Buenos Aires, often referred to as “the Paris of the South,” is a city that beholds the charm of European flair but the sultriness of Latin America. With soaring architecture, rich heritage, and flaming passion, you are sure to fall in love with the vivacious, bustling capital city.
When visiting Buenos Aires, make sure you have comfortable shoes for walking. From La Recoleta to La Boca, each of the Barrios, or neighborhoods, have their own unique characteristics that set them apart from the each other. You won’t need to find any forests to enjoy the benefits of hiking and taking in the great outdoors.
Take a stroll through La Recoleta, the most affluent neighborhood with the priciest real estate. You can shop from many important French and Italian designers or take a stop by the famous Recoleta Cemetery. Many of the world’s influential and notable people are buried here such as presidents of Argentina, many Nobel Prize winners, the granddaughter of Napoleon, among others.
La Boca is a popular tourist spot for its colourful and flamboyant houses and buildings. Take in the creativity and artistic flair, the Italian influence, the performances. You can view the world-renowned football club Boca Juniors. The stadium offers tours of the locker room and viewing area, or you could get a ticket to the game and join in on the cheering.
Microcentro should be the easiest to explore, being the transportation center of the city. You can visit the pedestrian mall or watch street tango dancers perform. The Avenida de Mayo and Plaza de Mayo offer a great starting point for a beautiful walking tour of the area. You can view historic buildings, grab a bite to eat, or do some browsing at the Libreria La Celesita, an antique book store.
For the History lovers, San Telmo will be the place to make a visit. The narrow, cobblestone streets and preserved colonial-style houses support the era of old Buenos Aires. The pretty wrought irons and antique shops give a charming and classic feel to the area. You can catch more Tango performances in the Plaza Dorrego or pop over to the San Telmo Market for fresh fruits and vegetables.
If you love looking for the trendiest new restaurants, or hottest nightclubs, plus high-end hotels and shopping, Palermo will be the place for you. Palermo is categorized into sub-categories such as Palermo-Hollywood, Palermo-Viejo, Palermo-SoHo giving a nod to the trendy areas they are named after. Palermo-Hollywood is a booming cluster for the audio-visual production industry. Palermo-Chico is a very elite part of the area where many diplomats and VIPs live. The Evita Museum is also a great place to visit in Palermo. It celebrates the life of famed first lady and politico, Eva Peron.
After so much walking around Buenos Aires, it would be nice to soak up the sun and take it easy for a few days. There are two major beaches to visit near Buenos Aires, the Mar del Plata and Partido de la Costa.
Mar del Plata is the more popular of the two, with most of Buenos Aires’ population flocking here in the summer months. However, with so many people being there the beaches can be crowded. Mar del Plata is accessible easily by a 1 hour flight from B.A. or you can take the scenic route and make the 4.5 hour drive and stay a few days. This holiday spot allows for the same city vibe you would receive in B.A. with the benefits of the sea nearby.
Partido de la Costa is a tad bit closer than Mar del Plata and offers many attractions such as Sea World, water parks and fewer crowds. Strung together by 14 small seaside towns, it will be easy to find an area that suits you best.
If you would rather find somewhere much closer to Buenos Aires, a small weekend escape located just 30 kilometres outside of Buenos Aires is Tigre. Located on the Parana River Delta, this small area gives you a laid-back, relaxed time with tree-lined walkways along the water, a naval museum, boat rentals and riverside dining.
If by now you have not seen your fair share of Tango then it would be very important to find a Milonga and see the national dance of Argentina. An art intertwined with Argentine culture, each Milonga (tango night) will have a different style. For most of the nights, the locals are more than willing to teach the dance. Many of the night shows start very late and for tourists that aren’t quite used to the Argentine schedule, there are also matinee Milongas that can be seen earlier in the day.
If you would like to really immerse yourself in the culture and take home an experience to share with your friends and family, you can take lessons and even group lessons to perfect your Tango and blend with the locals.
Argentina is a meat-eating country. They are world-famous for their tender, grass-fed steaks and for their Asado. This is another term for barbeque and can consist of many different types of meat, but typically asado is beef or steak. When ordering a steak or asado make sure that you can accurately describe how you want it cooked.
Argentinians cook the meat all the way through, so a rare steak may not come out as undercooked as you would like if you aren’t sure how to confirm.
If you are visiting Buenos Aires on a Sunday, Feria De Mataderos is the first place you may want to go. Located in a suburban neighborhood, this fair will give you a plentiful amount of cultural experience. You can watch Gauchos saunter on majestic horses, tango dancers spicing up the streets, vendors with ornate goods, and a delicious variety of foods.
Buenos Aires has a beautiful climate throughout the year. The warmest month is January, which reaches around 28 to 31 Celsius most of the time with occasional heat waves. In the winter (May through September), temperatures are a bit cooler and in July, the coldest temperatures of around 10.9 Celsius can be expected.
Argentina requires a reciprocity fee of $100 for all Australians travelling to the country, the fee is good for 1 year. You must also first register, check with the local embassy to complete any necessary tasks. Always exercise caution when traveling, beware of scams and pickpockets.
Consider an international travel insurance policy from Cover-More Australia for worldwide protection during your holiday adventures to Argentina.
Image courtesy of Flickr user David Berkowitz.