Long-distance buses were unknown to me until I moved to Argentina. They are immensely popular in Buenos Aires. You really get everywhere in Argentina from the capital. Although it took a while to find where your journey starts with a long-distance bus travel from Buenos Aires.
Long-distance bus travel from Buenos Aires
Argentines are used to spending a long time on the bus. For me I need to get used to the idea of traveling by bus for 6-7 hours. You can even travel to Iguazu all at once. The trip will then last 17 hours. In other words, you can travel from Buenos Aires to all ends of Argentina with a long-distance bus. On top of that, it’s excellent and cheaper way to get around in the country.
Safety of long-distances buses
The roads in Argentina are in good condition. There are some parts that are a challenge to drive over. The buses almost always use the motorways. There is a difference in maintenance between different bus companies. You don’t actually know in advance what condition the bus is in. In Argentina buses are limited to drive max 90km/u (55mph). I don’t hear often news of severe bus accidents.
My three major journeys with long-distance buses have always been good and safe. My friends and my favorite bus companies are Via Bariloche or Andesmar.
The comfort on the buses clearly differs from company to company. For shorter distances there are fewer facilities, but certainly for longer trips you have several options. Usually you have three options: a standard bus seat with a foot rest (semi cama) half reclining seat (cama ejectivo) and full reclining seat (cama suite). I definitely recommend a full reclining seat option for trips longer than 6 hours. It looks like a business class seat on a plane.
The seat configuration is mostly 2 seats on the right and 1 seat on the left. If you are a single traveler I would recommend to book your tickets in advance and select the left seat.
During the journey, the bus regularly stops at a gas station. When booking your tickets, be sure to check what is included in the price. Only snacks are provided for shorter distances. With longer distances there is dinner. Again, check during the booking if it is included. Dinner is mostly around 20h (8 p.m.) but don’t expect a restaurant dinner. I take always some extra snacks or fruits with me.
Where booking your long-distance bus tickets?
For long-distance travel from Buenos Aires to the rest of Argentina I use Plataforma10 or Omnilineas. It’s pretty easy to make a seat reservation. Some routes are very popular and I recommend booking in advance. If you want to decide the day itself? No problem, just go to the bus station and buy your ticket there.
Where are the long-distance bus terminals?
The biggest long-distance bus terminal in Buenos Aires is near the trainstation Retiro. It is a coming and going of buses there. A busy location but well organised. You will find large signs in the hall with your bus and destination and associated platform mentioned. Afterwards, step outside and step towards the platform.
The other bus terminal is near Puerto Madero. Is a bit smaller and newer. Type “Retiro” when booking your tickets as departure location.