Here’s a brief backstory: Missy and I had been planning to go to Antarctica since before the pandemic. Mostly because, it was the final continent we had to check off our list. The only feasible way for us to get there was by boat. By now, we’ve made it pretty clear just how in favor of cruising we still are (Cruising during Covid…?). Which meant, the two of us would need to find a cruise heading to the White Continent that was within our price range.
Before Covid, this would’ve been a relatively easy feat. Back then, cruises to the Antarctic region ranged somewhere around $1450 per person. However, now a days, times have changed, and back in April of 2022 (when we started booking this trip), we noticed the price had jumped up to $3077 per person for a sailing to Antarctica. Given this was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for us, we eventually caved, put down our $900 deposit and booked a cruise on the Celebrity Infinity which would begin its round-trip voyage to the Antarctic from the cruise port of sunny Buenos Aires on February 11th, 2023.
If you’re looking to book a cheap flight to Buenos Aires, you might try playing around with different departure airports than the one you live closest to. Think about it. Maybe a 9-10 hour drive might be worth saving hundreds of dollars in the long run? Do your research though and also consider that Buenos Aires has two major airports to choose from: EZE and AEP. AEP is the one that is closest to city center and the cruise port area.
Be sure you have enough local currency so that you can pay and tip your driver or local guide. To purchase currency beforehand or sell it after a trip, we usually go with LA Currency which is located in the Southern California area. They typically have better deals than the airport or even our bank.
With our new cruise booking made, we then began the long (and sometimes arduous) task of securing our round-trip flight from the United States to our destination. To do this, we started the way we usually do…by scouring various flights on Google Flights and Skyscanner. After a few hours of research, we decided to book two one-way flights on different airlines, United and American. Our main reason for doing it this way was because we had some leftover flight credits from both United and American that we needed to use before they expired. In any event, our cost to fly Basic Economy on United from LAX (Los Angeles) to EZE (Buenos Aires) with a layover in IAH (Houston) was a grand total of $502.30 pp. Our cost to fly back via Basic Economy on American from EZE (Buenos Aires) to LAX (Los Angeles) with a layover at JFK (New York) was a grand total of $346.57 pp.
Ultimately, since this was such a big trip, we went all out by paying a little extra than the above quoted prices. Mainly because, we wanted the ability to sit together by selecting our own seats.
(Side note: To save money on gas for future driving trips, if you’re going to fly on major airlines like Delta or Southwest, you might consider purchasing gift cards for these airline from supermarket chains like Kroger and Safeway who offer fuel points on in-store gift card purchases. For those interested, Kroger/Ralph will sometimes run 3X or 4X fuel points promotions for their store’s free rewards program which allows you to purchase discounted gas at Shell locations and Kroger-owned gas stations using points you acquire by shopping at their store and buying select retailer’s gift cards (like Delta or Southwest) they carry on their shelves.
Likewise, Safeway/Albertsons/Vons also run a 3X, 4X, 5X+ fuel point promotion for their family of stores’ rewards program. Their promotion usually allows you to purchase discounted gas at Chevron or Texaco locations and all Safeway-owned gas stations utilizing points you acquire by shopping at their store and buying select retailer’s gift cards (like Delta or Southwest) they carry on their shelves.)
Final Cost Breakdown on Flights:
Thankfully, there are lots of ways to get around Buenos Aires.
Typically, I like to go by public bus or train whenever I travel to a new place. Why? I like the cost savings and being able to experience how locals get around. Missy, on the other hand, prefers to take Ubers or use rideshare apps. This time around though, we both opted to pre-book a private transfer service to take us from Ezeiza International Airport (EZE) to our hotel in Buenos Aires. Our main reason for doing so was that some of the travel sites we researched commented how traveling by city bus from the airport could be long, confusing and sometimes dangerous. Other sites advised that trying to get an Uber from the airport could be just as difficult, as many local taxi drivers have been known to be violent toward rideshare drivers who pick up passengers at the airport. Given we had never been to Argentina before, we didn’t want to test our luck and find out the hard way, so that’s why we went with a good, old fashioned transfer service.
As luck would have it, we easily scored a low round-trip fare of $59.74 (or $29.87 for 2 people and 4 pieces of luggage) by using Booking.com’s Airport Taxi feature on their website. Then, we were off to the races!
How did it go? Well…we’re happy to report that the day we were scheduled to arrive in Buenos Aires, our driver contacted us several times via WhatsApp to confirm our flight info. He also sent us detailed photos of where he was located in the airport and that he was holding a sign with our name on it. Once we cleared the Border Patrol area, we immediately saw him and he whisked away to our hotel, which was located about an hour away from the airport.
However, our next challenge was finding a way to get from our hotel to the cruise terminal. Our first thought was to simply walk there from our hotel, since it was so close. But, everything we read online mentioned the cruise terminal area was “not safe” to walk, only to taxi or be dropped-off by vehicle. Normally, we would have taken these sites at their word. But, given all the nice photos we’d seen of the area, we wanted to explore things for ourselves before making any snap judgment. Therefore, Missy came up with the brilliant idea that since we arrived a day before our sail date, we should just leave our bags at the hotel and walk over to the cruise terminal to see if it felt “safe”. (Genius!) So, that’s what we did. After checking into our hotel, we dropped off our bags, walked to a local steakhouse for an early lunch and then headed over to Benito Quinquela Martin Cruise Terminal.
Based on our walk there, the area seemed pretty safe.
There was sidewalks and pedestrian bridges.
There were also lots of people walking around, just like we were. There was even a security camera posted at many of the stoplights we passed which were monitored by local law enforcement.
So, if you’re staying near the terminal, is walking there feasible?
Yes and no.
In our experience, the Puerto Madero area of Buenos Aires seemed perfectly safe to walk along, especially in broad daylight. However, if you have a lot of luggage with you, or you are carrying heavy bags, walking is probably not a reasonable option.
For those of you who like to take 30 min. strolls, and who only have simple backpacks to carry, this is a great way to avoid having to pay for a taxi, bus or transfer service.
Final Cost Breakdown on Transportation:
$32.07 for a 2-person transfer from Ezeiza International Airport (EZE) to our hotel (in Buenos Aires).
$27.67 for a 2-person return transfer from our hotel (in Buenos Aires) to Ezeiza International Airport (EZE).
Av Leandro N. Alem 770, Buenos Aires, 1001 Argentina
We booked directly through the hotel chain’s website about 7 months in advance and paid after each stay with our American Express card. Each time we paid, our total balance was always less than the amount we reserved the booking for.
Since we were booked on a 14-night cruise to Antarctica which sailed out of Buenos Aires, we wanted to stay somewhere nice that was also close to the cruise port. This hotel was located in a good part of town, was within walking distance of local downtown sites like the Plazo de Mayo, Plaza General San Martin and Recoleta Cemetery and offered several amenities like free breakfast, free luggage storage and free wifi.
Most importantly, this hotel was only about a 25-30 min. walk from the cruise check-in area. (Yes!) And, only about a 10-15 min. Uber, transfer or taxi ride for those of you with luggage.
Unfortunately, that was us this time around. As regrettably, I pulled a rookie move and brought a large duffle bag that was too heavy to carry over a 30 min. walk. So, Missy and I ended up booking another private transfer service via Booking.com for $19.93 USD (for 2 people).
FYI, we could’ve easily paid less by ordering an Uber, but since we had already used Booking.com to schedule an airport transfer service and that went so well, we decided to give them a try again for our short lift to the cruise terminal.
Thankfully, the transfer driver (which was VIP Transfers SRL) arrived at our hotel lobby earlier than expected and dropped us off at the cruise port check-in area with plenty of time to spare.
As already mentioned above, after checking into our hotel, Missy and I went on a walk to the cruise terminal. However, after our cruise to Antarctica, we decided to do some sightseeing since it was our final day in Buenos Aires. I also really, really wanted to see the new Ant-Man movie and it was playing in English over at the Cinépolis Recoleta movie cinema. So, we headed out to have lunch and make the 1:30 pm showing. Hands down, we were completely surprised by some of things we saw along our route to the theater.
After the movie, we walked across the street and paid $20.74 for the two of us to stroll up and down the rows and rows of tombs at Recoleta Cemetery.
Once we had a decent look around, we left the cemetery and headed back to our hotel to wait for our scheduled airport transfer driver to arrive.
Yes! Missy and I really enjoyed having a chance to walk around and explore the city during our return visit to Buenos Aires. Before this, we sort of had a bad opinion of it. On our arrival day, it was very hot and muggy and the city itself just looked and felt like a dirty, smog-covered place. However, that could not be further from the truth. On our second visit in town, the air and sky was clear, the temperature was a pleasant 75 degrees, the city’s people seemed a lot friendlier and approachable and we were truly blown away by all the stunning buildings and views Buenos Aires had to offer.
Copyright © 2023 Tightwad Trips. All rights reserved.