The very first thing you need to do is get a SUBE card. What is it? Well, this plastic thing.
You will need this magnetic card to pay for all public transport in BA. Without it you will not be able to pay, so getting this card is vital if you want to take a bus or the metro.
Basically, you need to top it up before you travel and then make sure you don’t run out of credit.
Where do I get it?
You can get it almost everywhere: shops, drugstores and post offices. If the place has this sign outside,
then you are sure to get the card and top it up.
The Best Place to get the SUBE card is at the Metro Station. All Metro Stations will sell you a SUBE card, just go and ask for it! If you don’t have any metro station close follow these instructions:
The card is very easy to get, but just to play safe, we recommend checking the points-of-sale on this webpage. Click here!
The page is in Spanish, but here there is some help:
1) Where it says “Provincia” choose CAPITAL FEDERAL (Not Buenos Aires).
2) Where it says Localidad/Barrio choose the neighborhood where you are staying (E.G. Palermo).
3) Choose the point-of-sale that is closer to your location.
If you still find all this confusing, don’t worry, ask your concierge or anyone to help you, or just look for the SUBE sign.
Is this card personal?
Good news! No, it’s not! So, it can be used by more than one person. This means you can pay two rides with the same card. What’s more, before leaving the city you can give the card to another traveler to use it after you.
Don’t forget to top up your credit. We recommend doing it with enough money for your whole stay, so then you can just forget about it; especially, if you are moving around at night because you won’t be able to top it up when the shops are closed.
Now, with the SUBE in your power, it’s time for a ride!
If you happen to lose your card or you realize you only need one ride, you can ask a local to pay for your ticket with their SUBE card and you can give him cash for the ride.Nevertheless, we recommend getting your own SUBE.
The metro is by far the best way to move around BA. It’s easier than taking a bus and it’s the fastest way to the busy city center. The metro will take you to every touristic site of BA, except La Boca.
Note that different to other Spanish speaking countries, in Argentina the metro is called SUBTE (coming from subterráneo = underground). Metro stations will read SUBTE, not metro.
The BA subte network is rather small for the size of our big metropolis and pretty easy to understand.There are 6 lines identified with letters and colors:
Lines A, B, D and E run like branches of a tree, from the city center they spread to the other neighbourhoods. They go from west to east.
Lines C and H cross all the other lines from north to south.This means lines H and C will connect you to any other line of the network.
Here you have a map (Click to enlarge)
Every metro station of each line has its own name, regardless whether these are combining stations or not. So you have to pay especial attention when you combine lines because the same platform will have different names depending on the line you are taking.
For example, you want to combine line H with line A. So, you are riding on line H and you need to get off at “Once”to combine with line A. But, if you want to go the other way round you need to get off at station “Plaza Miserere” of line A to make the combination with line H. As you can see on the map, stations “Once” and “Plaza Miserere” are the same, they only have different names depending on the line.
That said, the rest works exactly like in any other part of the world. It usually works fine, delays seldom occur but rush hours are naturally crowded. If you can, try to avoid taking the metro from Mondays to Fridays from 7 am to 10 am and from 6pm to 8 pm.
Buses are big and comfortable in BA. Unfortunately taking the bus is much more complicated as you will need to find the right bus stop and then know where to get off.This last can be tricky part as you don’t want to end up lost because you didn’t get off on time.
As a tourist you might never take any bus since the metro is far better, but here you have some guidelines if you happen to need them:
1) Check out which bus line takes you where you want to go. Click here
2) Press the button with the bus drawing.Fill in gap A with the departing address and B with the address where you want to go.Make sure you write well spelled addresses as the map includes all the metropolitan area and city. If you are not sure you’ve chosen the right location compare it with google maps.
3) Press “Mostrar opciones”.Several options will be displayed for you. If metro is one of them forget about this and go take the metro. If not, go to step 4.
4) Check out which isthe fastest bus. Click on the dot next to it and this will display the bus ride on the map. Like so:
In this picture you see the way from the Recoleta Cemetery to Plaza Serrano in Palermo. So from the green dot, you walk to the bus stop, take number 110 and get off where the full blue line stops. Finally you just walk to the red dot.
Now, once you know your way to the bus stop wait for the bus under the sign. You’ll see the sign with the number of the bus you need. They usually look like this:
To stop the bus you need to raise your hand, otherwise the bus won’t stop for you. If there are other people waiting, you’ll have to queue. Respect the order before jumping onto the bus, locals will frown at you if you don’t. Take the front door. The doors at the back are to get off.
On the bus you’ll have to tell the driver where you are going before you can see the price of the ride displayed on the SUBE reader. Lay the card on the reader until it does its trick and then you are free to enjoy your ride.
But don’t get distracted! Pay attention to the street signs with your map at hand to know where to get off. We recommend you to tell the bus driver or a local where you are going and ask if they can tell you when to get off. Locals are usually very friendly and eager to help tourists.
Taxis are pretty safe in Buenos Aires. Don’t feel uneasy about taking them. It’s like anywhere else in the world. Just watch out for:
1) Drivers who want to charge you a fixed amount of money to take you. In contrast to other South American countries, taxis in Argentina run with a taximeter that should be visible for the passenger. This little machine marks the cost of the trip and you should pay no more than that. Taxi drivers are not usually tipped. Fix Rates are only for trips to or from the Airport or cruise ship pier.
2) Drivers who take you leisurely around the city to make the trip more expensive. Well, this is almost inevitable here or anywhere else in the world. If you realize it happened to you, get over it and forget about it. Unlike the northern hemisphere, taxis are cheap in BA.
3) Drivers who try to confuse you telling you that you didn’t give them the right amount of money. Check out very well the notes you give to the driver. Count the money as you put it in his hands, so that he knows you are well aware of what you are doing.
We don’t want to freak you out. You are not likely tohave any big trouble in a taxi.
Uber operates illegally in Argentina. It runs without permission or license. Therefore, we cannot give you further info about it here. Anyway, you can check the app upon arrival if you want their services.
The only reason why you’d like to take a train is to go on a day trip to El Tigre. Here we explain you how to get to Tigre from Buenos Aires.