Buenos Aires is most often associated with tango, steak and red wine, or the title “the Paris of South America.” But the Argentine capital is so much more than any one of these things. We asked local experts Bsas4u to introduce their city…
This complex and often chaotic Latin American city is an intoxicating blend of Latin lifestyle with a heavy European influence. The complexity can be seen on every level, from the eclectic mix of architecture (picture grand Belle Époque architecture next to modern skyscrapers), to the deliciously unhealthy oversupply of pastries and dulce de leche, contrasted with a paradoxically slender population (let’s thank the wonders of mate).
All this makes Buenos Aires a thrilling destination to visit. If you’re overwhelmed with information about the city’s many landmarks, here is a beginner’s guide to help you organise your travel itinerary.
Planning the Best BA Itinerary
A good way to get an introduction to the city’s top sights and different neighbourhoods is to jump on the Hop On Hop Off Bus. Stops include La Bombonera (the stadium of the famous football team, Boca Juniors), El Caminito, MALBA (Latin American Art Museum), the Palermo parks and Teatro Colón. The audio guide also provides a great introduction to the city’s history.
After getting acquainted with the city, the best way to plan a sightseeing itinerary is centred around barrios (neighbourhoods). Combine a day visiting San Telmo, the oldest barrio in the city, with a visit to La Boca and the colourful El Caminito. If possible, save this for a weekend, when San Telmo bursts into life with a weekend market stretching its whole length. Spend another day exploring the ultra modern port district of Puerto Madero and downtown, including Plaza de Mayo and Casa Rosada (Argentina’s pink presidential palace).
Dedicate a chunk of time to Recoleta, the grandest neighbourhood, home to the Recoleta Cemetery and the best art museums. Another full day can be spent in Palermo, the city’s largest barrio. Wander around Palermo Soho’s numerous boutique stores, sit at a trendy sidewalk café in Las Cañitas, relax in the Botanical Gardens or El Rosedal, and eat and drink your way around the gastronomic hub of Palermo Hollywood.
Since Buenos Aires is famous for its food and wine, a culinary exploration should be the cornerstone of any Argentine travel itinerary. Take to the streets for a food tour to try out local classics like empanadas and Italian-influenced pasta, or to enjoy a choripan (sausage in bread – but not a hotdog!) next to the Ecological Reserve. For a sumptuous treat, try a mouthwatering steak at one of the city’s best parrillas (steak houses) such as Don Julio or La Cabrera (tip: hit up their happy hour between 7 and 8:30pm).
Buenos Aires also has great regional cuisine from other parts of the country as well as exciting international cuisine. A word of advice: don’t plan on rushing your meal. Argentines like to take their time, enjoying a meal. This is not a land of drive-through fast-food joints.
Along with the food, there’s a whole lot of wine to indulge in. Buenos Aires has plenty of top class wineries to sample the best wine in the country, if you don’t have time to travel to the vineyards in Mendoza. You can book a professional wine tasting in English to learn more about the wine industry in Argentina.
Get a Taste of Tango
No visit to Buenos Aires is complete without experiencing tango. For some, the best tango can be found on the streets, or in milongas, while others find a night out at a tango show a highlight of their trip. Each side to tango offers a different experience. Bigger, broadway-style tango shows can be found at tango houses like Señor Tango and Madero Tango, and are popular even with locals. Then there are smaller, intimate houses like Cafe los Angelitos and Esquina Carlos Gardel, which offer a more authentic experience.
There’s no right or wrong way to experience tango. Whether you prefer the artistic choreography and professionalism of a show or the chance to hit the dancefloor yourself at a milonga, make sure you get a taste of tango in Buenos Aires.
Experience the Nightlife
The title of the city that never sleeps should belong to Buenos Aires. Everything starts late here, and there’s no midday siesta to help you prepare. Dinner starts after 9pm, and you may well still be queuing for a table at 11:30pm. Clubs don’t get going before 2am, and after-parties start at 7am. For this reason, don’t bother starting the day too early.
Ease yourself into the bar scene at one of the many secret speakeasies, which serve the best cocktails in town. From there, Palermo Soho and Palermo Hollywood offer countless nightlife options, but don’t be afraid to venture further. San Telmo has plenty to offer at night, as does the vibey Las Cañitas. For a bigger night, head to one of the superclubs on the Costanera Norte, such as Terrazas del Este or Pacha.
Buenos Aires is a city that is simply unmissable in South America. Make sure you do it justice by exploring to the fullest. Use the help of local experts, Bsas4u, and plan a memorable urban vacation!
By: Nicole Eberhard, Content Editor for Daytours4u
*All images belong to Daytours4u