Getting around Argentina
Argentina is huge, making air travel the most practical way to get around. However, airlines in Argentina operate a two-tier pricing structure, which means that foreign travellers pay twice, or even three times as much, as locals. Many flights are inconveniently (and expensively) routed through Buenos Aires, and delays are frequent. Aerolíneas Argentinas (AR) (www.aerolineas.com.ar) serves many domestic destinations from its key hubs in Buenos Aires, Cordoba and Bariloche.
Buenos Aires to San Carlos de Bariloche is 2 hours 20 minutes; Buenos Aires to Mendoza is 1 hour 50 minutes; Buenos Aires to Salta is 2 hours 15 minutes.
The Visit Argentina Pass allows overseas visitors to buy reduced-fare coupons for flights within the country. These must be purchased in the visitor's country of origin and are not available once in Argentina.
Driving conditions in Argentina are a mixed bag. A 4x4 is recommended if venturing too far outside rural areas. When driving in cities keep windows closed and doors locked, especially when stopping at junctions. It is advisable that only confident drivers tackle Buenos Aires’ roads.
Major roads are generally in good condition, although rural roads, composed of packed dirt, can become impassable after rain.
The 'A' roads are the autopistas (motorways) and those labelled 'R' are rutas (roads) - tolls exist on all main roads.
Visitors aged 21 or over may hire a car in Argentina. Car hire is available in most towns and cities, and many international companies operate out of Buenos Aires and main tourist destinations.
In Buenos Aires the safest option is to telephone a radio taxi; a reputable company is Radio Taxi Pidalo (tel: (011) 4956 1200). Taxis are readily available and can be hailed from the side of the road but make sure the meter is used. It is advisable to used recommended remises (taxis) - which can only be booked by telephone and have fixed prices. Passengers should enquire beforehand.
Buenos Aires runs a cycle scheme. Register at www.mejorenbici.gob.ar for free, two-hour use of yellow city bikes.
The maximum speed limit on motorways is 130kph (80mph), 80kph (50mph) on one-lane roads, while the speed limit in built-up areas varies (40-60kph/25-37mph). The wearing of seat belts is compulsory.
The Automóvil Club Argentino - ACA (tel: 0800 777 2894 in Argentina; www.aca.org.ar) offers breakdown cover and reciprocal benefits for members of motoring organisations in other countries.
Although in theory an international driver's licence is required, in practice your driving licence from home is all that is needed, but must be carried with you while driving. Proof of vehicle ownership, proof of insurance and receipt for last tax payment must also be carried at all times whilst driving.
Buenos Aires is the only Argentine city with an underground train service, known as the Subte (www.subte.com.ar). The Subte has five lines and is generally clean, safe, fast and efficient. Subtepass tickets can be purchased at station entrances in denominations of one, two, five, 10 and 30 journeys. Overland urban trains also serve the capital city and its suburbs.
Trains and trolleybuses operate in Argentina's second city, Rosario.
Colectivos (local buses) operate on main thoroughfares in all large towns and cities. Taxis are readily available and can be hailed from the side of the road but make sure the meter is used. It is advisable to used recommended remises (taxis) - which can only be booked by telephone and have fixed prices. Passengers should enquire beforehand.
The government has pledged fund a new high-speed line linking Buenos Aires, Córdoba and Rosario, however these plans are currently on hold. For the time being at least, trains remain infrequent and slow-going.
Several rail companies operate in Argentina, including Ferrobaires (tel: (011) 4304 0028; www.ferrobaires.gba.gov.ar), serving destinations such as Mar del Plata and Bahia Blanca. Trenes del Litoral (tel: (011) 4554 8018; www.trenesdellitoral.com.ar) operates between Buenos Aires and Posadas, linking many little towns in the provinces of Entre Rios and Corrientes. Though notoriously unreliable in terms of scheduling, El Tren a las Nubes (the Train to the Clouds) is running once again from Salta into the mountains in the north of the country, close to the Chilean border.