A couple of Buenos Aires questions

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Nov 10th, 2018, 08:45 AM
  #1
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A couple of Buenos Aires questions

We’ll be arriving at EZE airport in early December and have questions about transfers into the city center. When we visited a dozen years ago, we just took a taxi into town. Is that still the preferred, easiest, and safest way for tourists? Should we reserve with one of the companies that do transfers (not a limousine)? Any recommendations on which company to book?

Also, what is the best way to get pesos? We’ve read that ATMs are not reliable. Should we exchange U.S. dollars at banks? Is it convenient in the airport?

Lastly, while there, we were thinking about taking a La Boca walking tour. Is it a reasonably safe walk to that area from our hotel, which is near the obelisk in Centro? And what walking route would you recommend we take to get there, or are most streets about the same?
Thanks.
Kathy

Last edited by kathleen; Nov 10th, 2018 at 08:48 AM.
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Nov 11th, 2018, 07:11 AM
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When we were there a couple of years ago we had a prearranged limo as part of the apartment deal which worked well. We have also taken taxis at the airport and had no issues with those. Do a search on avrooster as I am sure he has commented on this in the past.

I would not rely on being able to get cash out of ATMs. We have always had issues with machines not working, sometimes for extended periods. When they do, max withdrawals a re pathetically low and charges high - equivalent to 10% of the amount withdrawn. I would plan on pay for whatever you can by credit card and exchange $$ at a Cambio for the rest.

Hopefully avrooster will see this post and comment - if only to tell me that I have got it entirely wrong

We visited La Boca several times, often walking from Centro and found it safe enough as long as you don’t wander off the main drags. I am not great on remembering directions/ street names but do recall the last time going vis Puerto Madero which is a nice diversion down by the water.
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Nov 11th, 2018, 11:12 AM
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We werer there last year .
We took a taxi from airport. Waited in line, got into a cab. Got at our hotel.
We took money from ATM's - don't know where you read ATM's are not reliable, never had a problem - yes, sometimes at a bank one of 5 ATM's would not be functioning.
We didn't go to la Boca.
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Nov 11th, 2018, 01:14 PM
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Crellston. I guess to get a taxi or set up transportation makes little difference. We'll think about which way we want to get into the city in the next few days. For the money issue, I think we'll bring some "crisp" new bills and exchange them as you did. I am glad to hear that walking to La Boca from Centro will not be a problem. Never made it to La Boca last time while there, so we want to be sure this time we do. We plan on walking all around, just wasn't sure if there were areas to avoid.
Thanks for the reply.
Thibaut. Not sure where I read about the ATMs as I've been on the computer a lot trying to get everything in order. Glad you had no problems while there. Thanks.
Kathy
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Nov 11th, 2018, 03:44 PM
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I think thibaut was very lucky not to have had any problems with ATMs in Argentina. When we first visited in 2008 they were next to useless, largely as a result of strike action. In subsequent visits we just gave up trying to use them - our cards, whether visa, MasterCard or Amex would not work in 90% of ATMs. Argentina is currently undergoing a massive economic upheaval with interest rates hiked to 60% to shore up the currency and try and prevent further hyperinflation. Not the most stable banking system in the world by a long way!

Things seem to have stabilised in the last couple of months but I would be inclined to change cash little and often. Despite all this, Argentina is an amazing country to visit
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Nov 12th, 2018, 04:02 AM
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Hi, OP Kathleen and DE Crellston!

Let's see if I can be of help, as a local.

There is only ONE thing you must NOT do to get into town from our international airport and that is to take one of the black and yellow cabs waiting in line OUTSIDE the terminal. Any of the transportation services, which can be PREPAID INSIDE the terminal are fine, such as Tienda León and Taxi Ezeiza (cheaper). I'm not quite sure whether or not Taxi Ezeiza takes CCs. Tienda León certainly does. In principle, no need to reserve, but feel free to do so.

In fact I suggest NEVER boarding the black and yellow cabs waiting in line outside touristy places. Just walk half a block away and hail one of the cabs which are cruising around, looking for a fare. The cabbie is supposed to have his data hanging from the front seat. If that is NOT the case, just get off. Never mind if he gets angry. Tips are welcome, but certainly NOT mandatory.

More in the next post.

Have a great time in my town.
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Nov 12th, 2018, 04:12 AM
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About getting local currency:

It depends how much you mind carrying cash, which is the alternative I favor, but has obvious disadvantages.

ATMs sometimes do not work, or have no cash, particularly during weekends and may have hefty fees.

You can change your cash at the Banco de la Nación's branch at the airport, on your right, after you exit customs. There COULD be a long line.

You may get discounts for paying in cash for whatever you buy at places where the owner is at the cash register.

A place to change in town is described here: https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUser...ECK_RATES_CONT

Another post for the next question.

Have a great time in my town.
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Nov 12th, 2018, 04:39 AM
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About safety in BA:

The obvious main thing is NOT to make yourself a target. Don't carry anything you would HATE to lose. For ID, carry only a copy of your passport.

The way I see it, Caminito (in la Boca) is the worst tourist trap ever, but that's just my opinion.

The people running your "La Boca walking tour" should provide advice about the best way to join them.

My main safety advice is to assume that if something strange happens, such as bird poo on your back, or someone vomiting on the subway, it's a diversion intended to put you off guard. Walk away and don't allow any strangers to get close to you. The worst area and day for this kind of thing Is our "Centro" on Sundays, when cops are mostly absent and many tourists walk to our famous San Telmo fair.

To use public transportation, such as buses and the subway, you need a "SUBE" card, which you can get at the airport. There may be a long line.

Have a great time in my town, Kathy and ask me anything else you want.

Top DE Crellston: have I been up to your expectations?
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Nov 12th, 2018, 05:00 AM
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One more thing: Preferably, do not carry an expensive cell phone or camera, which should obviously be among the "things you would HATE to lose" previously mentioned.
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Nov 12th, 2018, 07:43 AM
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Kathy: It may sound crazy, but I suggest walking AGAINST the car traffic. This is to help you against "motochorros" (two guys on a motorcycle, one of them walks behind you, snatches your watch, purse or whatever, hops back on the bike and gets away, literally in a few seconds). If such a thing happens, do NOT fight him.

BTW, I'm 77 years old and have NEVER had a safety problem in BA, but I'm a local.
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Nov 12th, 2018, 08:48 AM
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Thanks for the detailed information avrooster. I do have some follow up questions on what you wrote.

In the city, if we were to hail a cruising cab, it should not be a black and yellow one? Thanks for the tip on checking for his data.

We checked the link you included about money exchange. Though the exchange rate was very good, we may have enough for our few days in Buenos Aires if we exchange at the Banco de la Nacion’s Branch at the Airport.

The walking tour of La Boca was one that is offered on --Buenos Aires free walking tours --website, though the tour we want has a small fee. They said the meeting point is the corner of Magallanes and Caminito. We need to get ourselves there, which we don’t mind, and walking seems to suit us if it’s a reasonable walk. When we were last there, a dozen years ago, we had an incredible tour with a company that had as guides, students or professors from a university. I can’t recall the name of the group, but they were very good

Thanks for the walking tip. Makes perfect sense really. We're looking forward to our return to Buenos Aires!
Kathy
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Nov 12th, 2018, 10:07 AM
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Kathy:

ALL the legal cabs in the city of BA are black and yellow. Make sure to board an air-conditioned one.

The Taxi Ezeiza cabs are white and you can save a little money if you book them to take you back to the airport, when you leave, because they have a special fare for that: http://www.taxiezeiza.com.ar/spa/tarifas

I
don't like the idea of you walking to La Boca. It's a long walk and, before you realize it, you could be near a bad area. As said before, I feel Caminito is a tourist trap.

About the tour you mention "that had as guides students or professors", I'm not sure, but it sounds like the local version of the Cicerones? Cicerones | Buenos Aires Greeters

There are several "free" walking tours in BA. Please give me a link to the one you mean. I believe this is the best one: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attracti..._District.html One of my daughters used to do the afternoon tour.

Have a great time in my town, Kathy. Further questions, quite welcome.
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Nov 12th, 2018, 10:44 AM
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avrooster

So, if I understand correctly. Black and yellow cab, if stationed in line at touristy places, no. Black and yellow cab cruising, perhaps a block or so away from touristy places, yes.

Here is the link to the company that we were considering. https://www.buenosairesfreewalks.com/la-boca-tour/
I did pull up the link you listed but they don't have any specific walking tour of La Boca and that is the area I'd like to visit. Your link did have an option for a private tour, which we might consider. I'd like to walk there, but may have to figure another way,

Thanks again.
Kathy
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Nov 12th, 2018, 10:47 AM
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Kathy:

Now I think I understand your question about not hailing black and yellow cabs.

Avoid those and any other transportation waiting in line outside our airports or touristy spots.

It's fine to hail them anywhere within the BA city limits.

Have a great time in my town.
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Nov 12th, 2018, 11:30 AM
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Your La Boca tour seems to get good reviews, so I guess it's OK. It will likely be quite warm, as you probably know.
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Nov 12th, 2018, 09:14 PM
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"have I been up to your expectations?" Above and beyond my friend, you never fail to exceed my expectations avrooster!

PS Carolyn send her regards!
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Nov 13th, 2018, 02:53 AM
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Thank you, TOP TA DE Crellston!
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Nov 13th, 2018, 06:06 AM
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Hi, Kathy!

I know you have not asked about that and it is mostly a matter of taste, but "near the Obelisk" is probably the last place I would choose to stay in BA.

Maybe someone else wishes to advise the OP on this subject?

Have a great time in my town, Kathy.
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Nov 13th, 2018, 07:00 AM
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Hi avrooster and crellston.

I want to thank both of you for all your help and insights. Really appreciate it!

Our hotel is booked, and it looks very nice, and I'm sure we'll enjoy it.

I'm starting another thread about food and wine bars and what is recommended. I hope to have both of you or any others' ideas on which to choose.

Kathy

Last edited by kathleen; Nov 13th, 2018 at 07:06 AM.
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Nov 13th, 2018, 05:09 PM
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We were just there. As far as airport transfer, after you exit the baggage claim/customs area there are windows for car services. We used Tienda León, which happened to be one of the first ones we saw, and also I had seen recommendations here and on tripadvisor.

In the city, we took regular cabs and it was fine. Most rides were between 3-6 USD, so very inexpensive. The Subte (subway) is really cheap, about 20 cents a ride, but it doesn't go to La Boca. Some buses do. La Boca is perfectly safe during the day as long as you stay in the touristy areas (which is very obvious). We did the walking tour with free tours (although it actually wasn't free, cost 400 pesos) and it was worth it.

We loved Buenos Aires, and felt perfectly safe everywhere we went. When we returned to the airport, out hotel called a cab.
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