Deeply influenced and self-consciously modeled after its European heritage, Buenos Aires is often called the 'Paris of South America'.
Portenos, as the multinational people of Buenos Aires are known, possess an elaborate and rich cultural identity. They are a mix of contrasts: European sensibilities and Latin American passion; tango and rock and roll; culturally interested and soccer fanatics.
For all its diversity, the elusive spirit of Argentina as a country is present everywhere in Buenos Aires. The national dance, the tango, is perhaps the best expression of that spirit, combining an elegant reserve and an exuberant passion.
Buenos Aires is home of many public libraries and cultural associations as well as the largest concentration of active theaters in Latin America. The city has numerous museums related to history, arts and popular music, as well as the preserved homes of a number of art collectors, writers, composers and artists.
It has a world-famous Zoo and Botanical Garden, a large number of landscaped parks and squares, as well as churches and places of worship of all denominations, many of which are architecturally noteworthy.
In this section you can find other practical information you will need while travelling to Buenos Aires.
San Telmo is one of the oldest neighborhood of Buenos Aires, that has retained much of the city's turn-of-the-century atmosphere. An aristocratic neighborhood in the early years of the 19th century that turned shabby after a yellow fever epidemic and that has experience in the last decade a gentrification of the houses as a new population of artists and antique dealers arrived.
A neighbor that has preserved old buildings and street layouts. That is famous for its architecture, including Art Nouveau wrought-iron balconies, fine French-style mansion and ornamental door knobs. Houses with sunny patios, where among palm trees and birdsong, you might even forget that you're at the heart of Buenos Aires.
But the main charm of San Telmo is the lively street scene around Plaza Dorrego, where Tango musicians and dancers perform. It is a great place to browse and people watch in a quite festive atmosphere, with bars and restaurants all of which will tempt you to lunch.
The Plaza is transformed each Sunday morning into a flea market, with hundreds of booths selling everything from used tourist 'junk' to pricey antiques: old magazines, vintage clothing, old telephones and gramophones and multicolored seltzer bottles. The market offer a few valuable silver objects and good-quality silver-plated dishes. Art Nouveau furniture and objects can be found for interesting pieces at a slightly lower price than in Paris or New York.
The Argentine currency is the peso, and is signified by the same symbol as the US dollar ($). Paper money comes in
denominations of: $2, $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100. Coins are available: 1 cent, 5 cents, 10 cents, 25 cents, 50 cents and
1 peso coins.
US dollars are by far the preferred foreign currency, although Euros, Chilean and Uruguayan pesos can be readily
exchanged at cambios (exchange houses), but other currencies can be difficult to change.
The Peso shares the same currency symbol ($) as the US dollar, so many tourists get confused by ticketed prices.
Almost all prices displayed in Argentina are in Pesos. Those in USD are indicated by U$D, $US or US$.
Cash Machines or ATM's
Cash machines are used by everybody and there are plenty around the city. Every bank has cash machines linked to
international networks such as a Cirrus, Plus, MasterCard, Visa, Maestro, Citibank and others. Simply look for the
companies' logos on bank windows and in cash machine booths. They only deliver pesos. You will not be able to get
Dollars from them.
Public Telephones and Phone Centers
Buenos Aires has many public telephone booths. All accept coins; some have slots for phone cards.
In addition to public phones, there are many phone centers, called locutorios or telecentros, throughout the city. Service
is generally efficient and direct dialing-both long-distance and international-is universal. Locutorios are useful if you
need to make lots of calls or don't have coins on you. Ask the receptionist for una cabina (a booth) and then pay as you
leave. There's no charge if you don't get through.
You can use prepaid calling cards (tarjetas prepagas) to make local and international calls from public phones. All cards
come with a scratch-off panel, which reveals a pin number. You dial a free access number, the pin number, and the
number you wish to call.
Most kioscos (small street shops located basically around every corner) and small supermarkets sell prepaid cards from
different companies: specify it's for llamadas internacionales (international calls), and compare each card's per-minute
rates to the country you want to call.
Prepaid Argentina SIM
A prepaid Argentina SIM card with an international cell phone is the most convenient and economical solution for
staying in touch while in Argentina: rates will be cheaper than using your U.S. network or renting a phone.
All incoming calls while in Argentina are FREE, regardless of where they originate. Pay the local rate for local calls
and use a cellular phone in Argentina like you do at home. And unlike home, your Argentina SIM card and cell phone
service is prepaid so there is no need for a contract.
The SIM card ships are very cheap and they usually come with airtime vouchers. Additional credit is available through
the purchase of airtime vouchers. These Airtime vouchers are available locally in Argentina, at convenience stores and
petrol stations. It is easy to recharge your account, simply follow the instructions after you scratch off the protective
layer to reveal your recharge voucher code.
REMEMBER: Do NOT purchase another SIM card when your airtime credit is depleted! You only need a recharge
voucher! To check your remaining airtime balance, follow the instructions below.
Calling International calls
For international calls, dial: 00 + country code + area code + local number.
Calling cell phones
Any number that is prefixed by a 15 is a cell-phone number.
If you need to contact a cell phone in Buenos Aires, dial this way: 00 + 54 + 9 + 11 + cell phone number without the
first two digits (1 and 5). For example, if you want to call the cell phone 156 434 555, dial this way: 00 + 54 + 9 + 11 +
Calling from abroad
The country code for Argentina is 54, and the area code for Buenos Aires is 11.
The time zone corresponds to GMT-3 and currently no change is made in the summer months.
Activity in Buenos Aires starts in the first hours of the day and extends until late at night.
Most are open Monday through Friday, from 10 am to 8 pm, and Saturday from 10 am to 1 pm. In shopping centers,
open at 11:00 am and close at 10 pm.
Almost all banks open at 10 am and close at 3 pm, although some banks extend their closing time to 4 pm. Cash
extractions and other transactions may be made in ATMs, 24 hours a day.
The hours in which portenos have their four meals are variable, since they are accommodated according to their
activities. Breakfast is served between 7 and 10 in the morning. In coffee houses and confiterias (pastry shops), it
is possible to find special offers for the typical coffee and milk with medialunas (croissants), both for breakfast and
merienda (tea) time.
Dinner is unquestionably the most important, and largest, meal of the day in Argentina. During the week most
Argentines eat at 9 or 9:30 in the evening, but on Fridays and Saturdays it can start as late as 11 pm! Argentine dinners
are usually quite heavy with traditional foods being asado, pasta, pizza, empanadas, milanesa, etc. If Argentines are
dining with friends or family it often goes until the early hours of the morning. Restaurants open for dinner around 9:00
p.m. But, unless you want to glaringly advertise yourself as a tourist, do not arrive before 10:00 p.m. (11:00 p.m. is
better.) Kitchens usually serve until 1:00 AM.
Nightlife in BA
Buenos Aires is often called the city that never sleeps and for good reason. The streets are busy at all hours of the night,
and you can feel a distinct energy throughout the city. The Porteno nightlife is one of the best you'll experience and has
a little something for everyone
One important thing to remember is that everything starts VERY late here. When people are planning to go out, they
will usually start dinner sometime between 10PM and 12AM. Then everyone meets up at someone's house or a bar for
a while. Around 2AM - 3AM, people go to the clubs. For most foreigners, this is a hard schedule to get used to, but if
you try to go out earlier, you'll likely be the only ones there!
Electrical Plug/Outlet and Voltage Information for Argentina
Electric power in Argentina is 220 volt, 50-cycle alternating current.
If you are plugging in an appliance that was built for 220-240 volt electrical input, or an appliance that is compatible
with multiple voltages, then an adapter is all you need.
Power outlets have 2 cylindrical holes or 2 flat holes with ground connection. It is practically interchangeable with
the standards in Australia and China. However, many non-grounded sockets in Argentina are the 'Type C' Europlug
type. If your appliance's plug doesn't match the shape of these sockets, you will need one or more travel plug adapters
in order to plug in. Travel plug adapters simply change the shape of your appliance's plug to match whatever type of
socket you need to plug into.
You may bring an adapter from your home country in order to use electric devices, although it is also easy and cheap to
buy them once you arrive as they are sold in most hardware stores.
Remember: Travel plug adapters do not change the voltage, so the electricity coming through the adapter will still be
the same 220-240 volts the socket is supplying. North American sockets supply electricity at between 110 and 120
volts, far lower than in most of the rest of the world. In this case you need an electrical transformer.
Directions by bus, subte, walking, etc. Put your starting point, ending point
Argentina is one of the most advanced countries in Latin America in terms of transport, with modern facilities, and
good accessibility. The Public transportation is an efficient service, usually running 24 hours.
The urban bus is commonly known as 'Colectivos' or sometimes 'Bondis' in slang. The service is very frequent -you
will rarely have to wait more than five minutes during the day. The bus system is a service with 'stops' (a place where
passengers are waiting to take a bus) spread on the streets with a distance 400 meters among each one of them.
Before you even think of boarding a bus, you will need to make sure you have coins ('Monedas') for your journey.
Banknotes are not accepted. Introducing coins into the machine, you get a ticket to travel. There is a prepaid card named
SUBE, that works with every city bus or metro.
If you are visiting Buenos Aires for a week or more, you should definitely purchase a Guia T. For sale at most news
stands and often on the subway, the Guia T is a little pocket-sized book providing detailed maps of city streets and
outlines how to get around by bus.
The 'Subte' (as it's called in BUENOS AIRES) or Metro, is the faster and more frequent (every 5 minutes), though it
can be very crowded during morning and evening peak hours. The service runs from 5am to 10pm (8am to 10pm on
The ticket is electro-magnetic and it's dispensed in the same station.
Large parts of the city are not served by the network, including some important tourist areas such as Recoleta and
Taxis in Buenos Aires are reasonable priced and plentiful (except in rainy rush hours). Taxis are easy to identify
because they are painted yellow and black (roof), and they are circulating in thousands through BUENOS AIRES.
To take a taxi can be done from anywhere in the city, making signs to the driver or the Radio Taxi ( To request a taxi by
phone ), it's the safer service to travel on taxi .
Currently are circulating over 40,000 taxis by BUENOS AIRES
There's a good deal of railway connections to the suburban area laid out in such a way that it resembles a shape of a
star. The quality of the service ranges from excellent to not quite so desirable, depending of the line; ask before using
them at night time.
The main railway terminals are Retiro, Constitucion, Once and Federico Lacroze. From all of these you can then use the
metro and bus network to get right into the center. The suburban fares are very cheap.
Another train is 'Tren de la Costa'. It has a tourist profile that reaches the Delta del Tigre (The Great BUENOS
AIRES, the Noth zone ), traveling across the coastline of Rio de la Plata. If you are making a tour to Delta or Tigre, we
recommend to travel with this service.
0800 999 283
A simple phone call in a difficult situation, can be made from any public phone. Attention in English, Portuguese,
Italian and French.
Buenos Aires is a safe city, but as in any big city in the world, tourists should take some precautions.
It is important to keep some basic safety rules in mind to prevent bad times:
Always walk around with as little money, jewelry and documents as possible. Do not take your passport with you.
Avoid using jewelry and watches.
Keep purses and backpacks in a safe place. When sitting in a bar, restaurant, bus or subway, do not leave your
belongings on a chair or hanging loose in an empty chair beside you.
Avoid walking around on dark or empty streets during the night
Do not exchange money on the street.
Watch out for snatch and run thieves: a common trick is for motorcyclists to speed past and grab your bag.
If you go to ATMs, check that the door is properly closed behind you and secure your money in a safe place before
The Urban Guard will help and take care in emergencies or risky situations. The official body works in coordination
with the security forces, firemen, medical urgency service and some other State organisms.
The urban guard performs their tasks throughout the city of Buenos Aires 24 hours a day throughout the entire year.
Tourist Police Station
This police station headquarters receives any formal complaints from tourists in cases of offenses, thefts, petty steal,
losses, whereabouts and failed meetings. It also works on crime prevention. You can also receive help in the case of
extraordinary procedures before embassies or consulates. You will get information from people speaking in English,
Italian, French, Portuguese, Ukrainian and Japanese.
As a custom, tipping can get tricky when traveling outside of your social or geographical bubble.
In any case, you have to know that tipping in Argentina is optional and the amount is flexible, in almost any situation.
In restaurants, 10% gratuity is considered the norm. Going over 10% is rare and considered pretty generous but leave
less or leave nothing, if the service was particularly bad.
In some instances, restaurants will charge a 'cubierto'. Not to be confused with a 'service charge' this money goes
directly to the restaurant and is not part of the tip.
It is not necessary to tip cab drivers in Argentina, nor do they expect one. It is considered polite to round up to the
nearest whole peso, so they don't have to count out coins for your change (which they almost never have anyway). If
the cab driver helps load or unload your baggage from the curb, it is nice to give them something in gratitude.
Ministro Pistarini International Airport
(Spanish: Aeropuerto Internacional Ministro Pistarini)
(IATA: EZE, ICAO: SAEZ)
Commonly known as Ezeiza International Airport
This airport is used for international flights to travel to and from Buenos Aires. It is located about 35km (20 miles)
south of Buenos Aires. About 30-45 minutes from downtown by highway (can be much longer at rush hours).
Transportation from Ezeiza to city
As soon as you claim your baggage and exit the customs area of the airport, you will notice that many people will
approach you and offer car services to the city. We recommend you not to accept any of these services since they
usually take advantage of tourists.
You will also see when you get into the main section of the airport, a few booths run by remis companies. These are
For us, Taxi Ezeiza (white taxi) is a cheap and safe option. No reservation is needed and you can just request one of
these taxis by going to the white booth in the middle of the terminal. Tell them you want to go to 'Capital Federal'
and have an address of where you are staying. A driver will then help you with your bags and you'll be in your hotel in
about 40 minutes. Notice that these are not the regular taxis from Buenos Aires which are black and yellow.
Manuel Tienda Leon: You can also take air-conditioned buses with a secure luggage area and large reclining seats. All
pick-ups and drop-offs to and from Ezeiza are stationed at the Terminal Madero at Av. Madero and San Martin. Tickets
can be purchased ahead of time as well as at their counter at the Ezeiza terminal, online and the Terminal Madero
Prices vary depending on the type of vehicle you choose from Manuel, whether it is the bus or the Remis, four-seater
vehicle. Still, this very straightforward method of airport transit is staple for both Argentines and travelers alike.
Prices, locations and hours of transit are available at Manuel Tienda Leon's website www.tiendaleon.com.ar
Transportation from city to Ezeiza:
Going to Ezeiza Airport is always easier and cheaper than coming from Ezeiza airport, if you are going in Taxi. Most
taxi companies charge about the same amount, although some are more expensive than others. If you prefer, you can
take a taxi on the street, and depending on traffic. Reserving a taxi beforehand is a better option, because you can
reserve it in advance, and it is safer.
Jorge Newbery Airfield
Most domestic flights, as well as many flights to and from neighboring countries (Uruguay, Brazil, Chile and Paraguay)
use the smaller but more convenient airport, a short distance from downtown Buenos Aires.
(Spanish: Aeroparque 'Jorge Newbery')
(IATA: AEP, ICAO: SABE)
This airport is located in Palermo neighbourhood, 2 km (1.2 mi) northeast of the center of Buenos Aires. Originally it
was the main airport for domestic flights in Buenos Aires and only handled international flights to Uruguay. However,
since March 2010, there are also flights to Brazil, Chile and Paraguay.
From / To Aeroparque Jorge Newbery
It is very cheap to take a taxi and reach most hotels in downtown Buenos Aires. There is a taxi stop outside the arrivals
hall. These are the local black and yellow taxis of Capital Federal. You should feel safe taking one of these taxis
from Aeroparque Buenos Aires airport with these taxis as they are all registered before you take one and a camera is
constantly taking pictures of the drivers as they leave the airport. To get from your hotel to the airport, try not to take a
taxi on the street. It is safer to ask your hotel to call one or you can call one yourself from your a cell phone or any of
the public phones available throughout the city.
Another good alternative is to use the Public Bus: Bus number 33 takes you to Retiro Terminal and the bus number
37 takes you to Plaza del Congreso. The fare is paid with coins. You should ask the driver to let you know when you
should get off so stay at the front of the bus.
One big challenge in Buenos Aires is to find a place where to wash clothes: many apartments in Downtown, doesn't
have laundry machines.
To do this job, portenos will go to several laundromats located throughout the city. Most of these offer self service
washing machines as well as 'valet service'. With this service, you can leave your laundry, and the 'lavanderia' will
wash, dry, and fold it for you. You can pass by later that day or when it is convenient for you to pick up your laundry.
Many lavanderias can also deliver your laundry to the place where you are staying.
It is best to pre-sort your dirty laundry by colors, and whites and place them in separate plastic bags. The Laundromat
will ask you to dump your presorted clothes into plastic bins. Each bin equals one load. You will then be asked if you
want 'cloro' bleach used on your whites. You'll be quoted a price, they'll ask for your name, give you a claim ticket
and a pick up time.
In my opinion Buenos Aires laundromats tend to go heavy on the detergent so you may want to ask them to use 'un
poco menos detergente' a little less detergent.
Some Laundromats also offer pick up and delivery laundry service to your vacation apartment rental.
Tango, a dance that is irrefutably recognized as one of the most passionate forms of dance worldwide, continues to
live in each corner. Tango was born and grew up in Buenos Aires, and given its huge cultural significance. Tanguerias,
milongas, bars and theaters, the captivating dance continues to leave its mark on every corner in Buenos Aires.
Furthermore, in 2009, tango was declared an 'Intagible Cultural Heritage of Humanity' by the United Nations
Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Each and every year, Buenos Aires hosts the
International Tango Festival, culminating with a competition of not only Argentines and Uruguayans, but also from
Paraguay, Colombia, Venezuela and, this year, even Greece and Japan.
Many places in Buenos Aires invite visitors to enjoy tango dinner shows in which, along with a national and
international gastronomic proposal introduce dancers, singers and orchestras displaying the grace and the glamour of
this musical genre from the Rio de la Plata area. Here, tango shows off before those who come along to appreciate its
charm. And logically, it gets all the applause.
There are many, many tango shows in Buenos Aires. The format is usually a dinner show with a variety of dancers and
musicians performing over a period of somewhere between 1.5 and 3 hours. Some are located in venues that have been
tango salons for decades, while some inhabit newer facilities.
Keep in mind that tango is both a dance and a style of music, so a tango show is rarely 100% dancing: expect some
musical numbers without dancing to accompany them.
Watching tango is all well and good, but wouldn't you rather get involved? Many people have come to Buenos Aires,
fallen in love with tango, and through dedication and a great teacher have become very good at it.
The best way to start is with a group class and then move on to a private teacher if you decide that you like tango and
want to devote the time to really get good.
Even if the milonga is a musical genre closely related to tango, it also refers to the place where tango lovers go dancing.
Apart from the most traditional spaces, today you can fine others that are more informal. However, it is still desirable in
women wear high heels, and man needs to be invaded by the spirit of tango that marks in women's back the next step.
The milonga portena has its own codes and rituals: the music is organized in sets called tandas. A tanda is 3-5 songs
of one type played in a row. Usually couples will dance to whole tanda together. After each tanda comes a piece of
music called a cortina (curtain), which is not to be danced to. This is when the couples thank each other and then switch
partners. Milongas usually repeat on a weekly basis, so if you find one you like you can be pretty certain that if you go
to the same place on the same night a week later, it'll be the same event.