The city of Buenos Aires is the capital of the Argentine Republic. Approximately three million people live in its 202 square kilometers (78.3 sq miles). However, together with the metropolitan area, the total population of Buenos Aires is above ten millions, making it one of the ten most populated urban centers in the world.
In front of its coasts, washed by the Río de la Plata, you will find Montevideo, capital of Uruguay, only 45 minutes away by plane or two hours and a half by ship.
The Río de la Plata and the Riachuelo are the natural borders of the City on the east and south, respectively. The General Paz Avenue from north to west surrounds the rest of the metropolitan perimeter. This avenue provides a fast connection between the city and the Greater Buenos Aires area.
Buenos Aires is connected with the interior of the country and foreign countries through an extended transport system, with connection points such as a port for cruisers and ferries, two airports – one for international flights, Ezeiza, 22 kilometers (13.7 miles) away from the Obelisco and the other for domestic flights, 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) away from downtown – commuter railroad, highways, national routes and a passenger transport terminal located at no more than one kilometer from downtown.
The City of Buenos Aires is a cosmopolitan and modern urban centre, where every day millions of people, among them tourists, come and go either to work or to visit the city. It is for that reason that the transport system provides multiple options, such as a subway network, more than one hundred bus lines and a taxi fleet reaching all points in the City, with a wide range of prices and extended and flexible timetables.
Buenos Aires has always been famous for its incredible cultural offer. Museums, cinemas, theatres and shows provide an unlimited variety of options for entertainment. Dramas, musical comedies, “teatro de revistas” (a sort of revue), guided tours and tango shows, are some of the proposals for all ages, all the year round.
Both cinema and theatre represent two very important activities for the porteños. Currently, there are about 175 theatres and 200 cinemas.
The Colón Theatre, inaugurated in 1908, is the pride of the porteños. It has hosted, and stills hosts, the most famous artists of the national and international opera and ballet.
The time zone corresponds to GMT3 and no change is made in the summer months.
Activity in Buenos Aires starts in the first hours of day and extends until late at night. This is the only city in the country where the habit of having a siesta – a nap after midday - has been lost.
Shops are open from Monday through Fridays, from 9 am to 8 pm, and Saturdays from 9 am to 1 pm. In shopping centers, hours usually extend until 10 pm, including Saturdays and Sundays.
Banks open at 10 am and close between 3 and 4 pm. Cash extractions and other transactions may be made in ATMs, 24 hours a day.
The hours in which porteños have their four meals are variable, since this is accommodated according to their activities. Breakfast is served between 7 and 10 in the morning. In bars and patisserie, it is possible to find special offers, for both breakfast and tea, between two and four pesos. Porteños generally have lunch in a very short time, between 12 noon and 3 pm. Restaurants in downtown or sections of the city with high office building concentration, prepare an ample selection of fast and varied menus, ranging from five to eight pesos. In mid afternoon, between 4 and 6 pm, porteños generally have merienda (tea)
Dinner – served as of 9 pm – is the most important meal, since this is the moment to gather with family or friends.
Cinemas are generally quite crowded, especially on Saturdays. Prices vary according to the cinema. Tickets range between 4.50 and 8 pesos; although there is no fixed price, a discount in certain days of the week is customary.
Tips are not required, and there is no fixed percentage. The amount will greatly depend on the quality of the attention and service received by the customer. In bars, when the bill is small, it is habitual to leave some coins, between 5% and 10% of total expense. In restaurants, a tip amounting to 10% of the bill is usual.
Calling from Buenos Aires
Public phones operate with “chip” cards or 5, 10, 25, 50-cent and 1-peso coins.
These phones accept urban, national and international calls.
For international direct dialing, dial: 00 + country code + area code + local number.
Calling to Buenos Aires
Country code for Argentina is 54 and area code for Buenos Aires is 11. For example, to call to 4555-5555 from outside the country, you should dial: 54-11-4555-5555.
Pizza $ 5 - $ 20.
Pastas $ 4 - $ 10.
Parrillada (barbecue) from $8.
Empanadas (small meat pies) $ 0.80 - $ 1.10 each
Ice cream from $ 2.
Tenedor libre (all-you-can-eat restaurants) $ 6.
Breakfast in a patisserie $ 2 - $ 4.
Coffee in Recoleta neighborhood $ 2 - $ 3.50.
Lunch/dinner in a patisserie $ 7 - $ 15.
Dinner per person: from $ 15.
Puerto Madero area (lunch) $ 10 - $ 15.
Palermo Viejo neighborhood (lunch - dinner) $ 15 and $ 25.
Menu executive (midday menu) (from Monday through Friday): $ 5 - $ 8.
Bus: $ 0.75 - $ 0.80.
Subway: $ 0.70 cents (flat fare)
Taxi: $ 1.12 + 0.14 added each 200 metros.
Train: $ 0.45 (minimum fare)
Remise (from Ezeiza airport to the Obelisco): $ 10 - $ 20.
Minibus (from Ezeiza airport to the Obelisco): $ 11.
Daily car rental: $ 75 - $ 145.
1 liter of gasoline: $ 1- $ 1.50.
Cinema: $ 4.50 - $ 8.
Local concerts and music shows: $ 6 - $ 15.
Ticket for Colón Theater: $ 10 - $ 140.
Ticket for a Boca-River soccer match: $ 15 - $ 30.
Admission to museums: Free or ticket from $ 1 - $ 3
Rate of exchange
The climate of Buenos Aires - oceanic and warm - is mild all year round. The mean annual temperature is 18º C (64.4º F), making extremely hot and cold days very infrequent. Thus, visitors can enjoy walking along the city in any season.
The exchange rate in Argentina favors the foreign tourist. Foreign currency is exchanged in banks and casas de cambio (currency exchange office). Shops accept credit cards, dollars, pesos and travelers' checks.
July is the coldest month in winter, with mean temperatures ranging from 3º to 8º C (37.4º to 46.4º F). Frosts are infrequent in Buenos Aires. A woolen coat, a jacket or an overcoat and a scarf will be required when going out. In summer, the weather is hot and humid and the mean temperature is 28º C (82.4º F). At night, temperature goes down slightly, so people may wear light clothes; coats are not needed.