Getting around Buenos Aires


Air travel
American, Continental, Delta and United Airlines are the U.S. carriers that fly to Buenos Aires. The international airport of Buenos Aires, Internacionale Ministro Pistarini, goes by the name Ezeiza (EZE), and is located twenty-one miles southwest of the city. Information desks are located in Terminal A and B of the airport. Depending on the time of day, it takes about forty-five minutes to get from Ezeiza into town. Domestic carriers fly to other Argentina destinations from Ezeiza as well as from the city's other airport, Jorge Newbery (AEP), usually referred to as Aeroparque.

To and from the airport
Cabs to and from the airport are inexpensive by American standards. There is a taxi stand in the airport that posts its prices, including tolls. Alternatively, there are usually plenty of drivers milling around the airport looking for passengers. The Remise is a chauffeured car operated by private transport companies. The vehicles do not have meters and don't look like cabs. The remise companies have booths in the airport located on the lower level of Terminals A and B. Three bus companies (Manuel Tienda Leon, San Martin and Ecuador) offer airport transportation to and from downtown Buenos Aires between 5 AM and 9 PM.

Southern Explorations arranges private van transport for all its passengers arriving in Buenos Aires on their way to Patagonia adventure tours. A guide accompanies the driver to help with hotel check-in who also provides an informative city overview along the way. After a long flight, it's a carefree way to start one's Argentina trip.

Cabs in Buenos Aires are cheap, and all 40,000 of them are black and yellow. The radio cabs have the safest reputation. Cabbie problems can usually be avoided by asking to be dropped at a particular intersection instead of a street number and by carrying enough small bills so change to be able to pay the exact fare. Cabs are so plentiful, it's usually unnecessary to arrange one in advance even during rush hour. Unless you have to get somewhere by a particular time, just take your chances. Tipping is not expected and normally consists of leftover change.

Rental Cars
Portenos (as the city's citizens are called) have adopted many European styles, and driving is one of them. Fortunately, most drivers seem able to intuit the fast and erratic every-man-for-himself rules of the road. Here lanes serve only as a vague concept to show drivers approximately how many cars can be accommodated. For the faint of heart, driving is best left to the portenos.

The city has three remaining train stations that connect Buenos Aires with outlying areas. Trains go north from the Retiro station. This is how portenos get to the popular weekend destination of the Parana delta and its picturesque towns of Tigre and San Isidro as well as to Rosario and Tucuman. On the way to Tigre, one can off at the Mitre Station and switch to the scenic Tren de la Costa to go the rest of the way. Trains headed south leave from the Constitution Station for such destinations as Mar del Plata, Sierra de la Ventana and Tandil. From the Once Station, one can go to the westerly towns of Lujan and Lobos. All three train stations may all be reached via subway.

The city's subway system dates back to the early 1900s when Buenos Aires had the second largest population of any city in the Americas. Today five subway lines crisscross the city. The ride is cheap and reliable, but night owls will have to find another way home because the system stops running at 10 PM on Sundays and 11 PM the rest of the week. Crime in the stations is not unheard of, but traveling when many others do is an adequate safeguard.

Buenos Aires' location on the banks of the Rio de la Plata makes ferry travel to Uruguay convenient. Two companies operate daily service from terminals located in the Puerto Madero neighborhood at the Dorsena Norte dock. One can visit the quaint 17th century town of Colonia, just across the river, or take a high speed ferry north to the capital city of Montevideo. Citizens from many countries, including the U.S., need only have a valid passport to cross the border.

Recreational bicycling in Buenos Aires is one thing, but as an in-city mode of transportation, it's a dangerous game of dodge ball that can't be good for the lungs. For the former, there are several in-city scenic biking routes with nearby bike rental establishments as well as some picturesque destinations in more distant locations such as Tigre. Southern Explorations offers an Argentina biking trip extension to Tigre and San Isidro.

Buses are crowded but inexpensive and can get you just about anywhere in the city. For routes and schedules, pick up a pocket version of the Guia T booklet at any newsstand.

Buenos Aires is a city of walkers. Traffic clogs the major streets in the commercial neighborhoods for most of the day so walking can be an efficient way to get around. With no hills to speak of, Buenos Aires is conducive to long walks, and it's possible to reach many of the city's main attractions or to get from one interesting neighborhood to another on foot. In this ever-weaving maze of cars, how does a visiting pedestrian avoid getting run over? One need only wait to cross with a porteno, the older the better. Years of practice have given the residents of this great city a sixth sense about when to enter the fray and when to think better of it.