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Argentina is a country in South America. The capital is Buenos Aires. It has borders to Chile, Bolivia, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay. It is the eighth-largest country in the world, so there's lots of distance to cover.
For hitchhikers Argentina can be divided into two parts. The North, which is pretty okay to hitchhike, and the South on which opinions vary a lot: it may be difficult to hitchhike if you get into the lonely dirt roads of the Patagonia, because population is scarce. But if you travel southward to the end of Argentina, rides may be a little bit hard, but they take you a long way along.
Argentina has a reputation for variable to long waiting times. Several hours isn't unusual overall.It seems to be much safer, faster, and informative to ask drivers at roadside stops such as gas stations and truckstops. Standing on the road with a thumb out can last for hours, and is really a last resort. If you want to go far, go with the truckers.
It's considered normal to ask the people working filling tanks at gas stations to ask people for you. If you're a foreigner, do mention it! A Dutch guy mentioned that it seems to be a lot easier to get rides.
Note that hitchhiking is usually much faster when keeping clean and when you mind your personal hygiene. YPF service stations in Argentina oftentimes have very cheap, or even free, shower facilities. A few of them even have low-price laundry services that are an excellent resource for any type of traveller.
Provinces and Cities
Argentina is made up of 22 provinces (provincias) and one autonomous city, Buenos Aires.
- Ciudad de Buenos Aires (Distrito Federal) ⇒ Buenos Aires
- Buenos Aires ⇒ Bahia Blanca — La Plata — Sierra de la Ventana
- Catamarca Province ⇒ Catamarca
- Chaco ⇒ Resistencia
- Chubut ⇒ Puerto Madryn — Trelew — Comodoro Rivadavia — Rawson — Esquel
- Cordoba Province ⇒ Cordoba — Alta Gracia — Carlos Paz — San Marcos Sierras — Villa Maria
- Corrientes Province ⇒ Corrientes
- Entre Rios ⇒ Gualeguay — Gualeguaychu — Victoria — Colon — Larroque
- Formosa Province ⇒ Formosa
- Jujuy Province ⇒ San Salvador de Jujuy
- La Pampa ⇒ Santa Rosa
- La Rioja Province ⇒ La Rioja
- Mendoza ⇒ Mendoza — Uspallata
- Misiones ⇒ Posadas
- Neuquen ⇒ Neuquen — Zapala
- Rio Negro ⇒ Bariloche — Cipolletti — El Bolsón
- Salta ⇒ Salta
- San Juan Province ⇒ San Juan — Barreal — Calingasta — Rodeo — Las Flores — Jachal — Encon
- San Luis ⇒ Quines — San Luis
- Santa Cruz ⇒ El Calafate — El Chaltén — Rio Gallegos — Caleta Olivia — Bajo Caracoles
- Santa Fe Province ⇒ Rosario — Santa Fe
- Santiago del Estero Province ⇒ Santiago del Estero
- Tierra del Fuego ⇒ Ushuaia
- Tucuman ⇒ San Miguel de Tucuman
Even if northern Argentina has recently seen several cases of crime for both the hitchhiker and the driver, it's still easy to hitch there (unlike in Bs As). In 2011 two french female around Salta, Argentina, raped and killed by a local. And personal experiences of Chilean Truck Drivers, being drugged by an old lady he picked up, whom invites him to a Mate Drink. Unfortunately, 900 dollars was robbed. Since these problems are from the last 2 years, local Argentine drivers are scared of picking up people. Travelling by 2 or more is even harder. But once you get rides, it will be one of your most smoothest rides. And people are very friendly. They like to invite you to (not drugged) mate´s and even some of there local foods, like the empanadas.
- Jujuy: Great landscapes and full colored mountains, you might wait up to 2 hours but you can be sure somebody will pick you up.
Don't bother about Gendarmes and checkpoints, I hitched right next to them. A friendly policeman even helped me find a ride at the Juyjuy/Salta border checkpoint -Dr.Keith Take the 34. The 52 takes you across to the Chilean border and is great hitching as it is a major truck route and they are very helpful as a rule.
- Salta: Really easy to hitch here, I got picked up in about 30 minutes. Greener than Jujuy
- Tucumán: Harder than Jujuy or Salta, besides out of all northern provinces is the most dangerous... If you're heading to Bs As TAKE THE 45 PESOS train to retiro, even if their incredibly bad designed website says tickets are sold out arrive a couple of minutes before departure and tell them you must get there. CARRY YOUR OWN FOOD AND DRINKS and prepare for the heat and the really
disgusting toilets hehehe...
- Formosa: People are not used to tourist and will be asking really weird questions, cause they don't understand what are you doing
there.. there's not a lot of traffic in the 81. But I never got stuck anywhere.. Beware of the extreme hot temperatures!!!!
- Misiones: Platschi hitchhiked in a team of two through this area up from Uruguaiana to Iguazu and back and found its inhabitants extremely friendly and willingly to stop for hitchhikers. Except for night time and non-existing traffic at times, waiting times barely exceeded a few minutes. Be aware of the humidity and heat there, though, thus you need to drink a lot of water.
License plates issued between 1995 and 2015 have a black background with a white frame, composed of three white letters and three white numbers with "Argentina" in blue at the top on a white background. As of 2016, the license plates have slightly different dimensions, a little wider and not as high. The plates have black letters on a white background in a "AA 000 AA" format with a blue band at the top that says "República Argentina".
Patagonia has a single very crowded road, which is the Ruta Nacional 3 (RN3) that goes along the coast. It is your better bet when heading South. Although there are often many kilometers in between villages, it is a well travelled road.
There are also some East-West roads, some of them being dirt, some being pavement. It is easy to get a ride on the paved road but dirt roads, however, are much harder because of the lack of vehicles.
The Ruta Nacional 40 (RN40) goes from San Carlos de Bariloche (South) is a road that gets frequently closed off because of the bad weather and is reputed to be hellish to hitch on - fewer cars, unpaved sections and some people have said they have gone days without seeing anyone. Winding, remote mountain roads and bad weather conditions in any season but summer make it less travelled by truckers and therefore is not recommended. Gas stations are generally your best bet, although roadside hitching is possible.
- In my experience, Ruta 40 is a moderate/difficult but possible hitch during tourist season. You'd be insane to try any other time. Your best bet on Route 40 (at least the southern bit) would be Chilean truckers. From Perito Moreno to Punto Gallegos, the Chileans use the Argentine roads for lack of similar infrastructure in their own country. Also Chilean truckers are way nicer than their Argentine counterparts.
For us (father, mother and two kids) hitchhiking in the so-called "Linea Sur" was great. There is indeed a hitch culture in Junin de los Andes, San Martin de los Andes, Bariloche, El Bolson, and Esquel. Local people do it and expect drivers to pick them up. You don't need to look a London City businessman to catch private cars, tourists, workers, farmers, and truck drivers both from Argentina and Chile. Our last pitch was from El Bolson to Rio Villegas, and there to the border at Paso El Leon (a.k.a. Manso Inferior), from where we walked up to Cochamo, Chile.
There are quite some peajes (toll passages). In the South however, these are not so good and you will just be sent away after a while.
One word of advice is that although traffic is much heavier in the north, the routes do cross major cities, and hitchhiking is much more dangerous near urban centers. It is advisable, if possible, to get off at the nearest pueblo and take a bus into cities such as Cordoba, Santa Fe, Rosario, etc. The same can be said for leaving. In the south there are really no big cities, and the highways all have gas stations, and the people are much more helpful. No danger there.
There's a stark difference between Patagonia and everything that's north of it. My waiting times have been between one second and one complete day. Hitchhiking in Patagonia in autumn was quite terrible, especially when headed south. Once I was going north on the Ruta Nacional 3, rides started to come easier. It's still best to find rides on YPF and Petrobras gas stations, to secure rides, but I've also managed to get by with just a thumb and/or sign. Getting out of the bigger cities ranges from easy peasy to complete hell. Argentinians are super friendly - especially in the north - and always offer to share their mate with you. I hitchhiked in all seasons over the course of about 6 months in 2016 and some in 2017. Preparation for the weather is key to how you're going to experience this vast land. - Mind of a Hitchhiker
I find that hitching on the road less traveled means quicker rides with the one or two cars that pass within the hour. YPF gas stations are great. Camped all over without any hassles. Hitching in the north should be done via gas stations. Yeah, it's less interesting, but that's how you're going to get the rides you want. - Chael
Hitchhiking at the Ruta 81 that crosses the entire Formosa Province, is hell. The heat is incredible, and people dont really know why they have to pick you up. Me and Patrick almost got shot from a local farmer, as we tried to get aid on water. A Truck intentionally tried to kill us at night while we walked. But out of that people are just lovely. Formosan chicks are really beautiful. Id recommend getting your rides at YPF gas stations. - fyrexia
A normal map is pretty expensive, but there is a road map containing many countries of South America for something like 10 pesos. Map24 (in Portuguese) has information about the whole of South America.