Driving rental car Santiago - Mendoza & return

May 20th, 2003, 06:19 PM
  #1  
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Driving rental car Santiago - Mendoza & return

We will have a rental car in Chile during our visit. We want to also drive to the Mendoza, Argentina wine country and return. What is best method to insure we have met requirements of all the assorted bureaucracies in the two countries? Can someone recommend a rental agency or travel agency that can handle all the paperwork?
jlm45 is offline  
May 21st, 2003, 12:19 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
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Try Alamo (or possibly Hertz). A lot of firms will not allow you to take a Chilean car into Argentina. However, Alamo let me. I think there was a US$100 charge to get a permit to take the car into Argentina. Getting this involved driving into central Santiago to the main Alamo office after picking the car up from the airport. If you have to do this make sure you get (or are given) a very detailed map as Santiago is a bit of a maze initially.

Also be careful about snow in June and July. The road over the Andes does get heavy snowfall and does close. Normally this is not for long but when I was there it closed for nearly three weeks and in 1998 I understand it closed for over a month. Obviously if you get your Chilean hire car stuck in Argentina and can't get it back into Chile you could end up with a nasty car hire bill and could miss your flights back etc etc...

Also watch out for bad Argentine drivers. You will find Chile pretty stress free to drive in but Argentina is not. They drive stupidly fast, often without headlights at night and seldom stop at red lights. Just don't drive at night if possible and drive defensively. Driving to Mendoza is not that bad as yopu are mainly descending the Andes and then you have a short motorway stretch (about 20 mins to 30 mins).
Punani is offline  
May 22nd, 2003, 06:45 PM
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Dear Punani,

thank you for the info. We will be going in March, so the snow will not be a problem.

Did Alamo provide all the documents you needed to successfully transit the border and return?

jlm45
jlm45 is offline  
May 23rd, 2003, 03:57 AM
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They did everything. However, as I said we picked the car up at Santiago airport and then had to drive to Alamo's head office in Providencia in Santiago in order to collect the permit and sign it.

Alamo gave us a map to get to this office but it was a very bad map. So Alamo did everything except make it easy to get to the head office to pick up the permit.

It would be easier to just take a taxi into Santiago and stay in a hotel on your first night and if possible get Alamo to deliver the car to your hotel along with the documentation or get a taxi direct to the head office in the morning to get your car.

Driving in Santiago is pretty straightforward but navigating your way through Santiago is more difficult particularly on your first day in Chile!
Punani is offline  
May 23rd, 2003, 04:59 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2003
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Also be aware of the need for snow chains.

Alamo did not provide snow chains with the vehicle but Hertz does. You may not need them in March but when I was there in June/July it was law that you had to have a pair in the car. The police pull you over to check. We had to buy some in Santiago which was difficult as it was hard to find a shop selling them.
Punani is offline  
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