Useful Information on Buenos Aires
Geography, Weather, Currency, Transportation, and More!
The City of Buenos Aires is the capital of the Argentine Republic, located in the Southern Hemisphere of the American continent, at 34º 36’ S and 58º 26’ W. The city lies on a plain covering 202 square kilometers, with a population of approximately 3 million. Together with the Metropolitan Area the population rises to over 10 million people, which makes it one of the 10 most populated cities in the world. The Río de la Plata and the Riachuelo are the natural borders to the East and South. Running North-West, the General Paz beltway completes the city limits and is the fastest highway between the capital and the densely populated and thriving Greater Buenos Aires area.
The mild weather all year round reaches an average of 18 C (64 F) in Buenos Aires, and extremely cold or hot days are rare. This makes it the perfect weather to stroll and travel around the city at any time of the year.
The coldest month is July. Although freezing temperatures are rare, you should bring a woolen coat, parka, or jacket and a scarf. In winter the cold is tolerable during the day, but the temperature drops considerably at night. Summers are humid, with warm mornings and very hot middays and early afternoons. At night, the temperature drops lightly, perfect for light clothes and no jackets.
Fall (March-June) and spring (September-December) are the rainy seasons, with drizzles or short rains that will nevertheless not interrupt normal activities, so an umbrella or raincoat are enough protection. In sunny days mornings are fresh, with the temperature rising pleasantly towards midday and dropping at night.
The city has two airports: - Jorge Newbery Airport (Aeroparque): Tourists arriving from domestic flights or bordering countries arrive at Aeroparque, located on the riverside and just five minutes away from the downtown district. – Ezeiza International Airport: Visitors from the rest of the world arrive at Ezeiza, located thirty minutes away from the downtown district on the highway. Taxi, limo, transfer, and bus services are available 24 hours a day. For more information, click on:
Aeropuertos Argentinos: www.aa2000.com.ar
Taxi from Ezeiza and Aeroparque: www.aa2000.com.ar/taxisyremises.aspx
Buses from Ezeiza and Aeroparque: www.aa2000.com.ar/buses.aspx
Car rentals in Ezeiza and Aeroparque: www.aa2000.com.ar/autos.aspx
The official currency is the Argentine peso ($). Bill denominations are $ 100, $ 50, $ 20, $ 10, $ 5 y $ 2, while coins are $ 1 peso, 0,50 cents, 0,25 cents, 0,10 cents y 0,05 cents. US dollars are the most common foreign currency, and can be exchanged in authorized banks or currency exchange offices, where you need to show your passport or national ID if you live in bordering countries. Buenos Aires stores accept credit cards and dollars, but it is advisable to buy pesos in authorized currency exchange offices or banks.
The time zone is GMT-3 and is not currently modified in the summer. City life starts very early in the mornings and continues until very late at night.
Business hours are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., although stores on main avenues stay open until de evening hours. At shopping malls, stores are open until 10 p.m., even on weekends and some holidays.
Business hours are from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (some banks are open until 4 p.m.). ATMs for withdrawals and other operations are available 24 hours a day.
With four meals a day, Porteños (city dwellers) may vary mealtimes according to their schedules. Breakfast is between 7 and 10 a.m. Bars and coffee houses offer café-au-lait & croissant promotions for breakfast and teatime.
Calling from Buenos Aires. Buenos Aires has public telephone booths that work with 5, 10, 25, and 50 cent and $1 coins. Telephone cards are sold in kiosks for local, national, and international calls. There are many communication centers (locutorios and telecentros) that provide telephone, fax, and Internet service. For IDD you need to dial 00 + country code + area code + local number. Calling Buenos Aires. Argentina’s country code is 54, and the Buenos Aires area code is 11. For example, to call the number 4555-5555 from abroad, you have to dial: 54 11 4555 5555.
Buenos Aires has a transportation system that offers multiple alternatives: six subway lines (subtes is their nickname in Argentina), over a 180 bus lines (colectivos as they are called in Buenos Aires), and interurban railways (or trains). Taxis and limos (remise) are a common means of transport since they are safe and relatively cheaper than in other cities.
SUBWAY. It is the fastest and easiest way to reach your destination. The six lines are connected to the main avenues, train, and bus stations. They all converge in the downtown business and finance district (microcentro), where you can find most hotels and tourist attractions. Subway maps –available at subway ticket booths- show the 6 lines in different colors. There are panels with metro routes that explain how to transfer to other lines in every station. Transfers allow you to go to your destination using more than one line. Subway hours: Monday through Saturday from 5 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., Sundays and holidays from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. One-way ticket: $3.50. For subway map click on www.metrovias.com.ar/v2/Images/Mapas/Mapa%20Red%202007.jpg
BUSES. Buses are a fast and inexpensive alternative to move around the city. There are over 180 lines in the city, and connecting Buenos Aires to the Greater Buenos Aires area. Buses come at regular intervals, although in the downtown area there may be traffic jams due to heavy traffic. Tickets are sold on the bus and only coins are accepted. Hours: buses run all day long, although their frequency is reduced after 12 p.m. Bus fare: $2.75
TAXIS: You may request a cab on the phone, or take it directly on the street. Radio-taxis (fitted with radio systems) are considered safer. There are a great number of taxis and you will have no problem in getting one at any time. Generally, you never have to wait more than a few minutes. Taxis are easily identified by their colors: black and yellow, and the highly visible red light sign on the clock, which indicates that the taxi is free. The fare is an aggregate of the initial fare plus the distance (or time) travelled, and you can watch it on the clock.
LIMO SERVICES: Limos (or remise as they are called in Argentina), can be requested on the phone from many agencies around the city. Limo cars have no distinct identification color. Total fare varies according to the distance travelled.
CAR RENTAL: Renting a car is a good choice for those who want more independence and comfort. Buenos Aires offers a large selection of all brands and models. To rent a car you have to be over 21, have a valid driving license with (at least) a two-year issue date, and a credit card with enough credit to cover the rental and guarantee. GARAGES OR PARKING LOTS: you can rent space by the hour, less than an hour, or the day.
TRAINS: To visit the areas around the capital (the Delta of the Río de la Plata in Tigre, for example), or the neighborhoods that are farthest from downtown, railroad services are quite inexpensive.
VISA/ CONSULAR AFFAIRS VISAS. Requirements for Tourist Visa:
Valid passport or other travel document accepted by the Argentine Republic
Application form (provided by the Consulate)
1 4cm x 4cm photograph
Payment of consular fees
Proof that you have enough funds for your stay.
The maximum number of days for a tourist visa granted by Consular Offices is ninety (90) days. This term can be extended once, for the same number of days, at any of the Delegations of the National Migration Directorate before the original visa expires. To know if you need a visa go to: http://www.mrecic.gov.ar/portal/temas_consulares/visas/visas.html
Consulates and Embassies in Argentina: Foreigners visiting Buenos Aires can contact their consulates and embassies for any kind of documentation processing and general advice.
Contact information is available at http://www.bue.gob.ar/?mo=portal&ac=componentes&f=8&ncMenu=228
Buenos Aires is a safe city, but like in any big city in the world tourists should take some precautions. For example, do not leave bags or purses hanging from chairs in public places, and do not walk at night in poorly lit streets. Make a photocopy of your personal IDs and leave the originals at your hotel / home.
In case of health problems, you can find information on city hospitals at http://www.buenosaires.gov.ar/areas/salud/sistemas_salud/index.php?idtema=1&idbarrio=&idcgp=&idtipo=&texto=&Buscar2=Buscar&redir=1 In case of emergency, dial 107 for the Emergency Health Care Service (SAME).
Argentina uses 220 volts AC (50 cycles). Standard outlets take plugs with 2 round or 2 flat pins, and a third in the middle for grounding. It is advisable to travel with an adapter for your hair dryer, electric shaver, or electronic devices.