Buses along the principal highways, and those connecting other main cities and resorts, are frequent and almost invariably spacious and comfortable, sometimes even luxurious. On a few back-road routes, they’re only a little better than Central American “chicken buses,” and may be infrequent, but distances are relatively short.
So-called Pullman buses have reclining seats, four across, and for short to medium runs, say up to seven hours, they’re more than adequate. Seats are guaranteed. For truly long distances, some travelers prefer the more spacious servicio diferencial or coche cama, with greater leg room in seats that recline almost horizontally. Fares are reasonable by international standards—the 16-hour trip from Buenos Aires to Puerto Iguazú costs about US$80 in coche cama, including onboard and/or roadside meal service. For the 20-hour trip to Bariloche, in northern Patagonia, fares are around US$100.
Most cities have a central terminal de buses (bus terminal), but in a few places there are multiple terminals for long-distance, regional, and rural services, or for individual companies. Some companies also have separate ticket offices in more central locations than the terminals themselves.
Bus services are so frequent that reservations are rarely necessary except for a few infrequently traveled routes and some international services, or during holiday periods like Semana Santa (Holy Week), Christmas–New Year’s, and occasionally during the January–February summer vacation season. Note also that fares rise and fall with demand, depending on the season.
© Wayne Bernhardson from Moon Argentina, 3rd edition