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Argentina – you can’t miss it. With more than 1 million square miles of land, it is the world’s 8th largest country – as well as the 2nd largest country in South America. It is the land of gauchos and horses, polo and soccer, maté and malbec, the tango, and bar-hopping ‘til dawn. As you travel by motorcycle, you will pass by amazing landscapes that include mountains, deserts, and sea coasts. Here are our tips for motorcycle traveling in Argentina.
With such huge dimensions, it is impossible to engage Argentina all in one trip. There are 23 provinces, plus the autonomous City of Buenos Aires. Every region is worthy of an extended stay. It is a much better idea to create an itinerary centered on one activity and region.
You will pass highway signs that display the route number on top and the mile marker below.
For a worry-free vacation in Argentina, take certain precautions. Make a copy of all your official documents before you go and store them in your luggage. Bring your driver’s license from your home country, an international driver’s license, a padron (certificate of ownership) if you are entering the country using your own motorcycle, and proof of insurance. Wear a money belt under your clothes to keep valuables hidden from view. The driver and passenger must both wear helmets at all times. The national legal speed limit on highways is 120 km/hr (75 miles per hour).
Good to Know
If you plan to fly into Argentina and pick up a rental, be aware that the minimum age to rent a bike is 26. Also you will not be able to go outside of the country with the rental without permits and additional fees that must be obtained well in advance. Buenos Aires has a quite a number of rental shops to choose from. Different shops have different inventory and rules so look around. For example, one place is exclusively Harleys with pavement-only tires that are not meant for gravel trails. Depending on your destination, you may want to look for dual sports tires. Rental rates can vary with the time of year – during peak demand months rates will be higher. Argentina is in the southern hemisphere which means December, January, and February are the summer months and full of tourists. To save money, aim for the “shoulder months” of November or April.
A traveler poses with his just-rented bike.
Buenos Aires itself is congested with traffic and not particularly bike-friendly. If you are planning to roam around the city for a few days, use public transportation or rent an electric scooter instead. Petty thieves often pickpocket from tourists, so keep aware of people standing nearby or trying to distract you.
For those in need of new motorcycle boots, Buenos Aires is a great place to shop for leather goods.
If you’re a carnivore, you will be in meat-eating heaven. Of course Argentina is famous for its BBQs, steaks, sausages and chimichurri – a sharp garlic and herbs salsa often served on the side as a meat condiment. Restaurants in Buenos Aires and other major cities can vary in price and formality – there’s even a charge for just sitting down at a table! An alternative is to enter a panaderia (bakery) and order empanadas or sandwiches to go. Take your meal and find a nice park bench to sit down. Don’t forget to sample the excellent artisanal ice cream sold at heladerías. Thank the Italian immigrants who brought their gelato-making skills with them!
It’s well-known that Argentina is one of the world’s great producers of wine. You’ll find most of the vineyards and wineries in the Mendoza region. If your starting point is Buenos Aires, consider breaking up the journey in two days. Take the RN 7 highway and head to the town of San Luis which is 748 km (465 mi) away and stay for the night. Your overnight choices range from B&B’s, boutique hotels, hostels, and hotels with ratings from 1 – 5 stars. From San Luis it is only another 236 km (147 mi) to get to Mendoza. You can visit wineries on your own or join a group tour via a local tour company. During the first few days of March each year there is the “Central Act” ultimate celebration of the grape harvest.
Admire views like this when you visit the Uco Valley near Mendoza.
Cowboys, Cattle and Sheep
Many travelers are enamored with Argentina’s rural gaucho culture. The best way to experience this life is to spend a few days at an estancia (working ranch). If you are time-challenged, you can ride on RN 8 and arrive in San Antonio de Areca easily within two hours. There are several ranches with guest facilities to choose from. Enjoy watching the cowboys and their horses as they nimbly move around herds of cattle or sheep. For a real celebration, head to Córdoba, Argentina’s 2nd largest city and location for the Nacional de La Doma y el Folklore (National Rodeo and Folkloric Music Festival). This event is usually scheduled for the second week of January and runs for 10 evenings.
Encounter the Bizarre
Ruta 40 is Argentina’s longest highway from north to south stretching nearly 3,200 miles along the Andes mountain range. There are numerous towns and sights to recommend via RN 40 but perhaps none quite as bizarre as Ischigualasto Provincial Park, also known as Valle de la Luna (Valley of the Moon). It is a UNESCO World Heritage site. From RN 40 switch onto RN 150 and enjoy a picturesque ride made easier with tunnels and bridges that were completed in 2014. Enter the park and be prepared to gaze in wonder at oddly-shaped formations set against multicolored layers of Earth. Millions of years ago this was a large lake surrounded by lush vegetation. Compare that to the current scenery – it’s mind-blowing!
Laura Knight, Motor Manner | October 25, 2016
Over the past 10 years, Laura Knight has been a motorcycle rider. She has built up an incredible passion for travelling by motorbike and always wishes to contribute to motorcyclist and traveler community. This is the reason why she created MotorManner.com where her passion is turned into useful and interesting information to the motorcyclists and travel lovers.