Argentina

      buenos aires - travel notes

    Here, you'll find links and information to help you arrange your visit to Buenos Aires.

    Planning your trip.

    Our Buenos Aires database contains information about dozens of hotels, restaurants, and attractions. For specific information about our recommendations, use the links to the right or do your research using our search engine.

    Getting to Buenos Aires

    Delta has a nonstop flight from Atlanta, American has a nonstop from Dallas, United and U.S. Air have nonstop service from Washington (IAD), Continental has a nonstop from Houston, and Aerolinias Argentinas and Lan Argentina have nonstops from Miami and connecting service from New York (JFK).

    International flights arrive at Buenos Aires's Ezeiza (EXE) airport, about 45 minutes west of downtown.

    Although there's no jet lag to speak of ­ Buenos Aires is only one hour ahead of the U.S. east coast ­ most of the flights from the U.S. are overnight. So even though you're not suffering from jet lag, you'll still likely be tired when you get in the next morning.

    When we arrived on a Saturday morning, it took us almost 90 minutes to clear Customs and Immigration. Though this isn't always the case ­ sometimes you can breeze through in 15 minutes ­ you should be prepared for some delays.

    Announcements are in Spanish, signage is limited and lines can be long, so be patient. And if you can avoid changing money here, do. The rates are bad and there's usually a long wait.

    Since no one at baggage claim matches the claim number to the bag, it's a good idea to have an easily distinguishable bag, or to mark yours so no one else will mistake it for their own.

    Someone walked off with one of ours, and although it was delivered to our hotel within hours, it made for a stressful start to our trip.

    Getting to Your Hotel

    If you arrive in the morning, chances are your hotel room won't be ready when you get there. Consider making your reservations starting the night prior to your arrival, so you can check in whenever you arrive. Sometimes, the convenience of being able to unpack, take a shower, and change clothes is worth the additional expense. Just be sure the hotel knows your intentions so they don't think you're a no-show.

    There are a couple of options for getting to your hotel. Manuel Tienda de Leon, which has a desk in the Arrivals terminal area, has bus service every 30 minutes between Ezeiza and their downtown terminal. Depending on your hotel, you may be able to get a transfer by van from the terminal to your hotel. The latest fares are available at www.tiendaleon.com.ar/prehome.asp..

    If you don't want to wait for a bus, you can arrange a remise ­ or private car ­ to drive you to your hotel. You can arrange a Buenos Aires airport private car transfer at www.tiendaleon.com.ar/prehome.asp.

    Taxis are available at the airport, but the fare may vary depending on traffic. It's usually between $35 and $50. Don't accept a ride from someone who approaches you in the terminal ­ get a taxi from the rank outside baggage claim.

    Where to Stay

    Some of Buenos Aires's hotels rival the palace hotels of Europe. Although less expensive than their European counterparts, they are still over $500 a night. The city does have many boutique hotels that are nicely located and very affordable.

    For a list of our recommended accommodations in Buenos Aires, click here..

    Getting Around

    Taxis are generally an inexpensive, convenient way to get around. But you should use Radio taxis, which are called in advance. Taxis that you hail on the street frequently overcharge.

    If you need to get a taxi on the street, look for a black car with a yellow roof and a 'Radio Taxi' light on the top.

    Buses, known as colectivos, go everywhere inexpensively. And the subway, or subte, has five lines ­ A through E ­ and is the fastest way to get anywhere. With its old wooden cars and turn-of-the century stations, Line A is something of a tourist attraction itself.

    If you're interested in taking public transportation, ask your hotel for help.

    Boats to Colonia often sell out in summer, so it's a good idea to book several days in advance. Buquebus and FerryLineas Argentina both have terminals at Puerto Madero and you can make reservations and purchase tickets there.

    Or you can reserve a boat to Colonia and buy tickets at www.buquebus.com or www.ferrylineas.com.uy.

    Seeing the Sights

    Your hotel can probably equip you with a map and some brochures. If you'd like more information, there are tourist offices in Microcentro at Calle Florida and Diagonal Norte, in San Telmo on Defensa at San Juan, in Puerto Madero at Dock 4, at the Retiro bus station, in Recoleta at Quintana and Ortiz and in the Abasto shopping center. They offer a number of free walking and bus tours, though not all are in English.

    There's also a good visitor information office in Galerias Pacifico.

    If you'd like to take a special-interest tour, Travelline offers a variety of city tours, as well as estancia and out-of-town day trips. You can arrange Buenos Aires tours at www.travelline.com.ar/default.asp.

    Getting back to the airport

    Ask your hotel what time you should leave, based on traffic. It ordinarily takes 45 minutes to an hour to get from downtown to the airport.

    Most flights to the U.S. leave in the evening, so if you don't want to have to check out of your hotel at noon, consider booking your room for an extra night, so you can come back and shower before transferring to the airport.

    At the airport, you'll need to pay a departure tax of approximately US$18 per person. It's payable in dollars, pesos, or with a credit card.


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