My Buenos Aires Insider Tips

Samb4

Registered
Travel tips before to arrive to the city to get the most of your vacation time in Buenos Aires.

Always carry an ID(could be your driving license). It could be required if you want to pay with your credit card.

Keep your small change if you decide to travel around in urban bus. Buenos Aires has a coins crisis since last year and results very difficult to find change as bus tickets are paid in machines that only receivecoins.

When taking a taxi at the street try to take only cabs with the word Radio Taxi written above. They suposse to be more secure as they are affiliated to a radio taxi company and not independent drivers.

Strong rains
in the city usually block some subway stretches and stations are closed generating a big traffic chaos. Is better to wait until is clear up especially if it gets you during the rush hours (9 A.M.& 6 to 8 P.M.).

To pay a taxi ride
with a ARS$100 bank note could be almost an insult to the taxi driver. Change the high denominations bank notes and try to carry small change to pay theclosest you can to the total amount. If you couldn't find change, ask the driver if he can give you change before to get into the cab.

Be careful when crossing streets. Stop signals doesn't exist in the city and pedestrian crossings are not respected by the drivers, in the same way, don't pretend the cars are going to stop people are not use to give the pedestrians to pass.

Eventhose Buenos Aires is a big city, small neighborhood kiosks and stores use toclose during 2:00 P.M until 4:00 P.M
to rest during their siesta time. Be sure you don't need anything important during these hours.

Tipping is not mandatory but it is always well received.
The usual is to give between 10% and 12% and many places tip is only allowed in cash.


Small stores and restaurants don't receive credit card. If they do, you will be usually charged with an extra 10%. In order to avoid misunderstandings try to ask before consume.


Restaurants use to charge an extra fee that can vary between $4 and $10 ARS each person for table service.

Usually kiosks don't sell alcohol beverages after 10:00 P.M

Weekends are the best days to sightseeing Buenos Aires as most of the tourist places, parks and central avenues are full of craft markets, street concerts and other cultural expressions.
 

kurtdillard

Registered
That's a good list! I have a few more:

If you're buying a lot of stuff to take back home ask for taxfree reciepts, go through the hassle of filling out the paperwork at the airport for your refund. Its a 21% discount, which adds up quickly if you're doing a lot of shopping! Note that you can't just turn in any reciept, it has to be a special 'taxfree' one, look for the logo on the merchant's door next to the credit card logos. http://www.globalrefund.com/ has some more information.

Scan the posts at http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/argentina-622/ for great ideas on dining, entertainment, hotels, etc.

Avoid renting cars, hire a car service instead. For most Americans driving in Buenos Aires is a startling experience, the average driver is more aggressive than almost anyone I've seen in Boston or NYC. They pay little attention to lane markings, stop signs, and other traffic laws. They slide between lanes with no warning. Some also tend to drive a foot or two behind whatever is ahead. Once you learn the local habits its a little better (but not much).

Don't bring up the Malvinas conflict (the Falklands War) or the Dirty War in polite conversation. These are sensitive subjects that are best discussed quietly with close friends but avoided with strangers.

Don't expect things to be anything like home. There are many differences, one of the first that I noticed years ago was dining out: service is professional but much slower. Its common to wait 30 minutes for entrees. I have also learned that most waiters won't bring the bill until you ask for it, they don't want you to think they are rushing you out.

Watch out for common tourist traps: pickpockets, bait and switch, large currency counterfeit bills, and purse snatching. While its impossible to keep someone from stealing your purse or wallet if they want it you can minimize the damage by doing things like using a moneybelt , spreading cash across several pockets, only carrying 1 debit card and 1 ATM card with you, and leaving all non-essential valuables at home or in the hotel safe. Counterfeit bills are tough to recognize, but you can avoid someone trying to trade their fake bills with your real ones by initialling all of your 100 peso, 100 dollar, and 100 euro notes before trying to use them. Occassionally people will take your note, then claim its fake and hand you back a different one that you won't be able to use anywhere.

Go to Plaza Serano on a weekend afternoon, its the best of all of the crafts markets that I have seen, some truly original works by very talented artists.
 
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