How to Buy Bus Tickets at the Retiro Bus Station in Buenos Aires

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Retiro Bus StationWhether they are heading north to Jujuy or Iguazu, south to el El Calafate or Bariloche, or west to Mendoza and beyond to Chile, thousands of travelers depart from the Retiro Omnibus Station every day. Here is a quick tutorial on purchasing tickets to your destination.

Before you ever step foot into the bus station, I recommend that you take a look at the Omnibus website. It is surprisingly easy to navigate and will provide you with the names of all of the bus companies that have a service running from Retiro to your destination.

Retiro Train StationOnce you have a list of bus companies to choose from, you’re ready to proceed to the bus station. The Omnibus Station is easily accessible by Colectivo (city bus), Subte (subway), or Taxi, located directly next to the Retiro train station, just east of Plaza San Martin and Avenida Libertador.

Important Tip: Do not be overwhelmed when you enter the station! Yes, there are literally more than 200 stands to choose from when purchasing your tickets. Yes, there are hundreds of people wandering around aimlessly, or searching for a spot to sleep before they board their next bus. But these reasons are exactly why you did your online research. All you have to do is glance at your list of bus companies and find their stand number on the giant directories that are scattered around the terminal.

Once you locate your bus company stand of choice, all that is left is the bus ticket purchase. The first thing is to pick the itinerary most convenient to you. Then, most buses out of Retiro will offer multiple seating options. Using my overnight bus trip to Mendoza as an example, the seating options were semi-cama for $125 pesos, coche-cama for $150 pesos, and ejecutivo (sometimes labeled “royal suite”) for $175 pesos.

“Semi-cama” are seats that recline a little more than normal Greyhound seats in the USA. Although the price was the cheapest, this option was not ideal because being forced to sleep sitting up is not my idea of a good time. “Coche-cama” seats recline to about 135 degrees and have more legroom. “Ejecutivo” seats fully recline to 180 degrees and have an added leg support that comes up from the seat-divider in front of you to provide a makeshift bed. With each step up in class the food options improve as well. When I heard this, my ears perked; a much more comfortable sleeping situation for only about 16 dollars more than a standard US bus seat! Sold!

So with that, my purchase was complete. After providing my credit card and passport information, I left the station with my tickets in hand. While some people do make same-day purchases, I would strongly recommend that you go to the Omnibus Station a few days in advance to secure a spot on your first-choice bus. Safe travels!

11 Comments

Cherie on May 15, 07

Nice article!

Just be sure not to go too far ahead of your journey because you might not be able to buy your tickets yet. I don’t exactly understand…blackout periods? not yet in the computer?

[…] Ever wanted to travel overland in Argentina? Chances are you would depart from Buenos Aires’ Retiro station. The approximately 200 different bus companies can be a bit overwhelming. Argentina’s Travel Guide provides instructions on how to maneuver through the busy station. Share This […]

César Gonzalez on May 19, 07

Thanks for the tip Cherie!

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Ken on July 3, 08

Is there any way to purchase tickets on line?

Emily on November 23, 08

Hi – it is very difficult to buy the tickets online – most of the companies don’t provide that feature, if they even have a website. The best and easiest thing to do is to go to Retiro as soon as you arrive in the city and buy tickets there.

Eli on February 24, 09

Great article! I’m from Córdoba, Argentina. I had to explain what was the difference between cama, semi cama and ejecutivo and your explanation helped me a lot! Thanksss

Eli on February 24, 09

Regarding the previous comments, tickets are availables for today on up to 30 days only, because prices may vary (most of the time in Argentina) also, if you need to buy tickets online I’d reccomend http://www.plataforma10.com.ar, un abrazo amigos!

Carlos on March 24, 09

Estou pensando em esquiar em Bariloche em Junho. Gostaria de saber se nesse mês já tem neve. Desde já agradeço!

Matt on March 14, 10

it’s been a few years since your original post so I wondered if you know if the bus companies now allow online purchasing of tickets? Thanks!

lucy on March 15, 10

They actually don’t offer bus tickets online to the best of my knowledge. But, buying the tickets the day of is no problem, they never run out. Good question!

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