Bus travel is a very big business in Argentina and I did quite a few different routes while I was there. They varied hugely from company to company and also from route to route. I travelled with bus companies called Rio Uruguay, Crucero Del Norte and Rapido Tata.
Classes and seating….
Cama Ejecutivo – This is the luxurious seating, you will have 160 degree reclining seats, food and drinks service, blanket with pillow. It is the more expensive seating and is best for longer or overnight journeys as you can save on a nights accommodation.
Coche Cama – This is sleeper class, seats are wide and recline like Ejecutivo. I wasn’t given this option by any of the companies that I used so I don’t know how popular it is with companies.
Semi – Cama – This is less luxury and you still get a seat that reclines but not to 160 degrees, I also got snacks and a drink. This class is perfectly fine if you are travelling during the day for a couple of hours or if you are on a budget.
Comun – This is the cheapest class and again you get a seat that reclines but not to 160 degrees. Again, this is perfectly fine if you are travelling during the day for a couple of hours or if you are on a budget.
For shorter trips of 5 hours or less only Semi Cama or Comun may be available and you may not be given a choice.
I booked all my tickets at the bus terminal, the only one I booked in advance was the overnight bus from Buenos Aires to Corrientes. There never seemed to be a bother with availability except in Iguazu. I wanted to travel from Puerto Iguazu,Argentina to Sao Paulo but there was only one bus a day that did that route and it was booked for 3 days in a row. if you are tight on time and heading to an area that is quite touristy then it might be better to book in advance online, Plataforma is quite a popular booking source for buses.
Rapido Tata – This was who I used for the overnight bus trip. We got off to a rocky start as the bus was due to depart Retiro bus station Buenos Aires at 10.10pm and when it still hadn’t shown up at 10.30pm I was getting a bit concerned. There was no information on the information board and although Argentina is notoriously bad at time keeping, this was starting to get ridiculous! As I had booked Cama Ejecutivo, It allowed me access to the VIP lounge where they had a reception. Where finally I was given the information that the bus was an hour delayed…then it was reaching 11.30pm and the bus was over the hour late. When I asked what was the estimated time, roughly in the general region or any little bit of information at all….I got a shrug of the shoulders by guy with clipboard at bus bay.By this stage I had a path worn to the poor guy with the clipboard managing the buses.I’m fairly sure he had all of the details of my ticket imprinted on his memory I had shown it to him so many times! I was about ready to try to change my ticket to the following night when….hallelujah… the guy with the clipboard came running towards me to let me know my bus had arrived at 11.50pm…he even pulled my suitcase to the bus. I’d say he was THRILLED to be rid of me!LOL.I still have no idea what went wrong as every other bus seemed to be leaving on time. As for the bus trip itself,well it was as plush as a bus trip could be. The bus seemed very new, with the most comfortable soft leather seats I have ever sat on and they reclined to 160 degrees. There was a staff member on board that shortly after we left Retiro handed me a blanket and pillow. Then came the dinner which was chicken with vegetables and mash, all homemade and it actually tasted amazing!I’d have eaten more of it!We also got drinks and then it was leg rest down and lights out for sleeping. The next morning we got breakfast snacks and tea or coffee. Once we got on the bus it was perfect, even with the delay I would still travel with them again as it was literally the best bus I have ever travelled on and the most comfortable.
Rio Uruguay – I travelled Semi Cama and Comun with this company. I travelled around Virasoro, Corrientes and Iguazu areas and to be honest the journeys varied. Some buses were really run down and others were lovely.I still got snacks and drinks on the Semi Cama journeys but the buses were a bit run down. One thing I did notice was this company got used a lot by locals. The locals seemed to just stand on the side of the road and wave down passing buses. This is all well and good but our 3 1/2 hour bus journey took 5 1/2 hours one day cos we must have stopped 20 times!When booking the ticket for that journey, I asked about stops and he told me 5, probably.
Crucero Del Norte – I travelled Comun with this company once and the bus was newer and cleaner. The seats reclined and there was a tv screen on the back of each seat. All in all it was a really good experience and they kept pretty much to the schedule.
- If you pay cash then you can sometimes get a discount, especially at the smaller bus terminals.
- When placing your bag in the luggage hold, they will attach a ticket to your bag, always ensure you take your ticket to match the one on your bag. I never had any problems but it will literally be your only paper trail to your bag if it goes astray.
- Also in some terminals, there is luggage handler’s that help with the bags, we gave them a tip mainly cos we felt they expected one.I think it’s optional so if you are on a budget you might not want to do this.
- The amount of Stops and departure times are more of a guideline than exact outside the bigger towns and cities. Be there on time but expect to wait. I wouldn’t be relying on their time tables if getting connecting buses either.Bigger terminals run more smoothly though.
- We were in Retiro Station in Buenos Aires, It has lockers for storage that fit suitcases and smaller bags. The larger lockers get taken very early in the day, alternatively there is a bag storage facility for a fee in the station also.
- There are toilets on the bus but they tend to range from average to lower than average…try not to be seated near the toilet for more comfortable travel.
- If you want to save money then the overnight bus is great, you get a whole day as the buses don’t tend to leave til later in the evening or at night and then you don’t have to pay for accommodation.
- You can book online or get an idea of schedules from Plataforma10
- Average pricing : Posadas to Puerto Iguazu (semi cama) -AR$250 (€14.90)
Virasoro to Posadas (Comun) – AR$89 (€5.30)
Corrientes to Virasoro (Semi cama) – AR$250 (€14.90)
Retiro Buenos Aires to Corrientes ( Cama Ejecutivo)- AR$1380(€82.40)
I hope this helps if you are planning a trip soon.
Enjoy & Safe travels.xx