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Taking a taxi in Buenos Aires

Hail a cab in Argentina’s capital

taxibuenosaires

[Photo credit: Kyle Lease’s photostream/ /CC BY-BY-SA 2.0]

With hundreds of bus lines and several subway trains, Buenos Aires is an easy city to manage on public transport. But when you don’t feel like packing into a steamy subway car, or figuring out which of the hundreds of buses takes to take, hailing a cab is an excellent option. With over 40,000 taxis in the city (about one for every 70 inhabitants), you can easily flag down a black and yellow vehicle on almost any street corner. (With the exception of course, of three situations: when there is a subway or bus strike, when Buenos Aires’s torrential rains flood the city, or weekends between 4-6am in Palermo Soho and Hollywood as people leave the boliches [clubs] en masse.)

How to take (or call) a taxi in Buenos Aires

Hailing a taxi is easy! Just to stand on the passenger’s side of the street, look for a taxi with the red and white libre (free) light lit up in the upper left-hand corner of the windshield, then stick out your arm. While most taxis are just fine, it’s best to look for a Radio Taxi, which you can identify by the “Radio Taxi” logo on top or side of the car. Though odds are you’ll be ok in any taxi, Radio Taxi registers all of its drivers and every ride, therefore reducing the chance that your driver will try to scam you (for more safety advice, see below).

Another option is to call a remis, which is a private, unmarked car. If you are heading to the airport, your hotel will likely call a remis for you, as they often specialize in set journeys at a fixed rate.

hailing a cab in Buenos Aires

[Photo credit: Gisela Giardino’s photostream/ /CC BY-BY-SA 2.0]

Avoid taxi scams

Once you’ve waved down your cab, hop in and confidently tell your driver where you’re going. It helps to give them the cross streets rather than the exact address, and to have some idea of where you are headed. If you’re worried about your Spanish, write the address and/or cross streets on a slip of paper and show your driver. Then, buckle up as taxi rides can be notoriously wild!

As mentioned above, avoid unsavory experiences by taking a Radio Taxi or booking a remis ahead of time. For the most part, cab drivers (chofers) are friendly characters who will be thrilled to help you practice your Spanish. However, a few are always on the look out to make an extra peso. Here’s some of the common scams you should try to avoid:

  1. The Fake Bill: Drivers have been known to accept tourists’ bills, then switch them out for a counterfeit and tell the passenger that they can’t accept a fake. Try to pay your driver in exact change, and if you have to give him a 100 peso note, ostensibly hold the bill up to the light before handing it over, then watch his hands as he gives you change. The only counterfeit bills you need to look out for are 100 and 50 peso notes, and if you think your taxista has given you one for change, ask for a different bill.
  1. The Gringo Tour: Detecting a strong accent, some drivers will take you on a round-about route in order to milk the fare. Avoid this situation by waving a taxi heading in the direction of where you are going, and try to be more or less familiar with the route. If the prospect of figuring out where you are in this enormous city seems daunting, fake it! Show that you are paying attention by reading street signs and watching where the driver goes. Confidence is key.
  1. The Speedy Meter: Though uncommon, there are rigged meters in some taxis. Make sure the driver has turned on the meter once you tell him where you’re going, and watch to make sure it’s only going up every 200 meters, or 40 seconds in traffic. If you think the meter is going too quickly, you can ask by pointing at the meter, but you should probably get out and hail a new cab to avoid a ridiculous price.

These are the most common things to look out for, but if you want to read more about taxi opportunists, check out this article on Landing Pad BA.

Pricing of taxis

If you ask an Argentine or someone who’s been living in BA for a while, taxis are exorbitantly expensive; don’t worry, that’s just inflation talking! Traveling by taxi is quite affordable. The drop rate (as of March 2015) is 14.30 pesos during the day and 17.10 pesos at night, between 10pm and 6am (so about $1.20 to $1.40 US Dollars), and goes up 1.43 pesos (or 1.71 pesos at night) per 200 meters. If you’d like to get an estimate about how much your journey should cost ahead of time, check out the website Viajo en Taxi. You can type in your location and destination and the site will give you an estimate of how much it should cost. Keep in mind, all depends on traffic!

Try to carry small bills, especially for shorter journeys, as change is often difficult to come by in Buenos Aires.

Suggested taxi companies and drivers

Easy Taxi is an app for the iPhone and Android which allows you to call a cab. The application locates the taxi nearest your location (as determined by GPS), then sends you information about your driver including their name, a photo, phone number, and car model. You can follow the taxi’s location on a map, all of which helps assure you get a safe taxi.

Application to call a taxi in BA

[Photo credit: Easy Taxi’s Facebook]

We recently interviewed Buenos Aires chauffer Dario Wigodzky. Read our interview here, and e-mail Dario to request an airport transfer at dariowigodzky@hotmail.com.

Call a normal Radio Taxi with Taxi Premium at (54-11) 5238-0000. The operator may perhaps speak English, but it is unlikely. Make sure to tell them the address where you need the taxi, and when. Expect also to be asked for a phone number.

For a luxury car service with a native English speaker, we recommend Silver Star Transport.

Taking a taxi from Ezeiza International Airport

When you arrive at the Ezeiza International Airport, make sure to avoid any problems by booking a cab with an official taxi company like Taxi Ezeiza. The Taxi Ezeiza booth is inside the airport, directly opposite arrivals, and your cab is booked and paid for before leaving the terminal building. Do not say yes to anyone offering a cab who is not at an official booth – Ezeiza airport is the one place where even the black and yellow city cabs shouldn’t be trusted. Approach the booth and give them the address where you are staying, then you can either choose to pay ahead of time or at the end of your journey, but the rate will definitely be a fixed price. With Taxi Ezeiza, a cab should cost AR$400 as of February 2015 (between US$30 and USD$48, depending on which exchange rate you use). You can pay in dollars or euros if necessary.

taking a Taxi from Ezeiza airport

For more advice about safety in Buenos Aires, check out our Safety Tips, or read about taking taxis on Wander Argentina. And safe journeys!

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Comments

14 Responses to “Taking a taxi in Buenos Aires”

  1. Richard Carignan on July 6th, 2015 11:02 pm

    GREAT AND USEFUL INFORMATION. I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW WHAT A NORMAL CAB FARE IS FROM THE CRUISE SHIP DOCKS.

    THANK YOU.

    [Reply]

    Alan Seabright Reply:

    You’re welcome Richard.

    Unfortunately there is no normal cab fare from the cruise ship docks. The taxi drivers charge fixed fares there (usually in US Dollars cash), and seem to make them up depending on the day and who the client is. It is not a particularly nice situation, but I believe similar happens in many cruise ports around the world.

    However, I would still recommend getting a taxi (or shuttle) from the cruise port rather than walking, as it is not a particularly safe area for someone new to the city to be walking around.

    [Reply]

  2. Andrew on November 3rd, 2015 8:48 am

    Great advice. One question I have is if you’ve left something in a cab. Would you recommend calling Radio Taxi or do they have a lost and found?

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    Hello Andrew,

    Thanks, glad you found our article useful! In regard to leaving something in cab, I have done this several times over the years and have never gotten anything back. Even with calling reputable taxi companies almost immediately after, they just say that they can’t find it. I think either the driver, or more likely, the next passenger, just takes whatever has been left, unfortunately.

    That said, it’s worth calling the taxi company used in such a case just on the off chance you are lucky!

    All the best,

    Alan

    [Reply]

  3. Hamid on December 18th, 2015 10:24 pm

    What is the best way to get taxi from the domestic airport (AEP) to a hotel I downtown? How much usually it costs?

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    Hello Hamid,

    I would recommend looking out for the “Tienda Leon” stall at AEP and getting a fixed price car fare for the trip to your hotel downtown. I believe that it would cost around 230 pesos, perhaps a little more.

    Enjoy your time in Buenos Aires!

    All the best,

    Alan

    [Reply]

  4. kathy on February 15th, 2016 12:25 pm

    The price for the Tienda Leon fixed price car fare mentioned above, is that for the entire car or one person? There are 4 of us traveling together.

    thank you,
    kathy

    [Reply]

    Frank Almeida Reply:

    Dear Kathy,

    Sorry for the delay in responding. We have been in the middle of our peak season and have been showing people around the city. As for your question, it would be best if you check the site again becuase Argentina has a very high rate of inflation (around 30%). I just checked Tienda Leon’s page and a remis (private car) costs $690 pesos. You might want to check out this link: http://www.tiendaleon.com/articulo/REZECEN/16-03-2016/21.45/3/1

    [Reply]

  5. Ramesh Devkota on August 14th, 2016 11:24 pm

    Dear Sir,
    What is the cost effective and safest way to reach Hilton Buenos Aires from EZE airport? Riding on a shuttle is safe? If so, how far will be the distance from Shuttle stand to Hilton Buenos Aires if passenger rides on shuttle? Hope you will give me information on fare and safety measures.

    Thank you

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    Dear Remesh,

    Thanks for your comment and sorry for the delay in replying, we only just noticed it.

    The most cost effective way for one person to reach a hotel in the city of Buenos Aires, such as the Hilton, is to take a shuttle bus with Manuel Tienda Leon, which is perfectly safe and good value, especially if traveling alone (if 2 or more people then a fixed-price taxi with Taxi Ezeiza probably makes sense instead).

    Manuel Tienda Leon shuttle buses arrive into their terminal in Retiro (near the Sheraton Hotel), but you can pay a little extra to get a connecting transfer with them from there onto your hotel.

    Have a great trip to Buenos Aires!

    Alan

    [Reply]

  6. Kristy on August 27th, 2016 7:44 pm

    Do you have Uber running Buenos Aires? I am travelling the city during 1st week of Oct, and I have heard various rumors about it.

    Thanks from SF.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    Hi Kristy! Yes, Uber has been running now for a few months in Buenos Aires. It’s a little hit and miss for taking at the airport, but works pretty well across the rest of the city (despite still officially operating illegally – but that doesn’t seem to cause any issues for the service at present). Have a good time in BA! Alan

    [Reply]

  7. Kristy on August 29th, 2016 5:50 am

    Thanks for the reply, What do you mean by ‘operating illegally”. I hope it doesn’t mean that Non-Uber people are running it there.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    You’re welcome Kristy. By operating illegally I mean that the Argentine government has not licensed Uber here. The service is run by Uber. They have opened their services in many countries around the world where the service has been technically illegal. In some countries they have been forced to desist, in others they have eventually worked with the government to become a legal service, and meanwhile here in Argentina it is currently one of the things that are technically illegal but continue to happen with no issues.

    [Reply]

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