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Info Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires is the capital and largest city of Argentina, and the second-largest metropolitan area in South America.
It is located on the western shore of the estuary of the Río de la Plata, on the continent's southeastern coast. The Greater Buenos Aires conurbation, which also includes several Buenos Aires Province districts, constitutes the third-largest conurbation in Latin America, with a population of around fifteen and a half million.
The city of Buenos Aires is neither part of Buenos Aires Province nor the Province's capital; rather, it is an autonomous district. In 1880, after decades of political infighting, Buenos Aires was federalized and removed from Buenos Aires Province.
Buenos Aires is, along with Mexico City and São Paulo, one of the three Latin American cities considered an 'alpha city' by the study GaWC5. Buenos Aires' quality of life was ranked 81st in the world and one of the best in Latin America in 2012, with its per capita income among the three highest in the region.
Buenos Aires defines itself as a multicultural city, being home to multiple ethnic and religious groups. Also, several languages are spoken in the city in addition to Spanish, contributing to its culture and the dialect spoken in the city and in some other parts of the country. This is because in the last 150 years the city, and the country in general, has been a major recipient of millions of immigrants from around the world, especially from Europe, Asia and Latin America, making it a melting pot where several ethnic groups live together and being considered as one of the most diverse cities in Latin America.
It is the most visited city in South America (ahead of Rio de Janeiro) and the second most visited city of Latin America (behind Mexico City). Buenos Aires is a top tourist destination, and is known for its European-style architecture and rich cultural life. Buenos Aires held the 1st Pan American Games in 1951 as well as hosting two venues in the 1978 FIFA World Cup. Buenos Aires will host the 2018 Summer Youth Olympics.
|POPULATION :||• City: 2,890,151|
• Metro: 12,741,364
|FOUNDED :||1536, 1580|
|TIME ZONE :||ART (UTC−3)|
|LANGUAGE :||• Spanish (official)|
|RELIGION :||• Roman Catholic 92%|
• Protestant 2%
• Jewish 2%
• other 4%
|AREA :||• City: 203 km2 (78 sq mi)|
• Land: 203 km2 (78.5 sq mi)
• Metro: 4,758 km2 (1,837 sq mi)
|ELEVATION :||25 m (82 ft)|
|COORDINATES :||34°36′12″S 58°22′54″W|
|SEX RATIO :||• Male: 48.94%|
• Female: 51.06%
|ETHNIC :||• white (mostly Spanish and Italian) 97%|
• mestizo (mixed white and Amerindian ancestry), Amerindian, or other non-white groups 3%
|AREA CODE :||011|
|POSTAL CODE :|
|DIALING CODE :||+54 11|
Buenos Aires constantly receives tourists from all over the world and offers a large choice of cultural events, nightlife, restaurants, and pubs. So you can expect good services and a wide range of options.
Visitors have many options such as going to a tango show, an estancia in the Province of Buenos Aires, or enjoying the traditional asado. New tourist circuits have recently evolved, devoted to famous Argentines such as Carlos Gardel, Eva Perón or Jorge Luis Borges. Before 2011, due to the favourable exchange rate, its shopping centres such as Alto Palermo, Paseo Alcorta, Patio Bullrich, Abasto de Buenos Aires and Galerías Pacífico were frequently visited by tourists. The exchange rate today has hampered tourism and shopping in particular. Notable consumer brands such as Tiffany & Co. have abandoned the country due to the exchange rate and import restrictions. The city also plays host to musical festivals, some of the largest of which are Quilmes Rock, Creamfields BA, Ultra Music Festival (Buenos Aires) and the Buenos Aires Jazz Festival.
Known for its openness and tolerance, Buenos Aires has also become "a major Latin American gay-tourism mecca." An important factor was Argentina's 2001 financial crisis, with the subsequent favorable exchange rate attracting more foreign tourists. Due to the increasing emergence of gay-friendly sites, the civil union law of 2002, and the openness of barrios such as Recoleta and Palermo, by 2003 Buenos Aires was being called "Latin America's gay capital". LGBT tourism remains a widely stimulated sector in the city, and points to its nightlife, cultural and artistic diversity, and Argentina's 2010 legalization of same-sex marriage (the first country in Latin America).
- Alvear Avenue passes through the upscale Recoleta area, and is the address for five-star hotels and embassies, many of them former mansions.
- Caminito colorfully restored by local artist Benito Quinquela Martín
- Corrientes Avenue a principal thoroughfare in Buenos Aires, and intimately tied to the Tango and Porteño culture
- Liberator Avenue connects downtown to upscale areas in the northwest, passing by many of the city's best-known museums, gardens and cultural points of interest
- May Avenue is often compared with those of Madrid, Barcelona and Paris for its sophisticated buildings of Art Nouveau, Neoclassic and eclectic styles
- Florida Street a downtown pedestrian street
- Avenida 9 de Julio the widest avenue in the world; its name honors Argentina's Independence Day
- Parque Tres de Febrero (this park, one of the city's largest, is home to a rose garden and paddleboat lake)
- Botanical Gardens (among the oldest in Latin America and an easy walk to other Palermo-area sights)
- Buenos Aires Japanese Gardens (the largest of its type in the World, outside Japan)
- Plaza de Mayo (surrounded by national and city government offices, this square has been central to many of Argentina's historical events)
- Plaza San Martín (central to the Retiro area, the leafy park is surrounded by architectural landmarks)
- Recoleta Cemetery (includes graves of many of Argentina's historical figures, including Eva Perón, several presidents and scientists, as well many among Argentina's influential families)
- Buenos Aires Zoo (renowned for its collection and the Hindu Revival elephant house)
- Cabildo (seat of government house during colonial times)
- Caminito (renowned for Benito Quinquela Martín's pastel hues and wall reliefs)
- Casa Rosada (the official seat of the executive branch of the Argentine government)
- Central Post Office (soon to be reopened as the Bicentennial Cultural Center)
- City Legislature (the monumental neoclassical building also houses two libraries and a museum)
- Kavanagh building (the Art Deco residential building was the first true skyscraper in Buenos Aires)
- Metropolitan Cathedral (mother church of the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires)
- National Congress (Argentine Parliament)
- National Library (the largest library in Argentina and one of the most important in the Americas)
- National Museum of History (original documents, former presidents' belongings and recreated historical rooms)
- The Obelisk (one of the city's iconic landmarks and a venue for various cultural activities and other events)
- Teatro Colón (an internationally renowned opera house opened in 1908)
- The Water Company Palace (perhaps the world's most ornate water pumping station)
Seaman Juan Díaz de Solís, navigating in the name of Spain, was the first European to reach the Río de la Plata in 1516. His expedition was cut short when he was killed during an attack by the native Charrúa tribe in what is now Uruguay.
The city of Buenos Aires was first established as Ciudad de Nuestra Señora Santa María del Buen Ayre (literally "City of Our Lady Saint Mary of the Fair Winds") after Our Lady of Bonaria (Patroness Saint of Sardinia) on 2 February 1536 by a Spanish expedition led by Pedro de Mendoza. The settlement founded by Mendoza was located in what is today the San Telmo district of Buenos Aires, south of the city center.
More attacks by the indigenous people forced the settlers away, and in 1542 the site was abandoned. A second (and permanent) settlement was established in 1580 by Juan de Garay, who arrived by sailing down the Paraná River from Asunción (now the capital of Paraguay). He dubbed the settlement "Santísima Trinidad" and its port became "Puerto de Santa María de los Buenos Aires."
War of independence
During the British invasions of the Río de la Plata, British forces attacked Buenos Aires twice. In 1806 the British successfully invaded Buenos Aires, but an army from Montevideo led by Santiago de Liniers defeated them. In the brief period of British rule, the viceroy Rafael Sobremonte managed to escape to Córdoba and designated this city as capital. Buenos Aires became the capital again after its liberation, but Sobremonte could not resume his duties as viceroy. Santiago de Liniers, chosen as new viceroy, prepared the city against a possible new British attack and repelled the attempted invasion of 1807. The militarization generated in society changed the balance of power favorably for the criollos (in contrast to peninsulars), as well as the development of the Peninsular War in Spain. An attempt by the peninsular merchant Martín de Álzaga to remove Liniers and replace him with a Junta was defeated by the criollo armies. However, by 1810 it would be those same armies who would support a new revolutionary attempt, successfully removing the new viceroy Baltasar Hidalgo de Cisneros. This is known as the May Revolution, which is now celebrated as a national holiday. This event started the Argentine War of Independence, and many armies left Buenos Aires to fight the diverse strongholds of royalist resistance, with varying levels of success. Formal independence from Spain was declared in 1816, at the Congress of Tucumán.
During most of the 19th century, the political status of the city remained a sensitive subject. It was already capital of Buenos Aires Province, and between 1853 and 1860 it was the capital of the seceded State of Buenos Aires. The issue was fought out more than once on the battlefield, until the matter was finally settled in 1880 when the city was federalized and became the seat of government, with its mayor appointed by the president. The Casa Rosada became the seat of the president.
In the 1970s the city suffered from the fighting between left-wing revolutionary movements (Montoneros, E.R.P. and F.A.R.) and the right-wing paramilitary group Triple A, supported by Isabel Perón, who became president of Argentina in 1974 after Juan Perón's death.
The March 1976 coup, led by General Jorge Videla, only escalated this conflict; the "Dirty War" resulted in 30,000 desaparecidos (people kidnapped and killed by the military during the years of the junta). The silent marches of their mothers (Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo) are a well-known image of Argentines suffering during those times.
The dictatorship's appointed mayor, Osvaldo Cacciatore, also drew up plans for a network of freeways intended to relieve the city's acute traffic gridlock. The plan, however, called for a seemingly indiscriminate razing of residential areas and, though only three of the eight planned were put up at the time, they were mostly obtrusive raised freeways that continue to blight a number of formerly comfortable neighborhoods to this day.
The city was visited by Pope John Paul II twice: in 1982, and a second visit in 1987, which gathered some of the largest crowds in the city's history. The return of democracy in 1983 coincided with a cultural revival, and the 1990s saw an economic revival, particularly in the construction and financial sectors.
On 17 March 1992 a bomb exploded in the Israeli Embassy, killing 29 and injuring 242. Another explosion, on 18 July 1994 destroyed a building housing several Jewish organizations, killing 85 and injuring many more, these incidents marked the beginning of Middle Eastern terrorism to South America.
Following a 1993 agreement, the Argentine Constitution was amended to give Buenos Aires autonomy and rescinding, among other things, the president's right to appoint the city's mayor (as had been the case since 1880). On 30 June 1996, voters in Buenos Aires chose their first elected mayor (Chief of Government).
Buenos Aires has a humid subtropical climate, with very hot and humid summers and mild winters.
Summer. The warmest month is January, with a daily average of 25.1 °C (77.2 °F). Most days see temperatures in the 28 to 31 °C (82 to 88 °F) with nights between 16 to 21 °C (61 to 70 °F). Heat waves from Brazil can push temperatures above 35 °C (95 °F), yet the city is subject to cold fronts that bring short periods of pleasant weather and crisp nights. Relative humidity is 64–70% in the summer, so the heat index is higher than the true air temperature.
Spring (September to middle October) and autumn (middle April to middle June) are generally mild and volatile, with averages temperatures of around 17 °C (63 °F) and frequent thunderstorms, especially during the spring.
Winters are temperate, though suburban areas often experience frost from May to August, as opposed to downtown Buenos Aires, which experiences the phenomenon only some times per season. Relative humidity averages in the upper 70s%, which means the city is noted for its moderate to heavy fogs during autumn and winter. July is the coolest month, with an average temperature of 10.9 °C (51.6 °F). Cold spells originating from Antarctica occur almost every year, and combined with the high wintertime humidity, conditions in winter may feel much cooler than the measured temperature. Most days peak reach 12 to 20 °C (54 to 68 °F) and drop to 3 to 8 °C (37 to 46 °F) at night. Southerly winds may keep temperatures below 10 °C (50 °F) for a few days, whereas northerly winds may bring temperatures above 20 °C (68 °F) for a few days; these variations are normal.
Spring is very windy and variable: there may be heat waves with temperatures of 35 °C (95 °F) even in early October. Severe thunderstorms are likely between September and December.
The snow is very rare in the city: the last snowfall occurred on 9 July 2007 when, during the coldest winter in Argentina in almost 30 years, severe snowfalls and blizzards hit the country. It was the first major snowfall in the city in 89 years.
The city receives 1,214.6 mm (48 in) of rainfall per year. Rain can be expected at any time of year and hailstorms are not unusual.
Climate data for Buenos Aires
|Average high °C (°F)||30.4|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||25.1|
|Average low °C (°F)||20.2|
|Source : University of Buenos Aires|
The limits of Buenos Aires proper are determined in the eastern part and north-east by the Rio de la Plata, in the southern part and southeast by the Riachuelo and to the northwest, west and Southwest by General Paz Avenue, a 24 km (15 mi) long highway that separates the province of Buenos Aires from the 203 km2 (78 sq mi) that form the city.
The city of Buenos Aires lies in the pampa region, except for some zones like the Buenos Aires Ecological Reserve, the Boca Juniors (football) Club "sports city", Jorge Newbery Airport, the Puerto Madero neighborhood and the main port itself; these were all built on reclaimed land along the coasts of the Rio de la Plata (the world's widest river).
The region was formerly crossed by different creeks and lagoons, some of which were refilled and others tubed. Among the most important creeks are Maldonado, Vega, Medrano, Cildañez and White. In 1908 many creeks were channelled and rectified, as floods were damaging the city's infrastructure. Starting in 1919, most creeks were enclosed. Notably, the Maldonado was tubed in 1954, and runs below Juan B. Justo Avenue.
Buenos Aires is the financial, industrial, and commercial hub of Argentina. The economy in the city proper alone, measured by Gross Geographic Product (adjusted for purchasing power), totaled US$84.7 billion (US$34,200 per capita) in 2011 and amounts to nearly a quarter of Argentina's as a whole. Metro Buenos Aires, according to one well-quoted study, constitutes the 13th largest economy among the world's cities.
The port of Buenos Aires is one of the busiest in South America; navigable rivers by way of the Rio de la Plata connect the port to north-east Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay. As a result, it serves as the distribution hub for a vast area of the south-eastern region of the continent. The Port of Buenos Aires handles over 11 million revenue tons annually, and Dock Sud, just south of the city proper, handles another 17 million metric tons. Tax collection related to the port has caused many political problems in the past, including a conflict in 2008 that led to protests and a strike in the agricultural sector after the government raised export tariffs.
The city's services sector is diversified and well-developed by international standards, and accounts for 76% of its economy (compared to 59% for all of Argentina's). Advertising, in particular, plays a prominent role in the export of services at home and abroad. The financial and real-estate services sector is the largest, however, and contributes to 31% of the city's economy. Finance (about a third of this) in Buenos Aires is especially important to Argentina's banking system, accounting for nearly half the nation's bank deposits and lending. Nearly 300 hotels and another 300 hostels and bed & breakfasts are licensed for Tourism in Buenos Aires, and nearly half the rooms available were in four-star establishments or higher.
Manufacturing is, nevertheless, still prominent in the city's economy (16%) and, concentrated mainly in the southern part of the city. It benefits as much from high local purchasing power and a large local supply of skilled labor as it does from its relationship to massive agriculture and industry just outside the city limits. Construction activity in Buenos Aires has historically been among the most accurate indicators of national economic fortunes, and since 2006 around 3 million m² (32 million ft²) of construction has been authorized annually. Meat, dairy, grain, tobacco, wool and leather products are processed or manufactured in the Buenos Aires metro area. Other leading industries are automobile manufacturing, oil refining, metalworking, machine building and the production of textiles, chemicals, clothing and beverages.
The City of Buenos Aires has 48 districts called barrios (neighborhoods). The most important and visited are:
Downtown, an ideal location for visitors to be near to the main historical spots of the Argentinean capital. Florida Street is located downtown and is a famous pedestrian street of the city, where visitors can do window shopping and buy clothes and other usual city goods. Many tourists came here, so it's well catered for tourists, though it's not an exact representation of the living area for the average citizens.
This district preserves colonial-style houses along narrow cobblestone lanes, illuminated with pretty wrought iron lanterns. In San Telmo, one breathes the history of Buenos Aires. There is also a very exciting, underground nightlife scene.
Considered Buenos Aires's most colorful neighborhood with a very outgoing personality. Tourists favor this picturesque district for its rich history and vibrant colors: greens, yellows, reds, and purples highlight the urban scenery. While fairly safe during daytime, it should be avoided by night.
Hip residential neighborhood of tree-lined streets and intersections packed with restaurants, bars, and boutiques. There are several "sub neighborhoods" such as Palermo-Viejo, Palermo-SoHo, Palermo-Hollywood.
One of the finest and most expensive areas of the city. It boasts many French style buildings, large green spaces, and first class restaurants. The famous Recoleta Cemetery is well worth a visit.
A residential and peaceful neighborhood with silent streets that lead to different shops, restaurants, architectural relics, and large green spaces. Belgrano's one of the most distinguished districts, and it's ideal for day walks along the wooded tile sidewalks.
An original middle-class neighborhood, not catered for tourists, Almagro is a barrio located in the very center of the capital, with cheap empanadas, Chinese supermarkets, and greengrocer's, the smell of grilled meat from plentiful parillas, and a very big circular park that transforms into a market on Sundays.
One of the main Tango and historical spots in the city, the streets of Boedo offer to native and tourist public a huge variety of cafes in the best “porteño” style, cultural centers, Tango houses, libraries, theaters, nice pubs, and restaurants. Places that please people from all ages and tastes.
An average, middle-class neighborhood, the barrio has both plentiful amenities, spacious parks, and a good selection of shops. On the other hand, there are cluterred, very busy, and unpredictable areas of Caballito that should require more thought for the average travellers to go there. Overall, it is a pleasant residential and commercial hub.
A dense downtown area that houses the legislative branch of government, it resides at the opposite end of Avenida de Mayo from the Casa Rosada (Rosy House, or "pink house" as some would called it) seat of the executive branch.
Just like the London docklands, the antique port of Buenos Aires has been renewed and now represents the latest architectural trends of the city. It has a mixture of restaurants, ranging from high end to U.S. chains such as Hooters and TGIF. It also has apartment buildings and a few expensive hotels. The Reserva Ecológica Costanera Sur, an excellent alternative for nature lovers, lies nearby.
A large immigrant population, mainly from Argentina's neighbors Bolivia and Paraguay, call Once home. The streets are always busy with people, markets, and outdoor sellers.
Hosting the main train station in the city, a busy area filled with commuters, but also home to some of the most luxurious restaurants, shopping, and partying, in the expat-friendly border of Microcentro. Retiro has attracted people from various kinds of lifestyles, without any strong attraction for any specific group of people.
This part of the city has many theater shows, especially on Avenida Corrientes. On Libertad street there is the astounding huge Colón Theatre, one of the most prestigious in the world.
Located between the barrios of Villa Pueyrredón, Belgrano, Villa Ortúzar, Coghlan, Saavedra, and Agronomía. Its limits are the streets and avenues Constituyentes, Crisólogo Larralde, Galván, Núñez, Tronador, Roosevelt, Rómulo S. Naón, and La Pampa. It is a residential neighborhood of both old houses and apartment buildings, quiet streets, and a few fast-traffic, crowded avenues. It has several parks that make it very pleasant. During the summer, it is not uncommon to see neighbors talking to each other, comfortably sitting on their chairs on the sidewalk. It is also home of several institutions of importance to the Buenos Aires culture, such as the tango and milonga ballrooms Sunderland and Club Sin Rumbo, Argentine rock pioneer Litto Nebbia's Melopea Records, and the winner of the last three futsal metropolitan tournaments, Club Pinocho.
You can get a prepaid Movistar / Claro / Personal SIM card for a few pesos / free at phone shops, all you pay is about ARS20 (about USD5) for your initial credits. Inserting the SIM card into your unlocked mobile phone should work, although to register the SIM you have to enter your passport (or any 9 digit) number - you then have your personal Argentinian phone number, which is very useful to keep in touch with other travellers, either by calling or by writing text messages. Calls cost around ARS1 per minute.
Receiving calls is usually free, except for international calls, and some cross network / inter-city calls - hence buying a SIM card purely to keep in touch with people overseas may not be worth it.
To reload you can buy small cards with secret numbers at many kiosks. If you have a prepaid Claro SIM card, dialling *444, pressing 2 followed by 1, and entering the secret number does the trick.
Not related to mobile phones, there are similar cards with credits for international calls. You get them at so called locutorios, where you can also use the phone booths. You dial a free number to connect to the service, then your secret number for the credits, and then the international phone number you want to call. Using these cards, a one-hour call to Europe will cost about 10 Pesos (3 US-Dollars). Don't call without such cards or even from your hotel - it will be way more expensive.
The phone numbering plan in Argentina is hopelessly complicated for foreigners. Do check out the Wikipedia article about it to find out more.
- Directory Listing (The White Pages): 110
- International Operator: 000
- National Operator: 19
- Collect National Calls: 19 from regular phones, *19 from public phones
- Mobile phone numbers start with 15
- Regional code for Buenos Aires: 11
Other useful phone numbers include:
- Official Time: 113
- Consumer Advocacy: +54 11 5382-6216 or 6217
All 2 and 3-digit numbers are free, except the official time service (113).
All 0800 numbers are toll-free numbers, except if you call from a mobile phone.
Long distance calls from Argentina: You may use calling card, ARS0.18/min or ARS0.59/min for calling from Argentina to USA.
Many cafés and restaurants offer free Wi-Fi with an advertisement in their windows. All you need to do is buy a coffee and ask for the password.
Prices in Buenos Aires
MARKET / SUPERMARKET
|Beer (domestic)||0.5 l||$1.30|
|Bottle of Wine||1 bottle||$5.30|
|Dinner (Low-range)||for 2||$26.00|
|Dinner (Mid-range)||for 2||$40.00|
|Dinner (High-range)||for 2||$52.00|
|Mac Meal or similar||1 meal||$5.70|
|Beer (Imported)||0.33 l||$3.50|
|Beer (domestic)||0.5 l||$2.70|
|Coctail drink||1 drink||$6.00|
|Men’s Haircut||1 haircut||$6.50|
|Mobile (prepaid)||1 min.||$0.20|
|Pack of Marlboro||1 pack||$1.90|
|Toilet paper||4 rolls||$2.20|
CLOTHES / SHOES
|Jeans (Levis 501 or similar)||1||$100.00|
|Dress summer (Zara, H&M)||1||$67.00|
|Sport shoes (Nike, Adidas)||1||$115.00|
|Local Transport||1 ticket||$0.30|
46 $ per day
Estimated cost per 1 day including:
- meals in cheap restaurant
- public transport
- cheap hotel
160 $ per day
Estimated cost per 1 day including:
- mid-range meals and drinks
Transportation - Get In
Buenos Aires is Argentina’s international gateway and easily accessible from North America, Europe, and Australasia, as well as other capital cities in South America.
The main airport used for international flights to travel to and from Buenos Aires is Ezeiza International Airport, about 35 km south of Buenos Aires. Most domestic flights use Aeroparque Jorge Newbery airport, a short distance from downtown Buenos Aires. Flight information for both Ezeiza International Airport and Aeroparque Jorge Newbery, is available in English and Spanish at 5480-6111 or the aa2000.com.ar website. Buenos Aires also has a lot of small airports dedicated to chartered flights and private aircraft.
Flights from Buenos Aires and the rest of Argentina are usually more expensive for foreigners. This can pose a problem for short-term travelers who do not have time to take a bus to places like Iguazu Falls, Bariloche, Ushuaia, etc. These travelers are often advised to find smaller travel companies/agents that can help them find lower prices on lower flights, deals that larger online travel sites would not have access to.
People from other nationalities must pay a reciprocity fee on arrival at the EZE international airport, the amount depends on how much the country of origin charged for Argentinians to enter that country.
Ezeiza International Airport (IATA: EZE)
Ezeiza is a modern airport with good services such as ATMs (not all working, though), restaurants, free (but slow) Wi-Fi and duty-free shops. For being the main airport for a metropolitan area of 13 million inhabitants, it is surprisingly compact.
International and some domestic flights use the Ezeiza International Airport (referred to as Aeropuerto Internacional Ministro Pistarini /Minister Pistarini International Airport), located in the suburban area named Gran Buenos Aires, about 30–45 minutes from downtown by highway. Planes fly from and to most countries in South America, Europe, and North America.
Aerolíneas Argentinas (Argentinian Airlines) domestic flights
Some flights from Aerolíneas Argentinas to Ushuaia leave from Ezeiza during peak season, so check to see on which airport you fly into or leave from. There is a daily flight from Ezeiza to Mendoza and Córdoba, which connects with most Aerolíneas Argentinas International Arrivals and Departures.
From South America
There are flights from Ezeiza to most South American cities like: Havana, PanamáCity, Caracas, Bogotá, Lima, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Cochabamba, Santiago de Chile, a dozen of Brazilian destinations, Montevideo, and Asunción. Most of the regional flights used Buenos Aires City Airport-Aeroparque (AEP).
Direct flights to Europe are available with Turkish Airlines (to Istanbul Ataturk Airport) [www], British Airways (to London Heathrow) [www], Lufthansa [www] (to Frankfurt), Iberia [www] (to Madrid), Air France [www] (to Paris Roissy), Alitalia (to Rome Fiumicino), KLM (to Amsterdam, three times each week), and Aerolíneas Argentinas [www] (to Madrid, Barcelona, and Rome Fiumicino).
From North America
Non-stop service to the U.S. is available from Atlanta (Delta Air Lines), Dallas (American Airlines), Miami (American Airlines, Lasca Airlines, and Aerolíneas Argentinas), Houston (United Airlines), New York (American Airlines), and Newark. (United Airlines).
For Canada, Air Canada flies from Toronto via Santiago.
There are also flights from Mexico City on Aeromexico.
If coming from the Middle East, Qatar Airways flies daily to Doha (Qatar) via São Paulo and Emirates has a flight to Dubai via Rio de Janeiro.
As Malaysian terminated their route via Cape Town, Sao Pãulo is the closest place Far Eastern carriers take you. Of course it is also possible to fly e.g. via Oceania or North America.
You also need to connect via e.g. São Paulo when coming from Africa, as South African have discontinued their flights to Ezeiza.
The only direct flights from Oceania are by Air New Zealand from Auckland three times a week.
From the airport, there are taxis, private cars (remises), buses, and minibuses.
There is also a railway station near Ezeiza International Airport named Ezeiza Station. Unfortunately due the location of Ezeiza International Airport's main entrance and exit, getting to and from the station itself would at least take around a third of the trip between Ezeiza International Airport and Buenos Aires itself. It is not advisable to go there if your final destination is Buenos Aires.
A transfer to Aeroparque Jorge Newbery can be done by remis; for example,Taxi Ezeiza costs $270, for less than an hour (except if huge traffic jams), and can be booked in advance.
Trips on coaches such as Manuel Tienda León [www] from Ezeiza International Airport to Retiro cost around 250 pesos. The coaches leave every half hour—less frequently during evenings. From their terminal in Retiro (corner of San Martin and Av. Madero), a smaller van can deliver you to any downtown address for an additional fee. Manuel Tienda León also offers transfers between Ezeiza International Airport and Aeroparque Jorge Newbery Airport. Tickets can be purchased from their booth just outside of customs. If you miss it in customs (European, Australian, and U.S. travellers are probably more used to such services being located not inside customs), then walk outside. Keep walking for about 200 meters heading towards Terminal B, turn left, go to Terminal B departures, and there's an outside booth there.
By private car
Private Driving services to and from the airport are more expensive but more personalized. Some offer English speaking drivers like Traslada private service car [www], Buenos Aires Airport Transfer Online platform for transfer bookings in over 300 cities around the world. Online and instantly quotes. And SilverStar Transport. [www]
Prepaid taxis or remises from Ezeiza International Airport to downtown cost at least 500 pesos in 2012 plus additional costs (mainly tolls). They are your simplest and safest transport from the airport. As you exit customs there are booths on either side of the receiving area of the airport. Some of the prepaid remises will provide you with a 20% discount coupon for your airport return. If you manage to hold on to this coupon, dial them directly to come and collect you and save yourself 20%. You must also present the original receipt to receive the discount.
There are other established companies such as Manuel Tienda Leon and Go Airport Taxi Buenos Aires which allow for a reservation online in order to guarantee your car/driver prior to your arrival which may be essential in the morning hours when the bulk of the long-haul flights arrive to the airport.
Hailing a curbside taxi is not recommended for tourists that are only newly acquainted with Buenos Aires, but if one does, one should select a taxi that is dropping someone off. It will cost approximately 30% less than a remis. The cab driver will tell you a fixed price beforehand, if not, you should negotiate the price before leaving the pickup area. You should have some familiarity with Buenos Aires and speak Spanish fairly well as your cab driver will likely not speak English.
By public bus
The cheapest way to get downtown, by far, is to take the number 8 bus. In June 2015 it cost less than $1 US to ride the bus for its full route, from the airport to downtown. However, to ride the bus you'll need to purchase a SUBE travel card and put some money on it. And for this, you'll need some local currency. So it's a 3 step process. The following directions pertain if you are in Terminal B.
- Get some local currency. There's a branch of the National Bank at the airport. It's tiny and somewhat inconspicuous, tucked in behind the exit area where you clear customs. For purposes of getting a travel card get $20 US worth of pesos.
- Find a place to purchase a SUBE travel card. In June 2015 the only place available was in a newspaper/tobacco/incidentals store near the stair at the far end of the terminal from the bank. You'll find the store on the left side of the terminal as you walk toward the ticket counters at the far end of the terminal. I was charged 150 pesos for the card, with a peso worth about $.10 (about $1.50 US). Some say the card is supposed to be free, but I'm unsure. And $1.50 seemed reasonable as it was a permanent card good for the entire trip.
- Put some money on the SUBE card. There's a SUBE charging machine (an ATM-like machine) at the entrance of the store selling the SUBE. Lay the card on a flat plate and feed the machine some pesos. Put 50 pesos on the card.
Note: The SUBE card is also good for the subway or underground, which is called SUBtE.
After getting and charging you SUBE card, walk back to the end of the terminal where you started. Exit the terminal at that end as its closest the number 8 bus. The bus stop for the number 8 bus is a 100 meter walk outside the Terminal B arrivals building. As you walk angle a bit to the left.
When the bus arrives climb aboard and hold the SUBE card up against the reader next to the driver for perhaps 5 seconds, it's a slow reader. Either you'll see the indicator light go positive or the driver will tell you to move into the bus. I think it deducted 4.5 pesos ($.45 US.)
The bus will take almost 2 hours to get to the Plaza de Mayo, a central downtown location where many bus, rail, and taxi options are available. Many stops will be made on the way there. The bus will get crowded, empty out and get crowded again. The ride will show a part of the city quite different from the big city downtown where most tourists head. I saw wagons pulled by donkeys, police with rifles, some interesting architecture, and lots of open space between built up areas - something you won't see when you get downtown. It reminded me in some respects of Long Island, New York in the early 1950s. (This is in contrast to downtown which is crowded and a thoroughly modern city.)
The number 8 bus continues from Plaza de Mayo on Rivadavia Avenue and then on Hipolito Yrigoyen street.
Returning to airport
If you are returning to Ezeiza International Airport from downtown, be sure to ride the 8 bus that says AEROPUERTO (AIRPORT) as there are several 8 buses that go to other places. The bus stops all along Mayo Avenue and then Rivadavia Avenue. It can take more than two hours to get to the airport from downtown (longer than the trip in from the airport), and the bus can get extremely crowded. If you are pressed for time or short on patience, it is highly recommended that you skip this bus and take a taxi or remise.
Aeroparque Jorge Newbery (IATA: AEP)
Located in the Ave. Rafael Obligado. +54 4576-5300 extension 107/122 (Information: 4576-1111). Most domestic flights use the smaller Jorge Newbery Airport (referred to as Aeroparque, the Spanish for Airpark/Airfield), 20 min away from the downtown area by car. You can take a taxi (25 pesos) or bus from there. LAN launched in 2010 three daily flights to Santiago (Chile) from this airport. In Aeroparque, there are 2 ATMs, one of which (HSBC) is not working (as of 2013). There is also a tiny change office, with a huge queue. Free (but very slow) Wi-Fi in the departure zone.
For budget-conscious travelers, regular bus line 33 passes by at just a few metres from the main gate located at Av. Costanera Rafael Obligado and goes to Retiro-Plaza de Mayo-San Telmo for a very low fee.
To Ezeiza, count about an hour by remis (more if huge traffic jams, which are not rare, particularly on Fridays).
Long-distance trains are slowly returnering to Argentina, but they are yet few in numbers and limited compared to the by inter-city bus network. There are no international services but using domestic train to get around have finally become a somewhat viable option again. Overnight services with sleepers are available from Bahía Blanca, Cordoba and San Miguel de Tucuman while there are daytime trains from Mar del Plata and Rosario. Most trains run 2-3 times a week. Ticket prices ranges from about 400 pesos in second class to 1200 pesos for sleepers. A full timetable and tickets are available at the national operator SOFSE.
All long-distance trains arrive at the central Retiro station located in the eponymous district of Retiro.
There are very good services departing from Retiro bus station [www], covering the whole country. Generally speaking the more expensive the ticket, the more comfortable the bus will be. The most expensive tickets will get you seats that fully recline and you will also be served meals and drinks by an attendant on board.
With an almost non existent railway system and plane ticket prices that are somewhat expensive, the long distance bus system is widely developed. Almost all long-distance buses use the huge and well-organized Retiro bus station on the northern edge of the city centre. The buses are mostly relatively new, however the roads they will travel through are relatively old; there are frequent services to most parts of the country and international bus services to neighbouring countries. A second bus terminal is situated in the Liniers neighborhood, but it is much smaller and not connected to the subway.
You may catch taxis from Retiro bus station, and the subte (underground) also stops there. There are many local buses that stop outside the station as well.
There are numerous operators. The basement level is for cargo and package services. The ground level holds waiting areas, cafes, shops and services including a barber. On the upper level you find a large number (close to 200) of ticket offices, or boleterias. The upper level is conveniently divided by color into geographic areas for companies which serve the place you want to go, including an international area. Look for the signs.
Cama Suites or Dormi Camas lie completely flat and some have dividing curtains. With these services, the seating arrangement is one seat one side and two seats on the other side. Semi-Cama services are laid out two and two, and do not recline as far. Companies usually have photographs of bus interiors. Make sure the journey you choose has the service you want. Most of their buses are double decker. You may also found out some bus classes such as Cama-Vip, Cama-Suite, Ejecutivo or more, just make sure to read info about it or look up photos of bus interiors, usually on websites about south american buses or websites with lots of info about argentinian bus companies.
Bus travel times to/from Buenos Aires:
- Mendoza: 12–14 hours
- Córdoba: 9 hours
- Bariloche: 22 hours
- Iguazú: 20 hours
- Rosario: 4 hours
- Santiago de Chile: 20 hours
Terminal de Omnibus de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires
- Address: Antártida Argentina Avenue and Ramos Mejía
- Phone: +54 11 4310-0700
- Subte: Retiro (Linea C)
You can buy a ticket to practically anywhere in Argentina and departures are fairly frequent to the most popular destinations. Reservations are not necessary except during peak summer and winter holiday seasons (January, February, and July), but it is recommended to buy a ticket in advance for better prices.
To find out which companies are available for a specific destination you can consult the official webpage of the terminal Retiro [www] and an online information system for buses from Buenos Aires [www] to the main national and international destinations.
You can get to Buenos Aires from any of the neighboring countries by car, but it is far away from most of the borders. It is really common to travel there only from Uruguay and southern Brazil.
There are four main highways entering the city which connect to suburban areas and other national routes. As with the trains, the bigger and more frequented routes are centered in Buenos Aires, so you will have no problem driving to and from the rest of the country.
Heading to Rosario city, you can travel by highway all the way (north access highway, then route 9). From here you can keep heading north on a good route (Panamericana), or turn right about 150 km from Buenos Aires and go to the Mesopotamia region.
To the west, you can drive to the Cuyo region using the north access highway, then route 8. Traveling out of the city on the west access highway, you can follow routes 7 and 5, which will lead you to the west and southwest, respectively. If you want to visit western Patagonia, route 5 is a good choice.
Finally for visiting the Atlantic shore of Buenos Aires (province), you need to head to the southeast access highway and then take route 2, a very good highway to Mar del Plata city.
As a tourist is possible to rent a car while in Buenos Aires, in the zones of Centro, Retiro, Versalles,Nunez, and Ezeiza.
There are daily journeys to and from Colonia and Montevideo in Uruguay.
Three companies operate this service.
- Buquebus- Darsena Norte/Puerto Madero terminal - Av. Antártida Argentina 821 (1104). Tel.: (54-11) 4316-6500
- Seacat Colonia- Darsena Norte/Puerto Madero terminal - Av. Antártida Argentina 821 (1104). Tel.: (54-11) 4314-5100
- Colonia Express - Darsena Sur terminal - Pedro de Mendoza 330. +54 (11) 4317-4100
Colonia Express is typically the cheapest option. To Colonia, it can be as low as AR$216.60 online and this is frequently available. However, it leaves from the small and dilapidated Darsena Sur terminal which is in La Boca. When arriving from Uruguay late at night, catch a taxi from the terminal area instead of trying to meander around. Seacat Colonia is the second cheapest options. To Colonia, it can be as low as AR$228.00 online though it is hard to get this rate and most will likely have to pay the Economia rate of AR$328.00, the Flexible rate of AR$356.00 or Full Rate of AR$397.00. If you are already in Buenos Aires already there is an AR$277.00 rate available at Puerto Madero terminal. They leave from the much nicer Darsena Norte Terminal. In low season, you may be on the same ferry as the Buquebus passengers who probably paid significantly more. Buquebus is the most expensive but most popular option. To Colonia, they have a cheaper slow boat as well as a slightly more expensive hydrofoil. For about 36 pesos ($10) you can upgrade to first class both ways, which includes VIP lounge access and a free glass of champagne. Highly recommended on the nicer boats (you can upgrade on board).
In June 2015 the Buquebus rate to Colonia for those holding U.S. passports was $70 US each way. It waqs quite expensive for a short ride, but Colonia was a delight.
From the official city site: The city is an important destination for the maritime and fluvial cruisers industry of South America. The Benito Quinquela Martín Passenger Terminal, a few blocks away from downtown, at Ramón Castillo street between Avenida de los Inmigrantes and Mayor Luisioni street, has a surface of 7,100 square meters, a boarding room for 1,000 passengers and baggage facilities with capacity for 2,500 suitcases. Additional features include tourist information, handicrafts shops, snack bars as well as the offices for Migration, Customs, Interpol and Prefectura (Coast Guard).
You may also take a boat from nearby Tigre to Nueva Palmira in Uruguay. Trains leave from Retiro Station to Tigre frequently. Boat services to Nueva Palmira also connect to Colonia del Sacramento by bus. As always, be careful of leaving your belongings at a station
There is also a service from Montevideo-Carmelo-Tigre-Buenos Aires [www]. It costs around 36 pesos($10) one way for the whole thing. Get the tickets and depart from Tres Cruces in Montevideo. The price includes a bus to Carmelo, boat to Tigre, and another bus to the center of Buenos Aires. They often have very good special offers that include some nights in hotels in Buenos Aires.
Grimaldi Lines - Freighter Travel operates a bi-monthly freighter link from Europe to South-America via Africa. Five freighter ships do the rotation and each accepts 12 passengers. The journey lasts about 30 days (60 days for a round trip) and port calls include: Hamburg, Tillbury, Antwerp, Le Havre, Bilbao, Casablanca, Dakar, Banjul, Conakry, Freetown, Salvador de Bahia, Vitoria, Rio de Janeiro, Santos Zarate, Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Paranagua, Santos, Rio de Janeiro, Dakar, Emden, and back to Hamburg. Only the stops in Europe and at Buenos Aires permit passengers to either embark or disembark. However, passengers are allowed to visit all of the visited ports. All the port calls are subject to change depending on the loading and unloading needs of the ship. Tickets for a cabin on a Europe to Buenos Aires trip start at €1450/pp for a double cabin and €1890 for a single cabin (more expensive luxury cabins are available).
Transportation - Get Around
The public transport in Buenos Aires is very good, although crowded during rush hour and the bus network can be confusingly complex. The metro (or underground railway) here is called the "Subte", which is short forSubterraneo (underground). The network itself is not very large, but reaches most tourist attractions of the city, and there is a large range of bus routes and several suburban railways used by commuters. Trains, subte and bus are most easily paid for with a SUBE card (20 pesos), which is a magnetic card that you recharge with money in stations orkioscos (grocery shops) equipped with the relevant machine. One card can be shared by any number of people (provided it has enough credit) since it is used only once, upon entering the transport.
Finding your way around is relatively easy. Most of the city grid is divided into equal squares with block numbers in the hundreds, using a grid system similar to Manhattan, New York. Most streets are one way with the adjacent parallels going the other way, so beware that the bus or taxi won't follow the same route back. If traveling by taxi, you simply need to tell the driver the street and block number, e.g. "Santa Fe 2100"; or two intersecting streets, e.g. "Corrientes y Callao".
City maps are issued by many different publishers (Guía T, LUMI) and the local tourist authority. They are indispensable for those wanting to use public transportation, since they include all bus routes. As always, check towards which direction the map is pointing, because some maps are bottom up (South on the top of the map). This is true for the maps at the official taxi booth at Ezeiza airport.
Walking is a great way to get around Buenos Aires during the day. With the grid system it is relatively easy to get around and because of the traffic it may even be quicker than a taxi or bus. The larger avenidas are lined with shops so there is plenty so see. In the Micro centro calle Florida is a pedestrian shopping street where you can walk from Plaza San Martin to Avenida de Mayo near the Plaza de Mayo. It crosses Lavalle (also pedestrian only) which takes you to the Plaza de la Republica and the Obelisk.
Taxis are not the quickest way to move around the more congested parts of the city, especially during rush hour, as traffic jams are common. Still, you will find that taxis are usually rather inexpensive, convenient, and exciting (in a white-knuckled, classic-wooden-roller-coaster kind of way). Make sure to take the "radio taxi", as some taxis do no turn on the meter and will ask for a very expensive fare.
It is relatively safe to travel by taxis. If you are uncomfortable hailing a taxi on the street you can have your hotel or restaurant call a taxi for you. You should always check the driver´s personal information is legible in the back part of the front seat, and make sure they turn on the meter after they set off, to avoid any disagreement over the fare later. It is suggested to use small bills and exact or almost exact changes with taxis, since as with many large cities around the world, it sometimes can be quite problematic of getting changes back from a taxi driver.
The principal means of public transportation within the city are the buses (colectivos). Tickets must be bought on the bus through a machine using a prepaid RFID proximity card named SUBE, acquiring a SUBE card on arrival is of paramount importance because since April 2016 it is the only way to pay for transportation. You can expect to pay from 6.00 to 7.00 pesos, each ticket price depending on aproximate distance and rising in 0.25 intervals.
In case of an emergency, ask a local to pay your ticket with his/her SUBE and then pay him/her back: it is an unorthodox but frequent way to travel, but locals are aware of these difficulties and most of the times helpful. In no case will the driver accept money for a ticket; he (rarely she) will simply deny you entry.
There are more than one hundred fifty lines covering the whole city. They work 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, but run less frequently on holidays and late at night. For each route the bus is painted differently making them easy to distinguish. The best way to figure out the bus system is to buy a Guía "T". It's essentially a little book with a directory of streets, which corresponds to map pages, and has bus listings on the facing page for each map. These can be bought at many kiosks around the city, or subway stations; once mastered - not a simple task - it is fairly easy for a seasoned traveler to get pretty much anywhere in the city at any time by combining two or more bus and/or subte lines.
Otherwise, visitors who are comfortable with speaking a little Spanish can call 131, a toll-free free telephone number from any phone, to help you find whichcolectivo to take. You just have to tell the corner (or the street and the number) where you're at and the one you want to get to.
On most services, board the bus and tell the driver your destination (or if you already know the fee, do what Argentines do—just yell how much the ticket is); he will press a button instructing the coin machine to take a certain amount of money for you, which will then appear on the machine as the amount to insert. Step a bit further back into the bus and insert coins into the machine which now knows your destination and has calculated your fare because the driver punched it in. You will receive change and your ticket automatically, collect it at the bottom of the machine.
If you're using the SUBE proximity card, just show your card to the driver, and also say the ticket price or your destination. Just wait for the driver to selects your destination on his panel, you will notice the amount to be paid on the display of the yellow reader with the SUBE label next to him. You can then use the card against it and the payment will be processed, and the balance of the card will be shown. Please note that no actual ticket will given to you when paying by SUBE card. DO NOT use the card before the driver selects your destination, since he may still be in the processing of processing your order and say "NO, TODAVIA" ("No, I'm still selecting the destination", or "NOT YET!").
You can also use buses to move in and around the suburban area (Gran Buenos Aires), but the fares are higher and navigating Buenos Aires' immense metro area (10 million people) while avoiding dangerous areas can be a daunting task. The suburban-only lines (you can differentiate them because their line numbers are above 200) have less comfort, and many of them don't run after 11PM.
By Subte (subterraneo)
The city has a subway network ("subte", short form of "tren subterráneo", which means "underground train"). It is very efficient and you can save a lot of time by using it. It is cheap (5.00 pesos for unlimited transfer as long as you keep underground travelling throughout the network). If you need to be somewhere by 9AM or 9:30AM on a weekday, however, the Subte will be incredibly crowded and depending on where you are catching it from, you may have to miss several trains in a row before there is space for you. Once on board, during peak hours it can get very crowded. Factor this into your timing arrangements to make sure that you make your meeting on time.
The subte runs approximately from 5AM-10PM, except on Sundays, when service starts at 8AM.
Many subte stations have interesting murals, tiles and artwork. The "Peru" station is the oldest subway station and still has the old trains that require passengers to open the doors manually. Transferring between lines is indicated by combinaciónsigns.
Remember to know which way your destination lies from your starting point, as the network uses its cabeceras (head stations) as way pointers and it can get confusing which way is the one you are supposed to ride. If you happen to realize that you are headed in the wrong direction, ask a local if they know of which the next station with a andén central (central platform) is, there you can easily get on the right train by just going across the platform. For example, if you want to get from Palermo to El Centro using the D line, you will use the platform headed to Catedral because that's the one in Plaza de Mayo. If you instead go for Congreso de Tucuman, this one in Cabildo Avenue, simply wait to get to Palermo, Plaza Italia, or Carranza station and the take the other train.
As for the bus, you can use your SUBE card to pay your trip (simply swipe the card at the turnstile to get to the station). Also every station has a SUBE charging post, either automatic or attended, this can be quite useful because sometimes its easier to walk to a close known Subte station than trying to find a kiosk that charges.
The current network comprises six underground lines, labelled "A" to "E" and "H" which all converge to the downtown area and connect to the main bus and train terminals.
The A line used to be a destination on its own because of the old wooden carriages. It was built in 1913 making it the oldest metro system in Latin America, the Southern Hemisphere, and the entire Spanish-speaking world. The old wooden carriages have been replaced in 2013.
In the southeast branch (the E line), the service is extended by a trainway known as premetro, but beware, it goes to some of the least desirable places in the city. Premetro is 0.60 pesos, or 0.70 with a Subte Transfer.
The subte and premetro services are under Metrovias S.A. authority. You can reach their Customer Service personnel by calling -toll free (within Argentina)- on 0800-555-1616 or by sending a fax to +54 4553-9270. For more information you can visit this links, [www] .
By commuter train
Commuter trains connect Buenos Aires’ center to its suburbs and nearby provinces. They mostly cater to local commuters and not tourists. The terminal stations are the same from suburban transportation. From Retiro station you can take the train to the Tigre Delta. There you can do a boat cruise and see the wetland and recreational area of the porteños.
For specific lines:
- Ferrovias (Belgrano line; 0800-777-3377; www.ferrovias.com.ar) To Villa Rosa and the northern suburbs.
- Trenes de Buenos Aires (TBA, Mitre line; 0800-333-3822; www.tbanet.com.ar) To Belgrano, San Isidro, Tigre, Rosario.
- Transportes Metropolitanos (San Martín line; 4011-5826) To Pilar and the northern suburbs.
- Metropolitano (Roca line; 0800-1-2235-8736) To the southern suburbs and La Plata.
- Ferrobaires (4306-7919; www.ferrobaires.gba.gov.ar) Bahía Blanca and Atlantic beach towns.
- Trenes de Buenos Aires (Sarmiento line; 0800-333-3822; www.tbanet.com.ar) To the southwestern suburbs and Luján.
There is a good deal of railway connections to the suburban area laid out in such a way that it resembles a shape of a star. The quality of the service ranges from excellent to not quite so desirable, depending of the line; ask before using them at night time.
The main railway terminals are Retiro, Constitución, Once and Federico Lacroze. From all of these you can then use the metro and bus network to get right into the center. The suburban fares are very cheap.
- Metrovias [www]: Urquiza trainway and metro - Good service, safe for traveling at any hour.
- Metropolitano : San Martín, Roca, Belgrano Sur and other trainways - Currently not at its peak condition.
- TBA [www]: Sarmiento and Mitre trainways - Good service and mostly good trains. The Sarmiento line is the most used one. It is however overcrowded and can be very difficult to use in rush hours; also covers less desirable places. Don't be surprised in summer to see people standing holding the sliding doors open to try to keep the train cooler in the rush hours. The Mitre line, in one of its branches (which covers the richest zones) and has the best trains seen in Latin America, featuring air conditioning, internal heating and fairly comfortable seats. Note that the air conditioning is often inadequate in summer, especially when the train is full. This branch takes you to some really beautiful places like "Tigre", a very picturesque small town with old French-style little houses and a beautiful walkside by the river near a theme park,Parque de la Costa in the north of the suburban area. Be careful as every line has its own branches, so be sure you are boarding the correct train (there are displays on each platform, and a huge display oncentral hall).
- Trenes del Litoral [www]: From Posadas (neighboring Paraguay) to Estacion Frederico Lacroze through Paso de los Libres (neighboring Brazil) and Concordia (neighboring Uruguay) - Fair service, depending on the price. All cars are a little bit dirty and the train is very slow (20 hours). The tourist class has a bad service, but first class or the dormitory class are fairly comfortable. It is better to go by bus, using the "coche cama" service which takes about 11 hours from Posadas to Buenos Aires.
- Tren de la costa [www] (site available in English): It's a small touristic cosy train which runs from Maipu st (change from TBA's Mitre Line, Mitre Branch, Mitre station) to Parque de la costa in Tigre, with stops in very exclusive zones such as San Isidro which is worth a couple of hours walk. As a tourist attraction, tickets are far more expensive than regular trains: one way daily ticket costs 16 pesos for non-residents and allows you to hop on hop off as many times as you want. Be sure to check their website as it offers a brief description of each station and its attractions.
If departing from Retiro station, it's a good idea for a whole day journey (specially in summer where daylight lasts much more) to buy a one way ticket at Mitre station, stop for a small walk at some of the stations and arrive to Tigre where you can find lots of attractions, and in then go back to Retiro using the Tigre branch of the Mitre line.
If you are truly adventurous (and a bit of a risk-taker), cars are available to rent in Buenos Aires. There are several things to keep in mind before renting a car in Buenos Aires. First, Buenos Aires is such an excellent city for walking that if something is within 20 or 30 blocks, it is often worth the extra effort to go on foot and get to know the city on a more intimate level. The terrain is flat, so it's can be easily walked on. Second, if you aren't much of a walker, the public transportation system in Buenos Aires is cheap and efficient. It can get you anywhere fast! Third, and perhaps most important, the traffic in Buenos Aires is extremely unpredictable. Stoplights, signs, traffic laws—for many porteño drivers, are merereferences. Picture yourself trying to get several thousand heads of cattle to move down the street and stay inside the lanes, and you have a decent idea of driving in Buenos Aires. It's also very difficult to find where to park your car in many neighborhoods, and close to impossible in downtown. Do NOT leave your car parked where you're not supposed to because it will be towed away, and the recovery fee is VERY EXPENSIVE. Many hidden speed control cameras have been installed lately (specially in avenues), so be sure to stick to the speed limit, even in routes outside the city. DO fasten your seat belt and have your lights turned on or you will be fined.
If driving outside the city, you should not only stick to the speed limit (which varies a lot depending on where you are), but have your identification and driving license with you, as it's possible that you get stopped by traffic control policemen. National routes are in a good state of maintenance, but be careful in province only routes as there may be unexpected and dangerous potholes in the pavement.
There is also the option to do private car tours. One (fun) option is to go for Buenos Aires Vintage Tours, which offers original Citroën 3CVs to do the tour. Check Buenos Aires Vintage for details on available tours.
Buenos Aires is not the most suitable city for cycling. Traffic is dangerous and hardly respectful toward bicycles; the biggest vehicle wins the right of way, and bikes are low on the totem pole. However recently a bicycling network has been developed and it's constantly expanding. Check the web site for the updated map: http://mejorenbici.buenosaires.gob.ar/ It can be a very hectic experience, but by no means impossible if you have ridden a bike in traffic before. Be sure to avoid avenues, specially if busy.
Some spots call out for two-wheeled exploration, such as Palermo’s parks and the Reserva Ecológica Costanera Sur; on weekends and some weekdays you can rent bikes at these places. Here's some tips:
- In Buenos Aires, traffic is really good at anticipating the green light: some cars/buses start going when it's still red, knowing that it will turn green in the next second or few.
- Indicators and head lights seem to be used randomly, don't be surprised if a car suddenly cuts into you without indicating first.
- On one way streets, stick to the left lane to avoid the buses which go really fast and stop all the time as well as the taxis that go at a snail's pace and stop or change direction suddenly to pick up a fare.
- BEST RATED -
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Beaches in Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires beaches are beautiful and pristine and offer everything from lazy days lounging in the sun to quality restaurants and exciting nightlife. Visiting the beaches should be a must on any Buenos Aires travel itinerary.
Mar de Ajo
Mar de Ajo is located on the Atlantic coast in the Buenos Aires Province. It is a beautiful seaside resort that offers fun for people of all ages. The climate is warm year round, with temperatures peaking during the summer months, making it a popular tourist destination. Throughout the year, Mar de Ajo boasts regular temperatures in the seventies, while the summer months climb well into the nineties. Mar de Ajo is commonly referred to as "Margarita Beach," in honor of a sunken ship of the same name that perished near the coast. During the day, you can enjoy laying on the beach enjoying the sun, swimming in the clear blue waters or fishing from the largest pier in the Coast District. Clams and shellfish are very prominent, making a successful fishing venture more likely. At night, you can enjoy the many restaurants along the beach that offer beautiful scenic views of the ocean and sunset. The Mar de Ajo casino also offers enjoyment to beach dwellers after nightfall. If you are looking for a day filled with sun and fun, followed by exciting nightlife, Mar de Ajo is the beach for you.
Mar de las Pampas
If you are looking for a quieter, more serene beach experience, Mar de las Pampas is the perfect destination. Not only will you enjoy the white sandy beach, you will revel in the glorious nature that surrounds it. Over one million trees, including pine trees, eucalyptus and cypress trees make this beach experience an unforgettable one. The warm temperatures and peaceful silence of this beach make it a relaxation haven. Imagine yourself walking along the coast with only the sounds of the waves crashing and the wind blowing to accompany you. Mar de las Pampas is located near the Argentinian Sea and about 5 miles from Villa Gesell.
Mar del Plata
Mar del Plata, known as "The Happy City," is the most popular tourist beach in the Buenos Aires Province. In addition to the glorious white sand beaches, there are several sand hills and cliffs. Visitors can take long walks through the sand hills and go paragliding or even parachuting. Water activities like SCUBA diving, surfing and jet skiing make for the perfect beach experience. Mar del Plata also boasts incredible sport fishing, renting boats and offering guided fishing trips to those who are looking for the perfect catch. Mar del Plata offers the best of both worlds; peace and relaxation as well as exciting activities and fantastic nightlife. This is the perfect beach retreat for those are who are looking to get the most out of their time in Buenos Aires.
Shops at shopping malls and Supermarkets are usually open from 10:00 to 22:00 hrs, 7 days a week. Non-chain, small stores usually close around 20:00 and stay closed on Saturday afternoons and Sundays except on big avenues and touristic areas. All of the main avenues are full with kiosks and very small convenience stores that stay open 24 hours. You will find no less than 2 for each 100 meters you walk. In the Recoleta area, several bookstores and record stores close as late as 2:30AM daily.
The Argentinian currency is the Peso (Argentinian Peso; ARP). A 100 Pesos bill can be hard to break, so avoid changing round numbers so you get some change (e.g. when changing money change the amount that will give you 90 Pesos instead of 100 Pesos).
Money can be exchanged at Banco de la Nación Argentina at the airport and at any of the cambios (changes) along Florida or Lavalle, but, if you have the time, shop around for the best rate at the zone known as "La city". This zone is the banking district of Buenos Aires, and numerous exchange places are located right near one another. This mean fierce competition and options to check the best rates. In addition to this, in this zone is possible not only to change US Dollars or Euros, but also some other major currencies from Latin America (such as Brazilian Reals, Mexican Pesos, Colombian Pesos, etc.), Canadian Dollars, Asian (Japanese Yens, Chinese Renminbis, etc.), and Europe (Swedish Kronas, Swiss Francs, etc.). This can mean a saving of time and money by not having to convert 2 times. Take into consideration that wherever you go to an official money changer, you are always officially required to present your passport and copies are not acceptable.
Traveller's Checks are rarely used and may actually be difficult to exchange, but there is an American Express office at San Martin Plaza that will take American Express' Traveller's Checks. Banco Frances will cash them with proper identification, and are located all over B.A., including around tourist attractions such as El Obelesco.
Banks open from 10:00 to 15:00 and only on weekdays. Banelco or "Red Link" ATMs can be found around the city, but banks and ATMs are few and far between in residential neighborhoods like Palermo. Try major roads near metro stations. ATMs are the most convenient source of cash but should be used only in banks or ATMs that acted as the banks' branches. Just like in most cities, independent ATMs (not affiliated with any bank) are considered less safe.
ATM limits and fees| Some ATMs strictly limit withdrawals on foreign cards. You may be able to get out only 300 Pesos per day, so plan to visit the ATM often or hunt around for a more relaxed limit. The Citibank multipurpose ATMs are currently the only ones allowing withdrawals over 300 Pesos per day (probably up to the limit of your card). Otherwise, look for ATMs in the Link network. Banco Patagonico has a limit of 600 Pesos. The Visa Plus network of ATM cards have a lower limit of 320 Pesos per withdrawal with U$5–6 fee. Fees vary wildly from nothing to US $5–6. Read the fine print!}} As of July 2011, all ATMs in the Link and Banelco networks are charging a 16 Pesos fee for withdrawals from American cards. As these are the only two ATM networks to be found in Buenos Aires, plan accordingly. Cash exchange rates for US Dollars are very competitive, and it may be advantageous to simply bring a large sum of US currency.
Fees for banking may be from both your bank and the Argentinian bank. Specific fee amounts depends on your bank and the ATM you use; most ATMs will charge foreign travellers around US $5–7 per transaction, which will be added to your withdrawal amount. Sometimes the machines also dispense US Dollars for international bank cards that are members of the Cirrus and PLUS networks. Visitors from Brazil can find many Banco Itaú agencies all over the city.
Change is not a problem in Buenos Aires anymore since the implementation of the SUBE card for urban transport. However of you haven't acquired your SUBE card yet, be sure to always have some spare change in coins, as these are requires in large numbers for the bus (Subte and urban train lines do have cashiers).
As of July 2011, credit cards are very widely accepted in the city center and Recoleta, and it is not an issue to use a card for a small purchase such as lunch.
Credit cards are used less common in Argentina than in the USA or Europe. However, most of tourist-oriented businesses accept credit cards, although sometimes with additional handling fee to offset the fee that the merchants have to pay to the credit card networks.
- The mate: It is a sort of cup made from different materials, commonly from a desiccated vegetal core (a gourd), sometimes with silver or gold ornaments; which is used to drink mate, the most traditional social non-alcoholic beverage. The mate is drunk in Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, and southern Brazil.
- Other gaucho items: Traditional clothes, knives, etc.
- Leather items: The cow is totally used here: meat, milk, sausages, and leather; all high quality. You can find coats and other leather products on Murillo street though the quality of the goods here varies widely. The best place to find high quality leather goods may be the malls and other major shopping streets.
- Alfajores: These traditional cake/cookies, often containing dulce de leche, are delicious.
- Football Jersey: Football ('soccer' for Americans) is a huge part of Argentine culture, so it is normal to bring home a jersey to represent your time there. Shirts from River, Boca or the Argentine National Team are always very popular and make great gifts.
- Tango Shoes The zona de calzados is just Past Diagonal Norte on Suipacha. You will see many shops grouped together that sell tango shoes. As with many things in Buenos Aires shop around and make sure you are not getting the gringo price. Men can buy excellent hand made leather shoes for around US $50. For those of you with time on your hands you can ask them to make you a pair. They will draw your foot on a piece of paper and you can design your own shoe for the same price. Do be aware that if they tell you that it will be ready in a week, that probably means about 10 days (or around 7 business days).
- Handmade Ponchos: The Native Americans in Argentina wear ponchos made of handwoven materials, usually distinct from other regions of South America. Some are seasonal, many are considered unisex. A good deal can be found, especially on the outskirts of the city.
- A Bottle of Malbec: Argentina is famous for its wine, and Malbec is the signature grape of the land. A fine quality Malbec can be had for 8-10 US Dollars per bottle and makes a fine gift. If you know nothing about wine, go to a liquor store and look for the same brands/years found in nice restaurants.
- Florida Street and Lavalle Street (from 500 up to 1000) are for pedestrians only and is the place to find the majority of tourist's shops in MicroCentro. At the intersection of these two pedestrian streets, there is often some sort of interesting street performance going on, especially at night.
- The Palermo Viejo in Palermo has many shops that will appeal to young or artsy people (think New York's SoHo). Nearby is Murillo Street, a block full of leather houses.
One of the Porteño's passions, which they are very proud of, is to read. Buenos Aires is believed to be the city with the most bookstores per citizen in the world, it hosts some of the biggest and prettiest bookstores of the continent, and it hosts some og the most prestigious publishing houses in the Spanish speaking world. Expect to see people reading at the bus, metro, at the park, and even at the streets! There are several options:
- Santa Fe Avenue offers not only lots and lots of clothes and book shops but also a nice atmosphere where you can walk along. You can start from the intersection of Santa Fe Avenue with 9 de Julio Avenue, and walk along Santa Fe up to the Alto Palermo Shopping (Av. Santa Fe 3253).
- In the Corrientes Ave. from the Obelisco (big obelisk landed in the intersection with 9 de Julio avenue) up to Ayacucho St., you will find a lot of cheap bookstores with tons of books mostly in Spanish. Some remain open as late as 3AM, Monday to Monday.
- For second-hand books, try Parque Centenario and Parque Rivadavia's kiosks, both in the Caballito neighbourhood. Open from Wednesdays to Sundays, they offer a great variety of books, many long out of print, for convenient prices. You may also find food stands and a very relaxed and familiar environment.
- El Ateneo, originally a theater (Teatro Grand Splendid), has now become in one of the top 5 most beautiful bookstores in the world [www]. It has a reasonable offering of books in English. Located at Santa Fe 1860.
- For that rare, collectible, antique or hard-to-find book, try ALADA, the Asociación de Libreros Anticuarios de la Argentina (Argentina's Guild of Antique Booksellers). In their website you will find an index of the most prestigious bookstores of the city, some of them of international prestige. Most of these are located at Microcentro and Recoleta.
Markets and fairs
Saturdays and Sundays are great days for the outdoor markets, especially in the summer.
- Recoleta: The Feria Recoleta (in Plaza Francia) is an assortment of all sorts of artisan products, from jewelry to shawls.
- Palermo: Plaza Serrano in Palermo viejo comes alive in the afternoon with more artisan's handiwork and freelance clothes designers. Another nearby Plaza (in Palermo viejo) between Malabia, Armenia, Costa Rica and Nicaragua streets has stalls with items for sale. The Último Taller at Jorge L. Borges 1975 (between Soler and Nicaragua streets) sells funky candles and street address plates and markers; there are charming cats, and photos can be etched onto these plates as well. The shop is open Monday to Saturday 10AM-9PM;
- San Telmo: On Sundays, Plaza Dorrego in San Telmo offers tango and antique products. Defensa street from Chile to San Juan comes to life with live performers and vendors. The crowds are thick, so keep an eye on your possessions.
- San Isidro: Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays, the "Feria de Anticuarios" at the train station of Barrancas has a nice atmosphere. It offers nearly 70 stands of antiques, from toys to books and stuff for your home. Check their website for pictures and more info.[www]
- San Fernando: Saturdays from 10 to 18 hs., and Wednesdays from 10 to 16 hs. This is a market where you will be buying items directly from producers, with the condition that goods are produced with social and environment ethics in mind. You'll find books, vegetables, hand made clothing, musical instruments, etc. If you plan to buy things, remember to bring your own bag. The market is located at San Fernando train station, in Madero and Rosario streets (between Sarmiento and 9 de Julio).
While the primary consumption of Argentinians is beef, there are other options in this cosmopolitan city. Italian food is pervasive but in neighborhoods like Palermo, pizza joints are seeing heavy competition from sushi, fusion, and even vegetarian bistros. Just about everything can be delivered - including fantastic, gourmet helado (ice cream).
You will want to try asado (beef/steak barbecue) at a parrilla, restaurants specializing in roasted meats. There are expensive parrillas, and more simple and cost effective ones, In either case you will likely have some of the best "meat" you have ever tasted. The bife de lomo (tenderloin) is unbelievably tender.
As matter in fact. the first regular refrigator ship is the Steamers Le Frigorifique andParaguay, that carried frozen mutton from Argentina to France.
Jugoso means rare (literally "juicy"), however the Argentine concept of rare is very different from that of someone from the States (perhaps its a tourist thing, but an American ordering rare is likely to get something between medium well and hockey puck). Argentines cook their meat all the way through, and they can only get away with this method because the meat is so tender that cooking it well does not necessarily mean it's shoe leather.
For Westerners, don't be afraid to order "azul" ("blue"), you will not get a blue steak, more like an American Medium Rare. If you like your meat "bloody", or practically "still walking" it might pay to learn words like "sangre" ("blood"), or to make statements like "me gusta la sangre" ("I like the blood"). Don't be afraid to spend two minutes stressing how rare you want your steak to your waiter- this is something no one talks about in guidebooks but every other American and Brit once you arrive will tell you the same thing, if you want it rare, you have to explain exactly how rare.
Only the most old school parrillas (grills) don't offer at least one or two pasta dishes and pizza is everywhere.
Parrilla Tour Buenos Aires [www] leads walking tours around different neighborhoods of classic parrillas. During the tour, participants stop and sample traditional foods at 4 restaurants, 3 parrillas (steakhouses) and an artisanal ice cream shop, as well as learn about the history and culture around Argentine cuisine. The stops chosen tend to be hole-in-the-wall, locals only, establishments not in guidebooks.
Italian and Spanish food are almost native here, as the cultural heritage heralds in great part from these two countries. Other popular meals are pizzas and empanadas (small pastries stuffed with a combination of cheese and meats). They are a popular home delivery or takeaway/takeout option.
Pizza is a strong tradition in Buenos Aires. It comes al molde (cooked in a pan, usually medium to thick crust), a la piedra (baked in a stone oven, usually thin to medium crust), and a la parilla (cooked on a parilla grill, very thin, crispy crust). Best places: "Los Inmortales", "Las Cuartetas", "Guerrín", ·El Cuartito", "Banchero's", "Kentucky".
"El Cuartito" in Recoleta has a delicious "Fugazzeta rellena" pizza. This restaurant can be packed with families and friends even at midnight.
In "Guerrin", ask for a slice of pizza muzarella with a glass of Moscato.
|Yo Soy Vegetariano|
In Buenos Aires, as in the rest of the Argentina, beef is served everywhere. However vegetarians need not despair in Buenos Aires. No less than a dozen vegetarian oriented bistros have popped up in the last few years (notable inPalermo) and many spots popular with tourists offer inventive vegetarian versions of traditional meals.
Vegan food is available at these restaurants:
- Artemisia - 3877 Cabrera
- Bio Restaurant - Humboldt 2199
- Bodhi - Chile 1763
- Granix - Florida 165 2nd floor
- Green Life - Paraguay 2743
- Los Sabios - Corrientes 3733
- Lotus - Cordoba 1577
- Prana Cocina Vegetariana - El Salvador 5101
- Sattva - Montevideo 446
- Siempre Verde - Arribeños 2127
One incredible and typical Argentinian kind of "cookie", is the alfajor, which consists of two round sweet biscuits joined together with a sweet jam, generally dulce de leche (milk jam, akin to caramel), covered with chocolate, meringue or something similarly sweet. Any kiosk, supermarket, bakery and even cafe is crammed with a mind-jamming variety of alfajores, and every porteño has its favourite. Be sure not to leave without trying one.
Also, all bakeries offer a wide selection of facturas, delicious sweet pastries of all shapes, doughs and flavors, most of them of French, Spanish and Italian inspiration but with a twist of their own. Porteño's are very keen of these, which are generally served by afternoon, with -of course- some mate.
Do not expect service to be comparable to large cities in Europe or in the USA. Don't expect your waiter to take your drinks order when the menu is delivered and don't expect the menu to arrive very quickly. If you want service, attract the waiter's attention. S/he will never come over to take your empty plate, etc., unless they want to close.
Patience is the key. Argentinians are so accustomed to the relaxed service that they don't bother to complain directly to the waiter, but only comment toward fellow Argentinians. Speak out to the waiters if you feel it is appropriate.
There are a lot of al paso (walk through) places to eat; you eat standing up or in high chairs at the bar. Meals vary from hot-dogs (panchos), beef sausages (chorizos, or its sandwich version choripán), pizzas, milanesas (breaded fried cutlets), etc. Don't forget to indulge in the perennially popular mashed squash - it is delicious and often comes with rice and makes a full meal in itself. It is perfect for vegetarians and vegans to fill up on.
You can go to a huge variety of small restaurants, with cheap and generous servings, most notably the ones owned by Spanish and Italian immigrants. There are also many places which offer foreign meals, mostly Japanese, Chinese, Thai, Arabic, Spanish, and Italian.
- Siga la Vaca. Several locations throughout the city, notably in Puerto Madero and Costanera, offers buffet-style asado fresh off the grill and includes a well-stocked salad bar. Including wine, approximately $80 per person.
- Las Cholas, Arce 306, . Great parrilla specializing in Northern Argentine found in Las Cañitas. The rooftop seating upstairs is a great environment. Don't expect to see many tourists here, just a lot of Porteños out for a three hour weekend meal. Try the Humita (made with mashed corn, cheese and spices) and Tamales (a sort of flour with minced beef) or anything off of the parrilla is great. Do not skip dessert.
- Guerrin (pizza), Corrientes 1368, . Go for a great pizza in a really noisy environment
- El Farol, Estado de Israel 4488 (y Rocamora), . "Typical argentinian food": Spanish + Italian + meat. Very high quality.
- La Biela (near the Recoleta cemetery). Very nice cafe just outside of the cemetery, shaded by an enormous rubber tree. In very ancient times, it was a saying: If you are not greeted at La Biela, you do not exist. When the bill comes, remember that the largest part of the cost was not the meal, but the right to show yourself there.
The most expensive and luxurious restaurants are found in the Puerto Madero zone, near downtown, heading to the River Plate.
But the nicer places in terms of decoration, food and personality are in Buenos Aires/Palermo.
- The Grill at the Marriott Plaza Hotel. Acknowledged as a five star restaurant it offers the finest international cuisine and is considered among the best restaurants in Buenos Aires.
- Primafila, . Av. Puyerredon 2501. Classy Italian restaurant where you will find thin crust pizzas due to their brick-oven (dinner only, not available during lunch hours). Extensive menu including salads, pasta, pizza, meats and seafood. Expect to pay around 20 dollars for a pizza.
- Cabaña Las Lilas, . Alicia Moreau de Justo 516. This place had the reputation of being the best place to eat steak in Buenos Aires. The steaks are enormous and succulent. Be warned if you eat here, count on them having to roll you out as you will be near explosion (prob best to wear trousers with elasticated waists!). Its a constant struggle not to stuff yourself with the mouth watering appetizers before your steak even arrives. When it does, you may chuckle at the little plastic cow figurine jabbed into the meat, smiling at you and bearing the words “Estoy jugoso," - "I am juicy" (meaning rare). Count on spending around 85 pesos for a steak, 12 for a beer, and 80 for a bottle of wine from their extensive list of Argentine and international vintages. You can also share an order of steak, which the restaurant will serve on separate plate. The doneness is different in Argentina than in the U.S., for medium rare, order rare.
- Restaurantino & Cafetino, . Olga Cossetini 791, Puerto Madero East;. In this up scale Italian restaurant expect to find cloth napkins, fine silverware and snooty waiters in starched uniforms and long aprons. As alluring as these characteristics sound the real highlight is the food which is rich and decadent. Wide selection of main courses including fresh pasta in homemade sauces ($15–30AR), traditional chicken dishes including Chicken Marsala $20AR-$30AR), and a variety of meats including Argentine parilla style steaks ($35AR). The menu of seafood is worth considering with rareties such as fresh Yellow-fin Tuna steak in a pesto sauce ($30AR).
- Rodizio (is THE place to go if you want to eat the world famous Argentine asado. It is not cheap, but you can eat as much as you can of the highest quality steak, which is served in 'swords'. There are 3 branches: Puerto Madero, Costanera Norte (unbelievable view to the coast line). And a recently opened one in the tourist city of Mar del Plata.
Sights & Landmarks
If you are a fan of walking in green open spaces and parks in big cities like Buenos Aires, be sure not to miss a promenade in Palermo, a beautiful area in the northern part of the city. Here you will find not only open spaces to walk in but also a large lake where you can rent paddle boats and a huge flower garden that is free to enter! Although the Japanese and the botanical gardens and the surroundings are very nice, they are also very noisy as several major roads traverse the area. For a quiet, shady walk or jog head to the golf course north of the railway tracks.
Another great place to walk along and experience Argentine street life is El Puerto de Buenos Aires. Its personality however is quite contrasting during the day and during the night.
La Boca has the Caminito pedestrian street with arts and crafts. There is also a river cruise you can take from there where you can see a huge picturesque metal structure across the river. You can try and catch a rowboat to Avellaneda on the other side of the water for 0.50 pesos, but you will have to try your luck as the rower may not allow you on citing that its dangerous. La Boca is famous for Tango and you can often catch glimpses of Tango dancers practicing in the streets. If you fancy having a picture taking with a tango dancer you can but expect to pay a small fee. In addition to tango, La Boca is famous for its football, and you can take a tour of the La Bombonera Stadium where the buildings are painted in bright colors.
The prices for almost everything in La Boca tend to be 2 to 3 times higher compared to the rest of the city. It's very touristy since it is an enjoyable place with some authentic Argentine sights. La Boca is probably best to be enjoyed during the day when the streets are crowded and there are other tourists around, it is generally advised to be avoided at night.
There is no Subte to La Boca, but many buses go there.
The Cementerio de la Recoleta: This is where all the rich families in Buenos Aires have their final resting places. Expect to see big ornate tombs. Be sure to visit the tomb of Eva Perón, the daughter of an aristocrat and beloved First Lady who, despite having the most visited tomb in the cemetery, is considered by many to be too close toward the people for eternal interment in Recoleta.
The Palermo Viejo district: This is a trendy neighborhood with charming cobblestone streets, bookstores, bars, and boutiques; definitely better than the touristic San Telmo area for a nighttime excursion. The Palermo station, on D line, is the closest metro stop.
San Telmo: Best visited on Sundays when tourists and locals alike flood in to attend the weekly street fair and flea market. Be watchful for good deals, and bring in your own water, as it's quite expensive here. On Sunday nights, there is a tango performance in the lovely plaza, which is specifically for tourists. (Visit an underground tango club for the most amateur experience. If there is advertising, or disco ball, then it's not an amateur)
Things to do
Argentina has a renowned football reputation and the sport is big throughout the whole country including of course, Buenos Aires. The capital is the home town of two of the most appreciated football teams in the world, Boca Juniors (which resides in Boca) and River Plate (Núñez). A game between these two legendary teams is called the "Super Clasico." This is by far the hottest ticket in the city and one of the most intense rivalries in the world, and it is often necessary to buy tickets well in advance. Also, the Argentine National Team is very, very popular. Tickets to their World Cup Qualifying matches can difficult to come by, involve waiting in very long lines, and should be ordered in advance for more convenience.
Argentinian fans are known for their passion and the songs (which are practically love songs) which they sing to their teams. Even if you are not a huge football fan, going to a game is definitely worth it just to take in the atmosphere and to observe the fans singing and cheering. While this is an experience you don't want to miss while visiting Buenos Aires, it can also be dangerous for tourists to go on their own depending on the stadium.
Tourists are often advised to go with large, organized groups with bilingual guides, in particular to a Boca Juniors game. This ensures that you can watch the game in peace and still have a great time. If you want to see a match on your own, the best choice is to see River Plate, in the rich northern suburb of Belgrano. Best to purchase a (more expensive, approx $100 pesos) Plateas (grandstand) ticket rather than being in the Populars (terraces, approx $60 pesos).
In the Plateas you can safely take your camera and enjoy the show. Don't worry about purchasing tickets in advance, often tickets go on sale only on match day, and as the stadiums are huge matches rarely sell out (except the above-mentioned Superclasico).
A trip to Buenos Aires is not complete without some sort of experience of theTango, the national dance of Argentina. A good place to go and watch some authentic Tango is at the Confiteria Idéal Suipacha 384 (just off of Corrientes, near Calle Florida). However Tango is best experienced not in La Boca and on Calle Florida, but in the Milongas. A milonga is both a place where a Tango dance will take place, as well as a specific type of tango dance.
Milongas take place either during the day or late at night. "Matinée Milongas" usually start in the early afternoon and go until 8-10PM. They are popular with tourists who may struggle staying up until 5AM every night. Inside a milongas, you will find many locals who will be more than willing to show you how to dance. The night Milongas officially start at around 11, but don't fill up until around 1:30. They may go on until 5 or 6 in the morning. Some Milongas to note are: Salon Canning, El Beso and Porteno y Bailarin.
There are many milongas held in different parts of the city every day. There's a free distribution guide called TangoMap Guide which contains all the information of the milongas day by day, including times and location. This guide also informs about tango teachers and tango shops, so it's the best reference for any tango lover. It is edited byCaserón Porteño, a Tango Guest House in Buenos Aires (http://www.caseronporteno.com) that also gives free tango lessons every day for its guests.
You can start learning tango through the group lessons offered at many studios. Some popular schools are at the Centro Cultural Borges, on the very top floor. It can be very hard to find the actual place as there are some stairs you have to go up, and then you have to go through a museum. Ask the security officer where the "Escuela de Tango"[www] is. Take note that in the summer time the rooms can get very hot. The Centro is within the Galerias Pacifico, the American-style mall near Calle Florida on San Martin. The best way to learn, and the quickest, even if you do not have a partner, is with private lessons. You can find instructors who charge as little as US $40 per hour, all the way up to ones that will charge US $100 per hour. If you want to try the authentic style that the Argentines dance socially in the milongas, look up some of the milongueros who teach tango, like Alejandro Gee, Juan Manuel Suarez, Jorge Garcia, Jorge Kero. They will not only teach you traditional tango or milonga, but you can also find out a lot about the culture by hanging out with them. You can google them up for videos or in order to find them. Many of the more 'famous' instructors command a premium price. Be warned if you start taking tango lessons it will seduce and consume your life and you will then be force to make many pilgrimages back to Buenos Aires to dance.
If you don't want to dance be careful of the eye contact you make. Here, you will not see men physically getting up to ask a woman to dance. He will get her attention with his eyes, nod or make a "let's go" move with his head. If she accepts she will nod and smile, and they will both meet on the dance floor. The locals here are very friendly and if you are interested in learning tango, asking a local for instructors is the best bet.
If you prefer to start taking lessons in reduced groups and have personal attention, there are two tango oriented hotels with professional tango teachers who offer group tango lessons every day (free for their guests). One option is Caserón Porteño (http://www.caseronporteno.com) and the other one
Tango Lodge (http://www.tangolodge.com). You can check the complete schedule for the tango lessons at their websites.
Spend a night seeing what it is like to be a real gaucho. Live the life of an Argentine cowboy; ride horses, eat traditional gaucho foods, drink traditional gaucho wines, and dance like they used to do back in the day. A great way to get out of the city for a day and see another side of Argentine culture. Great for adults, kids, or anybody who ever wanted to be a cowboy when they were younger.
Buenos Aires hosts exhilarating skydiving activities within its clear blue skies. You can experience a 20 minute flight, followed by a 35 seconds freefall, and a slow descent of nearly 7 minutes to enjoy a breathtaking view. Discover a unique bird's-eye view of Buenos Aires and its expansive pampas as you dive through 3,000 meters (9,000 feet) of open air. There is no better place to feel the adrenaline of a Tandem Skydiving Jump.
Parrilla Tour Buenos Aires [www] leads walking tours around different neighborhoods several times a week. During the tour, participants stop and sample traditional foods at 4 restaurants, 3 parrillas (steakhouses) and an artisanal ice cream shop, as well as learn about the history and culture around Argentine cuisine. The stops chosen tend to be hole-in-the-wall, locals only, establishments not in guidebooks.
Argentina is renowned for its excellent selection of wine. The most popular being Mendoza which is rated among the worlds most popular regions due to its high altitude, volcanic soils and proximity to the Andes Mountains. The terrain seems to complement the European grape varietals with interesting notes not present when produced in other climates, this allows the Argentine wine to be positioned in a league of its own.
The best way to experience and understand the selection of Argentine varietals is a wine tasting, which is offered by quite a few companies and bars around the city.
Anuva Wines [www] is one of the best wine tastings in Buenos Aires. They offer you 5 different wines to taste, 5 different food pairing to go with those wines, a general chat about wine culture in Argentina, and much more.
Check Wine Tour Urbano [www] for information on wine tasting events. Usually they are organized in Recoleta or Palermo, and consist of several design and fashion stores along a street that open their doors to wineries who want to offer their wines. Very nice atmosphere, sometimes with jazz and classic live musicians playing in the streets.
Argentina is well known for having one of the best polo teams and players in the world. The largest tournament of the year takes place in December at the polo fields in Las Cañitas. Smaller tournaments and matches can also be seen here at other times of the year. For news on tournaments and where to buy tickets for polo matches, check Asociacion Argentina de Polo at http://www.aapolo.com/
Around Buenos Aires there are plenty of Polo schools. Most Polo courses run for a week and include accommodation on site. A popular option for a day-trip is Polo Elite [www], who operate polo lessons for beginners as well as guided trips to polo matches. They provide transportation for the 45min drive from downtown to their school.
Another option is Argentina Polo Day which runs professional polo games every day of the year, as well as polo lessons for beginners and pros. Its full day program includes also a typical Argentinean BBQ with unlimited wine and refreshment. The Polo Clinics includes also accommodation. Transportation is provided, for the 45 minutes drive from downtown to their polo ranch.
Puesto Viejo Polo Days [www] is another option. These full day experiences collect participants from the city and take them to a luxury polo estancia in the countryside. They offers transport, snacks, Argentine lunch with wine, lesson, mini match, use of hotel infinity pool, and an opportunity to watch a full polo match.
In recent years, Buenos Aires has become a popular destination for gay travelers. For international gay travelers, the "Paris of the South" has also become the gay capital of South America. Same sex marriage is legal in the country and in the central districts you will find most people helpful and amiable. There are many gay oriented services to help you make the best of your stay.
If you are looking for accommodations you can start by visiting BA4U Apartments [www]which specializes in finding rentals for the gay friendly community. They can also direct you to tours and services their clients use like Day Clicker Photo Tours
The city of Buenos Aires and its suburban surroundings cover a tremendous expanse of land that cannot be easily and quickly walked, biked, or driven. That is what helicopter rides are for. You can discover Buenos Aires from a unique perspective: see the skyline of Puerto Madero's skyscrapers, the grid of concrete streets filled with taxis and colectivos or buses, the tourist attractions including the Obelisco, Casa Rosada, and Cementario Recoleta. Tour the skies above the human traffic on an exciting helicopter ride, a different way to explore the city.
You might not think of it as you walk around this big city of skyscrapers, but there is some very good golfing very close by. There are many trips to the golf courses that make it easy and relaxing for tourists to enjoy a day on the green. . Packages include any greens fees, equipment and a caddie who you can blame when you hook that shot into the woods!
Buenos Aires is home to one of the biggest Jewish communities in the world and the biggest in Latin America. There are many sights and activities specifically for Jewish people. There are museums, beautiful synagogues, monuments, barrios and history for all travelers to soak up and enjoy. Tours are given around the city to hit all the major Jewish landmarks. This is a great way to see a different side of Buenos Aires that most people wouldn't think about seeing.
Recently, more urban spas or day spas have flourished, some of them at large hotels such as the Alvear, Hilton, Hyatt among others. Furthermore, some green spas have opened shops and offer a great range of eco-friendly treatments.
Making medical procedures part of your overall vacation package is a growing trend, and since Buenos Aires is relatively affordable for Westerners, it is at the forefront. If you decide to go the medical vacation route, there are a number of firms that have established relationships with local medical clinics who can deliver a total package. Make sure you check out the credentials of the doctors and other healthcare professionals before making your decision; that said, Buenos Aires is home to plenty of well-trained doctors with excellent reputations.
- Buenos Aires City Festivals. Official listing of city-sponsored events and festivals.
Festivals and events
There are a lot of fun festivals to see in Argentina, and if you want to see Buenos Aires festivals, you will find a number of exciting shows, dancing and entertainment that you can enjoy when you travel here.
Buenos Aires Tango Festival
The Buenos Aires Tango Festival is held in February and March. About 150 artists gather there and perform. Many of the shows are free of cost and you can also see the Metropolitan Tango championship. If you enjoy dancing and watching professionals, you can go to the city during this fun festival. Many people come to this dancing festival from all over and vie for the prize of being the top tango dancers.
Buenos Aires Book Festival
The Buenos Aires Book Festival is held in April and lasts three weeks. Book fans from all over come to enjoy the exhibits, new books being released, see the authors and enjoy the fun and entertainment. If you are a collector of books and want to find any that you are looking for, this could be the festival for you to see, with many of the famous authors and titles available.
If you want to see something different for a festival, you may want to go to the snow festival that is held in August. That is when the ski resorts are busy and you can enjoy the fun and celebrations. You can enjoy the torch lit ski shows, the contests and the fun, food and music.
Feria de Galerias de Arte
The Feria de Galerias de Arte Festival is held in May. The festival showcases many of the painters, artists, photographers and designers in the area and from all over. You can enjoy the many displays of beautiful art in all designs and types, and enjoy the city as it displays the work of the artists. There are many fun activities to enjoy during this time, and a lot of fun music and food that is available.
The main areas to go out are: Puerto Madero, close to the Casa Rosada. Safe during the day and night, due the obvious reason (Casa Rosada). At Recoleta area (close to the famous cemetery) there are also plenty of restaurants, bars and a cinema complex. This area used to be trendy but it is now mainly for tourists. Palermo SoHo and Palermo Hollywood are full of trendy stores, restaurants, and young and trendy bars. Palermo Las Cañitas is another nice area close to the Polo stadium. Also, San Telmo has a very bohemian, and very fun, nightlife scene. Buenos Aires has a popular cafe culture.
- Cafe Tortoni Avenida de Mayo 829 between Piedras and Tacuari. Opened in 1858. The hot chocolate is incredible.
- La Biela Quintana 596 and RM Ortiz. Luxurious. You can sit outside underneath a huge ancient ficus tree for a little extra cost.
- Las Violetas, Av. Rivadavia 3899 (Esquina Medrano). A lovely cafe, a bit off the beaten (tourist) path but you can take the oldest subway line in the city, Line A, to get there. Well worth the trip.
- Confiteria Ideal is ancient and less modified but full of character; located at Suipacha 380.
Buenos Aires has a great variety of clubs and discos that are open until late hours (6AM or 7AM) and bars that stay open 24 hours a day. Have in mind that at closing times the streets will be swarmed with people trying to get home, so it isn't easy to get a taxi and the public transportation will be very busy.
Young teens are used to staying out and by-passing the little security, so be cautious when engaging girls in provocative clothing. They might try to hit off with foreigners as part of a dare with their friends. The famous Palermo Barrios (SoHo, Hollywood, Las Cañitas or simply "PalVo") have many hip restaurants that turn into bars as it gets later.
- Pacha, . Av. Costanera Norte y Pampa, A world renowned chain of club has a franchise in Buenos Aires showcasing local and international DJ's.
- Casa Bar, . Rodríguez Peña 1150 (@Santa Fe), Recoleta, Popular Recoleta bar with a fantastic international beer and liquor selection, excellent American-style bar food, DJs and live music and all international sporting events on several large flat-screen TVs on the first floor and a huge projection screen on the second floor. Happy Hour specials seven nights a week from 7PM until 11PM and other drink and food specials are announced daily.
- Bahrein. Lavalle 345, Microcentro. Metro Line B, station Florida. One of the trendiest clubs in Buenos Aires with a good selection of electronic music. Tuesdays are popular among locals, with accelerated drum & bass rhythms. Thursdays are also a good option. The club is located within an old bank building, check the vault in the bottom floor.
- El Alamo, . Uruguay 1175, Recoleta. Free beer for girls M-F until 11PM and cheap prices all the time. Satellite quality feed on 10 large flat screen TV's.
- Jack the Ripper, . London style pub in the heart of Recoleta. Libertad 1275.
- Late Night Tango Late night tango shows are also very popular among tourists and locals alike. They often include dinner, a great show, dance lessons, and a few complimentary drinks. The dancers are all professionals and bent on putting in their best shows every single night. These shows start around dinner time, but can go well into the night. They can be a great starting block for the rest of your crazy night in Buenos Aires.
- Magdalena's Party, . 1795 Thames y Costa Rica, A social bar with an "indie" crowd in Palermo SOHO with live DJs on weekends. They serve American style brunch on weekends.
- crobar, . Paseo de la infanta, Palermo, A large night club located near the Palermo lakes. Known for their international DJs and electronic music.
Buenos Aires has a tradition of rock concerts going on all the time. Most of the time top international artist include several dates on their tour in Buenos Aires. Football stadiums are frequently used for the concerts. People from Argentina is oftem claimen as "Best crowd of the world" because of their behavior in Rock concerts. They constantly jump, sing as loud as possible, do Pogos (They usually push each other while jumping following the music,but it's not a kind of violence, it's a friendly and common thing), they also do Moshpits, and sometimes, Walls of death. If you're not accustomed to this, we recommend not trying to get to the front row because there is where it happens. People don't stop for a second not even to take pictures. Fans also go to the airport to receive artits and give them gifts, take pictures and ask them for sign things. They follow them to their car/van and sometimes they even follow it. Many artist also love Argentinian crowd, for example: Foo Fighters, AC/DC (Who made a live DVD of 3 sold out concerts, called "Live at River Plate", in 2009, sold in 19 countries), etc.
Things to know
Employment is available for Spanish-speaking visitors in Buenos Aires. Many foreigners work as translators, or English teachers. There's also a recent trend for technology and recruiting companies hiring English-speaking or bilingual employees.
It is very common for foreigners to work in call centers. There are companies that provide customer care and technical support services to many big American and European companies like Microsoft, Verizon, Vodafone, Motorola and others. If you speak just a bit of Spanish, you can get this kind of job. It should be noted that wages in call centers are much less than in countries like the USA, far lower than the difference in the cost of living. In 2007, typical wages were 1/5 of the typical rate for the same work in the USA, while living costs were between 1/3 and 1/2. Many foreigners from "richer countries" find it very hard to survive in Buenos Aires for very long unless they have other funds.
If you wish to work, remember to obtain proper immigration status so as to be able to work legally. It is possible to convert your tourist visa into a work permit, but you need to bring with you a letter of good conduct for your country of residence and a birth certificate. Both documents has to have apostille and a certified translation to Spanish if they are not already in this language. You may find the latest requisites at "Dirección Nacional de Migraciones" [www]. Some employers may still offer you work under less than formal terms, but be reminded that if you accept this sort of employment you may not receive the full benefits that are mandated by law and are actually 'helping' that employer break a good number of local laws.
Safety in Buenos Aires
- General Emergencies Line - Toll free call 911
- Emergency - Ambulance emergency service SAME (Immediate Health Emergency Service), Toll free call. 107
- Tourist Ombudsman - Communicate with the Tourist Ombudsman, phone number: +54 (11) 4302 7816. To contact personally, can go to Ave. Pedro de Mendoza 1835 ("Benito Quinquela Martin" Museum) in the neighborhood of La Boca. From Monday to Sunday, from 10AM-6PM.
- Tourist Police Station - Corrientes 436. 0800 999 5000 (toll free)/4346 5748 ([email protected]). Provides information in English, Italian, French, Portuguese, and Ukrainian.
Many people travel in Buenos Aires without incident, but as with any large city crime is an issue for tourists and residents alike. Conduct yourself intelligently as you would in any large city.
The most frequent incidents of crime involve distraction theft, bag snatching, and armed robberies in the street, in taxis and in restaurants. Distraction thefts commonly occur in public areas such as internet cafes, train stations, and bus stations. You should keep a close eye on your personal possessions and bags at all times. In some public spaces you will find that chairs with webbing and clips to clip to your bag or purse to the chair. An aid in avoiding problems is, dress to blend in and avoid carrying lots of items. It safer to travel just the bare necessities in your front pocket.
While using public transportation or walking around common sense should be used (as in every big city).
In a common scam one person sprays something on the victim like hand cream mustard or the like. Another person tries to help the victim. There can be several people at once working in coordination. The object is to distract you from your belongings and, in the chaos, steal from you. Avoiding confrontation is their object so do the same. Ignore their 'help', just focus on your belongings and extracting yourself from the scene.
Another common occurrence is the slitting of handbags in crowded places. Be particularly attentive in popular tourist areas, such as San Telmo. You should avoid carrying large amounts of cash or wearing ostentatious jewelery.
For kidnappings (very rare with tourists), victims are grabbed off the street based on their appearance and vulnerability. They are made to withdraw as much money as possible from ATM machines, the victim is usually quickly released unharmed.
The dangers of hailing a taxi has received lots of press but is not common. Petty crime continues (like taking indirect routes or incorrect changes during payment). Taxicabs that loiter in front of popular tourist destinations like the National Museum are looking for tourists, and some of these drivers are less honest than others. Do things like the locals would be a good choice, like stopping a cab a block or two away on a typical city street.
If a woman (or even a man) apparently normally calls you on the street to see an "apresentación" and earn massage girls for free, without commitment, the first time, do not pay attention and leave! In fact, they are agents of brothels. Once taken "inside", they do not let you out, physically preventing you, until they disburse a large sum of money. This type of scam is relatively common in the center, especially in Corrientes Avenue, Florida Street, and Lavalle Avenue.
Rough Spots and Neighborhoods
As with any major city, some spots are suggested to be visited carefully, and others avoided entirely. Common dangerous spots are the three biggest train terminals at the city: Constitución, Once and Retiro. They are very busy and centric, so it is highly probable that a tourist shall pass by any of these. While mostly safe during the day, petty thefts are common, so be sure to keep an eye on your belongings, avoid any confrontation and be cautious; avoid them entirely past 10:00pm. The same goes with some turistic spots like La Boca or the vast city parks of Palermo.
Dangerous neighborhoods that should not be visited without the guidance of locals are Barracas, Nueva Pompeya, Villa Lugano, Villa Soldati, Villa Riachuelo, Bajo Flores and Mataderos.
Counterfeit money is frequent, especially from a regular exchanger of currencies from people of various lifestyles (like taxi drivers), so be on the lookout for counterfeit bank notes being given with your change. Some counterfeit notes are very well done and may even have what appears to be a watermark. Get to know the notes and exactly what they look and feel like, also identify the water marks and serial numbers. When exiting a taxi, hold up your notes to the light to check them before final exit, or better yet, use exact change in taxis.
Be careful of counterfeit money. There have been occasions where genuine bills have been exchanged for counterfeit ones. Counterfeit bills are mostly fifties, given as changes. Hundreds are frequently given back to tourists by deceiving exchangers claiming that counterfeit bills were given to them, after they have switched the bill given to them with a fake one. Using exact or almost exact changes will pretty much solve most of this kind of problems.
Don't accept torn or damaged bills, as they are difficult to use.
Characteristics of good currency can be found at the Argentine Central Bank web site www.bcra.gov.ar
The plumbing water in Buenos Aires, unlike in many Latin American cities, is drinkable straight from the tap.
Public hospitals are available for tourists, with 24 hr emergency service, without charge.
There are many stray animals in the city. They usually do not cause harm, but be careful not to touch them as they may harbor diseases and you may not be aware of their temperament.