Frequent, comfortable, and dependable long-distance buses connect Buenos Aires with cities all over Argentina and with neighboring countries. Bus travel can be substantially cheaper than air travel and far less prone to delays. As a result, locals and visitors alike often choose overnight sleeper services for trips up to 14 hours long.
The Plataforma 10 website lets you assess routes, compare prices, and buy tickets for long-distance bus rides throughout Argentina, as well as ones to top international destinations like Montevideo. Most major bus companies have their own online timetables; some allow you to purchase tickets online or by phone. Websites also list alternative puntos de venta (sales offices)—in many cases you can buy tickets from booths in shopping malls or subway stations, though outside of peak season you can usually buy them at the terminal right up until departure time. Many now accept credit cards; even so, you should be prepared to pay in cash. In January, February, and July, get your ticket as far in advance as possible (a week or more, at least) and arrive at the terminal extra early.
Most long-distance buses depart Buenos Aires from the Terminal de Omnibus de Retiro, which is often referred to as the Terminal de Retiro or simply Retiro. Ramps and stairs from the street lead you to a huge concourse where buses leave from more than 60 numbered platforms. There are restrooms, restaurants, public phones, lockers, news kiosks, and a tourist office on this floor.
If you didn’t buy tickets in advance, you can get them from the boleterías (ticket offices) on the upper level; there are also two ATMs here. Each company has its own ticket booth; they're arranged in zones according to the destinations served, which makes price comparisons easy. The terminal's comprehensive Spanish-language website lists bus companies by destination, including their phone number and ticket booth location. Keep your wits about you in the terminal: pickpockets and bag-snatchers often prey on distracted travelers.
Long-distance buses have toilets, air-conditioning, videos, and snacks. The most basic service is semi-cama, which has minimally reclining seats and often takes a little longer than more luxurious services. It's worth paying the bit extra for coche cama (also called ejecutivo), which has large, business-class-style seats and, sometimes, pillows and blankets. The best rides of all are on cama suite services, where fully reclinable seats are often contained in their own little booth.
On routes between nearby towns you can usually choose between regular buses (común) and air-conditioned or heated ones with reclining seats (diferencial). The companies that run local services rarely have websites—you buy tickets directly from the bus station.
Plataforma 10. www.plataforma10.com.
Terminal de Ómnibus Retiro. Av. Antártida Argentina at Av. Ramos Mejía, Retiro, Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, C1104AJQ. 11/4310–0700; www.tebasa.com.ar.