediaries, but with “guides”, without tour leaders, but with travel “companions”.

Check out these 5 road trip we’re experts on:

The Calchaquí Valleys

Travelling through this route in the northern part of Argentina, you’ll get to know a section of Route 40 and Route 68, crossing reddish and yellow canyons, valleys full of vegetation, tasting wine from an artisanal winery and taking many photos.

The trip begins in Salta capital, heading towards the Calchaquíes valleys, more specifically towards Cachi. In this first section, the road runs through green valleys full of vegetation, as we go up you can see how the landscape changes, it is wonderful.

The next stop is at the Los Cardones National Park, which is reached by the Tin Tin straight, the typical infinite straights that we can see on American highways, we see them in this part of the province of Salta.

The most important thing is to spend one night in Cachi and, the next day, go to Cafayate: land of vineyards and red soils. After visiting all the attractions of Cafayate, such as the Quebrada de las Flechas, you would return to Salta.

Panoramic North Circuit

This northern route is about 330 km and is little frequented by tourists, which gives it an extra exoticism and charm. I recommend you spend at least three days on it. From the capital of Salta we leave for San Antonio de los Cobres, from where we will cross the Salinas Grandes arriving at Purmamarca, which sits under the incredible Cerro de los Siete Colores.

The route continues through the memorable Humahuaca ravine, north of Jujuy, declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco. In the valley you will find beautiful indigenous towns such as the picturesque Tilcara, which offers the perfect combination of locality and tourism, or Humauaca itself, which, according to experts, is the most beautiful of the ravine with its unique cobbled streets.

Patagonia: Route of the 7 Lakes

This 107-kilometer road connects the cities of San Martín de los Andes and Villa la Angostura. It is an old gravel road now paved that crosses, as its name implies, 7 lakes.

It is not only a panoramic tour, but if you go in the summer months, you can enjoy beach days on the shores of the spectacular glacial lakes. The Route of the 7 Lakes has it all: forests, villages, trails, waterfalls and much more. It is a good tour to do if you do not have much experience traveling by car since many people choose it and you will never feel alone.

We suggest that you dedicate three days to not miss anything and you can sleep in Villa Meliquina or Villa Traful, which are two towns that are within the same Route.

Wine route in Mendoza

Prepare your palate for the quintessential wine adventure (but also panoramic): the wine route. This route refers to a region and is not a merely strict map, but the possibility of traveling to different areas of Mendoza where the wineries invite you to know everything about the cultivation and the grape harvest, they propose tastings, guided tours and first class lunches.

Between February and April, during the harvest season, everything simply revolves around wine. Therefore, this is the best time to get to know the soul of Mendoza. In this province there are so many wineries (approximately 400) that we could spend months visiting different establishments. 

Many of them have excellent services, accommodation, restaurants and thematic proposals, as well as the possibility of participating in the harvest, going on horseback riding through the vineyards and even making a cut of their own wine.

From Peninsula Valdes to Ushuaia

Lovers of nature and spotting rare species will find the itinerary that goes from Peninsula Valdés to Ushuaia delicious, without a doubt, one of the best driving routes in Argentina! You will need at least one week to travel the spectacular 1900 km that comprise this route.

You will start at the Península Valdés Wildlife Reserve, where you can watch whales, and continue with three equally incredible stops such as the Punta Tombo Provincial Reserve, where you can get along with the penguins, the Ría Deseado Natural Reserve, specialized in dolphins, and the Lanín National Park, perfect for coastal bird watching.

The tour ends in Ushuaia, where you can access both Tierra del Fuego National Park and excursions through the Beagle Channel, where you can see sea lions, cormorants and Magellanic penguins. In some parts of this route you will have to cross by ferry which adds an extra taste to this route.

Questions? Write to Us