Things to Know – Buenos Aires, Argentina

Things to Know – Buenos Aires, Argentina
Buenos Aires, Argentina

If for some reason you should have to go to the embassy during your trip, the American one is located at Avenida Colombia 4300 and is open Mon-Fri in the morning by appointment only (5777 4533). The Australian Consulate is at Villanueva 1400 in Palermo and is open regular hours, Mon-Fri (4779 3550). The British Embassy and Consulate is at Luis Agote 2412 in Recoleta and is open during a few hours each day Mon-Fri (4808 2200). The Canadian Embassy and Consulate is at Tagle 2828 in Recoleta and is open both morning and afternoon from Mon-Thurs, but closes at noon on Friday (4808 1000).

When it comes to cash, your best bet is to draw money from the ATMs, which is only distributed in Argentine currency. Almost all banks allow for foreign card owners to draw from their machines and most all the neighborhoods you will visit are lined with banks. You will know the bank has a machine by one of two markings on the outer window – Banelco or Link. Look for your logos on the machine itself to match your cash card. I found that Links allows withdrawals of larger sums if you want to avoid paying multiple fees for each usage. Keep in mind that many restaurants, hotels and clothing stores except credit cards as well, though your card may charge a small “conversion fee” for the transaction. Find out from your card before you leave so you know your best option.

For medical attention Hospital Británico at Pedriel 74 in Barracas has many English speakers staffed (4309 6400/6500). And if you don’t have insurance, Hospital de Clínicas José de San Mart�n in Barrio Norte will see you. They are also more centrally located at Avenida C�rdoba 2351 (5950 8000).

Tourist info
If you are looking for tourist information centers, the city has many of them located in the popular neighborhoods. There is one inside the interesting market-turned-shopping-center called Abasto at the cross streets of Avenida Corrientes and Agüero. Another one rests on the popular pedestrian mall Flor�da at Avenida Roque Sáenz Peña. In Recoleta, you’ll find one just steps from the famous cemetery at Avenida Quintana and Ortiz. There are quite a few more scattered about which you can find among other things at their website.

Travel Agencies
If you are looking for the student travel agency associated with the infamous ISIC cards go to Asatej. You will find it on the 3rd floor in office 320 at 835 Florída. The lines and service are what you’ve come to expect if you’ve used foreign student travel agencies before. If you are without this sacred student card, fear not; standard travel agencies abound on Santa Fe and around Florída. You can get a good deal traveling within the country by plane if you ask them to check for the airlines that don’t charge a higher “foreign passenger” fare. I actually found a cheaper fare to Ushuia and Iguazu Falls with one of them than I did with the student agency – so shop around before assuming that students get all the deals.

All non-cell numbers inside the city begin with a 4, 5, or 6 and consist of 8 digits. All cell numbers begin with 15 and are followed by the 8 digits. If you are trying to reach any of these city numbers from elsewhere in Argentina you must first dial 011. If you are calling from another country, you must first dial your countries international dialing code, plus 54 11, which are the country and city codes. The only exception to this is if you are dialing a Buenos Aires cell number from outside the country, in which case you would dial 54 9 11 and leave out the 15 used in the in-city cell phone calling. Comprendés? Good, because I don’t.

Now, for good, old fashion land-line calling. This city is overrun with locutorios or call centers. To use these just walk in and request una cabina (a booth), and pay when you are finished talking. For international calls back home, purchasing a phone card from the newsstand works out to be cheaper than using these. But for local calling, the locutorios are inexpensive, provide quiet from one of the loudest cities of the world, and don’t require change pumping mid-conversation.

Recently returned a few short months ago from his year-long adventure in South America, the author of this guide is currently living in San Diego, California, where he is saving up to begin his next writing/traveling adventure. During his year in Latin America, he volunteered in Ecuador, visited 10 South American countries, and spent three blissful months in the city of Buenos Aires. While in town he tutored English to university students and attempted to live in the city’s cafés and bars. In this way he was able to pass a season, make some great Argentine acquaintances, and learn much about the urban culture of his soon-to-be favorite city on the planet. He is presently working on a collection of essays from his Latin American travels, which he is extremely excited to have the time to do. An intimate secret: at night he dreams about finding a way to earn a decent wage in the Argentine city he’d rather be in than anywhere else. For now he’ll just have to put his dollars together back home and write from memory.