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.
From Buenos Aires: to San Carlos de Bariloche - 2 hours 20 minutes; Mendoza - 1 hour 50 minutes; Salta - 2 hours 15 minutes.
The Visit Argentina Pass offered by Aerolineas allows overseas visitors to buy reduced-fare coupons for anything between 3-12 flights within the country. These coupons are valid for a maximum period of 90 days from the date of the first Visit Argentina flight and 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: +54 11 4956 1200; www.radiotaxipidalo.com.ar). 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 bikeshare scheme. Register at www.buenosaires.gob.ar/ecobici for use of the yellow city bikes. The service is free and operates 24 hours a day.
The maximum speed limit on motorways is 130kph (80mph), up to 100kph (62mph) on other non-urban roads and 20-60kph (12-37mph) in built-up areas.
Automóvil Club Argentino - ACA (tel: 0800 777 2894, in Argentina only; www.aca.com.ar) offers breakdown cover and reciprocal benefits for members of motoring organisations in other countries.
Although in theory an international driving licence is required, in practice your driving licence from home is all that is needed, but must be carried with you while driving. You must also carry proof of vehicle ownership, proof of insurance and a receipt for the last tax payment at all times while driving.
Buenos Aires is the only Argentine city with an underground train service, known as the Subte (www.metrovias.com.ar). The Subte is generally clean, safe, fast and efficient. You can buy a one- or two-journey Subtepass tickets at station entrances or use a reloadable SUBE smartcard. 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.
Railway services in Argentina are gradually improving, though trains remain infrequent and slow-going.
Several rail companies operate in Argentina, including Ferrobaires (tel: +54 11 4304 0028; www.ferrobaires.gba.gov.ar), serving destinations such as Mar del Plata and Bahia Blanca. Though notoriously unreliable in terms of scheduling, El Tren a las Nubes (the Train to the Clouds) runs from Salta into the mountains in the north of the country, close to the Chilean border (www.trenalasnubes.com.ar).