After a long, possibly cramped flight to Buenos Aires, the last thing anyone wants is to run into problems at the airport. Here’s a quick guide to help you get through the international Buenos Aires airport (Ministro Pistarini a.k.a. Ezeiza or EZE) and into the city to begin enjoying your stay in Argentina!
Arrival, customs and passport control
After disembarking your plane, you will be immediately ushered through immigration. Be prepared, as depending on the number of flights arriving at the same time, you may stand in line for a while. If you are from Canada or Australia you will have to pay a one time Argentinian tourist visa fee that lasts for 10 years. This needs to be paid online in advance. Here are some instructions on where to go and how to do it.
Once you are through immigration it will be time to retrieve your luggage. Just grab a free luggage cart (yes, they really are free), collect your bags and make your way to the customs inspectors. Don’t be surprised if your luggage gets searched as they scan almost all the bags for electronics and other highly taxed imports that Argentinians tend to bring in. There is a 50% tax on new items for locals above $300 USD. New cell phones, lap tops, luxury watches and expensive items in boxes will be viewed as suspicious (as they may be potentially for sale).
The next task at hand, if you haven’t already made airport transportation arrangements, will be to get cash for a taxi. DO NOT change dollars/euros/pounds/etc at the money changing booths in the airport. They notoriously give low rates of exchange AND charge an additional service fee. Instead, find an ATM (cajero) in the arrivals lobby of the airport (directly in front of the McDonalds near the shops) and extract what you need. For more on ATM withdrawal limits, exchange rates, credit card use.
Buenos Aires Airport transportation options
It takes about 45 minutes to travel from Ezeiza airport to Buenos Aires city (Capital Federal) depending on traffic.
Private car service: You can hire one of our Ezeiza airport transportation minivans and have a driver waiting for you with a sign at the exit of baggage inspection. The drivers are all bilingual, drive clean minivans and will have the route planned to your destination so you will not have to explain where to go or have to wait in line to hire a driver.
Remis – a private car, much like a taxi, but without the cool yellow and black paint. Hiring a remis will cost you around $50 USD. A small tip is nice if your driver helps you with your bags or is friendly and offers good advice, but not necessary.
Generally speaking remises are the safest (you know the company you hired) means of transportation, they are paid in advance and know the address and destination. If you’d rather hire one in the moment rather than book one before you fly then use the booths inside of the airport. You may have to wait a bit, but they are safer than the stands outside or the rogue taxis outside.
Authorized Taxi – Taxis will cost you a bit less than remis (or at least in theory). The stands outside have a mixed reputations so use your better judgment. Ask what the rate is at one of the inside remis booths (inflation here constantly changes the prices so it is hard for even us to keep up) and do a bit of comparison before accepting.
Unofficial Taxis – As you exit the airport at least one person will approach you and offer a ride into town. While technically illegal (official airport taxis/remises are the only ones technically allowed to do business at the airport) it is tolerated. If you’re in a bargaining mood, your Spanish isn’t too bad and you want to save a few pesos, take one of these guys up on their offer. An unofficial taxi ride should cost less than hiring an official taxi, but they can be sketchy so buyer beware.
Airport Shuttle Bus – Manuel Tienda Leon offers one of the most economic airport transportation options. It’s especially useful for single budget travelers. The shuttle costs around a third of what taxis and remises cost and runs every hour. This shuttle will take you between the airport and Manuel Tienda Leon’s headquarters, located at the intersection very close to the Retiro bus station. Keep in mind that this drop-off spot will likely require you to hire an additional taxi to take you and your luggage to your hostel, hotel or apartment, so in the end may be around the same price as hiring a taxi or remis if it far from Retiro.
Public Bus (colectivo) – Line 86 of the local public bus transportation system and also the only public transport that runs regularly from the airport. The bus is your cheapest option, by far (costing you about $3-5 USD). There are several drawbacks to this most affordable option, however. First, if you have luggage, it will be a cramped public bus ride into the city. Second, the 86 will slowly lumber into town and will take at least two to three hours. And third, the colectivos only accept payment in coin form or with a SUBE card. The 86 will take you all the way to Plaza de Mayo, a major landmark of Buenos Aires and a great place to start your travel experience. Disembark the bus at the Plaza, take a quick glimpse of the Casa Rosada, the Catedral Metropolitana and the Cabildo, and make your way to the nearby subway (subte) station to get to your hostel, hotel or apartment.