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  Argentina : Handbook : Transportation

TRANSPORTATION  

Transporte
  • Driving in Argentina
  • Taxis
  • Urban buses
  • Remise
  • Omnibus
  • Underground
  • Trains
  • Ferry

  • Driving in Argentina

    Argentina Transport

    Although renting a car offers the tourist flexibility when traveling, one should take into account that car rental in Argentina tends to be costly. Most of the cities and tourist areas have car rentals; depending on the company you may be able to return the car in another city.
    In Argentina you are allowed to use your regular drivers license, although it is highly recommended to get an international drivers license. In order to drive in the country a person must be older than 18 years of age.

    The expressways that surround the main cities are wide and expeditious, although they tend to become more narrow and the quality worsens the further away you get from the larger urban areas. The continuing rural roads are not in good condition nor are they well marked with signs.
    It is also worth mentioning that the expressways are privately owned, therefore you have to pay a toll from one stretch of road to another .
    Although there are plenty of gas stations in every city and on highways, it is wise to fill your gas tank before setting out on rural roads since gas stations are harder to find in isolated areas. In Argentina gas is called nafta.

    While driving in Argentina it is advisable not to exceed the speed limit and to obey all transit signs. Although bribing is common, if you receive a traffic ticket from a police officer, it is better not to argue and just accept the fine.
    Wearing a seat belt is a must, although generally people do not use them. It is prohibited to make left hand turns on main roads unless there is a left turn arrow at a stoplight indicating you to do so.
    In cities the maximum velocity is 40 k/h (25 mph) and 60 k/h (almost 40 mph) on main roads. On rapid highways the maximum speed permitted is 120 k/h (75 mph), while on main roads the maximum reaches up to 80 k/h (50 mph).
    Driving in a city like Buenos Aires can be rather chaotic, due to the quantity of vehicles and the narrowness of some streets. Drivers are typically aggressive, the streets are a mess, and there is little or no respect for pedestrians. You should drive defensively and with great care.

    From  Argentina you can travel by car to neighboring countries. There are highways leading to Chile, Bolivia, Paraguay and the border with Brazil. Each country has border controls where you will be asked for your passport and visa (in case you need it to enter the country) and all valid automobile documents.

    Taxis

    Taxi service is very common in Argentinean cities, but only in Buenos Aires does the number of vehicles reach 32,000. So it is easy to find them on practically every street corner in the city. Considering that Argentina is an expensive country, the use of taxis can be quite convenient, and even more so if you are traveling in a group. The rate is charged at the end of the ride according to the time and distance traveled. For safety reasons find certified radio taxis, and pay close attention to the license plate number and carefully observe the driver.

    Urban Buses ( Micro omnibus or colectivos)

    Argentina TransportOne of the most popular methods of transportation in Argentina are the colectivos or micro omnibus (bus). There are different bus lines each with a distinct color. The fare is paid to the driver or directly in the automated machines located at the front of the bus. Be prepared with exact change as you board the bus. There is information posted about the main stretches of the itinerary at each bus stop.
    There is a bus (colectivo) service in Buenos Aires called diferencial (differential) where the seats are more comfortable and under guarantee. They follow more direct routes and only stop to let passengers off or when there are available seats.

    Remise

    Remise are a type of taxi, which differ from a regular taxi in that the price of the trip is established in advance. This way the driver can count on the passenger to have the required amount of money, and the passenger can also be certain that the driver will take the most direct route to the destination. 
    Remises in general are cheaper than taxis, there is a spoken agreement. One of the most common routes is to the airport. 

    Interurban Buses or Omnibus

    Argentina boasts a vast interurban bus service that, if traveling from Buenos Aires, accesses all of the provinces within the country as well as neighboring countries, including Peru. From Peru you can even travel all the way to Venezuela, passing through Colombia.

    There are two types of service, common and differential." Common" is more inexpensive, seat availability is not assured, the buses are rather uncomfortable, and they do not feature air conditioning nor heating. On the other hand, "differential" service is a little more expensive but offers reclining seats (in some cases beds), heating, minibar, toilet, on-board staff, and an occasional snack is provided to passengers.

    In Buenos Aires, the buses that travel on national and international routes leave from the city Bus Terminal (Terminal de Omnibus). Numerous bus companies operate throughout the whole country, but they are all regulated in the Buenos Aires Terminal according to their destination. Bus tickets can be purchased at this location.

    You can board urban buses or micros to travel to neighboring cities.

    Basic Guidelines for the Traveler

  • Do not leave the house without double checking your documents and tickets.
  • Before accepting your ticket, make sure it is for the service you are paying for or that they promise you.
  • If the bus you are traveling on makes stops, memorize the bus number and pay attention to how much time the chauffeur says they will stay in that area. Do not wander away from the bus.
  • Never travel or get off the bus (at the destination) with large quantities of money on your person.
  • Do not overload yourself with unnecessary baggage, think about your comfort and that of those around you.
  • Never travel without some kind of Health Coverage.
  • Do not get in any Taxi or Remise without first asking about rates and making sure the vehicle is authorized to offer the service.
  • Never go to unknown or unauthorized places. Ask local people before visiting a certain area.
  • Do not smoke just anywhere. To avoid fires, look for authorized places to light up a cigarette.
  • Useful Advice for Travelers:

  • Once you have decided to travel, ask about rates and the service classes that are offered.
  • Before leaving the ticket window, verify that your ticket states the service class that you requested.
  • Upon boarding the vehicle, verify that the class specified on the sign located near the access door corresponds to what is marked on your ticket.
  • If any doubts or inconveniences should arise regarding the service class, note the internal number of the bus or the license plate and keep your ticket. This way you will be able to carry out your complaint.
  • You are allowed to carry up to 15 kg. (33 lbs.) of baggage, free of charge. The company will hand you a corresponding password (a ticket for you and a duplicate attached to your luggage). The ticket includes insurance for checked baggage.
  • In the event that luggage is lost or damaged, make an immediate complaint to the company offices and demand a written record of your claim.
  • If you have any other concerns, call toll free to the Transportation Regulation Commission in Argentina at 0800-333-0300.
  • Metro or Subway 

    The metro or "subte", as it is commonly called, covers a good portion of Buenos Aires, with five metro lines each one specified by a different letter.
    Buenos Aires' subway network is the oldest in Latin America; this explains the antique tramcars that look as if they were taken straight out of an old western movie. 
    The subway lines stretch approximately 46 km (29 miles) passing by 80 stations.
    Although this means of transportation may not be very comfortable and tends to get very hot in the summer, it turns out to be quite fast and efficient for wandering to and fro among the city's main attractions.

    Trains

    Argentina's railroad network is not an especially important means of transportation for traveling within the country. Aside from being uncomfortable, trains make infrequent trips to few destinations. The most utilized route is the one from Buenos Aires to Mar del Plata, and the one to Bariloche.
    The rates are generally economical, but it's a good idea to buy tickets 3 days in advance and two weeks in advance during the summer. You should arrive at the station at a sensible time before the train departs.
    There is also a unique tour called Tren de las Nubes (Train of the Clouds) that visits stunning areas within the Andes mountain chain.

    Ferry

    The ferry service is greatly developed between Argentina and Uruguay. One of the largest and most well-known ferry lines is the Buquebus Company. It offers service to the cities of Colonia and Montevideo in Uruguay. Although this type of transportation is fairly expensive it is comfortable and rapid.


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