Argentina is an expansive country with diverse and dramatic scenery that ranges from jungle to glaciers, from beaches to rolling sierras. There is a lot to see and managing the distance and the time between destinations is key to getting the most of a trip to Argentina.Traveling around the country is easily and comfortably done by bus. Many travelers are surprised at just how comfy the bus rides are in Argentina-it’s a good option if time allows. Internal flights are available between Buenos Aires and most major cities throughout the country, some even operate daily flights, offering the traveler flexibility.
There are also dramatic train rides in Patagonia and The Tren a las Nubes, or the Train to the Clouds, in the Andes as well boat trips to nearby Uruguay to consider. These are experiences themselves rather than just modes of transportation.
As for getting to Argentina from abroad, many major carriers offer flights to Buenos Aires’s international airport. Busses are available from and to Argentina from neighboring South American countries. Please see the tabs to the left, Transportation to Argentina and Getting Around Argentina for more detailed information.
Traveling Internationally by Bus
International bus companies operating regionally offer extremely comfortable bus service at much lower prices than air travel, an ideal choice for students or travelers on a budget. Long-distance buses arriving to Argentina from other countries arrive at the Terminal de Omnibus de Retiro, in Buenos Aires. Retiro, as it is called, is located just blocks from the city center. This station is also the point where travelers transfer to buses going to other parts of Argentina. Travelers may visit the bus terminal’s website at www.tebasa.com.ar to determine which bus company serves nearby countries.
Unfortunately, most bus companies have not entered the digital age; reserving seats in advance by phone, or the Internet is not possible. Tickets must be purchased in person with cash at the bus station, or someone can purchase your ticket for you with cash and your passport.
Traveling Internationally by Air
Most regional and international flights arrive to Argentina via Buenos Aires’ Ezeiza Ministro Pistarini (EZE) international airport, located about an hour drive from Buenos Aires’ center, although some still arrive at the domestic airport, Jorge Newbery, located in town.
Major airlines fly direct from Buenos Aires via large airport hubs, including Atlanta (Delta), New York (American), Miami (American), Houston (Continental), Sao Paulo (LAN, TAM), Madrid (Iberia), Mexico City (Mexicana), Panama City (Copa), Bogotá (Avianca). Avoid traveling during the summer (December – February) and purchase your tickets months in advance to obtain the lowest fares.
To get from the airport to the city, take a sanctioned taxi or a car service (remis) that are lined up outside after leaving the airport terminal. Fare to the city center should cost less than US $30. When leaving Buenos Aires, all travelers must pay a departure tax of roughly US $18 for international flights and US $8 for regional flights, which can be paid in local currency or US dollars.
Traveling Internationally by Boat
Given the cost and unpredictability of regional flights, as well as recent protests at the land border between Uruguay and Argentina closest to Buenos Aires, many travelers prefer to travel to and from Uruguay via the Buquebus ferry. The comfortable and spacious ferry from Buenos Aires to Montevideo costs US $125/person and takes 3 hours. Reservations for the ferry should be made in advance, and can be purchased online through the website www.buquebus.com. Buquebus ferries also provide service to the historic town of Colonia, and provide bus transfer service onwards to cities such as Punta del Este.
Getting Around Argentina
Many options exist for getting around within Argentina, depending on your timeframe and budget.
Traveling Domestically by Air
Air travel remains the most convenient form of travel within Argentina, as distances are great between tourist attractions; a two-hour flight can save a traveler dozens of hours by bus.
Two carriers primarily serve Argentina’s internal air market; Aerolíneas Argentinas, and LAN. Tickets can be purchased online (see address below). Having few carriers means planes are almost always full, so reserve your tickets as far in advance as possible.
On the other hand, internal air travel can be unpredictable, with flight delays, strikes among airline employees and flight cancellations common occurrences. Limited competition and government price controls also make internal air travel the most expensive option for internal travel, particularly for non-residents. A dual pricing system is in place; non-residents can pay fares almost double what residents are charged. All domestic flights are served through Jorge Newbery Airport, or “Aeroparqure,” located near the Palermo and Belgrano neighborhoods, about 10 minutes from the city’s center.
Traveling Domestically by Bus
Comfortable, long-distance buses depart from the Terminal de Omnibus de Retiro, located in the city center. Dozens of companies serve the internal market, so visit the bus terminal’s website at www.tebasa.com.ar and click on a province to find the names, phone numbers, websites and email addresses of companies that serve the different parts of the country. Purchase your tickets in person in cash at the Retiro bus station. For long distances of many hours, opt for higher class service and pay a bit more to reserve a seat that fully reclines so you can sleep on the trip.
Bus service has increased in popularity among foreigners and locals over the past year, so it is best to buy your tickets as soon in advance as possible, especially if visiting during peak seasons (December – February for most parts of the country, Easter, and July and August for skiing). The Retiro Bus station can be rather chaotic, so visit an information booth upon arrival to successfully navigate the crowds and find your bus’ departure gate.
Traveling Domestically by Car
Renting a car is another option for shorter trips within the country. Average prices to rent a car for a day are anywhere from $250 – $425/week, with limited mileage. Most of the larger international car-rental companies have offices here at airports and in major cities (Hertz, Avis, Dollar, Thrifty). To save time and ensure availability of cars, reservations should be made prior to arriving in country either by phone, in person, or via the web. www.hertz.com; www.avis.com; www.thrifty.com; www.nationalcar.com; www.dollar.com
Want the flexibility of a car but dread navigating in an unfamiliar environment? Hire a local car service, or “remis” for short-term, internal trips. Remises are a slightly more expensive option than taxis, and can be reserved in advance for short-term trips to the airport, restaurants, etc. Local hotels or travel agents can recommend a trusted service throughout the country. You can also rent a remise with a driver for a day or more to visit an Estancia from Buenos Aires, tour the vineyards in Mendoza or Salta, or visit the glaciers in Patagonia. Prices will vary depending on location, time contracted, and mileage. Reservations should be made in Spanish, as most remise operators and drivers do not speak English.
Two reliable remise companies operating in Buenos Aires include Remis del Rosario 4788-8877 and Remis Posadas 4811-1334/4812-5383.
Argentina’s national train system is rather antiquated, so train travel is a less popular form of long-distance travel within the country, and is not as comfortable or as convenient an option as a bus. On the other hand, a few long-distance lines still run from Buenos Aires to places like Mar del Plata and Tucumán. The Argentine government-run train, Ferrobaires, serves Mar del Plata. Trains leave from the Constitución terminal in the city. Visit www.ferrobaires.gba.gov.ar for more information. Trains to Tucuman via Ferrocentral railway leave from the Retiro train station downtown. Tickets for both trains can be purchased in person at the train stations or through local travel agents.
The Retiro and Constitución train stations are linked by the C line subway.A number of “tourist” trains also operate in Argentina that also serve local commuters, some new and downright fancy, equipped with amenities such as different classes of service, air-conditioning, beds, and even discos. The Tren de la Costa (the coastal train) runs from Buenos Aires to Tigre along the river for approximately 15 kilometers, and leaves from the Estación Maipú train station in Vicente Lopez (a suburb of Buenos Aires). Round trip tickets for tourists cost less than US$6. For more information, visit the website at www.trendelacosta.com.ar, or call 4317-4447.
The Tren a las Nubes (Train to the clouds), completes a 15-hour trip that runs from Salta to Puna through the Andes. The train leaves weekly from the General Belgrano station in Salta. Due to flood damage to the track, train service was suspended in 2005 except for a few promotional runs, and is expected to resume in March 2008. Check with a local travel agent on the status of this train and to arrange for ticket purchase.
Four tourist trains operate in Patagonia; the Train at the End of the World, the Patagonia Train, the Trocha Angosta, and the Bariloche steam train. Many of these tourist trains are seasonal, so reservations are recommended.
Visit the http://www.trenpatagonico-sa.com.arwebsite to make a pre-reservation, and representatives of the company will contact you to finalize your travel.
The Patagonian train: (02920) 422130/427413
The Trocha Angosta Train: (02945) 451403
The Train at the End of the World: (02901) 31600
The Steam Train at Bariloche: (02944) 423858
We think you might also like: