Transport and Driving in Argentina
As in many countries, driving in Argentina’s large cities can be stressful and parking is expensive and hard to come by. Most people in Argentina’s metropolitan areas, therefore, opt to use public transport almost exclusively.
Public transport in Argentina's large cities, especially in Buenos Aires, is highly effective and expats will find that getting around is no problem at all. Some areas of Argentina, such as Patagonia, have very limited public transport and in these cases driving is the only viable mode of transport.
Public transport in Argentina
Argentina’s primary train network is a suburban train line that connects Buenos Aires with outlying areas. This is the main form of transport for commuters who work in the capital. Resistencia, the capital of Chaco Province, also has a suburban train line, and a tram system is operational in Mendoza.
There are not many long-distance train services in Argentina, but those that do exist are often less expensive than long-distance buses. These trains are also slower and less luxurious than some of the buses available, although some trains do offer a first-class option for sleeping and dining facilities. Long-distance trains usually operate between Buenos Aires, Córdoba and Posadas, but there are international services that run to Bolivia, Brazil, Chile and Paraguay.
Buses are the main form of public transport in Argentina and the system is excellent. Urban buses are known as colectivos and cover an extensive route around major cities. Special service buses known as diferenciales are also available. Diferenciales are air-conditioned and luxurious but are also more expensive.
The reliability of buses can vary according to area and time of day. Buses are run by a number of different companies, so fares can vary. In some cities, bus fares are fixed for the entire city. Most city buses have coin machines and travellers can pay as they board. In Mendoza, however, pre-paid tickets must be bought, and in Córdoba, coupons must be bought before boarding the bus. Tickets and coupons are usually available at kiosks around the cities.
Argentina also has a system of long-distance buses, which is the primary mode of transport used to travel across the country. Some of these buses have interiors similar to that of an airline's business-class cabin and even offer onboard dining.
Buenos Aires is the only city in Argentina with an underground (subte) train network, but plans are in place to build one in Córdoba.
Taxis and ride-sharing services
Expats and foreigners will find that ride-sharing services such as Uber are readily available in most of Argentina's urban areas. These provide non-Spanish speakers with a hassle-free way to get around the cities without the risk of miscommunication with taxi drivers. Hailing a local taxi in Argentina is also easy, but it is recommended that foreigners have a basic level of Spanish to negotiate with and direct drivers. While there have been disagreements and competition between Uber and local taxi drivers, this conflict is unlikely to directly affect passengers of either service.
Trams are making a slow comeback in Argentina after being phased out in the 1960s. There is now a tram line in Buenos Aires that feeds the subte system, as well as a light rail system in the northern suburbs of the city.
Trolleybuses, which are powered by overhead electric wires, operate in Córdoba, Mendoza and Rosario.
Driving in Argentina
Argentina is a very large country, making a comprehensive network of long-distance roads of the utmost importance. There are large expressways that extend from Buenos Aires to most of the country, but many of the roads beyond this are two-lane roads and most of them are in poor condition or not paved.
The main driving routes in Argentina are the Panamerican National Route 9, which links Buenos Aires, Córdoba and Rosario; National Route 40, which runs along the Andes mountain range; and National Route 3, which runs from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia.
In order to drive in Argentina, expats must hold an international driving license in addition to a national driving license from their home country. Expats should also ensure that they have their vehicle’s registration, green card (tarjeta verde), tax and insurance documents in the car, as traffic police will request to see these if they pull anyone over.
Car rentals are relatively expensive in Argentina but can be worthwhile for expats wanting to explore the country. Expats can get a better rate at a locally owned agency than they would at an international one. The minimum age to rent a car in Argentina is 21. Expats living in Argentina long-term may find buying a car to be more financially viable, but the bureaucracy involved with making the purchase will be frustrating.
Cycling in ArgentinaCycling in Argentina is uncommon in its larger cities. This is mainly because of a lack of bicycle paths, making travelling by bicycle difficult and dangerous.
Air travel in Argentina
Argentina’s national air carrier is Aerolíneas Argentinas (Austral), which operates most of the domestic flights. However, this airline is notorious for delays and only Argentine residents qualify for the cheapest fares. Other airlines that offer domestic flights include LanChile and Líneas Aéreas del Estado, which is run by the Argentine Air Force.
There are 19 major airports in Argentina, but the largest are the Ministro Pistarini International Airport and the Aeroparque Jorge Newbery in Buenos Aires.