Reflections on Traveling in Argentina

After we left Quilmes, we drove back to Salta with a stop in Cafayate for lunch and a visit to a craftsman box maker.  When we were near Salta, I looked at my watch and thought about how long it had taken and it reminded me of something I had learned about traveling by road in Argentina. If you are not traveling on one of the "autopistas," which are mostly toll roads, you move lots slower than you expect to. For planning purposes, expect to travel at about 75 kilometers per hour, plus time for any stops. Why so slow? Slow trucks, farm vehicles and other cars in places where passing is not possible. We had to stop for flocks of sheep and goats and, while not on this trip, horses and cows. There are small villages with speed bumps, called lomos de burro, that can really do a number on your car if you ignore them. Roads are narrow and curves are often blind and not designed for speed. That does not stop local drivers from passing regardless of the markings indicating that no passing is allowed. And that is on good paved roads. There are many, particularly in Patagonia, which are gravel roads and while you can do 75 Kilometers per hour, it isn't advisable and you need to be prepared for problems.

Except in Buenos Aires, airports are small and easy to navigate. Do not expect long delays. The was an article in La Nacion this morning that discussed the air travel situation in Argentina. There are numerous airports throughout the country but except for the two in Buenos Aires, they all operate at a loss. There are over 60 in the country but 27 do not receive commercial flights. There are very few intercity flights that do not pass through Buenos Aires.

© Copyright 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, Richard W. Tripp, Jr.