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Buenos Aires is the capital of Argentina. It's also the economic, cultural and social heart of the country. Tourists are attracted by the metropolitan style of Buenos Aires, the extensive supply of shops and the exuberant nightlife.
The city itself has three million inhabitants, but no less than thirteen million people live in the entire urban area of Buenos Aires.
Buenos Aires is located on the Rio de la Plata, the wide estuary of two rivers, the Paraná and the Uruguay. The country Uruguay is located on the other side of the Rio de la Plata.
Buenos Aires is the beating economical heart of Argentina. The city harbor is a container port for goods destined for northeast Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay. It's also a center of financial and commercial services. Many of the agricultural products from the region west of Buenos Aires are traded or processed in the city.
Ezeiza International Airport (also: Ministro Pistarini International Airport) is situated 35 kilometers southwest of the city center. It's easily reachable by rental car, but because of traffic you have to take your time. It's not unusual to take an hour and a half to get from the city center to the airport. The airport is situated right off the General Ricchieri Expressway.
A smaller airport, Aeroparque "Jorge Newbery", is situated closer to the city center, in the Palermo district. This airport mainly serves domestic flights, but there are also some flights to Brazil, Chili, Uruguay and Paraguay.
Buenos Aires has excellent public transport, but the busses and metros are overcrowded during rush hour. The metro isn't very extensive, but it does connect the main tourist attractions in the Argentine capital.
Traffic in Buenos Aires is extremely busy and chaotic. Most inhabitants consider traffic lights, directions and traffic rules only as a suggestion to do or leave something. Besides it being difficult to find a parking space in the street it's also not a safe option. It's better to park your rental car in a modern, guarded parking garage.
Buenos Aires has a huge supply of accommodations. It's best to find out in which part of the city you want to stay: Buenos Aires is huge and if you stay far away from the center you lose a lot of time traveling. Most budget hotels are concentrated in San Telmo, on the outskirts of the center. More expensive hotels can be found in Palermo and Recoleta. The old harbor Puerto Madero is completely renovated and transformed into a trendy entertainment center, with some of the best hotels in the city. It's also one of the most secure districts of Buenos Aires.
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