Intercity transportation Argentina is huge and the best way to get around is by bus. There are numerous private long-distance bus companies that offer different classes of bus from luxury, first-class buses with plush seats that double up as beds (“Coche Cama” or “Ejecutivo”) to cheaper options (“Commun” or “Semi-camas”) with reclining seats or even standard seats. It’s worth paying the extra 20 to 40 percent on longer journeys.
On most overnight buses, you’ll be entertained by movies and served snacks or hot meals (the quality of which varies). All the buses are air conditioned however it’s usually turned up too high so take a warm jumper.
You can purchase bus tickets on the day but if you’re traveling in high season (December to February) it’s advisable to book in advance. You can compare prices for different companies at www.omnilineas.com, and you can book online at www.plataforma10.com. Though Plataforma 10 is in Spanish, with a little Google Translate love even non-Spanish speakers can book tickets.
Main bus companies
- Via TAC (www.viatac.com.ar)
- Cruz del Sur (www.cruzdelsur.com)
- Andesmar Argentina (www.andesmar.com)
- Via Bariloche (www.viabariloche.com.ar)
There are numerous domestic flights around Argentina connecting Buenos Aires to all the country’s provincial capitals and major tourist attractions. Flights are much quicker than long-distance buses but tickets are generally more expensive and foreigners are charged more than locals. You can purchase tickets direct from airline offices or travel agencies. Make sure you book in advance during peak holiday times. You may also find cheaper deals ahead of time.
- Aerolineas Argentinas (www.aerolineas.com.ar)
- LAN (www.lan.com)
- LADE (www.lade.com.ar)
- Andes (www.andesonline.com)
Argentina’s railways were developed by the Brits in the late nineteenth century and nationalized by Péron in 1948. However government subsidies were halted in 1993 and today’s railways are in poor condition. There are very few direct, long-distance services and, while the train is cheaper than the bus, it’s not the safest way to travel. There are plans for a high speed train between BA, Rosario and Cordoba but they’ve been on hold for a while.
Transportation in rural areas
Public transport in rural areas is scarce but there are some local bus services and remise companies in operation. Do some research before you arrive in the area to avoid getting stranded. There’s also the option of hitchhiking but don’t do it alone, particularly as a girl.
Renting / buying a car
Given how cheap and convenient the public transportation is in Argentina’s major cities, the only time you may need a car is if you want to get out of the city and explore the more isolated areas of the country.
To rent a car, you must be 21 or over, hold a valid driver’s license from your country (an international license isn’t necessary) and have a credit card to cover the rental and requested insurance. You’ll also need to show your passport.
Always read the small print of the rental and insurance forms and make sure you check the car for damage before setting off. Shop around as rental costs vary from company to company. Local companies are generally cheaper and look out for unlimited mileage deals as they are usually the best.
Note that for day trips, it may be more economical to hire a remise than a car.
Recommended Car Rental Companies
Telephone: 0810 222 43789
Telephone: 0810 9991 2847
Telephone: 0810 999 25266
Telephone: (54-11) 4326-3825 / 4328-4060 (Buenos Aires Capital Federal)
Telephone: 0800 979 2000
- Tango Rent a Car (Buenos Aires)
Telephone: (+54-11) 5778 1333, 5778 1334
There is also the option of buying a new or used car, however it’s probably not worth the hassle. A new car, especially, involves a lot of paperwork (and spoken Spanish). If you do decide to get a car, you will need to register it and buy insurance as well as pay for parking, which isn’t cheap. Unfortunately car theft is also very common. Moreover, the law states that you cannot take the car out of the country unless you are a permanent resident or citizen of Argentina so you would have to give it up at the end of the year.