How to use Public Transportation in Buenos Aires
Transportation through the eyes of a Study Abroad Student
Transportation in Buenos Aires and throughout Argentina
To start the Chronicles, I felt like a few tips that I picked up along the way would certainly help any traveler or study abroad student who’s destination is Buenos Aires, Argentina. There are plenty of blogs, posts, travel guides, but there’s nothing compared to physically being in the moment to find the hole in the wall places, tours, and things to ensure you do before you leave this majestic city.
- The best way to get around the city is by bus. Argentina is very public transportation friendly. The moment you get to the city, get a bus guide. This is known as the Guia T. It will be pretty difficult to understand at first. Take the time to break out your dictionary make sure you understand the comings and goings, and ask questions.
- To take these buses you will need monedas. These are the coins in the country. However, getting enough will be a challenge. While studying abroad, many of us came up with the urban legend that the government confiscated all of the monedas and melted them down in order to make jewelry because they were out of the metals. A little farfetched, I know, but it made sense at the time. Especially when a vendor would rather give you a two peso bill back instead of a one peso moneda. CONSPIRACY THEORY!
- There is always the Subte. This is the subway. It is really hot, and quite crowded at times, but fast and you can get to some interesting parts of the city. This is easy to take though, when you are without those illustrious monedas. When you go into the Subte you will buy a Subte pass, I did not take it often, so I just bought 2 viajes, which means two trips on the Subte. I tended to get to where I was going, and took a taxi home, because I walked so far from the closest subway entrance.
- There are always taxis! But beware. Argentina is high in scams for taxis. If you don’t feel comfortable, don’t take the taxi, take the next taxi. Trust me there are plenty of them. Make sure the clock is turned on. Many drivers will attempt to take advantage of people who seem like they are tourist. Many taxi’s have day and night charges. Make sure the correct fare is on the clock to clock you. Know your city map enough to know if they are taking you around in circles. You will learn in the Chronicles how I was screwed over by a cab driver or two.
- Beware to be terrified by the driving in the country. I luckily did not get in any wrecks while there, but I felt like I died about a million times while in a taxi. The drivers go fast, don’t focus on lines in the road, and take the rules of the road as suggestions.
- Uruguay is just a hop skip and jump away from Buenos Aires. The Buquebus ferry is the way to get there. You can take the fast or the slow one. You can have economy or first class. The prices are so reasonable, I splurged and went first class, and in true Argentinean style, alcohol was served liberally for free. There are travel agencies around the city which will keep you from having to walk, taxi, or bus all the way to Buquebus. Use these agents, they tend to speak enough English for you to know where you are going. You will tend to port in Colonia, Uruguay, but you can go up to Montevideo for a good bit more money.
- El Rapido Argentino is the best way to travel ridiculously cheaply to other countries and cities in South America. It will take some time to get places, about 30 hours for Iguazu Falls. However, it was around $40 round trip. These buses do serve good food, and you can choose cama (fully reclined seats into beds) and semi-cama(reclined enough that it is very comfortable to sleep). Make sure when you check luggage to keep your ticket they give you with the number for your luggage, or I can promise you will not be receiving your luggage.