As the capital of Argentina, Buenos Aires is often referred to as the Paris of the Southern Hemisphere. The city offers a host of options for travelers who are looking for excitement and adventure. If you’re flying into Buenos Aires and don’t want to rent a car, that’s absolutely perfect! Public transportation in the city is affordable and not very complicated to use, once you get the hang of it. And since Buenos Aires is a city of more than 200 square kilometers, you’ll want to grab the opportunities you can to see everything!
What are the best ways to get around in Buenos Aires?
- City Bus
- Subway (Subte)
- Bike Share
Public transportation in the city of Buenos Aires is a realistic, feasible and safe way for visitors to get around. In general, the best options are either the subway or the bus, depending on where travelers want to go and what time of day it is.
Here, we’ll give you more details about traveling around different areas using a SUBE card, tram or even free bicycles. Read on to find out more of what you need to know about getting around Buenos Aires by public transportation.
Tips for Traveling Around the City
While generally safe, when you’re riding on public transportation you will want to keep track of your belongings. Just like in any major city, pickpockets and other dishonest folks might be looking for an opportunity, so be sure to keep purses, handbags, laptop bags, and other items very close. Keep wallets tucked away in an inside pocket and leave jewelry or other obvious valuables at home or in your hotel safe. Zip your bags shut and wear them across your body when possible. For security, wear your backpack on the front of your body when in public.
Peak commute times on the public transportation system typically occur between 8-9:30 in the morning as well as between 5-7 in the evening. If you’re traveling during these times, expect the buses and subway cars to be particularly full.
Staying safe means being alert. If you expect that the buses will come to a complete stop before letting you off, you may be in for a surprise! Pay extra attention and be ready to move in a nimble fashion. Once the driver has let passengers off the bus, the bus will be driving away again very quickly. So, if you’re on the bus and standing up, be sure to hang on.
This smart card is used to access public transportation in Buenos Aires without the need for cash. In fact, the SUBE card is the only form of payment accepted on the buses and subway. It’s easily rechargeable and you can use a credit card to fill it up as needed.
SUBE cards can be recharged at any of 8 Tourist Assistance centers, as well as at subway stations, national lottery outlets, and various kiosks that can be found throughout the city.
Use this map of SUBE vendors to find a location to purchase or top up a smart card.
This pocket guide to the more than 100 bus lines, complete with street maps, will be your lifeline if you’re planning to navigate the public transportation system in Buenos Aires. Grab one of these at a newsstand or kiosk all around the city. And don’t worry that you’ll look like a tourist—locals use these guides too.
If you’ve got a smartphone, then Google Maps provides access to more than 800 different routes for buses and trains throughout the Buenos Aires metro area. Just type in where you want to go and the app will calculate the best route for you.
Another app that might be effective for getting around the city is the BA Cómo llego? App, meaning “How Do I Get There?” (For Apple / Android). Simply put in the information of where you are, where you want to go and your preferred method of travel and the app will help you find the best routes.
Public Transportation Options in Buenos Aires
Buses, subway trains, trams, and even bicycles can get you around so that you can enjoy the city while on your trip. Following are the details on each of these methods:
Called collectivos, city buses cover a significant portion of the city of Buenos Aires. They are efficient, clean and come fairly often. It is safe to ride buses in the city, particularly during the day. And because the bus system has been updated in recent years, it’s even better than it might have been if you have visited at some time in the past.
Bus services run within walking distance of almost any popular attraction or destination that you will want to see as a tourist. Since the buses run 24 hours each day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year, you’ll always have access when you need it. Even if you have to wait for a little bit, you know that the bus will eventually arrive to pick you up.
When you get on the bus, you need to be able to tell the driver where you want to go so that they can charge you appropriately for the ride. Even if you don’t speak the language, you can simply name the road nearest to where your stop is.
Some special buses are part of the dedicated Metrobus system, which is an updated rapid transit system that minimizes the time spent on the bus by making fewer stops. At many of the Metrobus stops you may even find access to free wifi.
While it is a fairly efficient way to get around, the Buenos Aires subway is fairly small when compared to other major cities like London and New York. Even so, its 6 lines can be a particularly useful way to get from the inner part of the city into the outer areas.
The six lines on the subway are differentiated by color as well as by letter. The A-line (light blue) was the first subway line in BA and it opened more than 100 years ago. It runs along the southern part of the city, along with the E line (purple). On the northern part of the city are lines B (red) and D (green). Lines C (dark blue) and H (yellow) run in north and south directions, acting as connections between other lines. The very center of the city is where most of the lines connect together (except for line H).
Depending on the time of day and locations, trains come approximately every three to ten minutes.
Subway hours are:
5:30 am to 11:30 pm Monday through Friday
6 am to 12 midnight Saturday
8 am to 10:30 pm Sunday (and public holidays)
A map of the subway can be found on the Subte website.
As part of the effort to enjoy the weather and get up close and personal with Buenos Aires, you might choose to participate in Ecobici, the city’s free bike share program. You can borrow a bike for an hour on weekdays or two hours on weekends. Check out the details on the city’s website.
Take a step back in time by hopping onto an old-fashioned tram streetcar that operates year-round. The tram runs on tracks in a circular route through the Caballito district. And it’s free, so you can hop on an off as much as you like!
Street Car Hours are:
March through November
Saturday and Holidays 4 pm-7:30 pm
Sunday 10 am-1 pm and 4 pm-7:30 pm
December through February
Saturday and Holidays 5pm-8:30 pm
Sunday 10 am-1 pm and 5 pm-8:30 pm
Is it safe to rent a car in Argentina?
The country of Argentina has a reputation for being difficult to drive in, especially for those from North America or Europe. Tourists may find that driving in Argentina feels hectic, frustrating and risky. Those who do rent cars in Argentina must be sure to be knowledgeable about the rules and extremely defensive in their driving.
How cold does it get in Buenos Aires?
As it is in the southern hemisphere, winter months in Buenos Aires are from June through August. The temperatures during the winter are mild, with average highs in the low-60s and average lows in the mid-40s.