Getting around

Buenos Aires is arranged in blocks, so it’s easy to get around if you know the essentials. The city has a large and ever-expanding public transport network, and almost 40,000 licensed taxis (that’s 3 times as many as New York). The hop-on, hop-off tourist bus is a must if you’re short of time and keen to see the highlights. Bicycle lanes and pedestrian streets in the city centre make cycling and walking a nice alternative.

Bus

Known locally as ‘colectivos’ or ‘bondis’, buses are a cheap and efficient way to get around the city. Over 180 numbered lines run regularly, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and you0ll rarely find yourself more than a couple of blocks from a stop.

Fares within the city range between $6 and $6.50 pesos and must be paid with a rechargeable SUBE card (details below). Tell the bus driver where you are headed (most passengers give the name of the crossroad nearest to where they wish to get off) and he will let you know the fare.)

Use the interactive Como llego? map to help you work out which bus to take for your journey. Another option is to buy a ‘Guia T’ (paperback map and bus guide) from any street newsagents (kiosco). The city's buses, along with the underground train network, are also mapped on Google Maps Transit.

The Metrobus is a system of dedicated bus lanes designed to cut journey times on several of the city's main arteries. Several Metrobus stations have free WiFi access, click here to find out which. Make sure you stand in line (bus queuing is respected in Buenos Aires), and note that people queue to the right of the bus stop, not the left.

Subte (Underground train network)

The subte may be the oldest in Latin America (the first line opened in 1913 - click here for a timeline), but it remains the quickest way to get around the city. Four líneas (lines), A, B, D and E, run in parallel from the centre to the western and northern outskirts, while línea C runs north–south, connecting the two major train stations of Retiro and Constitución. Línea H, the newest line, runs from Las Heras Avenue south to Hospitales.

To travel on the Subte, you'll need a rechargeable SUBE card (see below). SUBE cards can be recharged at the windows in subte stations. Each journey costs $7.50 pesos, no matter how many connections you make.

Trains operate every three to ten minutes depending on the line, from 5am to 10.30pm Monday to Saturday, and 8am to 10pm on Sundays and public holidays. Unsurprisingly, trains can get very crowded during rush hour (8am-9.30am and 5pm-7pm). Línea A carriages are air-conditioned.

A number of subte stations have free WiFi access, click here to find out which.

The subte website has a detailed map of the network, with addresses and information for each station, and real-time updates on services.

Or you can download a copy of the map as a pdf at the bottom of this page.

SUBE card

SUBE card

To travel by bus or subte (underground metro) in Buenos Aires, you'll need a SUBE travel card - a rechargeable, magnetised card, which you will need to charge with credit to pay for your journeys.

SUBE cards are available throughout the city at post offices, many "kioskos" (corner shops selling confectionary and tobacco), and at our eight Tourist Assistance Centers. Cards cost $25 pesos and can be charged with credit at all subte stations, national lottery outlets, and at kioskos with automated terminals.

SUBE cards can also be used to pay for trains and toll-roads within the city and province of Buenos Aires.

To find your nearest point of sale, the SUBE website has a map of SUBE vendors.

Your SUBE card will allow you to go up to twenty pesos in debt before you need to recharge it.

Cycling

BA is perfect for exploring on bike, with free city bikes for hire 24/7 and over 130km of bicycle lanes. Click here to find out how to use the city's free bike rental system. You can hire a back for up to an hour at a time, picking it up and returning it at any of the 90 stations located throughout the city.

Taxis

BA is awash with licensed black and yellow taxis, and in busy areas you are unlikely to wait more than a couple of minutes for one. Taxis can be flagged down off the street (on the right-hand side). You’ll be able to tell if one is available if the ‘libre’ (free) sign is lit up in red or white on the taxi’s windscreen on the passenger side. It is common to give a direction using the cross street, for example instead of saying “Corrientes 585” you would say “Corrientes y Florída”, since Florída is the nearest cross street to that address.

Licensed taxis run on meters, and tariffs are exclusively in pesos (ARS $). Fares rise by 20% at night.

If you want to order a taxi from a fixed place, there are several radio taxis companies from which taxis can be ordered in advance. A good idea would be to ask your hotel to recommend you one. The mobile e-hailing application Easy Taxi is also operational in Buenos Aires.  

Unfortunately, on rare occasions taxi drivers have been known to give out counterfeit notes, and therefore it is recommended you check your bills before you leave the taxi. Should you wish to make a complaint against a taxi driver, please call 0800-999-2838 or send an email to taxis@buenosaires.gob.ar.   

On the brighter side, some of the most entertaining and enlightening conversations to be had in Buenos Aires are with taxi drivers. 

Car hire & driving in the city

All major car hire companies operate in Buenos Aires and car hire is available in the city centre and at both Ezeiza (Pistarini) and Aeroparque (Jorge Newbery) airports.  To hire a car you need to be over 21 years of age, have owned a driver’s license for at least 2 years and have the means to pay by credit card.

While you can usually park in the street if there are spaces (a few central areas have parking meters), many people prefer the safety of parking their cars in an ‘Estacionamiento’ (garage). There are hundreds in the city, and you'll rarely have a problem finding one. Look out for the ‘E’ sign. Many can be found on this map.

One very porteño issue to be aware of in zones with restaurants, bars and clubs, is the ‘trapito’. Trapitos are locals who will keep an eye on your car for you for a small fee (usually between $15 and $50). They are so-called because they carry little cloths (‘trapitos’) which they often wave to get your attention or usher you into a free space. 

Should you have the misfortune to have your car towed because of a parking violation, you will need to pay a fine and pick it up from one of two depots, located on Av. Figueroa Alcorta and Av. Pueyrredón, and Av. Juan de Garay and Autopista 9 de Julio Sur. More information (in Spanish) can be found on the City's website here.  

But, you can always explore on foot...

There’s so much to see and enjoy in barrios like San Telmo, Palermo Viejo and Soho, Recoleta, Balvanera and the microcentro (the central downtown area) that they are often best explored in your own time on foot. More and more central streets are being pedestrianized, with improved street lighting and green spaces, greatly reducing car numbers and fumes (see Plan Microcentro to learn more about the changes taking place in the city centre).

Check out Guided Tours for walking tours of the city.

Useful apps

Downloadable maps and other useful apps to help you navigate the city.:

  • BA Cómo llego? (How do I get there?)

This interactive online map will help you get from A to B in the city, whether on public transport, by car or on foot. Download the app.

  • EcoBici

This mobile application is for all bicycle users in the city. It maps out bicycles lanes, and shows the locations and availability of city bikes for hire. Download the app. For a map of bicycle lanes in the city, please go to the Eco-Bici website.  

  • BA Móvil

Keep updated on the transport situation in real time on your smartphone. Download the application

  • BA WiFi

There is free WiFi in hundreds of central hotspots. Download the application to find out where.

If you're interested in learning about the city's other free apps, please go to this webpage: http://www.buenosaires.gob.ar/aplicacionesmoviles.

 

Updated April 2016