How to get around Buenos Aires
If you’re from Europe, learning Argentina’s public transportation system probably won’t be an issue. But if you’re from North America or Australia where public transportation is less common and less frequently used, then you’ll want some tips. The public transportation system includes buses, trains, and subways.
The first thing you need to know is how to get a SUBE card. SUBE is used for trains, subways, and most buses. Some cities have different cards for their buses, but they’re trying to make SUBE the national system. Buenos Aires buses use SUBE exclusively. Unfortunately SUBE cards are difficult to come by lately, but you can buy them online here, or search for your nearest vendor here. Keep in mind the nearest vendor may not have them if you decide to just go to these places.
Apps are essential to using the public transportation system, especially for tourists who aren’t familiar with the city and public transportation maps. The subway and train maps and schedules are useful, but only if you’re reasonably familiar with the city. For trains you will want to have the app Trenes Argentinos to get the up-to-date train schedule. Moovit and Cómo Llego are probably the most common apps. Cómo Llego doesn’t work well outside the capital. Input the destination you’re going to in the app and it will tell you what public transportation will get you there and where to get on and off it.
The bus system is by far the most complicated to learn. Its stops are much less obvious. The routes are much less publicly available (again, apps are a must here). And you have to tell the driver where you’re going. Bus stops can have benches to sit down, and the bus line clearly marked near the bench, but sometimes it’s just a painted number on a wall or pole. Larger bus stops will also likely have maps and/or tell you whether you’re going in one direction or the other, but the smaller ones don’t. If you don’t see the bus stop the app is pointing to, ask someone nearby, “¿Dónde queda la parada para el (number)?” Once you’re on the bus, tell the driver the street, neighborhood, or tourist destination you’re going to. If it’s standing room only, bed your knees and brace yourself with some form of support or handhold.
Subways and Trains
The subway and train systems are pretty straightforward and often connected. Many train stations connect with subways. Train stations are pretty evident by the train tracks and large signs indicating that particular train stop. The subway system has different colors indicating the particular subway. Bright yellow signs indicate subway entrances and exits. Apps will tell you the stop to get off the subway or train. With both, it’s essential to know which direction you’re going. Familiarize yourself with the terminal names so you can identify which direction you’re going quickly as signs won’t tell you the direction, but rather the name of the ending station. For example, if you’re traveling from Ramos Mejía to Caballito, you want to go on the train that’s going to Once, and you want to return home by the train that is heading to Moreno. And that wraps up the public transportation tips.
Hope you find your way around the city to one of our experiences!