Car Hire at El Calafate Airport
El Calafate Airport is also known as Comandante Armando Tola International Airport. The airbase is 21km outside of Calafate in Argentina.
This information is correct as of September 2015
Where to hire a car at El Calafate Airport
You can rent a car from Hertz and Fiorassi in El Calafate Airport. There isn’t a huge variety of cars to rent, as the airport is quite compact. You can find the car rental offices in the arrivals hall.
Petrol stations close at El Calafate Airport
Depending on your car rental agreement, you may need to hand your car back with a full tank.
The closest gas stations are in the town of El Calafate, approximately 20km away from the airport. To reach the petrol stations, head left when you leave the airport to head towards the RP11, then head left again to head to El Calafate. When you get to the roundabout, take the first exit onto Avenue Jorge Newbery and follow the road into the centre. There are a number of different petrol stations here.
Driving around at El Calafate Airport
El Calafate Airport is on the edge of Argentino Lake, on the border of Argentina and Chile. Some of the roads are paved in this area, some are not, but most 2WDs can handle it. In winter, it may be advisable to get chains on your tires as well, as the ice can worsen road conditions. If you’re driving down to Chile, you may find that you want to hire a more ‘sturdy’ vehicle.
The closest township is El Calafate, as this is a rural area and there aren’t many other settlements.
Popular destinations to drive to from El Calafate Airport
El Calafate is a favourite with travellers about to head into the national parks here. There are a few hotels that are perfect for a few nights R&R.
El Calafate is just 25 minutes from the airport. When you exit the airport, follow the road up to the crossroads for the RP11, and turn left towards Calafate. Take the first exit on the roundabout to get into the centre of the town, and the second exit to get into the south of the town.
Torres del Paine
The Torres del Paine national park is one of South America’s most stunning glacial parks, attracting travellers during the months of October to May every year.
If you want to drive to the National Park, you will have to cross the border from Argentina to Chile, which does require using toll roads. The RN40 takes you south and across the border into the Torres Del Paine National Park.
If you do plan to cross the border, make sure the car rental company knows of your plans. The journey can take up to 8 hours when border control is busy, so plan your journey accordingly. Chilean border control is also very strict on what is bought into the country, and cars will have to be inspected on crossing.
Argentino Lake is a beautiful glacial lake, which you will see as you fly in. There are one or two hotels around the lake, but it’s not overly developed. The RN40 will take you around the Lake.