Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires, Argentina, South America

Founded: 1536
Location: On the western bank of the Río de la Plata estuary across from Uruguay, 150 miles inland from the Atlantic Ocean, Argentina, South America.
Flag: A black eagle with a red beak, wearing a crown and holding a red cross, on a white field.
Time Zone: 9 AM = noon Greenwich Mean Time (GMT)
Ethnic Composition: 75% Spanish or Italian descent.
Latitude and Longitude: 34°36′S, 58°28′W
Coastline: 20 kilometers (12 mi)along the Río de La Plata.
Climate : Hot, humid summers. The winter months of June to August are mild but humid. Frosts occur from May to September, but snow is extremely rare.
Annual Mean Temperature: Overall 60°F (16°C); summer (December–February) 83°F (28°C); winter (June–Aug) 52°F (11°C).
Average Annual Precipitation: 43.2 inches (1,096 mm)
Government: Elected mayor and legislature, but Federal government makes major decisions affecting the capital city.
Weights And Measures: Metric
Monetary Units: The peso (on par with the U.S. dollar). U.S. dollar is widely accepted.
Telephone Area Codes: Argentina country code: (54); Buenos Aires: (1).
Postal Codes: The Correo Argentino, the privatized postal service, created a 4-letter, 4-number code.

2. Getting There

Buenos Aires is located on the west bank of the Río de la Plata, at the northeastern edge of the Pampa, a flat plain of rich soil that is to Argentina what the Midwest is to the United States. The Río de la Plata is an estuary of the Paraná and Uruguay rivers that come together to form a broad, shallow, and muddy marine inlet between Uruguay and Argentina.


The national highway system is centered in the city, radiating from there to all of Argentina and neighboring countries. All distances on the national highway system are measured from a 0-kilometer marker located in a small square across from the National Congress building. From there, national highways 1, 2, and 3 (which runs to Tierra del Fuego) serve the southern part of the country. Highways 5 and 7 serve the western part of the country, and highways 8 and 9 serve the north.

Bus, Railroad, and River Service

Three major bus terminals offer daily national and international travel, with departures to dozens of Argentinean cities, and the neighboring countries of Chile, Bolivia, Uruguay, Brazil, and Paraguay. Unlike the United States, dozens of bus companies compete for business in Argentina. At bus terminals in Buenos Aires, each company has a desk like an airline ticket counter. Buses have replaced inter-city trains and only the Roca line within Buenos Aires province maintains service. Three companies provide boat and ferry service to the Uruguayan cities of Colonia and Montevideo across the Río de la Plata. Aliscafos has fast hydrofoils. Ferrylineas has hydrofoils and ferries. Buquebus offers a ferry-bus combination to Colonia and Montevideo.


Ezeiza International Airport, 30 kilometers (19 miles) southwest of downtown Buenos Aires, has national and international service, with direct flights to selected cities in the United States. Aerolineas Argentinas, with 150 international and 350 domestic flights per week, is the largest carrier at Ezeiza. Aeroparque Jorge Newbery, five minutes north of the downtown area, serves as a regional airport, with some international departures.


The Port of Buenos Aires is the largest in South America and the economic engine of the country. It handles 96 percent of the nation's container traffic and 40 percent of all international transactions measured in U.S. dollars. In 1998, it handled nearly eight million metric tons (nine million tons) of cargo. Sixty maritime companies work out of five terminals handling more than 70 vessels per week. The port has a grain terminal that can handle 170,000 metric tons (187,340 tons). A narrow channel that leads from the port to the mouth of the Atlantic is constantly being dredged to keep the heavy traffic flowing. The port is old, and most of its decaying facilities have not been replaced. Thousands of trucks coming in and out of the port each week contribute to Buenos Aires' critical traffic problem. Five railroad lines serve the port.

Bus and Commuter Rail Service

Private companies operate the bus system. The fleet serves 299 lines covering 24,135 kilometers (15,000 miles) of roads. The private Subterraneos de Buenos Aires, a subway in operation since 1913, has five underground lines and 63 stations, covering 36.5 kilometers (23 miles) of the city. A light rail line travels 7.4 kilometers (five miles) with 13 stops. Six commuter trains covering 965 kilometers (600 miles) serve Buenos Aires and its suburbs. According to 1988 figures, 73.3 percent of passengers rode buses and trolleys, 16.6 percent rode the metropolitan rail, and ten percent rode the subway. At the same time, nearly one million passenger vehicles crowded the streets.


Many companies offer sightseeing tours in Buenos Aires and the surrounding areas. A train that caters to tourists departs from the Retiro station in Buenos Aires to the northern suburb of Tigre. There are daily departures to the Uruguayan cities of Colonia and Montevideo.

13. Health Care

In 1995, Buenos Aires had more than 1,000 medical facilities, including 181 hospitals. More than 23,000 hospital beds are available at private and public hospitals. Many Argentineans come to Buenos Aires for special care not available in other parts of the country. The city has seven physicians per 1,000 residents.

22. For Further Study


Buenos Aires Herald (English-language). [Online] Available http://www.bueonosairesherald.com (accessed April 17, 2000).

Columbus World Travel Guide. "Buenos Aires." [Online] Available http://www.travelguides.com/data/arg/arg140.asp (accessed April 17, 2000).

Government Offices

Argentinean Embassy
1600 New Hampshire Ave.
Washington D.C. 20009
Phone: 202 238–6460

U.S. Consulates:
5550 Wilshire Blvd.
Suite 210
Los Angeles. CA 90036
Phone: 213 954–9155

205 N. Michigan Ave.
Suite 4209
Chicago, IL. 60601
Phone: 312 819–2610

Tourist and Convention Bureaus

Direccion General de Turismo de la Municipal-idad de Buenos Aires (tourism offices for the city of Buenos Aires)
Centro Cultural San Martin
Sarmiento 1551
Montserrat, Buenos Aires
Phone: 54–1–4476–3612

Direccion Nacional de Turismo (National Tourism Office)
Ave. Santa Fe 883
Retiro, Buenos Aires
Phone: 54–1–4312–2232


Adelman, Jeremy. Republic of Capital: Buenos Aires and the Legal Transformation of the Atlantic World. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1999.

APA Publications. Inside Guides: Buenos Aires. Singapore: Hoyer Press, 1998.

Baily, Samuel L. and Franco Ramella (eds.). One Family, Two Worlds: An Italian Family's Correspondence Across the Atlantic: 1901–22. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1988.

Bernhardson, Wayne. Buenos Aires, From World-class Opera to Tango Lessons. Victoria, Australia: Lonely Planet, 1999.

France, Miranda. Bad Times in Buenos Aires: A Writer's Adventures in Argentina. New Jersey: Ecco Press, 1999.

Reid, George Andrews. The Afro-Argentines of Buenos Aires: 1800–1900. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1980.

Ross, Stanley R. and Thomas F. McGann (eds.) Buenos Aires: 400 Years. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1982.

Scobie, James R. Buenos Aires: Plaza to Suburb, 1870–1910. New York: Oxford University Press, 1974.

Sofer, Eugene F . From Pale to Pampa. A Social History of the Jews of Buenos Aires. New York: Holmes & Meier, 1982.

Shumway, Nicolas. The Invention of Argentina. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1991.