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Our Experience with Taxis in Buenos Aires

Calhoun, Georgia
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6,015 posts
36 reviews
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Our Experience with Taxis in Buenos Aires

When we first arrived at the airport we followed the suggestion to go out to the main terminal and look for the blue and white booth to hire a taxi. That worked out very nicely. During the rest of our stay we simply hailed a radio taxi on the street. I know it was suggested calling one, but we had no trouble getting one on the main avenues of Buenos Aires. We did not take any late at night on dark, lonely streets. We had a cell phone, but found we didn’t use it.

Some of our most amusing experiences happened with the taxi drivers. At the airport my husband had his first encounter with Porteño Spanish. The driver point to our luggage and asked something like, “Es suscho?’ To us, that was similar to saying, “Es sucio?” (Is it dirty?) So my husband asked What is suscho? He, of course, was asking suyo (yours). On the way into the city my husband asked the driver if he is a tangador thinking that would be the word for a tango dancer. The word is tanguero. The driver explained a tangador is a person who makes ladies underwear (thongs). This was only after being in BA for 30 minutes. We were already having fun.

We had many conversations with drivers. Inevitably we were asked where we were from with the following negative comments about President Bush. My husband would answer, No se. El es mi tio. (I don’t know. He’s my uncle) It always got a laugh. One driver replied, “You look like him.” We never sensed any hostility that we are Americans.

In Boca we got into the front taxi of ones that were lined up. I don’t know what happened, but two taxi drivers on foot came up to the driver and were yelling at him. He was yelling back. It was exactly like being in New York City with Italian cab drivers. If we hadn’t experienced similar situations in New York we would have been afraid. As we were driving away our driver muttered something about Mafia. The cab had seat covers with leopard print. It was a 95 Peugeot with no air conditioner, although aire was advertised in the window. The questions about Bush soon began with him too. We had a good time with him.

We only met one cab driver who spoke English. He had been a limo driver in New York for nine years. He was from Uruguay and had some good tips on what to do in Colonia, as he was taking us to the Buquebus. He had some interesting observations about President Bush, too. We have met some of the most amazing people in our travels who drive taxis.

We usually paid about $2 or $3 everywhere we went. The most we spent was $7 to go to the Mataderos fair. We had no problem with any of them trying to overcharge us. They all had meters. It would be a good idea to write the address of where you are going. Get a business card with your hotel and address as suggested already by others. Often, they didn’t understand our Spanish though by the end of our two weeks we started pronouncing words with a y (ll) sound with the sh sound. If we didn’t they had no idea what we were saying. We stayed at the Hotel Goya but pronounced it Goisha after awhile.

The ride in the taxis at times was nerve racking. They really are very skilled at getting in and out of traffic in tight spots. Sometimes my husband would comment to them that we believe in the resurrection to let them know that their driving was getting a little too crazy. That’s one thing we can’t figure out. Why are they in such a hurry to get everywhere when they have a fare? If they would go a little slower the meter is ticking away and they would make more money.

Princeton,nj
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126 posts
45 reviews
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71. Re: Our Experience with Taxis in Buenos Aires

I think a lot of you are missing a point. The same thing happened to me a few weeks ago in BA. If I have read about this scam before, I would be more careful and would not lose 140 pesos too. So, the reason why she is writing all these posts is so that some other traveller would not fall victim to this scam.

By the way, if you still have your fake bills, it would be interested to see if the Ids match with the ones that I got from that cab driver. Maybe it is the same guy...

Montecito, CA
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93 posts
10 reviews
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72. Re: Our Experience with Taxis in Buenos Aires

Happy travels was a snide comment when I looked at the list that could have helped prevent this unfornate comment -- which meant having to always feel suspicious and watch your money with paranoid attention.

That is no way to travel and until a country cleans up its currency system -- and by all reports Argentina is awash with fake currency -- this does not make for "happy" traveling.

I reduced what I learned to two simple rules: (1) always carry 10 pesos in coins - and/or carry a few back up US single dollar bills -- (2) AND NEVER GIVE A CAB DRIVER ANOTHER PESO NOTE IF YOUR FIRST ONE IS RETURNED AS FALSE.

This scam can happen to anyone, any time, any gender.

And don't let other posters on this forum intimidate you from telling your own story by blaming you, instead of wanting to help expose the situation in order to help future "happy" travelers.

New York City
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594 posts
17 reviews
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73. Re: Our Experience with Taxis in Buenos Aires

glbtrtr:

I admitted in an earlier post that it happened to me.....once.

I now travel with coins and make a BIG SHOW of examining the watermark before I hand over ANY bill except a "deuce."

It's easy to fall in love and remain in love with Bs As, and I respectfully submit that your desire to make the cautionary point is understood by us all.

I sincerely hope you can find comfort and closure on what has become something of an emotion charged matter. We do "get it" and I (for one) do feel what I imagine to be your pain and discomfort (and irritation.)

Try to let it go, and please travel safely.

Joe in NYC

Montecito, CA
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93 posts
10 reviews
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74. Re: Our Experience with Taxis in Buenos Aires

I was not irritated until I got all there jerky posts in response to my initially genuine attempt to help other travelers. Then the chaos here began with all this unwelcome in-fighting.

I backed down when the the cab driver intimidated me. I chose not to so again when "some" posters here continued to misread the facts, the intent and blame the victim.

This whole exchange could have been a lot briefer without all these pejoritive side-chats.

One benefit of this further discussion however was to learn it has happened to others, so it is .... not just a woman travelling alone. It is not just at night. etc, etc, ad nauseum.

How many times have we heard about the bird-poop ... there is value in repetition because someone reported knowing what to do when this happened to them near the Japanese Gardens.

Just say no! to fake bill cabbies is the take-away lesson here as well - bears repeating until we are all on the same page.

Buenos Aires...
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4,170 posts
3 reviews
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75. Re: Our Experience with Taxis in Buenos Aires

Enough for me. Please travel safely, as Joe said.