Before we get started, I just want to make it clear that I’m writing this as an able-bodied woman. I am aware of the fact that it’s hard to find information about accessibility in Buenos Aires available in English, and I’m also aware of the need to stay in my lane when writing about disability.
This article is by no means comprehensive. That being said, I hope that it can give you an idea of places in Buenos Aires which are accessible to people with impaired sight, hearing, impaired mobility and/ or people who use a wheelchair. Whether you’re new to the city or you’re planning a day out or a hot date, I hope I’ll be able to give you some inspiration and information.
If you want to find out even more, check out this guide to accessible tourism which Buenos Aires City published in 2016. It provides information for venues around the city which have magnetic rings for people who use a hearing aid, wheelchair access, adapted information for the sight impaired, guided tours, and seated rest areas. The downloadable guide is in both Spanish and English.
Let’s Start with Travel:
Grab your SUBE card and get ready: as well as its guide for accessible venues, BA also offers an accessibility map app which maps locations around the city, along with information about how you can get there. Some key things to note are:
- There are ramps on and off the sidewalks in Buenos Aires, but often only at large street crossings.
- Most buses in Buenos Aires are low buses with at least one spot for wheelchairs.
- Taxi companies such as Taxi Premium offer camioneta (van) taxis which, in the words of Wheelchair Traveler “are higher, have wide opening doors, and have enough space in the back for a manual, foldable wheelchair.”
- While the Subte (subway) system is not always accessible by wheelchair (some, but not all stations have elevators), many trains in Buenos Aires are wheelchair accessible. More information about this can be found here.
Ok, now we’re getting somewhere. But where?
Buenos Aires is a big city with a lot going on – anything from free cultural centres to glitzy theatres; from horse-racing to football; from gigs to galleries. Here are a few places that you might want to check out.
Art Galleries, Museums and Cultural Centres
Santos 4040: this awesome art center is in fact used as a location for workshops hosted by Sin Fronteras, a dance company which counts among its ranks both dancers with physical impairments as well as able-bodied dancers. In addition to wheelchair-accessible bathrooms, the space has an even floor surface which allows access from the street and throughout the building.
All of Santos 4040’s shows offers a quota of free tickets for those with a disability certificate and, if necessary, for their companion or carer. Those with disabilities are also offered early access to shows, to avoid difficulties in entering the space.
Centro Cultural Kirchner: the huge exhibitions and concerts that the CCK – an enormous, impressive home to all things cultural and creative – hosts are free, and tickets can be booked online or at reception. The center offers ramps and lifts for people with reduced mobility.
Usina del Arte: this cultural center in La Boca used to be a power station – and the free art, talks and music here can still energize you. Most of the venue is accessible by wheelchair; there are seats for resting; and a magnetic ring for hearing aids has also been installed.
Proa: this contemporary art center is as glamorous and contemporary as they get – think lots of glass and big white spaces. While far from perfect (it does not offer sign language or a magnetic ring, or information adapted for those visually impaired), it does offer adapted bathrooms, wheelchair access, guided tours and seated rest areas.
National History Museum: if you want to find about the history of Argentina, this museum boasts free entry and all kinds of artifacts and information (in a range of languages) to get you going. The space also has a magnetic ring for hearing aids as well as an alternative access for wheelchairs. There are, however, no adapted toilets, and parts of the museum are not accessible by wheelchair. In addition to this, the 2016 Buenos Aires Guide suggests emailing ahead to firstname.lastname@example.org to alert the museum to any special needs before visiting.
La Bombonera: if blue and yellow make you think of football – and not of Ikea – then you may well be keen to see Boca Juniors on their home turf. If so, you’ll be pleased to know that the stadium is wheelchair accessible and with adapted bathrooms, and that it offers information accessible for the hearing and sight impaired, as well as seated rest areas and guides. Goal!
Palermo Hippodrome: according to the 2016 Buenos Aires Guide, the hippodrome is accessible for people in wheelchairs as well as those who are hearing or sight impaired, and there are sitting areas available for those with impaired mobility. One barrier, though, could be the cost of attending, but if you’re in the mood for horsing around, the Hippodrome is a pretty exciting place to do so.
Recoleta Cemetery: Whether you find cemeteries spooky, peaceful, or just dead cool, Recoleta is worth a visit. It offers alternative access for wheelchair users and plenty of sitting areas for rest and contemplation. There are also guided tours available.
The Planetarium: The most out-of-this-world place in the city, the Buenos Aires Planetarium offers ramps and bathrooms for people who use a wheelchair. You can find touch-based exhibitions for the visually impaired in the museum, and the auditorium counts with a magnetic ring a for those who use a hearing aid. The Planetarium also offers a show for the hearing impaired and another one for the sight impaired, both of which can be booked ahead.