Argentina wouldn’t be the same if we can’t say something about the easiest thing to do when you’re on a trip: taking a taxi in Buenos Aires. What are the tourist traps, cost of taxi in Buenos Aires, how to explain where to go, and can you pay a taxi in Buenos Aires with a credit card? TAXI!
Read also: the best tango shows in Buenos Aires
Taking a taxi in Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires has over more than 38.000 taxies driving around in the city. The chances are high to catch a taxi within 5 minutes. The official taxies are painted in yellow and black. Look out for the sticker on the front doors. It’s the license code of the taxi. Also inside the taxi, you will see a paper with the credentials of the driver and car.
I suggest taking a taxi with a sticker or rooftop sign with a “Radio taxi” on it. If afterward, you have a complaint, you can call the company. But most importantly, the driver will follow the company policy and need to fulfill some requirements. For example, having all the licenses, maintained car, and follow the traffic rules because they represent the company.
Cost of taxi in Buenos Aires?
The cost of a taxi in Buenos Aires is regulated by the city government. First, the taxi in Buenos Aires is obligated to use the meter. So, check it that the driver turned it on. There is standard fare during daytime with a start fare of $225 ARS (USD 1,18 / €1,11). Afterward it is $22,50 ARS (USD 0,12 / €0,11) per 200 meters (670 feet). During night time from 22h00 until 6h00 in the morning, there is an increase of 20%.
To give you an idea. The cost of a taxi in Buenos Aires from Plaza de Mayo to the cemetery of Recoleta will cost you around $760 ARS (USD 4,00 / €3,74). A distance of 4,7km and estimated travel time of 15 minutes.
Most of the taxies in Buenos Aires do only accept cash. Therefore, the best way is to pay cash. I suggest having banknotes of $100 ARS with you. It’s easier and fewer chances to be a victim of a scam.
Do taxis in Buenos Aires take credit cards?
It is convenient to pay your taxi ride with a credit card. But do taxis in Buenos Aires take credit cards? Yes, up to 46% of the total taxi fleet has a system to accept credit card payments (Visa, Mastercard, Diners Club, AMEX, …). Look out for the sticker “MercadoPago” (see image below) on the taxi window or to be sure, ask the taxi driver in English or follow sentence: “podemos pagar con tarjeta de crédito?”.
Taxi to Buenos Aires airport
Do you have a flight departing from the domestic Buenos Aires airport “Aeroparque” (AEP)? A taxi to Buenos Aires airport is handy to book it in advance.
Therefore, you can book a taxi to Buenos Aires airport. Call a “radio taxi” and say that you need a taxi to Buenos Aires airport. Mention clearly which airport: Aeroparque “AEP” or Ezeiza Buenos Aires international airport “EZE”. They will give you a fixed price. A taximeter will not be used. It’s handy when you need to leave very early in the morning. Just confirm ask the taxi driver to confirm the price before you start the taxi ride.
TIP: Taxi to Aeroparque airport? The pickup time needs to be 2h30 prior to the hour of flight departure. Taxi to Ezeiza airport? Pick up time 4h prior to the flight departure.
One of the most famous radio taxies is “Taxi Premium“.
Or the other option is to book a private airport transfer with me. You can use the service for your arrival at Buenos Aires international airport and use the return for the next domestic flight.
Taxi from Buenos Aires airport to city center
Around the airports, there are more bad taxi guys operating. I experienced it myself. The taxi driver’s certificate inside the car was of somebody else. How did I know it? A guy was driving and he didn’t look like “Veronica”.
If you take a taxi from Buenos Aires airport to the city center, you will need the following steps.
The city introduced the taxi screen at Aeroparque (AEP) airport. Before heading to the taxi lane, you fill in the details on the screen, take your ticket with the fixed taxi rate on it and go to the waiting line. Avoiding high costs. A good thing.
However, the chance that a cowboy is behind the wheel is high. Try to take a taxi with a “radio taxi” on it. And if you don’t feel safe how the taxi drivers rides, just stop it!
Are you arriving at Buenos Aires international airport (Ezeiza)? Read article: how getting from Ezeiza airport to Buenos Aires”
Health safety measures
In Buenos Aires, you take a taxi like you would a bus. The price of a taxi is also quite good for residents and there is always a taxi nearby.
After the outbreak of coronavirus, the taxi drivers started to adapt to the new situation and created – each in its own way – to ensure the health safety of the passengers and themselves.
One taxi has a nicely installed wall in the car and others use a plastic curtain that reminds you of your shower curtain. I also note that almost all taxis drive with open windows so that the car is always aired.
The common scams to tourists
There are bad apples on the market. You will find them mostly around the airport. A common scam: when ending the ride the taxi driver will stop the meter and say how much it cost. For example, $200 ARS. You will take a banknote of $500 or $1000. You give the banknote, the driver will put it between the legs to look for exchange but the driver will say he doesn’t have enough exchange. The driver gives the banknote back. But in a blink of an eye, he switched it to a counterfeit banknote. That’s why we suggest having some $100 peso bills with you.
Also, making a huge detour to the destination is a common scam. Below we give you some tips to avoid that.
Explain where to go
When taking a taxi in Buenos Aires it’s best to say the street and the nearest cross street. For example, your hotel is in “Avenida de Mayo” and the nearest cross street is “Piedras”. Say to the taxi driver: go to Avenida de Mayo and Piedras. The taxi will drop you off on the corner of that intersection.
Also, follow the route on your smartphone. It gives you an idea of where you are. Feel free to say “stop” to the driver when you are near.
Last tip: if the drivers give you an option for which street to take. Say one of the streets that the driver mentioned. It gives the idea that the taxi driver can’t fool you and you give the impression that you know the city.
Read also: where to buy an Argentinian SIM card?
Do you tip the taxi drivers?
When taking a taxi in Buenos Aires it’s common to round up the amount of the ride. The rides cost $128, and you can give $150 or less. Just a round number is fine.
Is it cheaper to take a taxi or Uber?
Be aware that Uber is not that legal in Buenos Aires. Uber is in a grey zone. Around the airport, it’s not that convenient because the driver will ask you to meet further away from the terminal to avoid the official taxies in Buenos Aires. However, Cabify is legal.
Our experience is that an official taxi in Buenos Aires can be the cheapest option during rush hours at Aeroparque (AEP) airport. You can easily make the comparison by going to the taxi screen at Aeroparque airport (see below), fill in your details and get a price with an official taxi. In the meantime, you can compare the price with Uber of Cabify on your phone.
At Buenos Aires international airport Ezeiza is Uber of Cabify often cheaper. At this moment there are no taxi screens available there. This means that the taxi driver asks a fixed price and mostly too high.
In the city, it all depends on the demand of the moment. But in general, an Uber or Cabify are some pesos cheaper. Above all, Uber of Cabify is handier if you want to pay with your credit card and when the demand is low.
Official taxi Buenos Aires app (iOS/Android)
The city government launched a taxi mobile application to make it easier to get a taxi. It’s an app like Uber and Cabify, but only available in Spanish. Selected your pick up location and destination. It’s convenient at a moment that there is no taxi around. However, in our opinion, it’s much easier to just go outside and hail a taxi. There are taxies everywhere in Buenos Aires ?.
Today our taxi driver tried to take 60.000 pesos instead of 2000 pesos from our Revolut Account. We embarked in la Boca and disembarked at the Library in Av. Santa Fee .. His name is Elio. He did not show us the amount on his machine. He just said the card does not work (because we did not have that much money on the account). He has an account with Mercado Pago.
Not a nice experience with a taxi in Buenos Aires, Louise. In every taxi there should be a QR or at least the name of the driver visible. You can file a complaint… but yeah… what does the government do later with the complaint. I hope you had a good stay in Buenos Aires and thanks for sharing your story.
I have a flight at AEP Airport at 5 AM. I just wonder it is easy to take a taxi to the airport at that time or i need to book in advance ?
Hi Truong, there will be taxis available in front of the airport. Only I don’t have good experiences with the kind of taxi drivers during night/early morning hours.
Sorry Glenn. i had a mistake. I have a flight at 5AM, departure from AEP, that means i have to take a taxi from the City around 3AM to get to the airport on time. Is it easy to take a taxi at around 3AM?
We’ve found Ubers are easy to use and tend to cost around 200-300 for a 30 min trip. Taxis are far more expensive.
Hi Joseph, thanks for the comment. I explained more when and where an Uber is cheaper and when a taxi. 🙂 Hope you had a nice stay in Buenos Aires.