A city guide to Buenos Aires
In Buenos Aires you dance the tango, visit your football club Boca Juniors in the colorful neighborhood of La Boca, stroll through the stalls of the market in San Telmo and dive into the bustling nightlife until late into the night. Welcome to the ‘Paris of South America’! During your holiday in Buenos Aires you quickly discover where the capital of Argentina derives its nickname. The grandeur drips from the city center, the parks are designed to Paris’ model and the nightlife has no equal in the world.
How to get there?
The international airport of Buenos Aires is called Ezeiza (EZE) and is located about 30 km from the city center. From Ezeiza the very handy shuttle buses run from Manuel Tienda León to Plaza San Martín in the city center (Puerto Madero). From there, smaller buses take you further to your overnight address.
When traveling by bus from other places in Argentina or South America, you will arrive at the Retiro terminal bus station located in the city center, on Avenida Antártida Argentina. Almost all long-distance bus lines meet here. The station is very large and well organized.
Though taxis are well affordable to move around the city, it’s not the fastest option. A better way to get around is by using the city’s metro system. If you are planning on using it often, it is best to buy a multiple rides card.
When to visit?
The seasons in the southern hemisphere are just the opposite of the seasons in the northern hemisphere. Buenos Aires can be visited all year round even though it is quite hot in the summer. Therefore, the best time to visit the capital of the country, Buenos Aires, is in the spring (October to December). Buenos Aires is in fact the best place to go on holiday and enjoy a pleasant temperature. From January it gets a lot hotter. The months of March, April and May are also good. In the winter months of June, July and August it can get cold.
Things to see
In this oldest district of Buenos Aires the Tango is central. Dance can be learned in various places. The best thing to watch this dance is when the music is heard through the streets in the evening and a dance is spontaneously created between the visitors where the passion drips. Here and there you can also find street performers in the neighborhood who make the heels sound on the cobbled old squares and streets. Divided in the district are a number of interesting museums, antique shops and galleries with remarkable art.
Catedral Metropolitana de Buenos Aires
Although the appearance has been modified several times, the original cathedral was built around the sixteenth century. The overwhelming interior of this main Catholic cathedral in Buenos Aires was largely designed in the early twentieth century. Of course, extensive use was made of historical (art) objects. The altarpiece dates from 1785 and the image of Christ was made in 1761.
The literally translated pink house is the official workplace of the President of Argentina. This remarkably colored mansion is located on the Plaza de Mayo with several political institutions. The former President Sarmiento had invented the pink color in order to create peace between ‘red’ federalists and ‘white’ unitarists. A special fact is to know that Evita Perón has addressed the people from the balcony of Casa Rosada.
La Recoleta Cemetery
Around the year 1822 this extraordinarily stately cemetery was erected next to the Church of Our Lady of Pilar. In Spanish it is called ‘Catedral-Basílica de Nuestra Señora del Pilar’. The cemetery and church are located in the cultural district of Recoleta. A number of cemeteries have been attributed to celebrities such as Evita Perón, presidents of Argentina, writer Jose Hernandez and a number of Nobel Prize winners. Some of the graves have been designed by leading sculptors. Nothing seems too crazy.
Caminito in La Boca
The pure life of Buenos Aires can be found in the colorful neighborhood of La Boca near the sea. Culture, music and the famous Tango dance are completely merged here. Especially in the famous Caminito street. This part of the district is mainly pedestrian area. Many stories of people and their lives are told on the wallsby means of street art. Here and there artists offer their products for sale with a stall. And as soon as music is heard, there is dancing.
The most beautiful shopping center in Buenos Aires can be found between the streets of Calle Florida, Avenida Córdoba and San Martin. The complex was built according to a design by Emilio Agrelo and Roland Le Vacher. Galerías Pacifico is plentifully decorated, but in a tasteful way. In the dome alone, about twelve frescoes have been processed that all tell a special moment in history. All sorts of big brand names are represented in this excellent shopping center.
The Argentine Parliament has a palace as a shelter. This Congreso de la Nación Argentina was built at the end of the nineteenth century. Both inside and out, much has been worked on the details. The sculpture is largely from the hand of the Argentinian Lola Mora. The building is on the Avenida Entre Rios opposite the Plaza del Congreso.
Obelisco de Buenos Aires
On the widest street in the world, Avenida 9 de Julio, is the obelisk of Buenos Aires. The national monument Obelisco de Buenos Aires is located on the Plaza de la República and is placed there to commemorate the foundation of the city. The monument is about sixty-seven meters long. On special days and with special occasions the obelisk is sometimes decorated or colored.
Where to eat?
Argentinean cuisine is known for its excellent and large meat portions. Argentina is best known for its beef. Popular dishes include ‘el asado’, the Argentinian barbecue or ‘parrillada’, a mixed grill of steak and other meat. The dish is served with tasty marinade, salad and fries. If you want to be sure that you have the right parrillada on your plate, you should try them in one of the specialized ‘Parrilladas’. You will also find a wide selection of sausages here: the spicy chorizo, morcilla (black pudding) and long thin salchicha.
Good food is part of everyday life in Buenos Aires. The locals know what a good kitchen needs and they get their inspiration from all corners of the world. Because of the many immigrants, the dishes often have Asian or European influences. You will find a wide range of Italian, Spanish, French, Chinese or Japanese menus. In addition, the Middle East and North Africa are also represented.
When it comes to restaurants where you can eat good steak in Buenos Aires, it is difficult to choose. Though if I have to do choose, I advise you to eat at La Hormiga at least once. The interior looks cozy and modern, and the prices are – in relation to the quality and quantity of food you get – very reasonable.
Where to stay?
Buenos Aires is pretty big so it can be difficult to find out where you can stay the best. These are the best neighborhoods;
This is the largest and greenest neighborhood in the city. You will also find most hotels and hostels here. In addition, it is full of atmospheric restaurants, bars and pubs. Good neighborhood for gourmets and to go out. The big advantage is that it is safe here during the day and at night. Only downside is that there are not many attractions in the area.
This district is one of the best developed and trendy neighborhoods, with many of the best hotels in the city. Also many fashionable boutiques and restaurants. This is by far the most exclusive area of the city. Very suitable for people who love architecture, art and culture. Many popular tourist attractions and museums are nearby, and it is safe during the day and at night. Though it is one of the more expensive neighborhoods
Puerto Madero is the new and hippest part of Buenos Aires, ideal for people who are looking for a luxury experience. You will find a good amount of restaurants and nightlife. It is safe during the day and at night and it is a nice and clean neighborhood.
San Telmo is the oldest and most atmospheric neighborhood. It is especially popular with backpackers and people who are looking for fun. You’ll find a lot of budget hostels here and it’s cheap. There is a wonderful atmosphere, especially thanks to the colored houses. In addition, many picturesque cafes and good restaurants are to be found here.