Buses in Argentina – Travel Like Trump on a Scrooge Budget

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An Andesmar bus in ArgentinaArgentina is a big country. The many places to see and things to do are separated by hundreds, or even thousands of miles. Although Argentina does not have the convenience of a big train system such as the Eurorail which provides regular cross continental transportation for those traveling throughout Europe, it does offer an immaculate bus system that is pretty hard to beat.

You may find while traveling throughout the country that the bus system and companies are the most prompt part of their culture. The Argentines themselves are not well known for being very punctual. They operate on a different schedule and with a different frame of mind. When arranging an event, it is essential to use the Argentina clock – usually a good 15 minutes late. However, this is not the case with the bus systems.

I will never forget my first bus trip in Argentina. As the Via Bariloche attendant handed over my bus ticket I couldn’t help but cringe at the thought of the 14 hour bus ride I had ahead of me. Yet when I showed up the next day to Platform #19 I was pleasantly surprised to be greeted by a friendly staff that took care of my bags and showed me to my seat, or should I say my bed. This was the first time I experienced the luxury of the Argentine bus rides.

Most bus companies will give you an option of full cama (bed) or half cama, and sometimes there is an executive cama which is another way of saying a “the fanciest and most comfortable form of first class traveling.” The longer your bus ride, the more you may want to consider dishing out the extra 20/30 pesos for the full cama ride. The cama seats recline back to a position that is nearly parallel to the ground.

Of course some of the companies are nicer than others but when splurging on the full cama there are other benefits that come with it as well. Pillows and blankets are provided to ensure passenger comfort, ongoing movies are played and easily viewed from every seat, and there is regular food and beverage service. The meals that are served may not be culinary masterpieces but when comparing it to airplane food your taste buds will appreciate the treat. And a glass of wine or champagne is even available to wash it down.

An Argentina bus on a break in the mountains.The drive itself is like a bus tour across the great country of Argentina. The best seats in the house are located on top in the very front. The seats are usually Butaca #1-4 (seat number) and they have the biggest windows and best views. The window curtains can be open or shut any time in case you need to avoid the light or the cold temperatures permeating through the glass. But when they are open, you will enjoy being able to sit back, put your feet up, and soak it all in. It’s a great way to see the country, gain an understanding on its extreme dimensions, and witness the assortment of landscapes and scenery.

After enjoying the views and the movies, the wine I was sipping on eventually put me to sleep and I was out for the night. Slept like a baby. The next morning, I nearly forgot I was on a bus when I awoke to the soothing tunes of Maná being played through the speakers and the smell of coffee being brewed. Breakfast was served and soon after we were pulling into our destination.

Since this first journey I have never again dreaded a cross-country bus trip. Rather than cringing at the idea I now find myself getting somewhat excited. The buses are comfortable, cheap, efficient, and a great place to recover from a busy schedule or lack of sleep.

There are various bus companies that travel to different destinations around Argentina. Some of their schedules can be found on line but sometimes the best way to plan a trip is to stop by the bus station and inquire about the destinations, times, prices, and availabilities with various companies all at the same time. When traveling to those remote, high-demand destinations, it is a good idea to get a ticket a few days in advance. To view a few of their bus company websites click on the following and begin planning. Have a good trip!

Some Argentine Bus CompaniesVia Bariloche
Via Tac
Andesmar Argentina

2 Comments

chris on June 19, 07

There are trains to a number of destinations. I have just returned from a trip from Buenos Aires to Cordoba, traveling in a private sleeping-car compartment at extremely low cost. In general trains in Argentina are less reliable than the long distance buses, however this train was clean and ran on time in both directions (admittedly slower than a bus). The train is more social than a bus allowing you to get up and walk around, eat at a table in a restaurant car. I had a nice chat with three ladies while eating breakfast on Saturday. Ferrocentral is the company that runs trains to Cordoba and Tucuman. There is a fairly good train with a sleeper from Viedma to Bariloche and less reliable trains run by Ferrobaires from Buenos Aires to Mar del Plata and other coastal points.

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