There are guides online about how to take a bus from AEP (Aeroparque Jorge Newbery) or EZE (Ezeiza) airports. There are also numerous warnings about taking the bus, or taxis (illicit or not) – in terms of safety, swapped counterfeit notes, long routes, etc. People are also defensive that these are great methods. I’m sure they are, but after flying overnight from South Africa, I wanted to get to my hotel, safely, quickly and reliably.
The last thing on my mind as the plane swooped in from São Paulo was negotiating a taxi deal.
Latam – as you can see – tends to use a bus service in AEP. Generally I am not a fan of this. Why is there a bus when the door is about 200 yards away? Always seems like a union deal is at play!
AEP is not a big airport but it became clear that Argentina would involve a lot of standing in line (it did, in lots of places!). There are two lines – Extranjeros / Foreigners and Argentinos which is self-explanatory.
It took about 45 minutes to get through immigration. Once through, you collect your bag from the carousel (of course, I don’t have that problem!) and join a new queue for customs. A randomiser button is pressed by a local functionary which randomly decides if you will be examined by customs. I was selected! The red light of doom!
All it amounted to was my bag being put through a scanner. The gentleman scanning was pushed back on his chair and just waved at me to skedaddle.
Right outside customs is a row of 4/5 Remis (= taxi or car service) storefronts. I had read about Tienda León and so I was comfortable with this brand. There was (wait for it) a queue which took 30 minutes to shift! The process seemed very bureaucratic…. take down your name, see your passport, tap the computer for 5 minutes, take your credit card, tap the computer, print something out and so on. From time to time a driver would arrive and whisk away someone who had been through the process. There is no guarantee there is a driver ready for you. Once I’d been processed and charged $345 pesos for a 10 minute drive (it’s a rip off but comparatively not a lot of money compared to some other airports), I waited a further 10 minutes.
Did my driver carry my bag? No, heck he didn’t! Just walked off and waggled his fingers for me to follow. The drive in was fine – the weather just beautiful and warm.
The drive took us through the Palermo district towards Recoleta.
Plenty of statues to explore later…
Trees everywhere in Palermo! This would become my running route!
I spotted a lot of police around.
A lot of the architecture looked Parisian, maybe Madrileño in inspiration.
So, $345 pesos into Recoleta (about £20 or $28 USD) is a little steep, but manageable. Look, I’m being honest here – in any big city there are areas which are a bit shady. In Argentina, there are a LOT of warnings about pickpocketing and theft, especially of people who are clearly tourists, arriving with lots of bags. I think peace of mind counts for something and we can have a separate conversation about whether I’m being fair to the robbers.
Wait until I tell you about the price of getting BACK to the airport from downtown! See ya later!