Break away from the crowds and unleash your sense of adventure with the freedom of your own transportation. Discover secluded beauty spots, stop for local bites at village cantinas far from the tourist trail, and take your time meandering through winding canyons or beside crystalline fjords: a hire car will give you unrivalled access to corners of Latin America other visitors seldom reach.
These holidays suit those of an independent spirit, who like to travel at their own pace, getting beneath the skin of a destination by exploring it in depth. Meanwhile the reassurance of our expert planning, reservations at carefully-selected hotels, and our support whenever you need it, means that all this will be underpinned by sound organisation and insider knowledge at every step of the journey.
Chile is so long and has so much to offer that most travellers’ itineraries resemble a whistle-stop tour, hopping by air between the country’s incredible extremes within a matter of days. But driving in Chile offers the chance to slow down and really get to know the country. The Lake District alone has so many distractingly beautiful circuits you could spend an entire holiday there. The leafy roads of Chile’s wine country lead to country towns, boutique lodges and renowned vineyards which welcome visitors. For an off the beaten track experience, Patagonia’s Austral Road slices through virgin wilderness straight out of your imagination.
We organise your car hire and accommodation but self-driving in Chile becomes your own adventure the moment you get on the road: pause for as many pictures as you like, stop for a soak in thermal springs or a walk in a monkey puzzle forest – and arrive at your lodgings when it suits you.
We’re not suggesting you try driving across a country eleven times the size of Great Britain. Instead we fly you across Argentina’s immense territory leaving you free to explore the best bits behind the wheel.
For a self-drive holiday in Argentina with an Andean flavour, it’s hard to imagine a better setting than the north-western provinces of Salta and Jujuy. In the Humahuaca Gorge, close to exotic Bolivia, you might stumble upon a pre-Inca fortress or a colourful village festival. Meanwhile, the rugged Calchaquíes Valleys introduce colonial villages with dazzling white churches, and russet canyons with cartoon-size cacti and splashes of intense green. It feels remote and there are few paved roads up here, further enhancing your adventure with a pioneering spirit. But vineyards, the promise of delicious regional cuisine and comfy, tasteful lodgings are a reminder that the distinctly civilised pleasures of travelling in Argentina are not far away.
Mexico is one of the easiest and most rewarding places in Latin America to drive, with good, well-paved roads and clear signposting. However, the bustling capital is a daunting place to begin, so we arrange for a local guide to drive you until you’re comfortably out of Mexico City. Once you’ve got your bearings and a decent map (provided), you’re free to explore the beautiful, colonial silver mining towns of Michoacán, one of Mexico’s most authentic, undiscovered states. Visit the atmospheric markets and Lake Janitzio, the epicentre of Mexico’s Day of the Dead celebrations, in Pátzcuaro, en route to Morelia’s magnificent cathedrals and Guanajuato’s beautiful pastel streets.
By contrast you could pick up your car in Cancún and take your time heading south via the ruins at Tulum, stopping to cool off in the turquoise ocean or one of the distinctive cenotes (freshwater sinkholes sacred to the ancient Maya) that pepper the peninsula. Driving is the perfect way to get off the beaten track and explore the less-visited Mayan sites of the Yucatán as well as discovering untouched stretches of Caribbean coastline.
Although Cuba has main roads that link its cities, the locals make no distinction between how they use them and the dirt tracks of more rural areas, so don’t be surprised to find yourself slowing down for an ox cart! With a bit of patience and a well-developed sense of adventure there can be few more rewarding experiences than a self-drive trip in Cuba.
As Cuba is the largest island in the Caribbean you may need to restrict yourself to one region depending on time, but you can quite comfortably head out west to see the mogotes (limestone outcrops) of Viñales set amongst lush, green tobacco plantations followed by a few days in colonial Trinidad de Cuba. You needn’t pick up your car on arrival, as first you’ll probably want to explore the sights and sounds of one of the world’s most vibrant and evocative cities, Havana.
Why don’t we offer self-drive holidays elsewhere?
We take the greatest pride and care in ensuring that every holiday we offer is up to our high standards, and we insist on giving everything a try ourselves before recommending it to our clients. Unfortunately when it comes to driving conditions and road safety we feel that some areas of Latin America cannot meet the standards we expect – and until we are fully confident that they do, we will not offer them as self-drive destinations.