In South America, you can visit iconic destinations like the ancient Inca ruins or discover beach towns that are off the beaten path. The most popular way to explore South America’s diverse and vibrant locales is to travel by bus. Not only does the bus conveniently gets you around, it also lets you get a good eyeful of South America’s best coast-to-coast landscapes. View our Essential Guide to Bus Traveling in South America to discover more travel tips.
Traveling within Argentina by bus is one of the best ways to discover the unrivalled landscapes the country has to offer – including a few gems you’ll definitely miss with the plane. With a government-regulated bus industry, not only is the bus cheaper and greener, but it’s also the chosen mode of transportation among the locals. If you’re currently in the region or planning an upcoming trip, here are our 10 tips & tricks for bus travel in Argentina.
1. What to expect on the bus
Argentinian buses are usually very well equipped and luxurious. Buses come with comfortable and spacious seats (keep reading for seat classes), large windows with curtains, individual TVs, toilets, air-conditioning and heating and sometimes even bus attendants! It is important to note that WiFi is not widely available on Argentinian buses. Pack a book, enjoy your individual TV or take a good snooze in the comfy seats!
On long-haul routes, food is often served, depending on the seat class you chose. Also, expect to have a cold bus, so packing a blanket or sweater is recommended, no matter the season!
Psst, the information about bus amenities is always available on Busbud before completing your booking. 😉
2. Choose your seats carefully
Along with great amenities, Argentinian buses also have different seat classes.
Let’s start off with Semi Cama, (semi sleeper), which is the most common class. The seats are wide and comfortable, but do not recline all the way back. The common reclining angle for Semi Cama is 140 degrees. Next on the list is Cama (sleeper class), where the seats are wider and recline all the way back, almost like a bed. The last class, which is the summum of comfort, is called Ejecutivo (executive). This service is not available on all buses, but will be on most popular long-haul routes, and comes with fully reclinable seats, blankets and pillows.
Buses are generally very comfortable, no matter the class. However, for overnight or long-distance trips, a Cama or Ejecutivo seat can do wonders.
3. Overnight bus trips are your best friend
With different seat classes available as well as luxurious buses, overnight bus trips are extremely handy. In order to cover long distances such as Buenos Aires to Salta (1,462 km), overnight bus trips make you save money on accommodation. So hop on a bus, get your beauty sleep in and wake up in your next destination, ready to visit!
4. Research and book your bus tickets online
The great thing about the Argentinian bus industry is the choices. Choices in seat classes, choices in bus companies and choices in departures. Use Busbud to compare all the options on the same route and make sure you get the best bang for your buck. For example, there are approximately 10 bus companies who operate on the route Mendoza to Buenos Aires with multiple daily departures. Search, compare and book the most suitable bus for you and then once that’s done, simply arrive at the bus terminal and board stress free!
5. Finding your bus station or platform
The address of the stop or bus terminal will always be indicated on your confirmation email when booking on Busbud. Some bus companies also indicate the address on their ticket as well. When departing from a large bus station like the Retiro terminal in Buenos Aires, the departing platform will be indicated 15 to 20 minutes on screens at the station. The platform number will not be indicated on your ticket.
It is important to arrive early at the station, especially when departing from big transportation hubs. This will give you enough time to find your platform and then sit back, relax and wait for your bus!
6. Let the scenery sweep you off your feet
Travelers with a penchant for wanderlust usually revel in the idea of an offbeat adventure, and choosing the bus will help you get there. Riding a bus in Argentina is perfect for visiting more than one city or village off the beaten path. These journeys boast an array of mountainous panoramas and unspoiled countrysides. If you pass through small towns, you’ll even get the chance to observe how the locals live. Most importantly, grabbing a window seat is the best way to enjoy the scenery.
7. Dress for changing temperatures
Contrary to popular belief, Argentina is not always warm. The ever-changing and vast geography of the country makes it an interesting packing challenge! Be ready for colder temperatures and sometimes heavy snowfall in the mountains and then quickly transitioning to warmer weather in flatter areas. If you’re taking a long trip, you might go from snow and winter conditions to spring and warmer conditions in one day. The ideal strategy is to layer up!
8. Take into account seasonality
Prices and the amount of departures depend on seasonality. During high season, which runs from late November to February, expect higher prices as well as multiple daily departures. During shoulder seasons (September to November & March to May), prices go down, as well as the number of departures. Low season runs from June to August, with fewer departures.
Argentinian bus companies usually release their bus schedules 3 months in advance. It is a good idea to book in advance during high season in order to avoid sold out departures and to get the early bird prices.
9. Talk the talk
Knowing a few key words and phrases in Spanish will come in handy for bus travel in Argentina:
- Bus (autobús) also known as colectivos or micros locally.
- Bus station (estación de autobús/Terminal de Ómnibus)
- Where is the bus stop? (¿Dónde está la parada de autobús?)
- Schedule (horario)
- Arrival (llegada)
- Departure (salida)
- Destination (destino)
- Bus driver (conductor de autobús/conductor de ómnibus).
10. Get to know your neighbors and driver
If you do speak the language, chat your driver or neighbor up during breaks. You’ll be amazed at how much they know – and how much they’ve seen. Argentinians are friendly and are always willing to help. They will even give you tips on which side of the bus you should sit on to get the nicest views…and photos!