Getting from the Airport in Buenos Aires

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Getting from the Airport in Buenos Aires

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June 1, 2011
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Airport transportation from Buenos Aires can be tricky.  Buenos Aires, you will soon discover, is a city of many contradictions. Beautiful architecture, enviable weather, and a people who can be as charming as any on the planet. And yet, there is  another side to this city, a somewhat hidden side. Buenos Aires suffers from chronic crime, of the non-violent scamming variety and of the violent kind. Violent crime is not as widely reported outside of Buenos Aires. But inside the city, among those who actually live here, the "inseguiridad", their word for crime, is the constant worry .  The mayor of Buenos Aires, Mauricio Macri, recently acknowledged that many people in Buenos Aires are now afraid to venture outside their apartments, afraid to open the door to anyone.  Little wonder then, that you should rely on the locals for advice on the safest way to get from the airport in Buenos Aires.

There are 2 airports in Buenos Aires, Ezeiza (EZE) and Aeropaque.  Ezeiza is the international airport handling all the flights from outside Argentina, say, from the United States, Europe or Australia.  Aeroparque handles domestic flights throughout Argentina.  

To get from Ezeiza to your destination in Buenos Aires, the first rule you must obey is to never take a taxi from outside the airport building.  If you stroll outside the airport building, you will soon notice a taxi line. It will look like any other taxi line you may have seen in New York or London or Paris. But it is unlike any other taxi line you have encountered. For this taxi line is , in the words of the locals, run by "mafia".  The taxis have a well-earned reputation for trickery and worse.

Now, this doesn't mean that every taxi ride will end in disaster. And I'm sure many  of you can point to friends who, eager to seem like locals, always confidently take taxis from the airport in Buenos Aires, with no problems. But what they may not know, is that they're the lucky ones. Very lucky.

Here are some of my adventures. I have had a taxi switch a 50 peso bill for a 5 peso bill at the end of my trip, and ended up giving him yet another 50 pesos bill. I have had a taxi driver hand me back change that included a counterfeit 50 pesos bill. I have of course had the runaround, long way home, resulting in twice the normal bill. I have had taxi drivers run a superfast meter, one that almost clicked as fast as a slot machine, resulting in a twice as large fare. (Read more about the denominations of money you should carry in Buenos Aires here).

And these are the milder adventures. During my first month in Buenos Aires, I read an account in the local paper of a British woman who was taken for a ride by one of these "taxistas" into some out of the way location, and raped.

The locals caution that you should only take a ride from a "remis" (pronounced "rah-meese") if you are at the airport. Remis are what you would think of as  an upscale taxi or limo service. They cost about 30% more than a taxi, and they are worth every single penny in terms of your safety.

There are several remis stands inside the airport building.  You do not, I repeat, do not, have to engage a remis outside the airport building. These remis companies typically have been in business for decades and are generally trustworthy.  One of the most trusted remis services favored by the locals is "Teinda DeLeon" but you should feel free to try any of the remis.

Tipping a remis is not expected. Your fare is sufficient.  Get a quote of the fare before your ride by asking "Cuantos pesos?" The current price of a remis from the airport is 140 to 160 pesos ($35 to $40 US dollars).  The comparable cost of a taxi is 100 pesos ($20 US). (Read more here about price inflation in Buenos Aires.)

If you enjoy the ride, ask for the business card of the driver "Tiene una tarjeta? (pronounced "tee- in- nay  oona  tar hay ta ")? Save it for your return trip.

If you find for some reason or emergency that you must take a taxi, whether you are at the airport or not, always look for a "Radio Taxi". Never take any other type of taxi. Radio taxis at least have a dispatch office attached to their operation.

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Buenos Aires taxis have a black body and a yellow roof