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We are thinking of renting a car from Buenos Aires to drive to Santiago. Has anyone done this and are the roads, towns encounter safe ?

closed as primarily opinion-based by pnuts, Giorgio, mts, David Richerby, JonathanReez Nov 24 '16 at 13:47

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  • The drive itself is ok, with some possible winter driving in the pass (unless it's summer, but in any case road conditions can be checked). The absolute majority of the 1000+ km drive will be on undivided road. For a European driver, expect a lot of variation in vehicle speeds (you start passing a big truck doing 80km/h, to find an incoming car doing 160km/h). The more important issue, though, is that I don't think you'll get a rental company in Buenos Aires that allows you to cross the border. – Martin Argerami Jan 2 '17 at 13:32
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In 2008, my wife and I rented a car in Buenos Aires and drove to Iguaçu (waterfalls) via the national park 'Esteros del Iberá' and back. We found Argentina safe to drive, but this depends on what you are used to.
The traffic is definitely more chaotic than in Northwestern Europe, but IMHO comparable to Southern European countries as Spain, Italy, Portugal and Greece.

Some tips:

  1. Rent a car at a respectable company, best before you leave.
  2. Avoid rush hour in Buenos Aires (and probably other mayor cities). It's a nightmare. We left and returned on a Sunday.
  3. Try to avoid driving at night.
  4. Mayor roads are generally in good to fair condition. However, there are a lot of minor roads that are made of loose gravel, known as (caminos de) ripio. Some of these can be driven by a normal car (but drive carefully!), others only with a 4x4, also depending on the weather. Ask locals.
  5. Don't expect to cover large distances, you won't be able to drive from BA to Santiago in 1 day.
  6. Learn basic Spanish and take a Spanish language guide. Outside tourist locations not everybody speaks English.

As to other non driving related safety issues: Argentina is generally a safe country but I am no expert on this matter.

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