Getting to Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires is the main port of entry for overseas visitors and the hub for domestic travel within the country.
Most international flights arrive and depart from the suburban airport at Ezeiza, though a handful from neighboring countries use close-in Aeroparque.
LAN Argentina (Cerrito 866, tel. 0810/999-9526) is the local affiliate of Chile’s successful and reliable international airline. It serves a growing number of domestic destinations.
Líneas Aéreas del Estado (LADE, Perú 714, San Telmo, tel. 011/4361-7071, www.lade.com.ar) is the Argentine air force’s commercial aviation branch. Miraculously surviving budget crises and privatizations, it flies to southern Buenos Aires Province and Patagonia on a wing and a subsidy.
Buenos Aires’s main bus station is Retiro’s Estación Terminal de Ómnibus (Avenida Ramos Mejía 1860, tel. 011/4310-0700, www.tebasa.com.ar). The sprawling three-story building hosts nearly 140 separate bus companies that cover the entire country and international destinations as well. It’s walking distance from the northern terminus of Subte Línea C, at the Retiro train station.
The ground floor is primarily for freight; passengers leave from the 1st-floor andénes (platforms). Companies operate out of more than 200 ventanillas (ticket windows) on the 2nd floor, roughly arranged according to geographical regions.
On the departure level, the Centro de Informes y Reclamos (tel. 011/4310-0700) provides general information and also oversees taxis; direct any complaint about drivers to them. There is a separate tourist office, open 7:30 a.m.–1 p.m. only.
For long-distance and international buses, reservations are a good idea, especially during the summer (Jan.–Feb.) and winter (late July) holiday periods, but also on long weekends like Semana Santa.
Railroads were once the pride of the transportation system, but most Argentines now get around by bus. There are still long-distance trains to the southern beach resorts in and around Mar del Plata, northwest to the cities of Rosario, Córdoba, and Tucumán, and to the Mesopotamian city of Posadas.
From Constitución, Ferrobaires (tel. 011/4304-0028, www.ferrobaires.gba.gov.ar) goes to Mar del Plata and, in summer, to Pinamar. One-way fares range from US$14 (in stiff-backed clase única) to US$19 (reclining Pullman seats). The less frequent Expreso del Atlántico (US$23) and El Marplatense (US$25) are more comfortable.
Also from Retiro, Ferrocentral (tel. 011/4312-2989, www.ferrocentralsa.com.ar) goes to Rosario Norte (6 hours, US$6–15) and Córdoba (14.5 hours) at 8:50 a.m. Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday. Rates to Córdoba are US$6 turista, US$8 primera, and US$25 Pullman. Ferrocentral also goes to Rosario and Tucumán (25 hours) Monday and Friday at 10:40 a.m. Rates to Tucumán are US$13 turista, US$18 primera, US$34 Pullman, and US$78 d with breakfast in camarote sleepers. Tickets go fast because it’s cheap; the office is open 10 a.m.–6 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m.–1 p.m. Saturday.
At Puerto Madero’s Dársena Norte, Buquebús (Avenida Antártida Argentina 821, tel. 011/4316-6405, www.buquebus.com) sails to Colonia and Montevideo; it also has a ticket office at Avenida Córdoba 789, Retiro. Services and fares vary, depending on the vessel—the Eladia Isabel, for instance, has the cheapest but slowest crossing to Colonia (3 hours, US$25–45 pp), while the high-speed ferries Juan Patricio and Patricia Oliva II cover the longer distance to Montevideo (2.5 hours, US$67–111) in roughly the same time. Fares and frequencies vary according to the season.
Buquebús now has competition from Colonia Express (Avenida Córdoba 753, tel. 011/4317-4100, www.coloniaexpress.com), which leaves from its own Terminal Fluvial Colonia Express (Dársena Sur, Avenida Pedro de Mendoza 330, La Boca). Fares to Colonia range US$27–34, to Montevideo US$35–54, but there are occasional Web specials as low as US$5 to Colonia and US$10 to Montevideo.
© Wayne Bernhardson from Moon Argentina, 3rd edition