Lesson Transcript

Hola! Soy Brenda, tu profesora de español.
Welcome to another lesson, and today, is more of a cultural lesson about Argentina. As you know, I am from Argentina myself so what I would like to share with you today is information about transport in Argentina.
Argentina as a country, it’s quite big, actually, in fact, and there are different provinces around Argentina with their own different way of transportation, different lines and different ways to move around in cities and the countryside. And there’s also different ways to travel around Argentina from province to province.
In general though, the first thing that I want to share with you is information about buses.
So the first thing that we need to talk about buses in Argentina is that they are called… they’re not called as in the rest of Latin America, we can call buses as buses, right? In Argentina, we’re going to say colectivo, colectivo. So that is the word for buses in Argentina, and something interesting is, as well, that most people will actually say bondi as a… as a slang word for buses in Argentina. So you will say… you will hear people talk about el bondi to talk about the bus.
Buses run quite regularly in most cities in Argentina and you have to get a car and just go and… going to the bus and then you’ll have… you’ll see a little box where you have to tap your card in order to be able to get your ticket for the ride. Buses are very busy during peak hour in Argentina, so it’s very common to see a lot of people standing.
And another interesting fact about buses in Argentina is that you actually have to stand up when you’re ready to get off the bus, go all the way to the backdoor or wherever the exit door is, and press the button to signal the driver that you want to get off at the next stop. Funny thing living… actually, I live in Sydney at the moment and the funny thing is I remember when I went to get… to get off the bus here and I actually stood up and tried to walk all the way to the back of the bus to signal the driver that I wanted to stop and everyone was looking at me weirdly like, “Why did you get up?” Like you just have to signal the driver when you’re sitting which I thought was crazy because, in Argentina, you have to actually get up and walk all the way to the exit door.
Another means of transportation in Argentina are taxis and taxis are everywhere. Usually, they could be black and yellow or yellow, similar to New York, the taxis. But they are very expensive, so be careful when you’re travelling around Argentina because they are a bit expensive.
And another thing to have in mind when you’re travelling around Argentina and you take taxis is to have a change because sometimes, the taxi driver wouldn’t be able to give you change and you’ll have to pay a little bit extra because there’s no way that you get that money. There’s no real changing there. Nowadays, they do accept credit cards, but it’s best to have enough change to give the taxi driver.
Another tip that I will tell you and this is particularly true for Buenos Aires being a big city, is that taxi drivers are well known for driving you around if they know that you’re not from the area, just to get a little bit of extra cash. So if you do know where is…what’s the best way to get to your destination and you have to take a taxi, I recommend that you specifically say, go and take this street and go this way so that you avoid being driven around the city for longer. You can also say that you’re in a hurry so that they know they have to get you to your destination more quickly.
There’s another sort of taxi in Argentina that is called remis, and this is a sort of a cheaper version of taxis in Argentina and you cannot grab them from the street. You have to actually call them and they will go to whatever address you say that you are in at the moment. And of course, nowadays, there are a lot of apps that you can use to call remises as well.
Ubers, you can also take Ubers in Argentina, though they are not as common as remises and taxis, but there are definitely Ubers in Argentina.
In Buenos Aires, you also have the underground, the subterráneo and what we call it in Argentina is el subte. So, el subte is the underground or the subway. If you are travelling to Buenos Aires and you are in Buenos Aires City and you want to explore it, taking a subway is a great way to get around. It’s very straightforward and it’s extremely easy to use. Please do mind your belongings since there’s a lot of pickpocketing in the trains in Buenos Aires.
And lastly, to travel around cities, some cities and some main provinces have train services. For example in Buenos Aires, you can catch the train to Tigre or some other neighborhoods as well.
The last means of transport…transportation that I would like to share with you today are to travel from different provinces within Argentina and this is one of the most incredible services in the entire, let’s say, world, why not? And I’ve heard so many people and travelers who’ve been to South America and they say that the buses connecting different provinces and even countries within South America is one of the best experiences that they had during their travels. And this is to talk about colectivos de larga distancia or buses de larga distancia. So long distant… distance buses are very common in Argentina.
There are different buses that you can take. So the normal ones are just straightforward buses. They’re a little more comfortable and you have a little bit more room than normal buses in Argentina. You can get a semi cama bus and they offer services such as meals and dinners and also movies for the trip. If we compare it to an airplane, it will be like economy class.
Cama, buses cama
And this one, what it does is you have a little bit of a bigger seat and your seat also reclines to maybe 45 degrees and it’s actually more comfortable than just normal buses. A lot of people prefer this service to travel, for example, from Buenos Aires to Iguazu Falls or to go to… from Buenos Aires to Salta. You’re on the bus for a really long time, so going for these more comfortable services is the way to go. If we compare this one to an airplane, you would say that this is, maybe, business class.
And the last service is you have the suite buses and you get the… the...the seat reclines to 180 degrees so it’s completely horizontal. You actually even have like a curtain, to close the curtain and provide a little more privacy and room between you and your neighbor. So those are a little bit of course more expensive, but they offer… it feels like you’re on a plane, but you’re actually on a bus and it’s the best service that you can get travelling inside of Argentina or also to other countries, for example, Argentina and Brazil and Peru. And this one, if you compare it to an airplane, this will be like first class.
You may be wondering why do we use these buses, long-distance buses, instead of airplanes, is because airplanes are relatively expensive in Argentina and most people cannot really afford them, so we are used to travelling long distances on these buses. And, for some travellers who… some students that I… they have travelled around Argentina, what they tell me is that they used to save a night accommodation by being able to travel from one province to the next or from one destination to their next destination, during the night on these long-distance buses because they run actually at night. You can catch… they run all day. They run absolutely all day, every single day, so you can catch it at 9:00 in the morning, 3:00 in the afternoon and even 10:00 or 11:00 at night. I am specifically from Cordoba and when I used to travel from Cordoba to Buenos Aires, I usually catch the 10:00 or 11:00 pm bus, and when I wake up, I sleep on the bus perfectly fine, it’s around 10 hours from Cordoba to Buenos Aires, so when I arrive in Buenos Aires, it’s around, like 6:00 or 7:00 or 8:00 in the morning, depending on when I take the bus and it’s a perfect time to start the day.
Muy bien. So that’s what I want to share with you today, a little bit of cultural knowledge on how to travel around Argentina and the different means of transportation that we have available for travelers and people who live there.
I really hope that you enjoyed this class and I will see you on the next one. Adiós!