Traveling by train in Argentina is a popular option for many tourists who are planning on staying mostly in the Buenos Aires province, but is still quite inferior to air or bus travel. Since Argentina's population is nearly 37 million people, traffic stress can be quite unbearable, especially to visitors, so the train is a viable option. Trains can provide great opportunities for tourists to catch an array of the picturesque scenery that Argentina has to offer, but most trains do tend to be uncomfortable and not well maintained.
Train rates are usually economical, but it is ideal to purchase tickets 3-14 days ahead of desired departure date. Children under three travel free and children aged 3-11 pay half fare.
Although most of Argentina is unreachable by train, there are six main routes that travel out of Buenos Aires:
Buenos Aires-Rosario *1
Buenos Aires-Santa Rosa
Buenos Aires-Mar del Plata
Buenos Aires-Las Flores-Quequen Necochea
Buenos Aires-Bahía Blanca *2
*1. Where one branch goes to Tucuman and Jujuy via Cordoba and the second branch goes to Tucuman and Jujuy via La Banda.
*2. Where a branch goes to San Carlos de Bariloche
Ferrobaires Train Service
Ferrobaires is the commercial name of a public railway company, which is the most popular and largest significant carrier in the region. It operates long-distance passenger trains throughout the Buenos Aires province. Its bases are located in the city of Buenos Aires, operating out of the three main train stations: Retiro, Constitucion, and Once. Yet, trains tend to make infrequent trips to few destinations outside of these three stations.
Ferrobaires Company Information (Spanish only)
Ferrobaires Train Information
The Argempass is a pass which gives travelers unlimited first-class train travel, but is only sold in Argentina at railway booking offices. These passes can be purchased for packages of 30, 60, and 90days. There is an extra charge for a sleeping car and passes must be used within 30 days of their purchase. A supplement is charged for sleeping car accommodation.
Train Seat Types
Be aware that some train routes have up to four different classes:
Coche de cama: the best and most comfortable of the four classes which consists of sleeper compartments that allow passengers room to store luggage as well as rest during their train travel.
Pullman class: consists of reclining seats and is well air-conditioned, which helps to keep travel comfortable.
Primera class: equivalent to American first class; composed of smaller reclining seats to ensure personal space and is air-conditioned as well.
Turista class: is the class to be most avoided as it is the most overcrowded, overheated, and uncomfortable means of train travel.
Other Tourist Trains in Argentina
However, there are quite a few unique tourist train tours that can offer travelers to Argentina an experience unparalleled to any other tour of geography, landscape, or overall natural beauty. Most famous and popular is a tour known as the "Train to the Clouds," which visits stunning areas within the Andes mountain chain via one of the highest railroads in the world. The tour travels along a railway system suspended at 4200 metres above sea level and travels across over 20 bridges and tunnels, all the time while zigzagging and turning at high altitudes, usually giving tourists a remarkable view of the clouds, hence the name "Train to the clouds". Unfortunately, this train is currently not running.
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