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Considering renting a car in Mendoza - safe for American?

Considering renting a car in Mendoza - safe for American?

Old Oct 11, 15, 6:39 pm
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Considering renting a car in Mendoza - safe for American?

I've had great luck with Miguel Sanz and Trout & Wine tours on previous trips, but I want to explore the Uco Valley more deeply.

I'm torn - it's wonderful to be able to sample wines without worrying about driving, but I really like the flexibility of my own car.

Have other Americans rented cars down there? Safe? Easy or difficult?
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Old Oct 12, 15, 10:21 am
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Yes it is fine. Easy. Send the companies some emails before to be sure you have a reservation, though 1-3 days in advance should be enough. My only usual comment is the night driving on longer distance trips can be a little challenging. For local trips to Uco Valley it is less of a concern.

A few months ago there was a similar question, so I will not repeat all the same thoughts:
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/argen...car-april.html

Originally Posted by BostonGuy View Post
I've had great luck with Miguel Sanz and Trout & Wine tours on previous trips, but I want to explore the Uco Valley more deeply.

I'm torn - it's wonderful to be able to sample wines without worrying about driving, but I really like the flexibility of my own car.

Have other Americans rented cars down there? Safe? Easy or difficult?
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Old Oct 12, 15, 2:40 pm
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I would be careful about driving after having lots of wine, no matter my nationality
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Old Oct 14, 15, 6:50 pm
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Originally Posted by Marambio View Post
I would be careful about driving after having lots of wine, no matter my nationality
Agreed.

Also have to wonder if things that are unsafe (or safe) for "Americans" are not so for other nationalities....? I know "Americans" are special, but are they "more special" than others....???

Im confused....
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Old Oct 15, 15, 12:03 am
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Only special in the sense that my Spanish sucks! Poor phrasing, I apologize.

Foreign tourists are helpfully warned about the hot dog trick, motorcycle bandits, etc, when walking in B.A.

Are there similar or parallel problems for foreign tourists to consider when driving in Mendoza?
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Old Oct 15, 15, 5:41 am
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Originally Posted by Gaucho100K View Post
Agreed.

Also have to wonder if things that are unsafe (or safe) for "Americans" are not so for other nationalities....? I know "Americans" are special, but are they "more special" than others....???

Im confused....
Only the "North American" Americans. And perhaps a few Canadians.

Probably the biggest problem for "Americans" is lack of good signage.
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Old Oct 15, 15, 11:28 am
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Originally Posted by BostonGuy View Post
Only special in the sense that my Spanish sucks! Poor phrasing, I apologize.

Foreign tourists are helpfully warned about the hot dog trick, motorcycle bandits, etc, when walking in B.A.

Are there similar or parallel problems for foreign tourists to consider when driving in Mendoza?
I don't see you having any problem. Just go easy on the booze especially if you happen to be driving during the holiday period here as that seems to be when they clamp down on drink driving most. Despite what you read or hear you won't be stopped by the police every ten kilometres and forced to hand over a bundle of pesos for some imaginary offence.
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Old Oct 15, 15, 12:33 pm
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I would be very careful with drinking and driving as alcohol breath tests are quite common throughout the country (limit is 0.5 grams of alcohol per litre of blood). Other than that, I would bring along a GPS device or rent one with the car.

Traffic is more hectic than in the USA but as long as you play by the rules you should be fine. Whenever I rent a car (anywhere in the world) I go for the full insurance coverage because it makes me less nervous about the whole thing, but that's up to you.

Police pull-overs are uncommon, but if they happen to stop you they will ask for your driver's license, insurance card and the "green card" (tarjeta verde), which is the vehicle owner's card. The rent a car agency will give you those at the pick up point.
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Old Oct 15, 15, 12:50 pm
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I'd also be wary of driving at night in more rural areas, especially if you're alone and trying to navigate via GPS.
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Old Oct 15, 15, 10:02 pm
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I just remembered two things I always tell friends from abroad who want to drive here:

1) Lights (dipped beams) must be on 24/7. Forget it and expect a hefty fine.

2) Remember that outside cities and major roads (in the case of Mendoza, RN7 which goes from Buenos Aires to Chile) mobile phone coverage is very limited.
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Old Oct 17, 15, 6:22 pm
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Marambio, how is cell phone coverage in Uco Valley?
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Old Oct 18, 15, 2:43 pm
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Originally Posted by BostonGuy View Post
Marambio, how is cell phone coverage in Uco Valley?
Depends on where you are staying, I guess. Maybe Gaucho100K knows best.

At The Vines of Mendoza we had superb signal. I mentioned it to one of the managers and he said it's because they bought their own antenna a few years ago as there was no coverage at the time in the area. In TunuyŠn and the highway from Mendoza as far as I remember we had OK signal. I can't comment on other places.

I was there in January and only had a 3G phone at the time, so I don't know about 4G.
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Old Oct 18, 15, 3:15 pm
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"I would be very careful with drinking and driving as alcohol breath tests are quite common throughout the country (limit is 0.5 grams of alcohol per litre of blood). "


I think you're missing a 0 .... at 0.5 you wouldn't be driving, you may well be dead.

Assume you meant 0.05. As long as you don't drink more than 1 standard drink (small glass of wine), and don't drink on an empty stomach, you will stay under that limit.
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Old Oct 19, 15, 8:16 am
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When I first rented a car, it took me a bit to translate the word for franquicia. In North America, I would call this the insurance deductible. When the agent translated they used some other english word that still did not help me to understand. As suggested above, I go for the maximum coverage with the lowest deductible. There was one company in Mendoza who did not offer full insurance, though sorry I do not recall which.

The police stops which are common, are not pullovers. They are standard checks at the entrance or exit of many towns. Perhaps sometimes there is no one working, still do not be surprised, for example driving south from mdz to San Rafael, that you are asked for your license and tarjeta verde (as mentioned above) at least once. Often they just wave you through, but they are used first to check your seatbelt and headlights on, and then perhaps to check docs. Secondly, there are the vegetable checks where you will have to open the trunk for a quick look; no fruits or vegetables allowed to cross some provinces. Sometimes the police will be here. It's all normal, not random, and nothing to be concerned about.
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Old Oct 19, 15, 4:31 pm
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Originally Posted by carride View Post
Often they just wave you through, but they are used first to check your seatbelt and headlights on, and then perhaps to check docs. Secondly, there are the vegetable checks where you will have to open the trunk for a quick look; no fruits or vegetables allowed to cross some provinces. Sometimes the police will be here. It's all normal, not random, and nothing to be concerned about.
First I've heard carrying fruit and vegetables between provinces wasn't allowed. Didn't know wearing seat belts was compulsory either.
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