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Buenos Aires, Argentina Buenos Aires Tourism Tips

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Buenos Aires Travel Tips

Buenos Aires, Argentina is a big city! With a teeming population of more than 12 Million people, 48 neighborhoods covering an area of more than 70 sq. miles (170 sq. kms) it is easy to get lost in this sprawling Metropolis...hopefully we can help you orient yourself and reduce the probability of this event happening to you (you still will get lost, but not as often...).

This visitor's guide is written BY experienced travelers who know Buenos Aires inside out FOR travelers like you, to assist you in your stay in Buenos Aires, to enjoy this multi-faceted, vibrant, 24-hours a day, 7-days a week active city, and experience the world's capital of nightlife to it's fullest. We have made an effort to make this guide practical, for the current day visitor or tourist, who is always wondering-what are the things to do in Buenos Aires?

Welcome to the land of tango, coffee shops and football, the essential elements of life in Buenos Aires, Argentina!

Quick Tourist Facts and Tips:

Buenos Aires Population: 12,431,00    

Argentina Population: 37,032,000 (Ethnic mix: 95% Caucasian, 5% other)

Currency: Argentine Peso. approx. 3 pesos to a US dollar, 5.2 pesos to a British Pound. Teller machines are available throughout the city and work with most major credit cards.

Time Zone: GMT -3.00 hours. Current time in Buenos Aires

Plaza San Martin

Quick Tourist Facts and Tips:

Buenos Aires Population: 12,431,00    

Argentina Population: 37,032,000 (Ethnic mix: 95% Caucasian, 5% other)

Currency: Argentine Peso. approx. 3 pesos to a US dollar, 5.2 pesos to a British Pound. Teller machines are available throughout the city and work with most major credit cards.

Time Zone: GMT -3.00 hours. Current time in Buenos Aires

Airport: The international airport of Buenos Aires is located at Ezeiza, 35km (21 miles) southwest of Buenos Aires. Airport code: EZE. Taxis from the Airport are easily available, and are about US$15 per ride. The domestic Airport is about 5 km from the city center, called Aeroparque, code AEP. When you are leaving Argentina, you will have to pay a departure tax of about US$27.

Bus: Inside Argentina, you can move around easily with the great bus services. Estación Terminal de Omnibus (Antártida Argentina and Calle 10, El Centro, Buenos Aires. Tel:11/4310-0700)  is the main bus station. You can catch buses from here to all major cities of Argentina and South America.

Electricity: 220V AC 50Hz. Argentina uses the Australian slanted plugs (see picture) and the European two prong on wall outlets  Magellan's Travel Supplies  is a good store for buying these adaptors and other travel accessories (they ship worldwide).

Tipping: 10% in Restaurants. Taxis none. Others discretionary.

Language: Spanish(also called Castellano), but you can get by well with English. If you want a learn or improve upon your Spanish before you get here, an effective option is Rosetta Stone's Spanish learning software (backed by her 6-month money back guarantee)

Taxes: The sales tax, known as IVA, is about 21%. When reserving a hotel, this tax is sometimes not included, so double-check the final price before you book.

Transportation and Getting Around: Inside the city of Buenos Aires, you can get around pretty well by the Taxis and the Subway Network (called subte). You can find a map of the Subte network in the maps section of this guide.  If you will be staying most of the time in the city, we do not recommend a car rental or hire-Buenos Aires has some crazy drivers! Taxis are available 24 hours a day, and probably are your best option (they are also very cheap compared to US or Europe)

The Taxi Drivers in Buenos Aires are notorious for trying to give tourists fake peso bills. The solution- use only small bills to pay them (2 peso, 5 peso and 10 peso bills)

Accommodations in Buenos Aires: See our Accommodations sections for good hotels in Buenos Aires. You can also rent temporary apartments in Buenos Aires

Telephones: The country code for Argentina is 54. The city of Buenos Aires mainly uses the '11' area code. International calls must thus be prefixed by 54-11-local number. If you want to call other cities in Argentina, prefix the call by 54. e.g. Mendoza 54-261-local number.

Cellular phones: All cellular numbers in Argentina begin with 15. Within the country, you can call by prefixing just the area code e.g. a number in Buenos Aires can be called by dialling 011 first. For calls from outside Argentina to a cellular phone in Argentina, it gets tricky! You have to call 54-9-area code-(cell number without the 15). e.g. For a call to a cellular phone in Buenos Aires, with a number 156666-6666 you have to dial 54-9-11-66666666. This is hard to remember!

Calling International: Use calling cards. You can buy international calling cards from kiosks located on almost every street corner of Buenos Aires. They are very inexpensive, calls range from US$0.05-US$0.15 per minute to various parts of the world. Calls can also be made from the locutorios (manned phone booths, who often have computers for Internet access as well).

Internet Cafes and Access points: There are numerous Internet Cafes all over the city of Buenos Aires. They will charge between US$0.30-$0.60 per hour, depending on their location. The connections are fast, very reliable. If you bring your laptop or notebook, you can access it from the various Wi-Fi enabled restaurants and cafes in the city.

Use Travelocity to book your Hotel in BA

Climate: Generally mild and humid. Temperatures range from 35° Celsius (95° Fahrenheit) in January to 10° Celsius (50° Fahrenheit) in July. The mean annual temperature is 18º C (64.4º F), making extremely hot and cold days very infrequent. Visitors can thus enjoy walking along the city in any season. From December to the end of February the city can become extremely hot with an average humidity of 65%. In the winter months of June, July and August the level can increase to up to 95%. Most rainfall is during the summer. Current conditions and 5-day forecast for Buenos Aires

Shopping Designer and fashion stores abound in the Palermo neighborhood. A good mall is Alto Palermo (Santa Fe 3251, Station Bulnes on Line D by subway)  Abasto ( Av. Corrientes 3247, Station Carlos Gardel on Line B) is the biggest mall in Argentina, and is a great place to shop.

And now, the hard to find fun facts, practical tips, and tourist traps...from personal experiences, both good and bad...

  • Argentines are very nocturnal by nature. A dinner is typically at 10pm, and a good time to go to a bar is midnight. At 2am you can think about entering a nightclub. Plan your evenings with this in mind--most restaurants don't even open until 8pm!
  • Argentines love to practice and speak in English, especially the young college going crowd. Feel free to speak in English if you find yourself struggling with your Spanish vocubulary.
  • Gregarious and talkative, the Buenos Aires locals (called porteños, people from the Port, the port of Buenos Aires), can be perceived as somewhat aggressive by single foreign women. Don't worry, they mean well...this is a city where love and romance is in the air all the time, and people just can't help flirting with you.
  • Argentina is a very laid back, informal society-not known for it's punctuality-which can be frustrating to foreigners. If you have Argentine friends, expect them to be 15-30 min late for a coffee/dinner/etc. (business commitments are different, they are punctual!).
  • Telephone calls from your hotel room can be very expensive in Buenos Aires. A much better option is to go to the telephone/internet cafes (called lucutorios), located on almost every street corner of Buenos Aires-the rates are much cheaper.
  • You will find a "Disco" in Buenos Aires every few blocks. It is not a nightclub, it is a supermarket chain.
  • Buses are called Micros or Colectivos in Argentine Spanish.
  • If you want to change money in at the Foreign Exchange offices (located in the center of the city), you will need to show your passport, so take it with you.
  • Argentines greet each other with a kiss on the cheek. Men greet men with a kiss as well, this can throw off some tourists.
  • Smoking is very common in Argentina. Most restaurants do not have smoke free areas.
  • It is easy to find ATM's which accept foreign cards. You can draw money directly in Argentine Pesos, and the rate you get from your card will almost always be better than trying to change your currency at the Foreign Exchange office.
  • The only English newspaper in Argentina is "Buenos Aires Herald". It is easily available on all newsstands in the city.
  • Visit San Telmo on a Sunday afternoon. That's when you have some really high quality live Tango performances in the Square (Plaza Dorrego), and also the antiques market.
  • Avoid the neighborhoods of La Boca and San Telmo in the night, unless you know exactly where you are (some streets are safe, others not). On the other hand, Microcentro, Palermo, Puerto Madero and Recoleta are pretty safe all night long. Walk there freely, and feel the city 100%!
  • Cross the streets with care--the cars have the right of way, even when the walk signal is green for you.
  • Argentine women are known for their obsession with looking good and wearing good clothes. This can throw off many a foreign men and women alike. If you are a foreign woman, take some nice clothes with you, you just might blend in... If you are a guy, avoid turning your head to check out a beautiful woman when crossing a busy street...
  • Many subway trains in Buenos Aires have small mirrors next to the doors. The women (and men) can fix their faces up yet again...
  • The addresses in Buenos Aires are by the usual street number and street name. Try to get the information on the intersection, the cross street, where you want to go. This will help you get there faster, taxi drivers and passers by can often locate intersections, but have difficulty locating numbers of streets.

Did you know? Avenida 9 de Julio, which runs through downtown Buenos Aires(Microcentro) is the widest in the world at an imposing sixteen picture on right!

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