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Introduction

Neuquén is the capital of Neuquén Province and the largest city in Patagonia. Located in the southwestern part of Argentina, Neuquén is a fast-growing and modern city with an attractive central district and a rich cultural life, competing with Comodoro Rivadavia for the "title" of the cultural capital of Patagonia. The city has 250 000 inhabitants and is the center of a densely populated metropolitan area with about 700 000 people, which stretches into the neighboring Río Negro province.

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Sights and Activities

Neuquén's museums are all free of charge and most of them are located in the Central Park. Here you can begin your walk through the city. A good idea is to move to the north on Avenida Argentina until the overlook at Balcón del Valle with nice sights of the valley, with a slight detour to points like the Government House and the modern district near Avenida Leloir.

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Getting There

By Plane

Neuquén's airport, the Presidente Perón International Airport, lies about 10 km west of the city centre. It offers daily flights to Buenos Aires (Aeroparque), several times a week to Mendoza, Córdoba, Comodoro Rivadavia and Santiago de Chile, and weekly flights to smaller cities, even some in the provincial inland, like San Martín de los Andes.

The 501 bus line runs connects the airport about once every 30-60 minutes to the city centre. A taxi to the Central Park will cost you about USD10.

By Train

The train station - surprisingly small for a city of that size - is located in the Central Park near Avenida Olascoaga. A train connects Neuquén with Cipolletti in neighboring Río Negro province. Long-distance trains to Bahía Blanca and Buenos Aires are not running.

By Car

National Route 22 is the main long-distance highway and passes through the whole city from east to west. It connects Neuquén to Bahía Blanca to the east, where other highways part to Buenos Aires and the Atlantic Coast, and to Zapala to the west. From Córdoba and most cities of Northern Argentina, go via Santa Rosa and General Roca.

By Bus

The bus station (Estación Terminal de Ómnibus de Neuquén, ETON) is located about 5 km west of the centre. There are five main lines: one to the Northeast to Buenos Aires via Bahía Blanca, one to the North and Northwest reaching Jujuy, Salta or San Miguel de Tucumán via Córdoba, one to the North-West reaching Mendoza and San Juan, one to the South-East (Río Gallegos and Comodoro Rivadavia, some few services also go via Puerto Madryn) and one to the South-West (San Carlos de Bariloche and Esquel).

There are a few hotels and hostels near the bus station, the area is not really dangerous but a bit boring (having almost no gastronomy) and the city centre offers more variety.

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Getting Around

The city centre is not too large and can be visited by foot. Buses are the main transportation in Neuquén city. Before boarding you must buy a bus card (SUBE) that is also valid in Buenos Aires and other Argentine cities. Fares are about USD0.80 for a single ride, combinations are free.

The local government offers timetables and maps of the stations and lines (some are a bit inaccurate).

Taxis and remises (similar to radio-taxis) are found throughout the city. The fare is about USD2 per km.

Neuquén has also some cycleways, the most important being one that crosses the city from the bus station bordering the railway, crossing the Central Park and reaching neighboring Cipolletti city.

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Drink

Typical for Neuquén's nightlife are the various craft beer bars and shops. These bars are, however, relatively expensive.

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Keep Connected

Internet

Internet cafes are still widely available in most places, even in smaller towns, though many people are connected through the internet at home or by mobile device. Many cafes and restaurants offer free WiFi with an advertisement in their windows. All you need to do is buy something and ask for the password. Apart from specific places, including soms airports and major stations, quite a few cities are offering free wifi, including Buenos Aires, Mendoza and Iguazu Falls.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

The country calling code to Argentina is 54. To make an international call from Argentina, dial 00 followed by the country code and the rest of the telephone number. All 0800 numbers are toll-free numbers, except if you call from a mobile phone. Emergency numbers are available for Police (101), Ambulance (107) and Fire (100). Emergency dispatcher for Buenos Aires (city), Santa Fe (city), Rosario (city), Salta (province), Corrientes (province), and Buenos Aires (province) 911. In a mobile phone 112 forwards to 911.

You can get a prepaid Movistar / Claro / Personal SIM card for a few pesos / free at phone shops, all you pay is about 20 Pesos for your initial credits. Inserting the SIM card into your unlocked American or European mobile phone should work, although to register the SIM you have to enter your passport (or any 9 digit) number - you then have your personal Argentinean phone numbers. Calls cost around 1 Peso per minute. Receiving calls is usually free, except for international calls, and some cross network / inter-city calls - hence buying a SIM card purely to keep in touch with people overseas may not be worth it.

Without a cellphone, there are similar cards with credits for international calls. You get them at so called locutorios, where you can also use the phone booths. You dial a free number to connect to the service, then your secret number for the credits, and then the international phone number you want to call. Using these cards, a one-hour call to Europe will cost about 10 Pesos. Don't call without such cards or even from your hotel - it will be way more expensive.

Post

Correos de Argentina is the national postal service of Argentina. There are also two private carriers operating nationwide (OCA and Andreani) and a number of regional ones though Correos de Argentina will be the one most likely to be used by travellers. Post offices are mostly open between 8:00am and 8:00pm Monday to Friday and 9:00am to 1:00pm on Saturday, though there are regional variantions with longer hours in central post offices in big cities and shorter ones in small towns. Services are pretty reliable but slow, mostly taking about two weeks to deliver a postcard or letter to the USA or Europe, but usually within a few days sending it domestically. There is also a more expensive express options. You can track a package online at the Correos de Argentino website. Parcels take at least 3-5 days domestically and weeks internationally. Otherwise try international companies like FedEx, TNT, DHL or UPS to send parcels. It is probably more reliable as well as faster.

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Neuquén Travel Helpers

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This is version 1. Last edited at 12:25 on Oct 4, 17 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

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