Argentina's main international airport is Ezeiza Ministro Pistarini (EZE; tel. 11/4480-9538), located 42km (26 miles) to the west of Buenos Aires. Allot at least 45 minutes to an hour for travel between the airport and the city, more in rush hour. You will be assessed a departure tax of approximately $24 upon leaving the country, payable in pesos, dollars, or by Visa credit card. For flights from Buenos Aires to Montevideo (in Uruguay), the departure tax is $5. Passengers in transit and children 1 and under are exempt from this tax. However, visitors are advised to verify the departure tax with their airline or travel agent, as the exact amount changes frequently.
Below are the major airlines that fly into Argentina from North America, Europe, and Australia. Argentina's national airline is Aerolíneas Argentinas (tel. 800/333-0276 in the U.S., 0810/222-86527 in Buenos Aires, or 1800/22-22-15 in Australia; www.aerolineas.com.ar). The airline flies a few times a week from New York and daily from Miami. Aerolíneas Argentinas is an interesting introduction to the excitement of Argentina and its culture. The female flight attendants tend to be particularly glamorous, and the staff, mostly natives of Argentina, can offer excellent advice for you to use once you are on the ground. Argentine wine is free and liberally served in coach and all classes. Renationalized in 2008, it is uncertain if the company will retain its reputation for strikes, delays and general inefficiency, especially on domestic flights.
Other operators include American Airlines (tel. 800/433-7300 in the U.S., or 11/4318-1111 in Buenos Aires; www.aa.com); United Airlines (tel. 800/241-6522 in the U.S., or 0810/777-8648 in Buenos Aires; www.united.com); Air Canada (tel. 888/247-2262 in Canada, or 11/4327-3640 in Buenos Aires; www.aircanada.com); British Airways (tel. 0845/773-3377 in the U.K., or 11/4320-6600 in Buenos Aires; www.britishairways.com); and Iberia (tel. 0845/601-2854 in the U.K., or 11/4131-1000 in Buenos Aires; www.iberia.com). LAN (tel. 866/435-9526 in the U.S. and Canada, or 11/4378-2222 in Buenos Aires; http://plane.lan.com) also provides connections from Miami and New York, both direct and through Santiago to Buenos Aires. Qantas Airlines, of Australia (tel. 13-13-13 in Australia, or 11/4514-4730 in Buenos Aires; www.qantas.com.au), now has service from Sydney to Santiago, with shared service continuing to Buenos Aires on LAN.
Domestic airlines and flights to Uruguay use Jorge Newbery Airport (tel. 11/4514-1515), located only 15 minutes to the north, along the river from downtown.
The easiest way to travel Argentina's vast distances is by air, though flights are expensive and foreigners are charged substantially more than locals. Aerolíneas Argentinas connects most cities and tourist destinations in Argentina, including Córdoba, Jujuy, Iguazú, Salta, and the beach resorts. LAN (tel. 866/435-9526 in the U.S. and Canada, or 11/4378-2222 in Buenos Aires; http://plane.lan.com) flies to Córdoba, Mendoza, and Iguazú.
The Estación Terminal de Omnibus, Av. Ramos Mejía 1680 (tel. 11/4310-0700), located near Retiro Station, serves all long-distance buses. You would use this station when connecting to other parts of Argentina, or by long-distance coach from other countries. Due to the high cost of air transport for most South Americans, the continent is served by numerous companies offering comfortable, and at times luxurious, bus services to other capitals, often overnight. This is ideal for student and budget travelers.
Among the major bus companies that operate out of Buenos Aires are La Veloz del Norte (tel. 11/4315-2482), serving destinations in the Northwest, including Salta and Jujuy; Singer (tel. 11/4315-2653), serving Puerto Iguazú as well as Brazilian destinations; and T.A. Chevallier (tel. 11/4313-3297), serving points throughout the country.
The Estación Terminal de Omnibus, sometimes referred to as the Retiro Bus Station, is sprawling, enormous, and confusing. Just walking from one end to another takes about 15 minutes, given the ramps, crowds, and stairs you have to maneuver through. Routes and platform locations rarely make it to the overhead boards also, so don't rely on them. Still, in spite of the chaos, there is an overarching order. A color-coded system used at the ticket counters explains in general which destinations of the country are served by which bus lines. Red, for instance, indicates the center of the country, including the province of Buenos Aires; dark blue, the south; orange, the north; green, the northeast; light blue, the central Atlantic coast; and gray, the international destinations. However, at their sales counters, many bus companies indicate names of cities on their destination lists that they no longer serve, so you may have to stand in a line to ask. Many companies also have more than one name, adding to the visual clutter at the ticket counters. To help you make sense of it all, use www.tebasa.com.ar, the terminal's website, while planning your trip. Click on the province where you are traveling, and a list of bus companies and phone numbers will come up. Bus tickets can also be purchased at most travel agencies. This can cost slightly more but can save a lot of confusion if you're short on time.
In Buenos Aires, travel by subte (subway) or remises (radio-dispatched taxis, as opposed to street taxis) is easier and safer than driving yourself. Rush-hour traffic is chaotic, and parking is difficult. If you have rented a car for whatever reason, park it at your hotel or a nearby garage and leave it there. Most daily parking charges do not exceed $4 or $5 (£2.75-£3.40). Many recently built hotels have parking on the premises; others use nearby garages.
If you're traveling outside of Buenos Aires, it's another story when it comes to having a car. Argentine roads and highways are generally in good condition, with the exception of some rural areas. Most highways have been privatized and charge nominal tolls. In Buenos Aires, drivers are aggressive and don't always obey traffic lanes or lights. Wear your seat belt, as required by Argentine law. U.S. driver's licenses are valid in greater Buenos Aires, but you need an Argentine or international license to drive in most other parts of the country. Fuel (known as NAFTA) is expensive, at about $1 (70p) per liter (or $4/£2.80 per gallon).
The Automóvil Club Argentino (ACA), Av. del Libertador 1850 (tel. 11/4802-6061), has working arrangements with international automobile clubs. The ACA offers numerous services, including roadside assistance, road maps, hotel and camping information, and discounts for various tourist activities.
Car Rentals -- Many international car-rental companies operate in Argentina, with offices at airports and in city centers. The main offices in Buenos Aires for the following agencies are Hertz, Paraguay 1122 (tel. 800/654-3131 in the U.S., or 11/4816-8001 in Buenos Aires); Avis, Cerrito 1527 (tel. 800/230-4898 in the U.S., or 11/4300-8201 in Buenos Aires); Dollar, Marcelo T. de Alvear 523 (tel. 800/800-6000 in the U.S., or 11/4315-8800 in Buenos Aires); and Thrifty, Av. Leandro N. Alem 699 (tel. 800/847-4389 in the U.S., or 11/4315-0777 in Buenos Aires). Car rental is expensive in Argentina, with standard rates beginning at about $50 to $60 (£34-£41) per day for a subcompact with unlimited mileage (ask for any special promotions, especially on weekly rates). Check to see if your existing automobile insurance policy (or a credit card) covers insurance for car rentals.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.