My son, do not lose sight of these–KEEP SOUND WISDOM AND DISCRETION , and they will be life for your soul and adornment for your neck. Then you will walk on your way securely, and your foot will not stumble. Proverbs 3:21-23
So, you’ve been through the partnership manual, learned about your expectations, the culture you’re coming into, and now you’re ready to make the journey! This page has everything you need to know to prepare you for your trip at the airport, your arrival, and moving through the city once you get here.
As from March 24, 2016, and until further notice, payment of the Reciprocity Fee will not be required from US passport holders. For more information online, click here.
As you are traveling from home to Argentina it is easy to get caught up in the excitement of the trip and “let down your guard.” We want you to enjoy your trip to the fullest and practicing safety will further enhance your overall experience. Know where your documentation is at all times. Keeping your documentation/tickets/boarding passes in the same place at all times will help prevent from lying them somewhere and forgetting them. Men should keep their wallets in a front pocket. In addition, don’t leave your bags unattended at the airport at any time, and do not carry a stranger’s bag through security.
Customs and Pick-up
Sometimes passengers de-board and are transported by a bus to the terminal. Once you enter the customs area, you will need to follow the “Migraciones – Passport Control” sign. The sign will have a red highlight for “Extranjeros” foreigners and a blue highlight for “Argentinos” Argentines. Follow this sign until you enter into the immigration area. Be sure you follow the red sign for “Extranjeros” foreigners. Once you arrive at the front of the line you will need to pay attention to the digital numbers that indicate which booth you need to go. Give the Customs Agent your passport and wait for further instructions.
Once you are given permission, walk toward the wall and turn right and walk until you can turn left into the baggage claim area and locate the conveyer belt for your luggage. Usually luggage carts are available in this area at no cost. After you locate and gather your luggage, follow the crowd and stand in line to place your luggage through an x-ray machine. [If all your luggage did not arrive, please let someone in a uniform know and they will lead you to a desk where they will write down your information and deliver your luggage after it has been found.]
Once this process is complete, do not exchange money at the airport. (See page 31.) Walk through the large sliding doors where you will see large crowds of people standing behind glass.
Ahead and to the right you will find a McDonald’s. Move that direction and wait in front of the McDonald’s. A missionary or a contracted driver (depending on the size of your group) will be holding a sign for your team. If you do not see them, they may be sitting down in the vicinity on a bench.
If you arrive and do not see your driver/missionary, do not leave the airport. They will be there to pick you up. Do not panic. Traffic often causes major delays. Once your luggage is loaded, the trip from the Ezeiza International Airport to your apartment or hotel can take anywhere between 1 to 2 hours.
So, find a place to sit down and wait for 30 minutes. Once your luggage is loaded, the trip from the Ezeiza International Airport to your apartment or hotel will probably take take 1 to 2 hours.
You will not be able to sell back your Argentine pesos for U.S. dollars and do not exchange money at the airport. The currency of Argentina is the peso. Currently, about 13.5 pesos are equivalent to 1 US dollar. Argentina is experiencing high rates of inflation right now, so the exchange rate can vary from 13.0 to 13.5 Argentine pesos per U.S. dollar at any time. You will have the opportunity to withdraw Argentine Pesos from an ATM at the Airport upon arrival. Also, so not exchange money on the streets. Many street exchangers (you’ll hear the screaming “CAMBIO!”) push counterfeit pesos. Talk to your IMB missionaries about the best place to exchange when you get here.
You will be able to walk to all the stores you need, and probably to some of the places you will be working. Most teams average about 3 miles of walking per day. For the parts of town that are too far to walk, we will be using public transportation to get around the city. This includes buses, trains, and subways, which take exact fare or prepaid Subé cards, which we can show you how to get and load.
Taking the Bus
Riding the bus in Argentina is full of unspoken cultural rules.
• Waiting: While waiting for the bus, you must stand in the line at the stop. If someone is at the stop before you, you must let them on the bus before you. Occasionally a man will let a woman in front of him for chivalry, and everyone should let old women or mothers with young children in front of them.
• Paying: The bus fares are different depending on where you’re going. Tell the bus driver the intersection where you would like to get off and he will charge you the amount you need to pay. If you are paying with coins, you will deposit them in the machine. If you have a Sube card, you will hold it up to the card reader.
• Selecting a seat: The seats in the front of the buses are reserved for mothers, elderly, and handicapped. Sometimes Argentines will take these seats if no one on the bus “needs” them, but it is better to leave these seats open and take a place in the rear.
• Getting off the bus: You’ll need to pay attention to where the bus is taking you. A couple of blocks before you get off, press the red button (near the doors) to alert the bus driver that you need to get off at the next stop.
Please note that the buses are generally more crowded than the Subtés, but buses go to more places than the Subté.
Taking a Cab
Special circumstances may require you to take a taxi in Buenos Aires (i.e. traveling late at night). The best option is to call a “remis” (a special kind of taxi) in which your rate is predetermined before they pick you up. This is important if you are traveling more than a few blocks. You can just ask one of the missionaries or Argentines if they would mind calling you a remis. If it’s just a short distance, you can just flag a black and yellow cab from the curb by holding out your arm. These are called “Radio Taxis” and are part of a credible and regulated taxi business. Available cabs will have a red LED sign that says “libre” in the front window. If you don’t speak Spanish, write the address where you are going down and hand it to the driver. You must have cash on hand to take a taxi. Cabs do not accept credit cards in Buenos Aires.
• Cell phone: During your trip to this mega-city, a designated person on your team will have a cell phone. If the team is ever divided up, then those without the cell phone will be working with someone who does have one. You will be given the names and numbers of all the IMB personnel in the city upon check-in and orientation.
• Facebook: Most Argentines who use email, specifically the younger generation, are on FB and will probably ask to be your friend if you have developed a relationship with them. With FB connecting so many across the world, we can use this tool to maintain and develop relationships. But since you came to Buenos Aires to share Christ with them, but we’d like to remind you that anything you put on Facebook will be read by your new Argentine “friend.” Anything a team member puts on Facebook may be shared with the entire Argentine partner church and be seen as a reflection of the views of your church. So, please be wise as this affects the ongoing ministry of missionaries and future teams in Buenos Aires.