This transportation guide for getting around Argentina is a guest post written by my travel cohort and sister, Andrea Belgrade. Andrea has traveled extensively in Asia, Europe, South America, and the USA and is always pushing boundaries or finding herself in hilarious and unusual situations. This installment is part 2 of a guide series for Argentina. If you missed the first installment, head on over and read her guide to Buenos Aires.
Getting Around Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires is an easy city for getting around, with lots of options that are accessible for newcomers. Getting around on foot is a great way to see the city during the day. If you need to get somewhere farther away, your two easiest options are el subte (the underground metro) or taxis.
El Subte – The Underground Metro
The subte is a great way for getting around Buenos Aires, but there are a few tips to keep in mind before you go underground.
Buy a Pass! – You should get the pass rather than paying per trip. Some stations don’t have places to buy a single-ride pass and even if they do, they aren’t always staffed, leaving you at the station without a ticket to ride. Passes can be shared between travelers.
Know the Schedule – The subte runs frequently during the day, but it closes pretty early, around 10pm. Be sure to get an updated schedule before making plans so you don’t get stranded. Also make sure to allow extra time during rush hour, as it can get very crowded and you may need to wait for the next train if it is too full.
If you don’t have time to bother getting around with public transport or if you are traveling at a late hour, taxis are readily available in Buenos Aires and are an overall good option.
Don’t get ripped off – I’m used to bargaining for my taxi rides abroad, but here they actually use a meter. But that doesn’t mean the meter is fair. Make sure you ask the taxi driver about the price before you enter the car. Otherwise he might try to screw you and charge you extra. This is where it is helpful to know a little Spanish. You can also use your phone’s gps to make sure your driver isn’t taking you the long way.
Safety – I would not recommend a woman go out at night by herself – and it’s not a great idea for guys either. If you’re traveling alone, find a new friend to come with you from your hotel or hostel. If you don’t have a choice, it’s better to keep a low profile and not talk a lot with your taxi driver. Also try to sit directly behind the driver rather than diagonal to him because he is less likely to turn his head 180 degrees – keeping you more out of sight… and out of reach.
Getting Outside Buenos Aires
Save money and take the bus
I’ve traveled by bus in many countries and had plenty of different experiences. In Venezuela my friend and I donned our warmest clothes and shivered under blankets along with the locals while the bus blasted air conditioning – transporting us from a country near the equator to Ice Station Zebra. In Nepal I recall making small talk with my fellow bus passengers – a cute couple from the countryside. Did I mention they were goats? When I boarded my Argentine bus, I was surprised to see not only were all the passengers human, but the seats reclined to a full 180 degrees, they served bottles of wine to the passengers, and they had complementary wifi! Argentine buses aren’t just cost savers – they’re luxury.
Treat Yourself! The Cama Suite – Argentina is a big country and many destinations will take you at least 10 hours to reach. Rather than wasting daytime exploration with a long bus ride, you can save a night in a hotel/hostel and sleep on the bus. Those savings should more than pay the difference between the cheap seats and the cama suite, where your seat reclines to a bed and you get some privacy from the seats in front and behind.
Convenient Online Booking – If you are exchanging money at the legal rate (more on that in the next post) you might as well book online with a credit card at Plataforma 10. It’s convenient and easy. If you prefer to use cash, then you can always use this site to just look at schedules and then pay later at the station.
Argentina by Air
If you have a tight schedule, a larger budget, or more distance to cover, air travel is the way to go.
Foreigner fees – I did some investigating and if I said I was from Argentina, the fares were significantly lower than if I claimed I was an American. However, when I tried to check out as an Argentine they required that I have an Argentine credit card. If you have connections to the country, using their card could be a way to save money – otherwise I wondered if paying cash and booking at the airport would allow you to get local prices. Try it out and comment if it works!
Rack up those miles! – Companies like American Airlines and Delta have partner airlines in Argentina so you can get frequent flyer miles with your domestic Argentina flights as well. Or better yet, if you have some spare miles to spend, you could redeem them for local flights in Argentina on partner carriers!
I hope you found these transportation tips for getting around Argentina helpful! If you have questions for Andrea, ask away in the comments!