Find your way around the capital with this simple guide to public transport
From the airport
A display in immigration shows choices and prices of transport into the city. A good dual carriageway links with the General Paz highway that circles the city. The safest way between airport and city is by an airport bus service run every 30 mins by Manuel Tienda León, US$14 one way (office in front of you as you arrive). Company office and terminal at Av Madero 1299 y San Martín, behind Sheraton Hotel in Retiro (take a taxi from the terminal. T: 4315 5115.
Ezeiza (officially Ministro Pistarini, T: 5480 6111) is the international airport, 35km southwest of the centre. It also handles some domestic flights. The airport has 3 terminals: A, B and C. There are duty free shops (expensive), ATM and exchange facilities at Banco Nación (terminal A) (only change the very minimum to get you into the city), a Ministerio de Turismo desk, and a post office (Mon-Fri 9am-5pm, Sat 9am-noon).
Bus from Ezeiza to Aeroparque, 90 mins, US$14. Remise taxis for up to 4 passengers (Manuel Tienda León, Taxi Ezeiza, and other counters at Ezeiza) charge US$50 airport to town, but less from city to airport. Radio taxis charge US$45 (make sure you pay for your taxi at the booth and then wait in the queue), see Taxi, page 126, for more details. Don’t ever take an unmarked car at Ezeiza, even if the fare sounds tempting!
Aeroparque (Jorge Newbery Airport, T: 5480 6111, ) is 4km north of the centre and handles all internal flights, and some flights to neighboring countries. Upstairs is a patio de comidas (food hall) and many shops. At the airport there is also tourist information, car rental, bus companies, ATM, public phones and luggage deposit. Manuel Tienda León buses to Aeroparque. Local bus 45 runs from outside the airport to the Retiro railway station. No 37 goes to Palermo and Recoleta and No 160 to Palermo and Almagro. If going to the airport, make sure it goes to Aeroparque by asking the driver. Remise taxis to Ezeiza, operated by Manuel Tienda León, US$50; to the city centre US$16. Taxi to centre US$8. Manuel Tienda León operates buses between Ezeiza and Aeroparque airports, US$14.
City buses are called colectivos and cover a very wide radius. They are clean, frequent, efficient and very fast. Colectivo fares are calculated in 3-km sections, US$0.50-0.60, but fares are cheaper if you have a pre-paid smart card called Sube. If not using a smart card, have coins ready for ticket machine as drivers do not sell tickets, but may give change. The bus number is not always sufficient indication of destination, as each number may have a variety of routes, but bus stops display routes of buses stopping there and little plaques are displayed in the driver’s window.
Long distance Busterminal for all international and interprovincial buses is at Ramos Mejía y Antártida Argentina (Subte Line C), behind Retiro station, T: 4310 0700. The terminal is on 3 floors.
Bus information is at the Ramos Mejía entrance on the middle floor. There are hundreds of ticket offices on the upper floor – consult the list of companies and their office numbers at the top of the escalator. They are organized by region and are colour coded. Buenos Aires city information desk is on the upper floor. Go to the bus station the day before you travel to get to know where the platforms are. At the basement and ground levels are left-luggage lockers; tokens are sold in kiosks; for large baggage, there’s a guarda equipaje on the lower floor. There are no direct buses to either of the airports.
Driving in Buenos Aires is no problem, provided you have eyes in the back of your head and good nerves. Traffic fines are high and police look out for drivers without the correct papers. Car hire is cheaper if you arrange it when you arrive rather than from home. Sixt, Cerrito 1314, and national rental agencies, such as Dietrich, Cerrito 1575, T: 0800-999 2999. Ruta Sur, Av General Paz 1260, T: 5238 4071.
7 lines link the outer parts of the city to the centre. Line ‘A’ runs under Av Rivadavia, from Plaza de Mayo to San Pedrito (Flores). Line ‘B’ from central Post Office, on Av L N Alem, under Av Corrientes to Federico Lacroze railway station at Chacarita, ending at Juan Manuel de Rosas (Villa Urquiza). Line ‘C’ links Plaza Constitución with the Retiro railway station, and provides connections with other lines.
Line ‘D’ runs from Plaza de Mayo (Catedral), under Av Roque Sáenz Peña (Diagonal Norte), Córdoba, Santa Fe and Palermo to Congreso de Tucumán (Belgrano). Line ‘E’ runs from Plaza de Mayo (Cabildo, on C Bolívar) through San Juan to Plaza de los Virreyes (connection to Line ‘P’ or Premetro train service to the southwest end of the city).
Line ‘H’ runs from Corrientes, via Once to Hospitales (Parque Patricios), under Av Jujuy and Av Almafuerte. The fare is US$0.45, the same for any direct trip or combination between lines; magnetic cards (for 1, 2, 5, 10, or 30 journeys) must be bought at the station before boarding; only pesos accepted. Trains run Mon-Sat 5am-10.20pm (Sun 8am-10pm).
Taxis are painted yellow and black, and carry Taxi flags. Fares are shown in pesos. The meter starts at US$1.50 when the flag goes down; make sure it isn’t running when you get in. A fixed rate of US$0.15 for every 200 m or 1-min wait is charged thereafter. The fare increases to US$1.80 from 10pm to 6am. A tip (approx 10%) is expected. For security, take a remise or radio taxi booked by phone or at the company’s office. Check that the driver’s license is displayed. Lock doors on the inside.
The airports and Retiro bus station are notorious for unlicensed taxi crime; use the airport buses and remises, and taxis from the official rank in the bus terminal which are registered with police and safe.
Radio taxis are managed by several different companies; extra fee US$0.90. Phone a radio taxi from your hotel (they can make recommendations), a phone box or locutorio, giving the address where you are, and you’ll usually be collected within 10 mins. City, T: 4585 5544; Porteño, T: 4566 5777; Premium, T: 5238 0000; Tiempo, T: 4854 3838.
Old-fashioned street cars operate Mar-Nov on Sat and holidays 4pm- 7.30pm and Sun 10am-1pm, 4pm-7.30pm; Dec-Feb on Sat and holidays 5pm-8.30pm, Sun 10am-1pm, 5pm-8.30pm, free, on a circular route along the streets of Caballito district.