Bus travel is the best and most popular method of getting around Argentina. Though far more time-consuming than air travel (Buenos Aires to Ushuaia takes around 50 hours), it will save you money and you usually won’t need to get a taxi anywhere as terminals are nearly always located in city centres.
There’s a whole array of classes and services available, though as a rule, even the cheapest services are palatable. For longer distance journeys, you might want to pay a bit extra for the cama or semi-cama service. These include enormous, padded reclining seats and usually a meal. Sadly, even the most expensive services will force you to sit through non-stop American action films played at full volume. Bring ear plugs.
You’ll find that most companies work in their particular region, and so there are very few companies with nationwide services. Buying a ticket is a fairly straightforward process. It’s best to go to the terminal itself, where you can easily compare fares between companies before making your decision Most of the time it’s safe to rock up just before you want to leave, though remember that booking in advance is almost essential around public holidays.
Air travel isn’t cheap in Argentina, but from time to time it can present itself as a very attractive option. Reducing long-distance travel to a fraction of the time it would otherwise take, it’s well worth considering - especially if you can plan in advance.
It doesn’t make a huge amount of difference whether you buy your ticket online, through a travel agent, or at the airline’s office as prices are pretty much the same. Bear in mind that departure taxes cost around US$20, and this isn’t always incorporated into your fare.
In terms of options, Argentina’s internal carriers form a small pool of competing companies. If at all possible, it’s best to avoid the main carrier, Aerolíneas Argentinas. Their customer service record is dreadful, and their services are almost unanimously delayed. However, seeing as they serve more destinations, and fly more frequently than anyone else, they may be your only option. Just remember that if your flight is cancelled, they probably won’t offer you a refund.
The Chilean airline LAN also offer plenty of internal flights, mostly to the biggest tourist destinations. The Argentine Air Force-run LADE is almost always far cheaper than commercial carriers, with the added bonus that they fly to some out-of-the-way places that would otherwise be more difficult to reach. The downside is that flights are infrequent and can be unreliable, often with several stopovers.
There are a couple of regional airlines - Andes fly to Códoba, Salta and a few other places, while Sol fly to Rosario and Montevideo.
Argentina’s rail network, though only a shadow of its former self, can still be the most comfortable way to travel if you have the time. The list of destinations is extremely limited and, in terms of long-distance travel, the Buenos Aires-Córdoba route is the only practical option. Although it takes up to 18 hours, you can go overnight on a fairly comfortable sleeper service with a buffet car. There’s also a six hour train from Buenos Aires to the coastal resort of Mar del Plata.
In terms of tourist services, there are some great options. The old Patagonian Express, made famous by Paul Theroux’s classic travelogue, runs from Buenos Aires to Esquel through the vast, dry Patagonian plains. The Tren de las Nubes, which runs from Salta to the Chilean border through the Andes, also provides stunning scenery. Bear in mind that these two services are notoriously fickle, and stop running completely from time to time.
Renting a car is a viable option, especially for getting around in more remote areas, or if you don’t want to be tied down to a schedule. To hire a car, you need to be over 21 and hold a driving license in your own country (though an international one is preferable).
The downside is that hiring a car is expensive, especially with the major global firms. If you can, find a local independent rental company, as prices will almost certainly be cheaper.
Be careful when driving in very remote areas, as roads are usually unpaved and can be full of potholes - think about getting a 4x4 if you’re planning on driving in rural regions.
Taxis are extremely common and, unless it’s raining, you shouldn’t have too much trouble hailing a cab in big cities. If you have the time, always try to book a remise, or radio cab, at night - the added degree of safety makes it well worthwhile.
Buenos Aires’ underground Subte network has been running since 1913 and now has six separate lines. It’s probably the best way to get around the city by day - though try to avoid rush hour, as the crush really can be suffocating. Not one for those who like their personal space.