Navigating a new city can always be a little scary and Buenos Aires in no exception. However, with a bit of assistance from technology, it is easier than ever to navigate the streets like a true Porteno. There are both websites and apps that are simple, straight-forward and safe. Meaning that we can all avoid the stressful, pulling hair out, what am I doing in this country moment and have a smooth easy journey to our chosen destination.
Sube Subte Card
Before we go any further, first things first, make sure that you purchase a Subte card before trying to get onto the Subte or take a colectivo. Otherwise your journey will not be very successful. Ironically you cannot purchase them at any Subte stations but Subte cards can be bought from various kioscos. To check where your nearest one is look at http://www.xcolectivo.com.ar/sube/puntosdeentrega.php . Luckily, they are much easier to top up than to purchase. Most kioscos, lottery shops and subte stations all have machines available.
The Subte (underground train) network is great for getting around the inner city. During peak hours it can get really busy so take that time to check out their site to see which subte lines get you to which neighborhoods: Palermo, Microcentro or San Telmo. There are also updates on delays, costs of tickets and the hours of service.
Once you have mastered the subte, the next step up the public transport scale is the colectivos, or buses. Colectivos will get you more or less anywhere in Buenos Aires, including La Boca, Recoleta and even out to the Tigre Delta. You are going to have to practice your Spanish Buenos Aires-style a little when communicating with the driver, but to make sure you are probably on the right bus line first check this website. You simply put in where you are and where you want to go and it will give you over half a dozen different options. It is one of my personal favourites for figuring out how to get anywhere within Capital Federal.
Now wouldn’t it just be perfect if you could work out which is the best route for you to get to your destination and compare. Well Moovit is your godsend. Moovit does all the work for you, think of it as a better and more precise google maps. You type in where you are and where you want to go and it will formulate the routes that you can take. Moovit gives you the type of transport, the time it takes, the precise details such as which bus to take and which stop to get off, how many stops this may be, etc etc. you get the picture. Its simple and effective and definitely the easiest way to navigate your way around the city.
If public transport is too time consuming and you want to enjoy the air conditioned comfort of a taxi check out the Viajo en Taxi website. It is simple to use and gives you the approximate cost of a taxi ride anywhere in the city as well as a guide to the quickest route that the driver should take. No more driving round in circles if you are a short term traveller to Buenos Aires as you will have a good idea on how much you will need to pay and the general direction the cab should take. Word of warning if you do end up taking a taxi be sure to get in a ´radio cab,´ the taxi’s with the prism sign on their roof, usually stating radio taxi or their company name. As these companies are linked to a company their rides are tracked so safer and less likely to take you on an obscure route.
There is a lot of drama currently surrounding Uber at the moment in Buenos Aires. Leaving many people confused as to whether the app is legal or not. Well the short end of the story is technically no but it is legal for you to use. The argentinian government are trying to prevent it, under huge pressure from the taxi companies, but Uber claim they have no legal ground. If any of you have checked out the app you will see it is functioning perfectly. Whilst the taxi drivers may hate it for obvious reasons, it’s taking their cliental, most of the people here love it. It is probably the safest mode of transport and the easiest.
Whilst on the whole it may be cheaper and easier than getting a taxi do remember that in peak times the surcharge will take you way above taxi prices. On those journeys it’s definitely worth heading to the street to chase down a cab. Another recommendation, with regard to Uber, is going to and from the airport. I have taken an Uber a few times to EZE airport now, and have had many friends use it too, with the usual cost between $250-450 ARS. Making Uber a fair bit cheaper than most transfers offered to you at the airport. Again, however, be sure to check out the surcharge before you take one, we don’t want any nasty surprises.