Argentina's main international airport is Ezeiza Ministro Pistarini (EZE; tel. 11/5480-6111 or 11/5480-2500; www.aa2000.com.ar), located 42km (26 miles) to the west of Buenos Aires. Allow at least 45 minutes to an hour for travel between the airport and the city, and more during rush hour.
Argentina's national airline is Aerolíneas Argentinas (tel. 800/333-0276 in the U.S. and Canada, 0810/222-8652 in Buenos Aires, or 2-9234-9000 in Australia; www.aerolineas.com.ar). The airline uses Miami as its U.S. hub. While it has fewer international connections to Buenos Aires than other major airlines, Aerolíneas Argentinas provides an interesting introduction to Argentina and its culture.
Other operators include American Airlines (tel. 800/433-7300 in the U.S. or 11/4318-1111 in Buenos Aires; www.aa.com), with the most flights to Buenos Aires of any U.S. carrier; Continental Airlines, which has connections to Buenos Aires from its Houston hub (tel. 800/525-0280 or 0800-333-0425 in Buenos Aires; www.continental.com); Delta (tel. 800/221-1212 in the U.S. and Canada or 0800-666-0133 in Argentina; www.delta.com), which has flights to Buenos Aires via Atlanta; United Airlines (tel. 800/538-2929 in the U.S. or 0810/777-8648 in Buenos Aires; www.ual.com); Air Canada (tel. 888/247-2262 in Canada or 11/4327-3640 in Buenos Aires; www.aircanada.ca); British Airways (tel. 0844/493-0787 in the U.K. or 0800-222-0075 or 11/4320-6600 in Buenos Aires; www.britishairways.com); and Iberia (tel. 0870/609-0500 in the U.K. or 11/4131-1000 in Buenos Aires; www.iberia.com). Additionally, LAN Airlines, formerly known as LanChile (tel. 866/435-9526 in the U.S. and Canada or 11/4378-2222 in Buenos Aires; www.lan.com), provides connections from New York and Los Angeles to Buenos Aires via Santiago, and direct flights to Buenos Aires from Miami, as well as internal flights within Argentina. TAM (tel. 1-888-235-9826 in the U.S. and Canada or 0810-333-3333 in Argentina; www.tam.com.br), a Brazilian airline, also has connections to Buenos Aires through Sao Paulo and Rio. TAM and LAN are currently in a merger process. Qantas Airlines of Australia (tel. 13-13-13 in Australia or 11/4114-5800 in Buenos Aires; www.qantas.com.au) has flights to Buenos Aires from Sydney and Auckland, New Zealand.
Most domestic flights and some international flights, including those from Uruguay, arrive at Jorge Newbery Airport, also called Aeroparque (AEP, tel. 11/4514-1515; www.aa2000.com.ar), located about 15 minutes north along the river from downtown.
By American standards, domestic flights within Argentina are expensive. Technically, citizens and tourists pay different airfares, but sometimes tourists can get the Argentine rate. Aerolíneas Argentinas (tel. 800/333-0276 in the U.S. and Canada, 0810/222-86527 in Buenos Aires, or 1800/22-22-15 in Australia; www.aerolineas.com.ar) connects most cities and tourist destinations in Argentina, including Córdoba, Jujuy, Iguazú, Salta, and the beach resorts. (Aerolíneas Argentinas also has a subsidiary called Austral.) LAN (tel. 866/435-9526 in the U.S. and Canada or 11/4378-2222 in Buenos Aires; www.lan.com) has internal flights throughout Argentina connecting from Buenos Aires, and TAM (tel. 888/235-9826 in the U.S. and Canada or 11/3272-6706 or 0810-333-3333 in Argentina; www.tam.com.br) flies from Buenos Aires to the Brazilian side of Iguazú.
If you plan to travel extensively in Argentina from Buenos Aires, consider buying the Visit Argentina Pass, issued by Aerolíneas Argentinas. You must purchase the pass in your home country -- it cannot be purchased once you are in Argentina. This pass offers discounts on domestic travel in conjunction with your international Aerolíneas Argentinas ticket. Passes are purchasable as one-way coupons for flights within Argentina starting at about $120 each, with a minimum of three segments. There are many restrictions on the tickets. Aerolíneas Argentinas also has a Visit South America package option. For more information, contact the Aerolíneas office in your home country or your travel agent, or visit www.aerolineas.com.ar.
Since 2009, Argentina has charged a reciprocity fee of citizens of the United States, Canada, and Australia landing at Ezeiza. The fee can be paid with cash, or Visa, MasterCard, or American Express upon arrival.
Getting into Town form the Airport -- Taxis from Ezeiza to the center of town cost about $35. Manuel Tienda León (tel. 11/4314-3636; www.tiendaleon.com.ar) is the most reliable transportation company, offering buses and remises. Manuel Tienda León buses operate on a half-hour schedule and cost about $15. These take you to their hub in Puerto Madero, and from there, smaller buses take you to your hotel. The entire trip can take anywhere from 1 to 1 1/2 hours. From Newbery, taxis and remises to the city center cost $16 to $25. Manuel Tienda León also operates in Newbery on an approximately half-hour schedule and costs about $12. At both airports, I recommend that you take only officially sanctioned transportation.
The Estación Terminal de Omnibus, Av. Ramos Mejía 1680 (tel. 11/4310-0700; www.tebasa.com.ar), located near Retiro Station and usually called the Retiro bus station, serves all long-distance buses. You'll use this station if you're connecting in Buenos Aires to other parts of Argentina, or if you arrive in Buenos Aires by long-distance coach from other countries. Due to the prohibitively high cost of air travel for most South Americans, the continent is served by numerous bus companies offering comfortable, and at times luxurious, service to other capitals, often overnight. This is an excellent, albeit time-consuming, option 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 or 0800-444-8356; www.lavelozcallcenter.com.ar), serving destinations in the Northwest, including Salta and Jujuy; Singer (tel. 11/4315-2653 or 0810-222-1888; www.expresosinger.com.ar), serving Puerto Iguazú as well as Brazilian destinations; and Chevallier (tel. 11/4000-5255; www.nuevachevallier.com), serving points throughout the country.
The Estación Terminal de Omnibus is sprawling, enormous, and confusing. Just walking from one end to another takes about 10 minutes, given the ramps, crowds, and stairs through which you have to maneuver. Routes and platform locations rarely make it to the overhead boards, so these should never be relied on as a source of information when you're trying to find your bus. In spite of the chaos readily observable here, there is an overarching order to the confusion. A color-coded system used at the ticket-counters explains, very generally, 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 international destinations. However, at their sales counters, many bus companies indicate on their destination lists names of cities that are no longer served, so you may have to stand in a line and ask. Many companies also have more than one name, adding 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 to which 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 aggravation. You can also buy and download tickets ahead of time for select bus companies using the website www.plataforma10.com. Another useful site is www.omnilineas.com.ar.
Argentina is a vast country, with enormous distances between major cities. For example, Mendoza is about a 17-hour drive from Buenos Aires, Córdoba is about 9 hours, Puerto Iguazú is about 20 hours, and Ushuaia, in Tierra del Fuego is about 30 hours. (This does not include time for breaks and overnight rests.) I do not recommend driving such distances unless you have an incredible amount of stamina, and a long time to spend in Argentina to enjoy what are undoubtedly quite beautiful drives.
Buenos Aires is surrounded by a radial highway called Autopista General Paz, which, like the Beltway in Washington, D.C., or the Périférique in Paris, is seen as the dividing line between the city and its suburbs. National Route 3 runs from the Southwest and Eizeza airport, intersecting with General Paz, and becomes Autopista 25 de Mayo as it runs through the southern portion of Buenos Aires, connecting with 9 de Julio near San Telmo. The northern end of 9 de Julio connects with Autopista Arturo Illia, towards Aeroparque airport, and becomes part of General Paz.
The privatization and subsequent dismantling of Argentina's national passenger railroad system in the 1990s under President Carlos Ménem means that Buenos Aires is no longer connected by rail to other major cities in the country. A commuter train system is useful for side trips to the river island resort town of Tigre; La Plata, the capital of Buenos Aires Province; and the beach resort of Mar del Plata..
Buenos Aires is a port of call for a variety of cruise lines, with follow-ons to Montevideo, Rio de Janeiro, and other destinations. The Yacht Club of Argentina (tel. 11/4314-0505; www.yachtclubargentina.com.ar) is based in Dársena Norte and offers docking for private boats. Most tourists who take side trips to Uruguay will be using boat companies such as BuqueBus, which heads from Puerto Madero to Colonia and Montevideo, with bus connections to Punta del Este. Sturla Viajes also offers boat connections from Puerto Madero to the Tigre islands. The number for a nautical emergency is tel. 105. For more information about cruise ships stopping in Buenos Aires, visit the official port site www.puertobuenosaires.gov.ar, contact your travel agent, or see our list of tour companies.
There have been an increasing number of crimes against those entering Buenos Aires by cruise ship. The port itself is very safe, but it is surrounded by what is known as Villa 31 -- a villa miseria, or slum. Although you may have to wait up to 45 minutes for a cab to arrive at the port after your boat docks, under no circumstances should you leave the port and walk through the surrounding area. Recently, a number of tourists have wandered out of the port, either to hail cabs or simply to walk to downtown Buenos Aires (which begins only several long blocks from the port), only to get mugged. Do not leave the port on your own, regardless of the length of time it takes for a cab or other transportation arranged by your tour boat company to arrive.
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.