For 50 centavos, you can ferry across the Rio Riachuelo at the base of the old Avellaneda Bridge in La Boca. This custom dates back to epochs past and is reminiscent of a Quinquela Martin painting. For more pictures, see my Puente Avellaneda TL.Related to:
- Historical Travel
- Family Travel
- Sailing and Boating
Tours Of The City
The Tourist Office can supply a map detailing recommended routes around the city’s most appealing neighbourhoods. It also organises a programme of guided cultural walks in key areas of the city. Popular walking tours include those devoted to locations and attractions associated with Evita and Porteño writer Jorge Luis Borges. All of the walking tours are free; they have various different meeting points and lengths but may be cancelled due to bad weather. The bi-monthly schedule of tours is available directly from the Tourist Office or through the city website (www.buenosaires.gov.ar).
Various companies offer bus tours of Buenos Aires, involving transport to key cultural areas and guided walks with English or Spanish commentary. Travel Line Argentina (tel: (011) 4393 9000; e-mail: email@example.com; website: www.travelline.com.ar) offers both day and night tours of the city for US$10 and US$18 respectively. Other companies, such as Buenos Aires Tur (tel: (011) 4371 2304/90, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; website: www.buenosairestur.com) and Buenos Aires Vision (tel: (011) 4394 4682 or 4328 4517; e-mail: email@example.com; website: www.buenosaires-vision.com.ar) offer similar tours at similar prices.
Guided English or Spanish pedal tours of Buenos Aires are available from Bike Tours (tel: (011) 4311 5199; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; website: www.biketours.com.ar). Tours leave from near the San Martín monument on Plaza San Martín, daily 0900 and 1400, for a three-and-a-half to four-hour informative ride through key districts, including Puerto Madero, La Boca, San Telmo and the Plaza de Mayo. The US$20 charge includes use of a three-gear ‘Beach Cruiser’ bike, a helmet, a bottle of water and rain gear if necessary.
Moving around Buenos Aires
Most tourists I've met so far prefer taxis, because of course, it's so much easier to hail one in the street than looking for a bus stop, subway or train station. And let's face it, they divide the price by 3! So around Capital Federal you would spend no more than 10 pesos... 3 dollars!
Anyway, although I still see your point guys, I believe you should use the public transport some time. Just because this is one of those things that give you more insight of another culture. Plus you get more anecdotes to tell back home, you know how you always find little details that are so different from your culture.
The subway costs 70 cents (pesos) and you can make all the connections you want provided you don't leave the station. The bus inside Capital Federal should be 80 cents and the train between 50 and 95 cents, depending on the destination.
When travelling by bus (colectivo), once you get on you have to tell the driver the fare or the place where you're going if you don't know it. He'll press some buttons and so you'll have to insert the coins (ONLY COINS!) in the machine next to the driver. The fare will appear on the little screen of this machine. Then you take your ticket and the change from below.
I had pre-booked our international flights to Argentina some months before. Checking various deals on the internet, I eventually settled on 'airfareplanet.com' and their US$900 per person round trip tickets via Delta Airlines. A short 3-hour drive over the border into Maine, USA allowed us to depart from Bangor. From there, it was short hops to Cincinnati and Atlanta before the 9.5 hour overnight flight direct to Buenos Aires on a Boeing 767.
The customs and immigration formalities at the International Airport (Aeropuerto Internacional Ministro Pistarini), referred to as 'Ezeirza', were quick and efficient. Luggage was soon delivered and we were on our way into Buenos Aires on a beautiful, sunny morning (after dodging waves of blizzards in both Canada and USA)!
One thing we noticed in both directions, was the elderly age of the passengers in the departure lounge. This seems to be a popular destination for people taking the whole tour package, including the exotic cruises to the tip of South America or Antarctica. We actually had quite an entertaining conversation with a group of American seniors while waiting for our return flight. Many of these guys had served in the US military and were very familiar with New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland on Canada's east coast as a result of American military bases set up during WW2 !
I did not take any photos during our long-haul travels, so you will have to settle for this one as we left Buenos Aires on an internal flight and were only moments from landing at Puerto Iguazu, near Iguazu Falls.
What is a remis?
When you're here you may hear people speaking about REMISES. Well, there are agencies (not very many in Capital Federal) which offer door-to-door car service. For instance, I'm at home, I call the agency and ask for a car to go to downtown. They send me the car (just a regular car with a chouffer) and when I get to destination, he looks at the speedometer and tells me the fare. Or, say I'm i dowtown, I want to get home so I call them and they send me a car which picks me up where I am. This kind of service is more commom in the suburbs, in Capital Federal people usually either hail taxis in the street or call a taxi agency to get one.
No need to drive in Buenos Aires
There's absolutely no need to rent a car in Buenos Aires, first of all you can get anywhere you need to go that you can't travel on foot via subte (subway), bus or taxi and second of all, the drivers seem to view stoplights as suggestions and lane dividers are frequently straddled and new lanes formed at every opportunity. And I swear the drivers are revving their engines at passing pedestrians, the second the light turns yellow and the drivers are off and running!
I found Buenos Aires to be a wonderful place to walk, there are several pedestrian only shopping streets, lots of places to grab a slice of pizza, a scoop of ice cream or an alfajore, not to mention lots of interesting architecture that you'd only see when walking. I'm quite sure we traveled almost every street in central Buenos Aires at least once! (which helps explain why I didn't gain more weight than I did!!!)
Flying into Buenos Aires
There are two airports in Buenos Aires so make sure you know which one you are flying in and out of.
The international airport Ezeiza Ministro Pistarini (EZE) is 26 miles outside of Buenos Aires, allow 45 minutes to an hour to get to/from the airport. We flew United Airlines direct back to Chicago out of this airport, be sure to also allow plenty of time to get through the line at the airport. Also, there is a departure tax that has to be paid at the airport, we paid $18 US per person and airport personnel said it is currently never added to anyone's tickets. We were upgraded to Economy Plus both coming and going, Friendly Skies indeed!
The other airport for domestic flights and flights to Uruaguay, Jorge Newbery Airport, is very close to the city right along the River, I was amazed at how fast we got to our hotel, only around 15 minutes. Very easy to get through, of course, we didn't have to clear customs here. There is an ATM in the airport which dispensed both pesos and USD.
We had drivers included in our package but I've read that you should use radio taxis to and from the airport, slightly more expensive but reliable and less of a chance of getting ripped off.
Just a quick note to mention that when people talk about the Palermo neighbourhood - which has become increasingly popular in the last 10 years - you'll probably find that they follow it with a denomination meaning a specific part of it: Palermo Hollywood, Palermo Soho, Palermo Chico, Palermo Viejo, etc. Each denomination refers to a specific area of Palermo, usually no bigger than 20 or 30 square blocks so it pays to know where is which part of Palermo.
Palermo Hollywood, Palermo Soho, Las Canitas, and La Imprenta will probably be your best bets - the great thing about these areas is that they are a bit more avant garde than the rest of the city, especially regarding cuisine (lots of fusion cuisine going on here).
Attached is a link to a quick map from Clarin that was published yesterday showing the approximate limits of each area. Enjoy!
Subte and Colectivo
The public transport in B.A. is on buses, here called "Colectivo" which reach every place and are very frequent but it is not too easy to decipher the system. Best to ask the locals who are very friendly and helpful with informations.
The "Subte" (underground) was built in 1912 as the first one in South America but not much has been done since which means that the 5 lines are not really the backbone of public transport, the network si simply much too small.
Getting around by car
I definitely don't recommend renting a car in Buenos Aires since you won't need it to travel inside the city, but in case you wanna rent one here's a link to a rent-a-car agency
it may cost you around 300USD per week.
If you want to drive in Buenos Aires you must know how to.
First of all people drive fast here, so don't pay much attention to the speed limit signs since you will find people exceeding the limits all the time. You will also realise that people don't stop at pedestrian crossing so don't do it or you may cause an accident. Basicly the only traffic laws respected are the traffic lights and No Parking signs, if you park in a prohibited area your car may be towed away and you will have to pay around 100USD to get it back.
Taxis and Remises
If you make short trips within BA you can take a taxi. But, if you plan to make a longer trip or you need to go beyond the Federal District, then your pick is a remise. These are private cars with driver that will take you anywhere for a flat fixed rate. You can even arrange a tour and have the driver waiting for you for a moderate fee. There are agencies everywhere in the city offering these services. Just ask at your hotel.
Just Some Odds 'n Ends
A few thoughts that might prove helpful to someone out there.
The international airport is way out of town. While the cost may be more on weekends or after dark, it was 40 pesos from there to my hotel near the Retiro bus station.
The bus station has several remis companies outside where the buses arrive and depart. Although they may cost more than the taxis out front, they will be safer and you won't be driven all over BA to jack up the meter.
At the national airport, there is a Manuel Tienda Leon right as you leave the arrivals area. You can hire a remis into town. It cost 19 pesos/$6.50USD to get to the Hotel Frossard on Tucuman just up from Av
Florida in Retiro.
At the ferry terminal you cant easily get a remis unless your Spanish is fair and you can find a telephone that works. All arrivals seem to use the taxis lined up in the front. We had an uneventful ride to Retiro bus terminal for 5 pesos including a small tip. It was metered.
The Buequebus hydrofoil from BA to Colonia, Uruguay cost less than $30 per person. The trip was comfortable and took about 55 minutes. It's first come, first served so if you want a window seat get in the line when you see it forming up.
When your vacation is over, you might want to get to the international airport (Ezeiza) well before the recommended 2 hours. It took a looooooong time to get through all the mess. Don't know if it was normal, but I would not doubt it. We stood in a long line to get a boarding pass inclulding a carry on bag check. Then another line to pay an airport tax of $18 each. Then another very long line to get through Argentinian customs. Then another line to go through security. The plane finally took off 1 hour late.
In the traffic
Driving around Buenos Aires will take you lots of time. The city is generally jammed or it's moving... in "slow motion" though. As the city is huge (15 mln people) it's impossible to walk from one place to another so you can either take a bus, a taxi or drive.
Taxis are quite cheap. To go from Bus Terminal to Obelisc area you'll pay about 3-4 pesos.
4 more images
how to move around
Oh yes, Buenos Aires is a big city with millions of people and millions of cars. Sometimes the traffic is really grande, and the pollution everywhere!
The subway system is old but very useful and will probably take you everywhere. I used it many times. The only problem was the heat, every time I was inside the train I desperately wanted to go outside to breath the fresh air!
The buses are also a good option if you can oriented youself a bit. Most of the times I asked a local about the number of a bus telling him my destination. Then inside the bus I was asking several people and at least one could tell me where to stop! :) It costs only 1 peso. Keep always some spare chance because you just put the coin in the machine.
Don’t forget to walk! It’s the only way to feel a city, even a big one like BsAs. Do it during the day though because in the night it’s kind of risky.
The taxis are thousands here! just raise your hand and say your destination. Although there are some “smart” ones, you will find them reliable and cheap.
Remiter S.A. (Remises from Retiro Bus Station)
Retiro Bus Sation is situated in an unsafe part of Buenos Aires where petty crime is a big issue for travellers walking through the area from the bus station to the city centre. I urge people to either take a radio taxi or a remise to their accommodation or attraction when arriving at the bus station (This also applies if you plan to depart from the bus station).
To minimise the risk, I decided to book a remise to my hostel when I arrived at Retiro Bus Station from Bariloche. The remise is rather expensive for the short distance but I was guaranteed to get to my hostel safely and that the journey was already paid for which was the peace of mind that I wanted.
It cost 45 ARP for a standard journey (including 6 ARP for extra baggage).
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