Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires are perhaps the two most famous cities in South America, so it’s no surprise that many people try to visit both in the same trip. In fact, it’s a holiday we get asked about more than almost any other! While some major destinations in South America might be great to fit into one holiday, it’s not always possible, but fortunately, Rio to Buenos Aires is very well connected, and this guide will outline the different options for travel between them to make sure you can make the most of your holiday in South America!
Option 1 – Fly from Rio to Buenos Aires
The first option is the simplest and most direct option – flying between the two cities with no stops anywhere else. LATAM and Aerolineas Argentinas both operate regular direct flights between the cities, so if you plan your international flights to fly into one city and out of the other, it’s definitely the most efficient and cost effective way to see both places!
Option 2 – Fly from Rio to Iguazu Falls, then on to Buenos Aires
If you’re considering including a trip to Iguazu Falls in your holiday, this fits in absolutely perfectly between Rio and Buenos Aires in either direction. Internal flights in both countries are quite cheap, so fly from Rio to Foz do Iguazu with LATAM or Gol on the Brazilian side, see the falls for a couple of days, and then fly from Puerto Iguazu on the Argentinian side with Aerolineas or LATAM to Buenos Aires, having already crossed the border easily over land. This is the route we chose for our Tale of Two Cities holiday, but of course if you’re starting the journey in Argentina, you can just do things the other way round.
Option 3 – Fly from Rio to Iguazu Falls, then overland on to Buenos Aires
If you’ve got a bit more time on your hands, you might consider flying to Iguazu on the Brazilian side, visiting the falls, and then getting a coach to Buenos Aires. Coaches in Argentina are quite inexpensive and very comfortable, and can include a stop in the Esteros del Ibera, or Ibera wetlands, to break up the journey. Crucero del Norte offer a fantastic sleeper service with flat beds from about £85. It might not be as inexpensive as it used to be, but it’s a great way to travel if you’ve got some time and would like to see a bit more of Argentina and take in some wildlife spotting, instead of just flying over all of it!
Option 4 – Along the coast from Rio to Porto Alegre and Montevideo, then ferry to Buenos Aires
For those travellers with a bit more time and money to spend, the final option takes the longest and without a doubt lets you enjoy more of South America than any other options. We recommend starting in Rio for this trip, although you can do it in the other direction as well. From Rio, fly to Porto Alegre in the south of Brazil, and spend a few days exploring its architecture, museums, parks, and thriving downtown nightlife. From here you can catch the overnight coach to Montevideo, Uruguay, for about £60.
This fascinating South American capital city has all the cultural points of interest you’d expect from a major city, with the added bonus of urban beaches! When you’ve finished exploring Montevideo, it’s finally time to head for the ferry boat to cross the River Plate to Buenos Aires. Buque Bus are the only company operating direct service between Buenos Aires and Montevideo, and tickets for a one-way journey start at around £30. The end of the 3 hour journey is really quite romantic; some people find it reminiscent of immigrants arriving at Ellis Island in New York, and of course if you’re travelling at the right time of day you might even get to enjoy the sunset!
Rio to Buenos Aires: More options…
Whichever way you choose to make this journey, you’ll get to see two of South America’s greatest cities, but we would say it’s worth trying to make the time for a couple of stops along the way… For alternative routes and more ideas for your trip to South America, visit our holidays pages!