Hiring a Car in Latin America
Although not recommended for every country, Latin America has a number of areas that are ideal for exploring with a hire car. With wide open roads, little traffic and dramatic scenery, Chile and Argentina are stand-out favourites. Salta in north-west Argentina has wonderful routes through multicoloured canyons, salt lakes and tiny Andean villages, while further south the stunning Seven Lakes road north of Bariloche showcases the mountains, forests and volcanoes of the picturesque Lake District. Across the border in Chile, the highlight is without doubt the Carretera Austral, a remote road that winds its way through wild and unspoilt landscapes; virgin forests, aquamarine lakes and immense river valleys before petering out as it meets the impassable barrier of the southern ice field. In the far south where roads re-emerge, hiring a car is an ideal way to explore Chile's world famous Torres del Paine as well as the glaciers of Calafate and Mount Fitzroy just across the border.
In Central America, Costa Rica has good roads, albeit pot-holed in parts, and offers exciting routes up into the cloud forests and volcanoes of the highlands. Inexpensive drop-off fees also make it viable to finish your trip relaxing on a beach on the Nicoya Peninsula before flying home. In Mexico the colonial heartland region, just three hours from Mexico City, is a beautiful and fascinating part to explore, while Mérida and the beaches of the Yucatan Peninsula are within easy reach of each other by car.
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Here are some sample itineraries that feature hiring a car:
- Argentina - Salta, Iberá, Misiones and Iguassu
View details. This itinerary visits Buenos Aires, Salta, the Iberá marshlands, Misiones and the Iguassu Falls.
- Chile/Argentina - Driving the Carretera Austral
View details. This itinerary visits Puerto Montt, cruise on Evangelistas ferry, Puerto Natales, Calafate, El Chalten, Chiloe.
- Mexico Self-drive: Oaxaca, Mérida, Chichén-Itzá, Isla Holbox and the Riviera Maya
View details. This itinerary visits Mexico City, Oaxaca, Mérida, Chichén-Itzá, Isla Holbox, Riviera Maya.
- Self Drive: Poás, the Caribbean and Pacific coasts
View details. This itinerary visits San José and the Central Valley, Caribbean coast, Central highlands, Nicoya Peninsula.