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Navigating the Buenos Aires Subte

Buenos Aires Subte metro map

A colorfully marked map makes it easy getting
around the six Buenos Aires metro lines.

(Click image to enlarge or print.)

Navigating the various barrios of Buenos Aires is much simpler for visitors with a basic knowledge of the city's public transportation systems. Brightly-colored buses are ubiquitous, but the routes aren't clearly marked and exact change is needed for fares. By far, the simplest form of public transportation is the Subte, (pronounced soob-tay) an underground metro system that covers the main barrios of Buenos Aires.

The first Buenos Aires Subte station opened on December 1, 1913, making it the first underground mass-transit system in the entire Southern Hemisphere.

Management of the Subte switched hands several times throughout the twentieth century, and in 1994, the system was privatized. Today, the stations are owned by Subterráneos de Buenos Aires S.E., a government agency, and operations are run by Metrovías S.A., a private contractor.

The Subte contains six underground lines labeled "A" to "E" and "H," each associated with a different color.

  • Line "A" (light blue) runs from Plaza de Mayo to Carabobo and stops at various points along Avenida de Mayo and Avenida Rivadavia.

  • Line "B" (red) goes from L. N. Alem to de Los Incas/Parque Chas. It runs along Avenida Corrientes, one of Buenos Aires' main thoroughfares, from the Microcentro up through the barrio of Almagro to Palermo.

  • Line "C" (blue) goes from Plaza Constitución to Retiro, Buenos Aires' main train station. It runs along Avenida 9 de Julio, the widest street in the world, from San Telmo through the Microcentro to Retiro.

  • Line "D" (green) is a popular line, covering the main sections of Belgrano, Palermo, and Recoleta. It starts at Congreso de Tucumán and ends at the Catedral station.

  • Line "E" (purple) runs from Plaza de los Virreyes to Bolivar station. It is less frequented than the other lines, and most of its stations are located in residential areas.

  • Line "H" (yellow) goes from Once to Caseros. It has the fewest stations and is intended primarily for locals.

Riding the Subte is relatively simple. Stations are marked aboveground by large signs indicating the line and direction of the trains. Be sure to check the direction you'll need to take to your intended destination before you enter the station; many Subte entrances are for one direction only.

subte pass for the buenos aires subwaySubte fare is $1.10, which allows for transfers at exchange points. Purchase a single-use or multi-use ticket (called a SubtePass) at the boleteria (ticket office) located in the station. Beware that many boleterias don't take large bills and may ask you for exact change for your fare. Insert your ticket into the turnstile card reader to gain entry to the platform. If you purchased a multi-use ticket, the number of remaining rides will flash on the reader.

Most train lines run about every three to six minutes from 5 a.m. to 11:45 p.m. Expect delays; they are a common gripe among locals. All in all, however, the Subte runs remarkably smoothly for a system with such history.

More about the Buenos Aires subway around the Web:

About the Author... Jessica Arriola Marati

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