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FLASH!! The Reciprocity fee was cancelled for United States citizens around the end of March 2016. Check online and DON'T PAY IT!! They say this might be temporary, and is in an effort to be friendly between the two countries. Check this carefully online at an Argentina Embassy site, to be sure it is still in effect when you will be traveling, but $160 is nothing to be scoffed at, so if you don't have to pay it, so much the better!
As of 1/1/2013, Argentina's reciprocity fee (aka entrance fee of $160/person) must be purchased on line prior to entry by air. (ship/cruise also after 7/1/2013). This fee is only charged to citizens of countries that charge Argentinians fees to enter their respective countries. The United States is one of those. [For Australia, the fee is USD100 1/10/2013] Fee for Canadians is USD92 if purchased online. There is a link to the Argentina website from the department of state website to pay the fee. The website is in English and there's no need to use a visa service.
(This info is outdated; they no longer photograph and fingerprint departing travelers.) All those who are thinking of visiting Argentina should be aware that when exiting the country you will be photographed and thumbprinted. It does not matter that you have a valid passport. This is only sprung on you in the airport after you have gone through security and before you are allowed to go to your gate -- in other words when you have no choice but to comply with this outrageous invasion of your privacy. Who knows what the Argentinian authorities do with this information, especially given the country's history and its rather uncertain hold on democracy.
Buenos Aires is served by two airports: Ezeiza (EZE) for international flights and Jorge Newbery (AEP) (usually referred to as "Aeroparque") for domestic and other SA countries, but no large planes. EZE is a sleek, modern airport facility located about 35 kilometers of 45 minutes from downtown In the middle of the night). After deplaning at EZE, you will need to make several stops before heading to town.
Ministro Pistarini Airport (EZE):
Ministro Pistarini International Airport (airport code EZE) is located in Ezeiza just 22 kilometers from Buenos Aires, Argentina, and is the 11th busiest airport in South America. The airport has three terminals, A, B and the recently opened Terminal C, that host over 8 million travelers each year. Taxis, buses and rental cars are available. Although an overnight flight from most USA destinations (up to 11 hours), the 1- to 3-hour overall time difference means less jet lag involved for USA passengers. Also referred to as Ezeiza Airport, it has over 30 air carriers with many direct flights from Atlanta, Georgia, Auckland, New Zealand, Barcelona, Spain, and Capetown, South Africa.
Buenos Aires BA, AR
-3:00 hours from UTC/GMT
(54 11) 5480 2500
First, proceed to immigration. Lines here are not terrible. See Flash! info above about Reciprocity fee cancelled around end of March 2016 for USA citizens. Check with an embassy to be sure, for your travel dates and for your country's citizens.
Argentina has added a US$160 per person charge to enter the country--CHECK. It's valid for ten years. The fee has been on the books for a few years, but apparently with the country's economic problems they have decided to implement it. The rationale is the same as Brazil, "You charge us to enter your country, we'll charge you to enter ours." Kind of makes sense, but it's a bit of a jolt if one is only staying for a few days or catching a cruise ship. Fee must be paid ahead online and documentation in hand or you will not be allowed to board your flight to Argentina.
Next stop, baggage claim. Pick up your bags. If you pack several big suitcases, there are carts available for free. Avoid changing money at the booths located at baggage claim area. They are a rip off. .
Now, on to customs. Foreigners bags are searched through a scanner. If you get the red light, scanner. If you get the green light, off you go. Apparently the red light/green light process has changed. In October 2012, all bags were Xrayed. Customs officers are more concerned about Argentinos trying to avoid hefty import duties on goods purchased abroad. More often than not, you will simply be waived on through customs, but you may be required to place some of your bags on an xray screening conveyor.
With the December 2015 election, the new President has lifted currency controls and the official rate has gone up (or should say slid) to about 14/US$. The blue rate still exists, but the spread is only about 1 peso. Thus getting money exchanged on the street (which can be risky) is not as profitable as previously.
Thus this following paragraph is no longer applicable, but was accurate in March.
Contrary to what you may have read elsewhere, DO NOT exchange $ US for Argentine pesos at the airport, or anywhere else for that matter. As of 1 March 2015 the official bank and credit card rate was just over 8 to the dollar. The "blue market" money changers in the street gave 11 (but keep an eye out for counterfeits). The hotel front desk gave 11, but many merchants gave 12 on purchases. Most businesses don't take credit cards, or only do so reluctantly, because of the exchange rate difference. The currency preferred by most locals is the $ US, followed by Euros. If you aren't an American, exchange your currency for $ US before you go to Argentina.
The current inflation rate in Argentina is about 40%, so all numbers quoted here are "subject to change without notice."
If you have not arranged your transportation yet, go to the blue and white "Taxi Ezeiza" taxi booth standing by itself in the middle of the lobby. Pay the fee for your in-town destination. A worker will escort you out the door to a waiting taxi. Total cost should be about 200 pesos to the downtown central district (as of 5 May 2012) plus a small tip for the person who helps you with your bags. (Note: Tipping taxi drivers is not at all expected in Buenos Aires. If you're paying a fare to the driver, simply round up to the nearest Peso.) January 2015 Taxi Ezeiza charges $400 pesos or USD47. Am 2015 Taxi Ezeiza charged 2700 to a hotel in Monte Grande and return to Ezeiza next day with regular taxi was 1000 only. Pay attention. Black and yellow cab charged USD35. Make very sure to agree on a price and that it is a radio cab before getting in.
There are other services to town, such as "remis', which is spanish for Limo, or a bus service offered by Manuel Tienda Leon. The bus will cost half of the taxi fare, but the bus fare is per peson and the taxi is per taxi...so if there are two of you the fee is about the same. The bus will drop you off in the downtown area near the Buenos Aires Sheraton Hotel ...from there you can catch a cab on to your final destination.
.There is a departure fee at the airport, but is usually included in your ticket pricing.
If you're travelling on a domestic flight from J Newbery Airport (AEP), this airport is very close to downtown and there's no need to prebook a taxi. Any cab in the street will take you there quickly and cheaply on a metered fare. Allow 30mins max journey time.
Do not carry any valuables or electronic equipment in your checked-in luggage. There are unscrupulous employees who steal these things from bags after they've been checked in (they know how to open a zipper even if there's a locker). Wrap your bag/s in plastic for extra security. The plastic wrap at the airport costs around 75 pesos (as of May 5 2012), or if you fancy DIY, you can use food wrap from the supermarket (you'll need a 20-meter roll for a medium-large sized bag.).
NOTE ALL TRAVELLERS FROM ARGENTINA TO SOUTH AFRICA NEED YELLOW FEVER INJECTION 10 DAYS BEFORE TRAVEL. HAS TO BE DONE AT FREE CLINIC IN TOWN MON-FRI WORK DAYS ONLY. (MAY 2012)