Argentina

Most people seem to bus or fly around Argentina. Buses are comfortable as comfortable as a 40 hour bus ride can be but very expensive, much more so than in Chile and Brazil, let alone other South American countries. A bus ticket from southern Patagonia to Buenos Aires can easily cost you USD300. Flights also tend to be expensive, due to lack of competition. Flight fares are more expensive for foreigners than for Argentineans so ask at airline offices after you check tickets online.

More economical ways to travel around besides hitchhiking (http://hitchwiki.org/en/Argentina which is straightforward, besides in the southern part of Ruta 40, between El Chalten and Perito Moreno), is to fly LADE, where possible or take a train on one of the few available routes. Both LADE and trains are subsidized by the government. During busy season holidays etc. and maybe also otherwise, there seems to be a silent agreement that Argentineans get a priority on those services. If you are told by LADE or the train operator that there is no availability for when you want to travel, ask a local to call and confirm. Some trains can be booked online. There have been reports of policemen and even ticket salesmen at Retiro train station in Buenos Aires turning foreigners away and not letting them into the ticket office, saying that there is no availability for the train for the next couple of months, which later turns out to be untrue.

By train
By train

There are trains from Buenos Aires to Tucuman, Cordoba, Rosario from Retiro station, Bahia Blanca and Mar del Plata from Constitucion station among others. Also some limited services in and out of Viedma and Bariloche. Tickets are very cheap. For example, a ticket to Tucuman 26h costs 45 pesos compared to a bus ticket of 700 pesos April 2013. The service is much worse but the price is unbeatable.

In recent years the government has promoted the re-establishment of long distance passenger trains, although most lines still operate at a low frequency one or two departures weekly. The rail network is very limited, and intercity buses offer better service and faster rides.

Local travel in the Buenos Aires province is both by bus and by local trains, with fast trains being the quickest way to get through the city's traffic. The three largest train terminals in Buenos Aires are Retiro, Constitucion and Once. Retiro is actually three train stations alongside each other with the main long distance bus or "micro" terminal behind the furthest of the train terminals from the city centre.

One of the major long distance train operators is Ferrobaires (http://www.ferrobaires.gb...). See also Satélite Ferroviario (http://www.sateliteferrov...) for up-to-date information on trains and services in Spanish. Ferrocentral (http://www.ferrocentralsa...) departs from Buenos Aires twice weekly to Tucumán and twice per week to Córdoba. Try buying tickets online. If you go to the ticket office in Retiro, the policeman in front of the office might send you back and tell you there is no availability for the next couple of months although there is availability online.

An amazing train ride is the Tren a las nubes Train to the Clouds in the northwestern province of Salta, but some people may get altitude sickness. This service, which has experienced suspensions, recommenced in August 2008.

The train to Misiones for Iguazu does not operate as of April 2013.

By road
By road

The hitchhiking club Autostop Argentina began in Argentina in 2002, inspired by clubs in France, Italy and the United States. As a result, hitchhiking has become more acceptable among the younger generation, and raising a thumb at a highway is a symbol most people understand.

Today, nevertheless, the thumb of a woman is gigantically more successful than the thumb of a man. A single man should count on long hours of waiting or just plain luck. If you do get a ride, you will in general be treated with much generosity though.

By plane
By plane

Domestic flights are available within Argentina, but tickets are pricey, and most domestic flights pass through Buenos Aires' domestic airport Aeroparque Jorge Newbery. The main carriers are Aerolíneas Argentinas (http://www.aerolineas.com.ar) and LAN Chile. Aerolíneas Argentinas' subsidiary Austral, which shares its parents fleet, and tickets of the two can be booked at the same office. The prices for tickets are double for non-residents, so be careful with publicized ticket prices.

LADE (http://www.lade.com.ar) flies mostly to some smaller cities and mostly to the south of Buenos Aires. They have much lower, fixed prices. They are subsidized by the government and usually cheaper than the bus. Around holidays they get booked up early. Baggage allowance is 15kg + 5kg for hand luggage, extra kilos cost ARS8 per kilogram. Check their website for routes, schedules and prices, but book in an office. Sometimes the website shows availability when there isn't any. Best for Ushuaia, El Calafate, Bariloche and some cities on the Atlantic coast. Ask a local to call for you and book over the phone as locals seem to get a priority. LADE have been known to delay flights, even for a day or two sometimes so if you are on a very tight schedule or connecting to an international flight, maybe you should ask them first about the chances of delays and cancellations.

An exception to passing through Buenos Aires for domestic flights is Aerolineas Argentinas "Great Circle Route", going both ways Saturdays and Wednesdays BA-Bariloche-Mendoza-Salta-Iguazu-BA and reverse on another flight both days. Also LADE connects most flights in Comodoro Rivadavia and you won't have to pass through Buenos Aires if you want to go from El Calafate to Bariloche or Puerto Madryn for example.

If you fly on your international trip to Argentina with Aerolíneas you sometimes get discounts on domestic flights. Sometimes you even get free flights with your international ticket but keep in mind that you pay it with your international ticket.

Always plan to arrive to your final destination before your flight home 2 or 3 days in advance, as Argentina, like most Latin American countries, experiences more delays and cancellations in travel than most areas of the world.

By car
By car

Car rental is readily available throughout Argentina, though it is a bit expensive compared with other forms of transportation. Travelling by car allows you to visit locations that are hard to reach by public transportation. Patagonia, in the South of Argentina, is a popular driving location among tourists due to the breathtaking views across many miles of open land.

Argentina generally recognizes valid drivers' licenses from foreign jurisdictions. Drivers must be over 21. The rental companies will charge the renters card ARS6000 to be used in the event of an accident. They cancel this charge when the car is returned. On the rutas, in the provinces bordering other countries, the police frequently stop cars at controles policiales "police checkpoints" to check insurance and registration papers and drivers' licenses. They do not stop all cars, though; when you come to a control policial, drive slowly and you will usually be waved through without stopping. Near provincial borders, these controles may also involve inspection of the trunk for contraband and a mandatory two peso fee for "disinfection" or "de-insectifying" the car's underside by driving it over a mechanical sprayer that either sprays water or does nothing. The police have been known to set up roadblocks and demand bribes for passage, particularly around the city of Buenos Aires.

Traffic regulations in Argentina are generally the same as in the US or Europe, but the local often ignore the regulations. On roads and highways it´s mandatory to have car lights on, even during daytime. Be aware that the driving style in Argentina is aggressive and chaotic. Pay attention at night.

Maximum speed: 60km/h in the city, 40km/h on side roads and 100km/h to 130km/h on roads outside the city as well as on highways. There are frequent speed controls. However speed limits and lane markings are universally ignored, and running red lights is common. Most drivers treat stop signs, octagonal red signs reading PARE, as though they were "yield" signs, though some drivers ignore them completely. Within cities surrounding Buenos Aires it is proper to honk at an impending intersection and the one who honks first has right of way. Right of way is determined somewhat haphazardly by a combination of vehicle size and who arrives first. Make sure you are thoroughly confident in your driving skills before attempting to drive in Argentina.

Highways are limited to the areas around large cities. Most of the country is connected by paved unlit two-lane roads rutas shared by buses, cars, and large trucks. Some places are accessible only by gravel or dirt roads - indeed, some main roads in southern Argentina are unsealed, leading to 4WD vehicles being more popular. This is particularly the case in the south. It is important to travel with a good map e.g. Argentina Waterproof Road Map from World Mapping Project and to be well informed about your route distances, road conditions and the estimated travel time. In addition to a good map the website of cochera andina publishes useful information on more than 120 routes in Argentina.

The current cost of gasoline in central and southern Argentina is approximately ARS6 per litre. In many small towns, particularly in the north, they may ration gasoline to ensure they have enough to sell until the next refuelling truck arrives, in which case you will only be allowed to buy 30 pesos worth of fuel at a time. It's advisable to fill your tank at regular intervals when the opportunity arises. In the Andes, the gasoline consumption of non-turbo charged engines increases due to the altitude.

By bus
By bus

Argentina boasts an outstanding short and long-distance bus network. Since regional train service is limited and plane tickets are more expensive, bus travel is the most common way to travel from city to city within Argentina. Note that it is not as cheap as it was before, with about 4 to 5 dollars for each hour of travelling Puerto Iguazú to Buenos Aires about USD100.

In Buenos Aires, a city bus is called a colectivo while a long distance, city-to-city bus is called a micro; but usage varies somewhat, they are also called omnibus. The hub of this network is definitely Buenos Aires' Terminal de Omnibus de Retiro; it has up to 2,000 bus arrivals and departures per day, and multiple companies serve most destinations. Buses arrive and depart from a total of 75 platforms, and in order to buy your ticket you will have to choose between about 200 ticket booths situated on the upper level of the terminal.

The more expensive buses generally offer high-quality service, and for distances longer than 200km, it is common to have food served on board. There is generally a good amount of legroom, and many buses have seats that recline horizontally into beds camas making them a lot like travelling business class on a plane. The best category with completely reclining seats is normally called cama suite, but this names vary, names such as tutto leto,cama-vip,ejecutivo or salon real are also in use. Somewhat cheaper seats only recline partially semi-camas, or not at all servicio común. Every service belongs to one of five official comfort classes with minimum requirements that are prescribed by law in order to facilitate comparisons. The better buses will provide everything you need, while for the lower categories it may be a good idea to take drinks and food with you, as well as toilet paper and ear plugs. If travelling with a large bag or suitcase bring a handful of 25c coins to tip the guys that heaves your pack in and out of the taxi and bus. If travelling long distances let's say more than 12 hours it is recommended to pay for a better bus service just because of travelling in a more comfortable way.

Remember that although buses usually arrive to their destination a little late, they almost always leave on time. Do not think that the relaxed approach carries over to bus departure times!

More information on bus companies and schedules is available at the webpage of the Terminal de Retiroand at (http://www.omnilineas.com...) in Buenos Aires. A second bus terminal in Buenos Aires is situated in the Liniers district, but it is smaller and less accessible than the one in Retiro.