Car Rental in Argentina
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Why rent a car in Argentina?
The 8th largest country in the world by land area has a geography that is just begging to be explored. While visiting the cultural hubs of Buenos Aires, Cordoba and Mendoza is certainly worthwhile, it would be a shame to travel to Argentina and not take in its stunning landscapes. With more than 4,000km (or more than 2,500 miles) between the northern corner of the country and the southernmost reaches of it (a drive that would take more than 50 hours), there is a plethora to see if you have a rental car.
Top ways to enter Argentina
Any information you may find indicating that Australian, Canadian, and American citizens must pay a reciprocity fee to enter Argentina for the purposes of tourism is outdated. As of July 2019, this fee has been suspended for all of the listed nationalities.
Ezeiza International Airport - The main international airport of both Buenos Aires and Argentina is located southwest of the center of the city in the suburb of Ezeiza. It is the busiest airport in Argentina and handles most of the international flights to and from the country. Rental cars are readily available from all major international rental companies making it the perfect place to begin and end a road trip through the country.
Areoparque Jorge Newbery - If arriving from abroad and your final destination is a city other than Buenos Aires, you are likely to have to make your way to this airport which is the main domestic airport of Buenos Aires. Keep in mind that journey through the city usually takes about an hour but can take even longer if traffic is particularly bad. If you happen to fly to the airport from another city in Argentina and would like to rent a car for your stay in Buenos Aires, major rental companies can be found at the airport.
Cataratas del Iguazú International Airport - This airport is located near the town of Puerto Iguazú, in the province of Misiones. It serves as the gateway to the stunning Iguazu Falls, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Ingeniero Aeronáutico Ambrosio L.V. Taravella International Airport - This airport is located in the city of Cordoba, in central Argentina. It serves as an important hub for domestic flights within Argentina and some international flights to neighboring countries.
If your trip is focused on the Patagonia region of Argentina, it would make more sense to fly into one of the following airports. Most will connect via Buenos Aires if flying in from abroad.
San Carlos de Bariloche Airport - This airport is located in the province of Río Negro, in the northern part of Patagonia. It is one of the busiest airports in Patagonia.
El Calafate International Airport - This airport is located in the province of Santa Cruz, in the southern part of Patagonia. It serves as the gateway to the famous Perito Moreno Glacier.
The Ushuaia-Malvinas Argentinas International Airport - Located in the province of Tierra del Fuego, in southern Patagonia, this is the southernmost international airport in the world and serves as the gateway to the city of Ushuaia, which is known as the "End of the World" due to its location at the southern tip of South America.
Those already in South America may enter Argentina by bus. Given that it is virtually impossible to bring a rental car into Argentina from anywhere other than Chile (and even then, the necessary paperwork is expensive), buses are a good way to get to the country. Mendoza is the natural entry point when coming from Santiago in Chile. Puerto Iguazu is a great starting point if coming from Brazil. Finally, if coming from Bolivia, starting in the stunning provinces of Salta and Jujuy is a great idea. Rental cars can be picked up in the first major city upon entering the country.
If coming from Uruguay, ferries from the charming town of Colonia are the most popular way to get to Argentina. The ferries leave frequently throughout the day and arrive in Buenos Aires in just a couple of hours. If this is how you plan to arrive, then you can pick up a rental car at the downtown locations of either Sixt or Alamo. Though they aren’t at one of the ports, they are within easy reach wby taxi. For example, the Buquebus ferry terminal is just two kilometers from these rental companies’ locations
Top cities and places to visit
- Buenos Aires - The capital of Argentina is famous across the world for its culture and tumultuous history. Tourists flock to the metropolis for its architecture, art scene, theaters, and nightlife. When it comes to dining, Argentinian steakhouses are popular across the world, but best in the city in which they originated. Plan to eat dinner late, though. Many places might not even be open at times when you’re used to eating. It is not uncommon to eat dinner at midnight in Buenos Aires! And if you wind up in a bar or club and think it must be lame because no one is there, wait around. Portenos, as the locals are known, don’t start partying until late — really late. It’s typical to start with drinks with friends around midnight, and clubs don’t usually get going until the early morning hours, with everything winding down well after sunrise.
- Iguazu Falls - Located on the border with Brazil and near the triple border that also includes Paraguay, Iguazu Falls is one of the most visited attractions in South America. The town near the Argentine side of the falls is called Puerto Iguazu, which is a great place to spend the night. The Argentine and Brazilian sides of the falls differ, and it is worth visiting both sides. On the Argentine side, you get to see them closer up, including being right on top of them. On the Brazilian side, you get to see them in all their glory from farther away. Allow more time on the Argentine side as the many trails can take time to walk. Though it is possible to take a car from Argentina to Brazil with some rental companies, the steep fees for such make it unadvisable unless you plan to go further into Brazil. For just visiting Iguazu Falls, it would be best to cross the border with a bus, taxi, or on a tour.
- The Eastern Coast - Though the western part of southern Argentina is often tourists’ focus due to the stunning scenery of the Andes Mountains, the eastern coast of the country is also worth a drive. Ruta Nacional 3 is the primary road along the coast and there are smaller, unpaved roads that often pas right by the ocean. Expect to see all sorts of wildlife including penguins, whales, and ostriches. Make sure not to miss the Valdes Peninsula.
- Aconcagua - The tallest mountain outside of Asia is 6,961 meters( 22,937 feet) high and is one of the Seven Summits. Though it is not a technical mountain, for the most part, it still deserves all of the respect a mountain of its height should get. Acclimatization is crucial for a mountain of these heights.
- Ibera National Park - A decades-long effort by conservationists Kristine and Douglas Tompkins came to fruition in the declaration of this national park in December 2018. The wetlands it protects is one of the most biologically diverse areas of the country. It is now being developed for nature-tourism where visitors can spot wildlife and enjoy the landscapes of the park.
- Northwestern Argentina - The provinces of Jujuy and Salta in between Chile and Bolivia provide stunning landscapes to the adventurous traveler. Though they may seem close to Buenos Aires on a map, Salta, for example, is 1,500km (930 miles) from the capital. This is a lesson in the vastness of the country. If you want to travel a little bit without your rental car, head to San Antonio de los Cobres and take the Train to the Clouds to the Plovorilla Viaduct. Stunning canyons and mountain vistas can be found all over these provinces. You could spend a week in just this part of the country.
- Mendoza - Located in western Argentina, Mendoza is known for producing some of the best wines in South America. There, you can go on wine tours and enjoy tastings, as well as enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking.
- Patagonia - The region that brings the most tourists to Argentina is the southernmost part of South America which is shared with Chile. It contains the southern reaches of the Andes and Tierra del Fuego, the closest land to Antarctica. The region has long been famous for its natural wonders. While it used to only be popular with those seeking to spend significant time in the wilderness, nowadays, it caters to tourists of all types. Highlights include skiing, lakes, and some of the best national parks in the world. Some of the most beautiful places to visit in Patagonia include Bariloche, El Calafate, El Chalten, and Ushuaia Note that to reach Tierra del Fuego, you must pass through Chile. See the Crossing Borders section for more information.
Driver's license requirements
- Argentina recognizes foreign driver’s licenses if they are in a Latin alphabet. However, some rental car suppliers require you to have an International Driving Permit (IDP). Make sure to check the driver’s license requirements of the rental car supplier before booking the vehicle.
- If your driver’s license is in another alphabet (e.g., Cyrillic or Arabic), you need to have an International Driving Permit (IDP) to drive in Argentina.
- Even if you have an IDP, you still need to also provide your valid driver’s license from your country
- You must carry your driver’s license, not a copy, with you at all times.
- You need to have had your driver’s license for at least two years. The required experience might be three years for some types of vehicles like 4x4s.
- Some rental car suppliers charge a young driver fee for drivers between the ages of 22 and 25 and a senior driver fee for drivers over the age of 65.
- There may be additional requirements depending on the car supplier and category, so make sure to check the rental conditions before booking.
In general, rentals can be taken from Argentina to Chile, though they must be returned to Argentina. Avis and Budget allow renters to also take cars to Brazil while Enterprise, Alamo, and Europcar allow renters to also take cars to Brazil and Uruguay.
With all of the companies that allow travel to Chile, you must purchase additional insurance and pay a fee ($80 plus taxes and airport fees with Enterprise and Alamo, for example). The process of obtaining permission differs between companies.
Budget, Avis, and Sixt require 10-day advance notice which can be done before the rental begins in most cases. Alamo and Enterprise do not allow renters to apply for permission in advance. Instead, they must visit a non-airport rental branch, apply for permission, and then wait 48 hours to pick it up.
There are restrictions on which types of cars can be taken across the border in southern Argentina. Economy and compact cars are not allowed across the border if rented from El Calafate or anywhere south of it. This is due to the mountain passes that are needed to ascend and descend to get to the border.
The usual method of avoiding the hassle and fees is to book separate rental cars in each country. This is a perfect strategy if you are planning to travel to the northern part of the country. For example, you can drop off one rental car in Santiago, take a bus to Mendoza, and then pick up another car.
For travel in Patagonia, though, you may want to be able to cross the border in the rental car. For example, it is impossible to reach the Argentine part of Tierra del Fuego by road from mainland Argentina without crossing into Chile. And if nearby, you certainly don’t want to miss Torres del Paine National Park in Chile.
Chile is very isolated due to having the Pacific Ocean on one side and the Andean Mountains on the other. This restricts the movement of certain agricultural pests. To keep these pests from infecting Chilean crops and forests, there is a strict quarantine as part of the customs procedure. This means that you must declare any fruits, vegetables, firewood, honey, meat, and so forth upon entering the country. If you fail to declare these goods and are caught with them, expect steep fines.
One-way rentals are usually possible with advanced notice and an extra fee. However, one-way rentals to or from Ushuaia are not possible.
If you plan to drive in Argentina, you must be prepared to stop to pay tolls. There are many, many toll roads in the country. Though there is an electronic tag available to pay tolls with, rental cars do not come equipped with it nor is it possible to get one for a rental car. While this means you don’t have to worry about the fees associated with these, you will have the inconvenience of having to stop to pay tolls (and don’t worry, there are always physical booths). Be sure to keep plenty of change and small bills, as credit cards are usually not accepted.
Top driving routes
Some of the most scenic roads in the country are unpaved gravel roads which are well-maintained (though many may be unpassable during periods of heavy rain). Note that traveling on these roads usually does not require a four-wheel-drive vehicle, but rental companies may forbid it or tell you that any insurance coverage is void if you use one of these roads without a 4x4 vehicle.
- Ruta 40 - Traversing the western side of the country from the border with Bolivia in the north to near Rio Gallegos in the south, Ruta 40 is one of the longest roads in the world - and one of the greatest drives, too. Though most of it is paved, there are some sections you should be wary of if you don’t rent a four-wheel-drive vehicle. You may choose to take a detour along Highways 51 and 68 to avoid the unpaved section of Ruta 40 that passes over Abra del Acay at 4,972 meters. Only high-clearance 4x4 vehicles are suitable for that section of the road. Parts of the road in the province of Santa Cruz in Patagonia are also unpaved. One section can be avoided using provincial routes 5 and 7 which also allows access to the Torres del Paine region without having to drive on gravel. It is also possible to use provincial route 5 to reach Rio Gallegos avoiding the southern unpaved part.
- The Road of Seven Lakes - This scenic road is located north of Bariloche and is its name suggests, passes beautiful alpine lakes. Though most say the road begins in Villa La Angostura, the road to the village from Bariloche is no less stunning as it hugs the shore of Lago Nahuel Huapi. Between Angostura and San Martin de Los Andes, the road snakes along passing through two national parks. Though the route is only 107km (67 miles) long, you could spend the better part of a day making your way leisurely enjoying the lakes, waterfalls, and hiking opportunities.
- The Road of 365 Curves - Some confuse this to be the road that leads to Santiago from Argentina passing near Aconcagua along the way. The title actually refers to the provincial route 52 traveling from Mendoza to Uspallata. The road is paved all the way to the Hotel Villavicencio. The area around the hotel is now a nature reserve that charges a small entrance fee and has trails that you can venture on. From there, you can go back the way you came or take the windy road to the other side of the ridge if you have a suitable vehicle.
- The Wine Route - Argentina is known for its wine regions, and a road trip through the wine country is a must for wine enthusiasts. The drive from Mendoza to Cafayate passes through several wineries and offers stunning views of the Andes Mountains along the way.
Car Rental Prices
- Large cars - from $47 per day
- Medium cars - from $42 per day
- Vans - from $97 per day
- Premium cars - from $73 per day
- Small cars - from $45 per day
- SUVs - from $88 per day
Top 14 Most Popular Cities in Argentina
Car Rental in Mendoza from $51.21 per day
Car Rental in Buenos Aires from $45.23 per day
Car Rental in Salta from $54.47 per day
Car Rental in El Calafate from $73.69 per day
Car Rental in San Carlos de Bariloche from $56.79 per day
Car Rental in Ushuaia from $51.48 per day
Car Rental in Trelew from $63.55 per day
Car Rental in Puerto Iguazú from $101.86 per day
Car Rental in Cordoba from $42.75 per day
Car Rental in Bariloche from $86.24 per day
Car Rental in San Miguel de Tucumán from $70.17 per day
Car Rental in Santa Fe from $85.17 per day
Car Rental in Santiago del Estero from $101.86 per day
Top 8 Most Popular Locations in Argentina
Car Rental at Mendoza Airport from $56.79 per day
Car Rental at El Calafate Airport from $73.69 per day
Car Rental at San Carlos de Bariloche Airport from $56.79 per day
Car Rental at Buenos Aires Airport Ezeiza from $52.02 per day
Car Rental at Trelew Airport from $63.55 per day
Car Rental at Puerto Iguazú Airport from $101.86 per day
Car Rental at Cordoba Airport from $52.39 per day
Car Rental in Santa Fe (Downtown) from $85.17 per day
Map of Car Rental Locations
What is the cheapest month to rent a car in Argentina?
This information can help you identify the low season. But these are only average numbers. How much your car rental will cost will depend on the type of vehicle you rent, how long you’ll rent it for, and how far ahead you book. Simply enter your dates in the form at the top of the page to see the exact prices.
What’s the average rental length in Argentina?
What's the most popular month to rent a car in Argentina?
Car Rental Information
|Car rental locations||81|
|Popular suppliers||Rentacar, Hertz, Flexways, SIXT, Europcar|
|Popular car categories||Large cars, Medium cars, Small cars, SUVs|
|Lowest price||$42 per day|
Most Popular Car Models of Rental Suppliers
|Hertz||Chevrolet Onix||4||3||Small cars|
|Hertz||Nissan March||4||1||Small cars|
|Rentacar||Toyota Etios||5||2||Medium cars|
|Rentacar||Toyota Etios||5||1||Medium cars|
|Hertz||Chevrolet Cobalt||4||2||Large cars|
|Rentacar||Nissan March||5||1||Medium cars|
|Rentacar||Dacia Sandero||5||2||Medium cars|
|Rentacar||Chevrolet Onix||5||1||Medium cars|
|Rentacar||Chevrolet Prisma||4||2||Large cars|
Our Customers' Reviews
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