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    Explore the Argentine Pampas Behind the Wheel with Auto Europe

    When it comes to geography, South America is full of scenic and natural wonders. From the Amazon Jungle to the Andes Mountains to the fjords of Patagonia, the continent offers a smorgasbord of scenic routes for nature-craGauchos of Argentinaving travelers, especially in Argentina by way of an Auto Europe car rental.

    Located in the continental Southern Cone, Argentina is known for both its famous steaks and diverse terrain. While the country hosts the Andes Mountains not to mention Patagonia with neighboring Chile, it is also home to the pampas, or treeless savannas. Meaning “plains” in the indigenous Quechua language and serving as the nation’s bread bowl, the pampas are fertile lowlands spanning across the southern Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul, all of Uruguay, and large parts of eastern and central Argentina. 

    If you want to feel as if you’re driving through a Latin American safari surrounded by extraordinary vegetation and wildlife, then this road trip planner has your name written all over it. Upon landing in the capital city of Buenos Aires, travelers will have rather fast access to this special ecosystem. After all, the Argentine provinces of Buenos Aires, La Pampa, Santa Fe, Entre Rios and Cordoba comprise the expansive region.

    As far as road trips go, driving through the Argentine pampas would expose travelers to this country’s major agricultural heritage on top of memorable flora and fauna. In this regard, the following travel guide is a compilation of top tourist destinations throughout the area. Not only will it help expose you to the major hubs, but the gorgeous lands found in between every locality.

    Road Trip Drive Distance Driving Time
    Buenos Aires to Rosario 185 miles 3.5 hours
    Rosario to Cordoba 249 miles 4 hours
    Cordoba to Mendoza 425 miles 8 hours
    Mendoza to San Luis 161 miles 3 hours
    San Luis to Rio Cuarto  137 miles 2.5 hour
    Rio Cuarto to Buenos Aires 411 miles 7.5 hours
    Total Distance Covered: 1,568 miles 28h 30m

    1. Arrive to Buenos Aires

    Buenos Aires, ArgentinaMany travelers will begin this road trip in Buenos Aires considering it’s the Argentine capital with international airports. Known as the “Paris of North America,” the city of over 15 million people radiates charm from every cobblestone and tango venue. Throw in a robust cafe culture, architectural wonders, not to mention a lively arts culture, and you have yourself one world-class destination.

    Known as porteños, natives of Buenos Aires have a distinct style of speaking, even compared to the rest of Argentina. While Spanish is the dominant language, there are undeniable Italian influences. So, if you hear unfamiliar words like boludo (buddy) or pibes y pibas (boy and girls) while exploring the eclectic Palermo District or the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, just smile and embrace the new vocabulary.

    Believe it or not, but tango originated on the streets of Buenos Aires in the 18th century among the influx of European immigrants, as well as former slaves, laborers, and people of lower-economic standing. At one point in time, the Catholic Church even banned tango due to its appeal among “immoral” people, followed by censorship and other forms of control. Fortunately, things have simmered down since then, and tango isn’t as scandalous as it used to be.

    Needless to say, Buenos Aires is an ideal place to start learning this sultry dance. Besides the plethora of night clubs, the city also hosts an impressive amount of open-air markets, such as the one in San Telmo. There is also a range of fascinating museums, like the Museo Evita that pays homage to the famous Peroni leader that Madonna portrayed in a full-length motion picture.

    In terms of the pampas, however, fertile plains surround the Argentine metropolis. Outside of the capital, small towns like Estancia Ibera and San Antonio de Areco offer day tours to those wanting to experience life like a gaucho, or South American cowboy. What you can expect here is plenty of folkloric music, famous Argentine asados (barbecues), horseback riding, plus many more cultural heritage activities.

    Popular Buenos Aires Rental Locations:
    Ezeiza International Airport
    Jorge Newbery Airfield

    Next stop: 3.5 hours

    2. Buenos Aires to Rosario

    Gauchos of ArgentinaLocated on the western banks of the Parana River is Rosario, the third-largest city in Argentina and the largest in the Santa Fe province. Also surrounded by the pampas, here is where tourists can truly appreciate immaculate neoclassical architecture found in both domestic homes and municipal buildings, not to mention some major gaucho culture.

    Generally speaking, Rosario is most famous for being the birthplace of revolutionary Che Guervara, soccer legend Lionel Messi, as well as where the Argentine flag came into existence. Many people hail Rosario as being a more authentic depiction of Argentina due to its gaucho origins.

    Matter of fact, perhaps no better place exists to encounter gaucho culture than around Rosario. With endless horizons and little to obstruct your views, traveling from Buenos Aires to Rosario is where you may encounter gaucho culture, otherwise known as the South American equivalent of the “wild wild west” culture. Adorned in panchos, berets and drinking mate out of gourds with metal straws, these herdsmen have raised cattle in the area for centuries. Thanks to them, countries like Argentina boast some of the best beef in the world.

    For a fun outing on the water, tourists can rent kayaks to roam down the river, or even obtain a bicycle for a little river strolling. Surprisingly enough, there are even some hidden beaches along the River Parana in the northern part of Rosario. Particularly active between October and May, both the Catalunya and La Florida Beaches are useful resources to avoid the stifling summer heat.

    Popular Rosario Rental Locations:
    Islas Malvinas International Airport

    Next stop: 4 hours

    3. Rosario to Cordoba

    Cordoba, Argentina ExteriorAs the second-largest city in Argentina, Cordoba’s claims to fame are its fun-loving people, cuarteto music, rally car racing, Fernet and Coke cocktail, not to mention being the epicenter of the northwestern perimeter of the pampas.

    If the name doesn’t ring a bell, cuarteto music involves mixtures of piano, accordion, bass, as well as violin. Also, if you’re unfamiliar with rally car racing, just imagine monster-like trucks trudging through the rough terrain and potentially crashing in the process.

    In the city, you will also find plenty of art museums and historic Jesuit churches, such as La Iglesia de Capuchinos or the Evita Fine Arts Museum. Nearby is also the village of La Cumbre, meaning the summit, less than two hours from the city. This small community is where the World Paragliding Competition took place in 1994.

    Popular Cordoba Rental Locations:
    Taravella International Airport

    Next stop: 8 hours

    4. Cordoba to Mendoza

    Mendoza, ArgentinaFrom the pampas to the mountains, next on your itinerary should be the mountainous city of Mendoza, situated right along the Andes in Western Argentina. Although it’s a little bit outside of the pampas periphery, the city’s thriving wine industry reinforces the ecosystem’s strong agricultural exports. After all, over half of South America’s wine comes from Mendoza.

    Hands down, one of the most popular activities in this city involves visiting the wineries. Not only are their tastings on the regular but also bike tours. Similarly, horseback riding in the Andes is another option.

    When it comes to day trips, there won’t be any short supply in Mendoza. Just an hour north of the city is the Villavicencio Nature Reserve that’s popular among locals and tourists alike, especially for its many springs. Part of the fun is simply driving around the protected area consisting of 62,000 hectares due to its numerous twists and turns. In turn, a car rental in Argentina would not only be more helpful, but more entertaining.

    Also at this park is where visitors can admire ancient Canota petroglyphs near El Manzano creek on the eastern side of the park. This is where you will encounter anthropomorphic, zoomorphic and geometric engravings dating back between the 4th and 10th centuries. Luckily, these artifacts have been masterfully conserved over the years.

    Popular Mendoza Rental Locations:
    Francisco Gabrielli International Airport

    Next stop: 3 hours

    5. Mendoza to San Luis

    Once you’ve had your fair share of wine and outdoor time in Mendoza, now is the time to venture to San Luis, the capital city of the San Luis Province in Argentina’s Cuyo Province. Geographically, Cuyo belongs to the western portion of the pampas, famous for its wine, rough mountainous terrain, in addition to the highest mountain outside of Asia, Aconcagua near the Ischigualasto Provincial Park. The city itself is set along the northern bank of the Chorrillos River on the Dry Pampas plateau, which is about 730 meters above sea level. One of the most popular activities to do in town is go fishing at Potrero de los Funes Lake as well as paying a visit to the nearby Sierra de las Quijadas National Park.

    Personally, this may be an appropriate time to spend some time outdoors considering there are some impressive mountains to hike and parks to visit. Even better, the nearby Atuel River is a great way to cool off on a warm summer day. If you’re traveling in the winter, though, you won’t want to miss Las Leñas Ski Resort with its soft powdery snow and astounding peaks. 

    Popular San Luis Rental Locations:
    Brigadier Mayor Cesar Raul Ojeda Airport

    Next stop: 3 hours

    6. San Luis to Rio Cuarto

    As you prepare to head back to Buenos Aires after an eventual week of roaming around the Argentine countryside, be sure to visit the commercial center of Rio Cuarto. Also known as “El Imperio” (The Empire), this community is a major trading hub within the country.

    Besides its economic influence, the city also boasts a variety of historical buildings and cultural institutions, such as the Fine Arts Municipal Museum and the General Fotheringham Historical Museum with plenty of archaeological and rural artifacts visible to the public. Others include the Andean Railroad Station and the National Technological Museum.

    On top of this all, the city showcases many gorgeous parks, such as Sarmiento with many gardens and a man-made lake. The local Urban Ecological Park also has 14 hectares of land and home to a spectrum of wildlife, including mountain lions, carpinchos, and ant bears, amongst others.

    Next stop : 7.5 hours

    7. Rio Cuarto to Buenos Aires

    On your way back to Buenos Aires, make sure to visit the Feria de Mataderos to get one last taste of gaucho culture before venturing back home. This is a cultural fair and market taking place every Sunday in the suburban neighborhood of Mataderos. Every week, folk music dominates the local plazas followed by sortija, a traditional gaucho game where contenders race on horseback at full-speed as they attempt to strike a metal spear through a small hoop.

    Eye-opening road trips made easier by Auto Europe20,000 Pickup Locations Worldwide

    All things considered, an Auto Europe car rental will allow you to savor the flavor in each of these Argentine cities during your gaucho cultural tour. Considering that we have 60 years leading the international car rental industry, let us be of assistance to find you the best car rental rates, luxury or economy, incredible hotel accommodations, or international airfare to help you enjoy the perfect vacation abroad. To get the ball rolling, give us a call, toll-free at 1-888-223-5555 to speak to one of our agents who can help you plan the trip of a lifetime.

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