Destination guide: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Buenos Aires is the capital of Argentina and one of the most cosmopolitan cities in South America. Its main tourist attractions are the historical Plaza de Mayo, the Obelisk and the neighborhoods of San Telmo and La Boca. The latter is home to La Bombonera stadium and Caminito, a typical Argentine street that is full of handicrafts and souvenirs.
Dancers and tango groups in the majority of public spaces are also common. Purchase your tickets to Buenos Aires and discover everything Argentina has to offer.
Buenos Aires - Transportation
With an underground subway (the Subte), a 24-hour bus system and a plethora of affordable taxis, Buenos Aires is easy to get around. The capital is a very walkable city, but when you need to cover a sizeable distance, the Subte or a cab is your best bet. Relying on public transport requires a bit of initial study. In this book, the nearest Subte or bus line is noted after the or [bus] icon for each listing.
The city has a huge and complex colectivo (bus) system, but it’s not particularly user-friendly for foreigners – stops aren’t announced, you need several coins to ride, and if you don’t have a good idea where you’re getting off, the bus will fly right past your destination.
The only way to make any sense of the system is to purchase a Guia T (bus guidebook), available at kiosks throughout the city. Locate your destination street in the index, flip to the indicated map page and grid box, then match a bus number from that box to your departure box, and you’re off. Most rides cost around $1.25.
Get on the bus with a handful of change and tell the driver the name of your stop, insert the coins into the machine and wait for a ticket to pop out. Coins are scarce in BA, making bus travel tricky – there’s talk of starting a more contemporary card system that doesn’t involve small change.
BA’s Subte ([tel] 0800-555-1616; www.subte.com.ar, in Spanish) opened in 1913 and is the quickest way to get around the city. In summer – and at rush hour – the cars are hot and crowded, so be sure to watch your valuables. Single-ride magnetic cards cost $1.10 and can be purchased at boleterías (ticket booths) in all Subte stations. To save time, buy a five- or 10-ride card, since queues can get backed up.
At some stations, the tracks separate the platforms, so make sure of your direction before passing through the turnstiles. Trains operate between 5am and 10:30pm from Monday to Saturday; and from 8am to 10pm on Sunday. Service is frequent on weekdays, slower on weekends.
BA’s black-and-yellow taxis ply the city day and night; you rarely have to wait long to hail one. Is suggested to hail a taxi with the words ‘radio taxi, ’ indicating that the vehicle is part of a licensed agency. The starting fare is $3.80, and drivers should always use the taxímetro (taxi meter). Tipping is not expected, but leave the small change.
Most rides within one area of the city cost around $12, up to around $20 across the city. Call Pidalo ([tel] 4956-1200) or Radio Taxi Premium ([tel] 4374-6666).
Remises (radio taxis) look like regular cars and don’t have meters. They cost about the same as street taxis,the fare is always established beforehand. Most hotels and restaurants will call a remise for you; it’s also a handy way to get to the airport. Try Remises Blue ([tel] 4777-8888).
For getting around the city, the only train that really comes in handy is the Mitre line, which makes getting from Retiro to Las Cañitas or Belgrano’s Chinatown a snap. At the ticket window inside Estación Retiro ask for tickets ($2) to Belgrano station on the Mitre line.