Buenos Aires offers a wealth of memorable experiences for visitors. However, with so much to see and do, it can be a challenge to figure out just how to spend your time here. Of course there is no one “best” way to experience Buenos Aires, and different people will enjoy different aspects of this immense city. With this in mind, we’d like to present a series of guides offering practical information that will help ensure your stay in Buenos Aires goes smoothly, no matter your reason for visiting. Combined with the great sites we’ve highlighted in this blog, we hope this information we’ll help you get the most out of your stay. So enjoy! And for any accomadations needs you may have, please check out our main website.
Buenos Aires is huge. Stretching from the banks of the Rio de la Plata to Pampas of Argentina’s interior, the federal capital officially takes up 78.5 square miles but includes a metropolitan area of near 4800 square miles. To explore this entire territory would be an arduous task and an unnecessary one. The most famous barrios found nearest the Rio de la Plata, from La Boca in the south to Belgrano in the north, contain all of the most popular tourist destinations. However, even when you limit Buenos Aires to these barrios, you still need to know how to get around. Therefore, we offer this guide for transportation around the city.
While not the most glamourous or speediest form of travel, walking is often the most enjoyable way to discover the city. Buenos Aires is a wonderful walking city and most of its streets are on a grid system, making navigation simple. Walking is also the best way to get a true feel for the city and a great way to stumble upon stores and restaurants you may not have noticed otherwise. Furthermore, you get an up close view of Buenos Aires’s mix of architectural styles that adorn many of the buildings lining the larger avenues. Due to Buenos Aires size, however, walking may not always be convenient; luckily, numerous other transportation options exist if your destination is outside of walking range.
Buenos Aires boasts South America’s oldest subway system, and today it remains one of the quickest and simplest ways to move through the city. Thousands of porteños depend on the subte to bring them to and from work everyday. Trains are generally punctual and run from 5Am to 10PM Monday through Saturday and 8AM to 10PM Sundays. Currently a oneway ticket costs $2.50 Ar., which can be purchased at a boleteria next to the subway’s turnstiles. Not surprisingly, trains tend to fill up during rush hours in the morning and evening. If you desire to avoid cramped travel it may be best to avoid taking the subte during these hours.
The subte has 6 lines: A, B, C, D, E , and H. Lines A, E, B, and D start in Downtown, next to Plaza de Mayo, and spread apart as they move west into the metropolitan area. Lines C and H run perpendicular (north-south) and allow passengers to connect to the other lines without traveling all the way to Downtown.
Step foot on any street in Buenos Aires and you will notice dozens of numbered buses carrying passengers all over the city. Since buses cover the entire city they are the most popular form of transportation for porteños and are incredibly inexpensive. However, colectivos require some knowledge of the city’s layout and at least a general understanding of a few bus routes. Travelers may experience some initial difficulty if they are unsure of where they are going or the particular bus route to use. If you plan on using Buenos Aires’s bus system it’s worth picking up a “Guia T”. This pocket-sized booklet contains maps of the city broken down into grids and lists of the corresponding bus routes between each numbered grid. At certain bus stops you can find a list of the route’s stops. They are often written underneath the sign that displays the bus’s number.
Perhaps the most inconvient aspect of colectivos is that, unless you have a sube card, each bus requires that you pay for your fair in coins. Once you enter a bus, you indicate your destination to the driver (or the corresponding price to this destination) and then insert coins into a machine behind the driver. While the fair is extremely cheap (the average fair at this moment is around $1.25 Ar.) it may take a traveler a few purchases in Argentina before they have enough change to use for the bus. However, once you have change and a general knowledge of the layout of the city, colectivos are a great way to travel. Not only are they efficient and reliable but you get superb views of the city’s many barrios as you travel to your destination.
Taxis are almost as ubiquitous as colectivos on the streets of Buenos Aires. Today all cabs are black and yellow and are required to have a meter. They are simple to wave down and you can also order one from your phone. While fares are relatively inexpensive, compared to the low rates of the subte and colectivos they are the most expensive form of travel in Buenos Aires. However, with taxis you never have to contend with the tight squeezes of rush hour that can occur in both colectivos and the subte. When hailing a taxi, look for an illuminated “LIBRE” sign located on the front windshield that indicates the cab is empty and available for pick up.
Some more help
If you are unsure how to arrive at any destination in Buenos Aires a great resource to use is the city’s website mapa.buenosaires.gov.ar. By clicking on the “Como Llegar” tab, you are able to enter your current location and the address or location you want to travel to. The map will then provide a number of travel options including subte lines (if any subte stops are near) and bus numbers, listing them in order of fastest to slowest with an estimated time of how long each will take.