Buenos Aires Destination Guide
Buenos Aires’ gift to the world is definitely the tango, but there is so much more on offer for tourists who visit the Argentinian capital. Buenos Aires is a city of wide boulevards and confident, passionate people. You will find parrillas (steakhouses) on almost every corner filled with happy, loud customers washing their steaks down with a local red wine.
The best time to visit is summer, but be prepared to stay up late if you want to see the best of this impressive city. Restaurants tend not to open until 9pm, bars at midnight and clubs welcome their first guests at 2am. Get ready to tango!
Even though Argentina is the hometown of the current Pope, football (aka soccer) is the local religion and best celebrated at La Bombonera stadium. To get in the spirit of things, don a fluffy blue and yellow hat, sit high in the stands and sing as loudly as you can as the stadium reverberates.
After this experience, you will want to dance – and the only dance in this town is the tango. You can take lessons locally, watch the experts do it at the Centro Cultural Torquato Tasso or jump right in at places like La Calesita and Tango Cool.
And for those devoted Evita fans, there are 2 places you must visit to pay homage to the famous political leader. First is the Casa Rosada Presidential Palace where Eva Peron famously addressed her people, and the second is at the La Recoleta Cemetery, which is her final resting place.
Buenos Aires locals start their day with a cup of freshly roasted coffee and a medialuna (Argentinian croissant). For morning tea, try anything (usually cakes or biscuits) made with dulce de leche, which is a sweet, delicious milky caramel syrup – you won’t be sorry.
To say that Argentinians love their steak and offal would be an understatement. Make sure you sample these meaty favourites when dining out in Argentina. Again, you won’t be sorry. Black pudding, chitterling, liver and sweetbread are other Argentinian delicacies that look far worse than they taste.
Where to Stay
Each with a unique cultural offering and a different story to tell, the many barrios (neighbourhoods) of Buenos Aires will make for an interesting stay, to say the least. Buenos Aires is blessed with a full range of international-brand hotels, mainly located in the historic downtown area or the plush and most cultured Recoleta District.
If you prefer a more boutique-style hotel, try the leafy suburbs of San Telmo or Palermo. Make sure you book before you go as the city fills quickly during festivals and big sporting events.
If you are looking for some funky clothes from local designers, head to Palermo Viejo. You won’t necessarily find bargains, but you will be able to buy one-off creations that no one else in your hometown will be wearing.
In Microcentro, Florida Street is the main shopping area for all the big brands. San Telmo’s main street Calle Defensa is where you can pick up some amazing antique pieces. For authentic souvenirs, why not try the Feria de Mataderos? The market-like atmosphere here is so much fun you may end up staying for hours.
Buenos Aires like a Local
Argentinians love their art, and many locals visit the Malba Coleccion Costantini to view the works of masters like Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and Tarsila do Amaral. Or you could indulge in a picnic at the Reserva Ecologica Costanera, a nature reserve with 4 lakes and more than 200 species of birds. Watch out for the iguanas scurrying across the paths! From September to November it’s polo season, and Argentinians are regarded as the best players in the world. You can join about 16,000 locals at the Campo Argentino de Polo stadium for some of the bigger matches.