Like Argentina, Buenos Aires is a city full of things to do for every sort of traveller and person. There is a thriving cultural scene with teenagers and older generations celebrating the exuberance of the city. Everything here has a sizzle that is hard to explain directly, but you’ll catch glimpses of the sizzle everywhere. Heated debates about sports spill onto sidewalks, young lovers exchange passionate looks over drinks in dark and crowded bars, and kids and parents excitedly relate the events that took place during their days.
Instead of going through this vibrant city with your head in a guidebook, take your nose out of the information and look around. You’ll be shocked how easy it is to get to know the neighbourhoods of Buenos Aires without the help of a tour guide leading you by the hand. Here is a brief overview of the most popular neighbourhoods so you can get an idea of which ones you want to explore and discover first-hand.
Directly in the heart of Buenos Aires is the San Nicolas neighbourhood that is often called “El Centro”, or more simply “Centro.” This is one of the oldest parts of Buenos Aires. Plaza de Mayo is the original main square for the city and many of Argentina’s most historic and memorable events took place around the square and its surrounding streets.There are bullet-marked facades, plaques around every corner and memorials to remember buildings that once stood in their place. Besides historical events El Centro and its environs are also a place of more upbeat and social occasions as well. Outdoor concerts, celebrations for sporting events and post-election partying all take place around the Obelisco and just a few blocks away at Teatro Colon, the high-society cultural events are held. This part of Buenos Aires is always moving and while locals claim that the bustle and noise is bothersome, that same chaos is charming to the visitors who stroll through the mayhem and enjoy the activity. With its many attractions and historical landmarks, there’s always something to do or see in El Centro.
La Boca and San Telmo are located in the south of Buenos Aires and while historically the area has been more downtrodden and ignored than their northern barrio counterparts, recently the neighbourhoods have seen a rejuvenation. Now, the hottest designers fight over storefront space in La Boca, restaurateurs are booked solid, and prices for property are through the roof. The southern neighbourhoods in Argentina are where you can find the best places for tango—which is appropriate, seeing this is where the fiery dance originated. San Telmo was first inhabited by sailors and as such, the barrio became famous for its brothels though these days their reputation has improved dramatically. Since then, the neighbourhood has been gentrified and the barrio itself is the main attraction rather than any particular tourist sights. If you are a fan of art, San Telmo is the place to be with art galleries popping up all over the place. Enjoy walking the cobblestone streets as you slow down to feast your eyes on all these neighbourhoods have to offer.
Palermo is neither the oldest nor the newest neighbourhood, but it is the centre of activity for Buenos Aires. Here you will find trendy restaurants, flashy shops, elegant embassies, an abundance of leafy parks and more. Palermo is Buenos Aires’ largest neighbourhood and is even sub-divided into smaller districts, each of which have their own flavour and their own draw. Whether you like spending your days touring museums, perusing racks of clothing, devouring and appreciating a long lunch or more, Palermo is the place to find it all. Head to Palermo Hollywood, a quiet barrio nearby, for rambling street markets, and clean-cut tapas bars full of television types which earned the barrio its Hollywood name.
Use this neighbourhood guide as your jumping off point and take an afternoon—or an entire day!—to get to know the people, the scenery and the hotspots for a true taste of Argentine culture. The diversity and variety of personalities in one big city is astounding and you’ll experience the most popular ones firsthand. Explore without fear with a travel insurance policy in your back pocket. When you buy international travel insurance from Cover-More Australia, you’ll have access to our teams of travel insurance experts and our 24/7 medical emergency assistance so wherever and whatever the situation becomes, you’ll have support.Now pack your bags, book your flights and get ready for a cultural celebration unlike any you’ve seen before.
Image courtesy of Flickr user ilhan kesken