Buenos Aires is a city famed for its renowned music and dance culture, its European style squares and architecture and its globally influential cuisine. The city has an astounding spectrum of sights at its disposal and usually enraptures gourmets, party animals and culture enthusiasts alike. Here are some suggestions on how to spend a few days in the Argentinian capital.
History and overview:
Buenos Aires was founded by the Spanish colonist Pedro de Mendoza, who led an expedition in order to establish a Spanish settlement on the estuary of the Río de la Plata, in 1536.
During colonial times, Buenos Aires steadily evolved into one of the most important trade and industry hubs in South America.
Argentina declared independence in 1816, which started a new era of growth and prosperity after the city had successfully endured the Spanish American wars of independence and several trade blockades.
Buenos Aires has always been one of the richest cities in South America and has seen tremendous redevelopments and infrastructure investments throughout the 20th Century and the ‘Dirty war’ (1974-1983) did not halt the city’s rise to success.
Buenos Aires is today the most visited city in Argentina and ranks in the top 10 of the most liveable cities on the continent. The central areas of San Telmo and Monserrat are interesting to stay in and hold various tourist activities while offering little in terms of nightlife options. The areas of Recoleta and Palermo form the heart of Buenos Aires’ party culture and are therefore the ideal places to experience Argentina’s unmissable tango and other musical events. The modern area of Puerto Madero is a great place for a walk during the day or a delicious meal at night.
In terms of accommodation, we recommend the central areas close to the Obelisk as well as San Telmo if you want to be in walking distance to most of the major sights. If you want to be close to the action at night, Palermo is your best bet. In between those two, the area of Recoleta is another good option. Here are some suggestions.
Hotel Reconquista Garden: A priceworthy, very centrally located mid-range hotel with all the necessary facilities and a great breakfast buffet. Check it out here
Circus Hostel & Hotel: A great hostel in the centre close to all the most important sights and a short metro ride away from the action in Palermo Check it out here
Cultural offer and activities:
Central Buenos Aires and the Obelisk: (Avenida 9 de Julio) The most important landmark in Buenos Aires is the Obelisk on Avenida 9 de julio which is smaller than the one in Washington but impressive nonetheless. The central area will moreover please travellers with its extensive variety of shops, restaurants and activities.
Jardín japonés: (Av. Casares 2966) One of the most beautiful parks in Buenos Aires is the Japanese Garden which is the perfect spot for a casual stroll or a romantic walk in a beautiful botanical setting.
Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes: (Av. del Libertador 1473) The most well known art museum in Argentina. Its collection is extensive and varied, an absolute must for art enthusiasts.
Museo Historico Nacional: (Defensa 1600) The history museum offers an instructive lesson about Argentina’s complicated past and will enable you to dive deeper into the local culture and history.
El Caminito (La Boca Area): A little street museum boasting brightly coloured houses and small shops and restaurants. The little path is in fact one of the most traditional alleys in Buenos Aires and inspired the famous Caminito Tango Song by Juan de Dios Filiberto in 1926.
Zoológico Luján: A large wildlife park about 1h from the city centre (buses leave from the underground bus station next to the Obelisk). They have tigers, elephants, lions and many other animals that are treated well and educated there without being mere tourist attractions. PS. We are well aware that these places nowadays have a bad rep but we have decided to include it anyway since according to local and international sources, this park is a legitimate animal park and no centre of mistreatment and exploitation.
Tigre Delta: If you have time to visit the Greater Buenos Aires region, you should enjoy the natural beauty of the Tigre Delta, just a short boat ride away from the city.
Wine & Dine:
The one thing you cannot miss in Buenos Aires is Argentinian beef, grilled on a traditional parillada. The meat is said to be the best in the world, high quality and extremely tender. You can find a wide range of steakhouses for every budget in the Argentinian capital. The beef is usually accompanied with some delicious Argentinian wine.
La Cabrera: (José Antonio Cabrera 5099) A brilliant mid range steakhouse in Palermo where the Argentinian parrilada can be experienced for a relatively small outlay.
Parilla Don Julio: (Guatemala 4699) One of the best steakhouses in the city, the world famous Don Julio is one of the most acclaimed parillada restaurants in Argentina and therefore a great address to savour the most tender meat you will find anywhere in the world.
La Cabaña: (Av Alicia Moreau de Justo 380) Another fantastic steakhouse, the La Cabaña steakhouse is an excellent waterfront option in the shiny new district of Puerto Madero.
Buenos Aires has a vibrant nightlife scene happening in several districts. Argentina is famous for its typical dance, the tango and a visit to a tango club should definitely not be omitted when visiting Buenos Aires. Two great areas to go out are Recoleta and Palermo.
Palermo district: The main nightlife district in Buenos Aires. You will find a multifaceted panoply of bars, pubs and nightclubs which will cater to everyone’s taste and preferences.
Sky Bar Hotel Pulitzer: (Maipú 907) A centrally located bar that offers staggering views over the city.
The Temple Bar: (Costa Rica 4677) A hip bar in Palermo which, in addition to its vast assortment of local and international beers, offers a cool garden for a refreshing drink in summer.
Sheldon: (Honduras 4969): Another favourable option in the busy Palermo district. This bar will delight travellers with its priceworthy selection of local and international drinks and its cool setting and terrace.
Cervecería nacional: (Arévalo 1588) The beer lovers’ paradise in Buenos Aires. This bar will delight beer enthusiasts with its vast selection of local and international brews in a laidback setting.
Final tips & verdict:
Taxis are inexpensive and omnipresent in Buenos Aires, it is however recommendable to know Spanish in order to negotiate the right price. We always recommend basic knowledge of Spanish when visiting Latin America. English levels can vary and in Buenos Aires they are higher as in most places but knowing at least basic Spanish will still be of great benefit.
The metro is the easiest way to get around in Buenos Aires and covers the most important areas of the city. Buses are also a passable option.
Buenos Aires is safe for Latin American standards but as everywhere, a moderately high degree of caution is still advised. Buenos Aires is by and large a great place to visit and the fact that is has a strong European flair coupled to an unmistakably Latin feel makes it one of the most alluring cities in South America.