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Self-drive Argentina: Highlights of the hidden northwest

Insurance and documents

Travel insurance is essential.
Details of our recommended policy can be found on our Travel Insurance page.
Car insurance:

Argentina (your trip is based on a compact or medium category 2WD vehicle): Limited collision damage waiver and vehicle theft protection (CDW/TP) cover is included. There may be an excess payable but additional CDW/TP cover with zero excess can usually be purchased at additional cost (not available in El Calafate). If you upgrade to a 4WD rental there is always an excess and this cannot be reduced to zero. Please check the level of your coverage with us when making your booking. We strongly recommend you consider buying your own car hire excess waiver insurance policy before you travel: these are widely available from insurance companies in the UK.
All incidents involving collision, robbery and theft must be reported to the police and a report obtained.

An international driving licence is required for Argentina.

From 8 June 2015 new regulations will apply concerning the paper counterpart of UK driving licences. This may affect what is required by the rental company when you collect your car.

You will need to return the car to the specified office at the end of the rental period. If you are leaving on a morning flight we advise you to do this the day before you depart.


4 domestic flights (longest 2hrs); self-drive in the northwest.


This holiday offers economical mid-range accommodation in the cities and small towns of the northwest. The good quality hotel close to Iguazú Falls overlooks the river and tropical jungle. The riding lodge near Córdoba is an intimate, homely ranch which offers the chance to take walks and relax in addition to go horse-riding.


Breakfast daily; dinner day 11; full board days 12, 13.


We carefully select our local partners, some of whom we have worked with for over 25 years. Their English-speaking guides understand the expectations of our clients very well, and are consistently singled out for praise by the latter on their return.

Included excursions

• Guided walking tour along the Avenida de Mayo.
• Guided visit to the Argentine side of Iguazú Falls.
• Guided visit to the Brazilian side of Iguazú Falls.

Summary of nights

16 days, 15 nights: Buenos Aires 2; Iguazú 2; Salta 1; Molinos 1; Cafayate 1; Purmamarca 2; Salta 1; Córdoba 3; Buenos Aires 2.

Included in the journey price

• Services of our team of experts in our London office.
• Services of Journey Latin America local representatives and guides.
• All land and air transport within Latin America.
• Vehicle hire with limited insurance as specified.
• Excursions as specified, including entrance fees.
• Accommodation as specified.
• Meals as specified.
• Excursions as specified, including entrance fees.

Not included in the journey price

• International flights to Latin America.
• Tips and gratuities.
• Meals other than specified.
• Airport taxes, when not included in the ticket.
• Optional excursions.


The unit of currency in Argentina is the Argentine peso.


It is very difficult to give a guideline for essential expenses but a budget of around US$50-70 per day should cover the cost of meals not included in the holiday itinerary, drinks and the odd souvenir. Eat at the best restaurants in cities and you will pay considerably more. In addition, you should budget a total of US$100 to cover the cost of fuel.

How to take it

Cash machines are available in all major cities and towns, and so taking a debit or credit card with a PIN number is the most convenient way of withdrawing money while on your trip, and in most shops and restaurants you can also pay by card. However, since cards can get lost, damaged, withheld or blocked, you should not rely exclusively on a card to access funds.

We recommend that additionally you take a reasonable quantity of US dollars cash (no more than is covered by your insurance), which you can exchange into local currency. Dollar bills should be in good condition, soiled or torn bills may be refused. You can take sterling, but the exchange rate is not always competitive or even available, restricting the number of places where you can change money.


Tips are expected and local guides often rely on their tip as a significant proportion of their income.

Most service industry workers will expect a tip of some kind and so it is useful to have spare change for hotel porters, taxi drivers and the like. It is common to leave 10 - 12% in restaurants.

Airport taxes

If you have purchased your flights through Journey Latin America, the international departure tax is usually included in the ticket.

Journey grade

Just under half this holiday is self-drive and will suit independent-minded clients seeking the freedom to explore without the support of local guides and drivers but with the security of pre-booked accommodation. You should be confident to navigate along roads outside the UK, driving on the right. Some Spanish as well as mechanical knowledge, for example the ability to change a tyre is highly recommended. We advise you to let us know if you have a strong preference for automatic or manual transmission as vehicles supplied can vary. GPS equipment is not normally available but you will receive basic written directions and we will send you our Rules of the Road document with helpful tips specific to driving in Argentina.

There’s about 1000km of driving - 850km on paved highway, the rest on ripio (gravel) roads. A 2-wheel drive vehicle is sufficient to complete the route but a 4x4 will be more comfortable (and is recommended) if you’re going during the rainier months of January and February when the gravel stretches of the Calchaquies Valleys can become more challenging. Please speak to us if you wish to upgrade to a 4WD In all the summer months, December to March, when the weather is extremely hot and humid, and you might bear this in mind if travelling with small children or elderly persons.

Petrol is easy to come by in Salta and Cafayate – elsewhere be sure to keep an eye on your fuel tank and fill up where possible as you won’t find any service stations in the countryside.

You don’t have to be an experienced rider to enjoy the ranch near Córdoba; beginners and non-riders are welcome. If you have a disability or other special requirements, please call us.


In Buenos Aires, October to November and March to April see temperatures between 15 and 25°C and a good deal of sunshine. January to February is hot, with temperatures over 30°C.

In sub-tropical Iguazú December to March are the hottest and most humid months, with temperatures sometimes reaching 40°C, and rain which falls in heavy showers. From June to September, temperatures are more moderate (18-23°C) and there is plenty of sunshine, but cold fronts can usher in periods of up to several days of cloud and drizzle and distinctly chilly temperatures.

Salta has plenty of sun throughout the year but it can be cool in winter, but it is drier with little rain falling Apr-Oct. Jan-Feb is the wettest period.

In the Córdoba region it can also be stiflingly hot in summer, December to March. Outdoor visits are much more pleasant in the spring and autumn months, with plenty of sun.

Clothing and special equipment

In the southern hemisphere summer (Dec-Mar) it will be hot in both the cities - Buenos Aires and Salta – and the countryside, so take loose-fitting light clothing for maximum comfort. An umbrella offers good protection from tropical showers. You will need sunglasses and head protection. In the shoulder seasons (Apr-May and Oct-Nov) the weather should be similar to a good British summer, while the winter (Jun-Sept) is more like British autumn or spring, so you need clothes appropriate to those climatic conditions.

At the Iguazú Falls you can get very wet from the spray. Some visitors like to take dry clothes in a dry bag.

If you plan to go to good restaurants or out on evening entertainment trips, you might bring something a bit smarter as well (although formal attire will not be required).

Please get in touch with the office before departure if you have any doubts.


Preventative vaccinations are recommended against the following: polio; tetanus; typhoid. For specific requirements you must consult your GP.

You can also find helpful information on the Masta Travel Health website.


Holders of a full British passport do not require a visa, although passports must be valid for at least 6 months after the trip begins. Anyone with a different nationality should enquire with us or check with the relevant consulate.

APIS and ESTA - important flight information:

ESTA - if flying to the US, or via the US you will need to fill in your application to ESTA online.
This costs $14 per person. This must be done by you personally.
Passports must also be machine-readable (MRP). Avoid locking suitcases if transiting the USA, as their customs authorities retain the right to break into them.

APIS - many countries now oblige airlines to provide additional information about passengers prior to the flight departure. This Advance Passenger Information (APIS) must be supplied to us promptly in order to issue tickets and avoid fare increases. We will provide the airlines with the relevant details if we are booking your international flights. If the information is not provided you may be denied boarding.

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Self-drive Argentina: Highlights of the hidden northwest

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Self-drive Argentina: Highlights of the hidden northwest

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The total price above excludes international flights at beginning and end of your trip. To add flights speak to one of our experts on 020 8747 8315.

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