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Buenos Aires Services

Tourism
Tourist information is hit-or-miss in Buenos Aires. Small information kiosks, such as the one in Centro (on Calle Florida as you exit the D-line Subte), offer general information and maps, but a better bet for restaurant and accommodation recommendations is to go online and get local expat advice at www.baexpats.org (a great resource for everything from doctors to dating).

South American Explorers Club
Over 30 years in business, South America Explorers Buenos Aires clubhouse is one of four in South America (Lima, Cuzco and Quito are the other), and the youngest of the bunch. Membership allows access to the large stock of first-hand reports from fellow travelers, an invaluable resource for trip planning. The clubhouse also has a good selection of English-language books that can be checked out and an in-house reference library. There is also a book exchange, free Internet and WiFi, and a comfortable lounge and terrace for relaxing or researching. A good selection of English-language guidebooks and maps, hard to find in the city, can be bought. But above all, the clubhouse is a great place to meet well-informed, social travelers and to have a cup of tea before heading back out into the wild. Clubhouse staff is also prepared for members looking to stay longer in Buenos Aires, with information on Spanish courses and how to go about getting an apartment or a shared flat. And sign up for the mailing list via E-mail to receive information on events such as classes and parties. Contact for hours and location. E-mail: baclub@saexplorers.org, URL: www.saexplorers.org.

Emergencies
The emergency number in Buenos Aires depends on the service required. For police, dial 101; for medical help, 107; and for fire, call 100. If you need to report a crime, call the tourist police on 0800-999-5000/4346/5748, or call into their office on Avenida Corrientes 436, Centro. If you have been the victim of a robbery, you will need a police report to claim insurance later.

Money
ATM machines are plentiful, though beware: Counterfeit notes have been known to circulate, even through the banks. If possible, choose a large, reputable bank such as Banco de la Nación or Santander Río. Many Bureau de Change outlets (such as Metropolis at Florida 506) are on Calle Florida. These are a safer choice than the money changers on the street. Traveler’s checks are more trouble than they’re worth here; there’s a high commission to change them and with waiting time and paperwork, you could end up spending an entire morning at the bank. American Express is the most recognized, in US dollars. American Express’ Buenos Aires bank will exchange them for dollars (Monday-Friday 9a.m.-5p.m. Arenales 707, Plaza San Martín, Retiro. Tel: 011-4310-3000). Credit cards are widely accepted (accompanied by ID); Mastercard, Visa and American Express are more widely recognized. Western Union outlets are common and can be found in Correo Argentina post offices or individual booths, such as the one outside Alto Palermo shopping mall (Av Santa Fe 3253, Palermo).

Keeping in Touch
Buenos Aires is not the greatest place to send a package home. Mail is expensive and slow, and receiving anything larger than a letter requires a lengthy trip to the central post office in Retiro. Private companies such as FedEx (Monday-Friday 10 a.m.-7 p.m., 25 de Mayo 386, Centro) are available, and though they are more expensive, they are much more reliable. Internet cafés are available. Look for the sign that says locutorio, spots which also offer phones for local and international calls in private booths.

Medical
Aside from a dengue outbreak a few years back, Buenos Aires doesn’t pose any major concerns when it comes to infection and disease. Regular tap water is safe to drink (though most restaurants will insist you pay for mineral water) and most of the food, even on the streets, has been prepared with common sense. Public hospitals are free for travelers, though the long wait that often accompanies a visit and the lack of English-speaking staff often put off visitors. One of the best public hospitals is Hospital Fernández (in Recoleta, Tel: 11-5950-9500). For a higher standard of service, there are a host of efficient private hospitals, including Hospital Italiano (Amagro neighborhood, Tel: 4959-0200 ) or Hospital Alemán (Recoleta, Tel: 4827-7000). Most hotels and hostels will have recommendations for English-speaking doctors, or you can contact your embassy. Pharmacies are numerous and well-stocked, and you may be surprised by the things (antibiotics, birth control) that are available over the counter without prescription. The biggest chain pharmacy is Farmacity; you’ll find at least one, usually open 24 hours, in every neighborhood.

Laundry
Very few hotels and residences in the city have washing machines, and most people drop bags of laundry at a lavanderĂ­a, where clothes can often be picked up on the same day, washed, dried and folded. Prices are extremely cheap, usually $3-5 per bag, and some places will even deliver. TintorĂ­as are dry cleaners.

Camera Repair
Nikon Repair: Eduardo Udenio and Cia. S.A.C.I.F.I., P.O. Box 410, Ayacucho 1235. Tel: 425-538.

Cannon Argentina: San MartĂ­n 344, piso 19. Tel: 5554-9800, URL: www.canonarg.com.ar.

Casa Jose: Lavalle 544. Tel: 4961-9663, URL: www.casajose.com.ar. Extensive services including film development (35 mm and 120 mm), printing, digital cameras and accessories.

Flash Service: Talcahuano 860, 1 D. URL: www.flashserviceperez.com.ar. Digital and analog cameras, projectors, video cameras, binoculars and glasses; also buy and sell, new and used cameras and parts. Updated: Apr 14, 2008.

Here are some related tips to help plan your trip to Buenos Aires: Belgrano Services, Tigre Services, Recoleta Services and Palermo Services.





 
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