What an awesome city. It is picturesque, there are plenty of good sites to see, food is amazing and to top it off, it’s not expensive.
We found it safe to walk around here, people are very friendly, but make sure you know some Spanish! It’s a big city so you can’t walk everywhere, so we used Uber a bit (more convenient than public transport for us).
Where to stay
Buenos Aires is about 45 Mins from EZE International airport and we recommend getting an Uber as they work out a lot cheaper than taxis.
In terms of areas to stay, Recoleta and Historico are both good and close to the main points of interest. San Telmo is also good for antiques and galleries. We chose Palermo as its for a younger crowd with lots of bars, restaurants and trendy boutiques. As you head closer to the Libatore av you will find plenty of cheap patisseries too.
There’s so many options of hotels to stay, get online and do you research as to what suits you the most.
Hotel First Palermo
This hotel has a great location in Palermo. We have been going budget and this was a good budget hotel with a pool and lifts! We appreciated the upgrade room – it was a large room with a television, a safe and a heater. Breakfast was also good, included breads, fruit, eggs and even dulce de Leche. The staff were outstanding and made so much effort to help, and organised football tickets for us and offered advice for food etc. But to be honest everything was great except it is incredibly loud on the street side. Mostly partygoers in the early hours of the morning.
What to do
Recoleta Cemetery tour
We decided to join the Recoleta cemetery tour with “Buenos Aires Free walks” to learn the stories of the people buried there such as Eva Peron. Our guide Victoria was superb, extremely passionate and knowledgeable and looked after the group well. We learnt lots of interesting information about the cemetery. Although this particular walk wasn’t “free”, $150 pesos is totally worth it.
We heard about stories such as “the girl who died twice”, “till death do us part” and the gravekeeper”. They were very interesting and made it better than simply walking around ourselves. If you do choose to go yourself, entry is free.
They also have the free city centre tour and free Recoleta tour, as well as $200 peso tours to La Boca.
You can look them upon online at www.buenosairesfreewalks.com
This is a little Japanese Gardens in the heart of Argentina. Serene and calm. It’s 120 Peso to enter and have a look around.
We loved Buenos Aires for shopping, whilst there are a few large mainstream plazas, we recommend heading to Palermo Soho for more boutique style shopping, smaller designers, cool clothes and furniture. We enjoyed looking around here. There’s also some discount outlets.
** Tourist refund
There’s plenty of advertising about getting your tax back on purchases at the airport. It’s a good idea if you can, just be very sure to do the following:
- Check that the shop facilitates this (usually a sticker on the shop window)
- Check all the labels on that the item is made in Argentina. The airport staff will check.
- Have your passport at time of purchase
- Ask for the tourist refund scheme form
- Have the form and goods to show at the airport before going through departure gates
This is a cool place to visit for its colourful houses, street art, street performers (tango) and steakhouses. However people are hesitant because of the area and its perceived danger. Even Buenos Aires locals are wary of the area. BUT follow travel advice and you’ll feel absolutely safe. Yes the outskirts are rough. So, get a cab to Caminito street where the majority of colourful houses, artists and restaurants are. It’s a huge tourist spot and you will be absolutely fine, just don’t take valuables to prevent theft. This area is also home to the famous and successful La Boca Football team. See a match if it’s on (be sure to arrange a tour).
When visiting another country, we are always looking at experienes that can be enjoyed that give an insight in to the local area and it’s people. In Argentina there are a few that come to mind, including Gaucho and soccer. They were both a bit pricy to do both and we love sport and had heard good things about going to the soccer in Argentina. We chose to go to the soccer. After reading reviews online, it seemed a little difficult and time consuming to arrange tickets yourself. We spoke to the concierge at our hotel who arranged tickets through an agent. The agent provides transport to and from the game and your entrance tickets. This experience is a little expensive, but worth is to immerse yourself in local culture.
To say the Argentineans are fanatic is an understatement, they are very extraordinarily passionate about this game. As such, it can even be considered a little dangerous to attend. There are measures in place to make attending a game safer, these measures include; home fans only (YES! no rival fans in the stadium), no alcohol is served within the stadium and there is also plenty of security and police to keep things in order. In Buenos Aires, there are two main teams: Boca Juniors and River plate, who have a fierce rivalry and stadiums that accommodate 60000 plus fans. Tickets are members only, with a seven year waitlist for membership. We went to a smaller game between Boca and smaller local team Argentinos Junior. The game was played at Maradonna stadium, which is named after the Argentine soccer legend. He also represented both clubs in his career. The stadium is basic, with cement step seating and no cover with the stadium accommodating 20000.
The magnitude of how fanatic the supporters are is evident through the stadium set up, no plastic seats, fences with barbed wire separating sections of the crowd. It was a dreary wet night, but that didn’t dampen the spirit of the Argentinos fans, with rythmic drumming and passionate chanting continuous through out the game. The tunes so rythmic it could have been used as tango music, another Argentine tradition. It was an awesome atmosphere, with quality soccer from both sides. Boca was too good on the night, taking the game 1-0. It was also bizarre when Boca scored their goal and there was the sound of crickets, not one applause or cheer. Despite the rain and a Boca win, all fans stayed until the final whistle.
Going to a soccer in Buenos Aires is more than a game it their a passion. It was wonderful to experience the local culture and passion and it is a highly recommended activity.
Some attractions we didn’t have time for but come thoroughly recommended include
- Teatro Colon – a 7 storey landmark
- El Zanjon de Granados – to see a tour of their tunnels and cisterns
- The polo
- Horse racing
- Plaza de Mayo
- Congresso Nacional
- Plaza Dorrego – the city’s oldest plaza
- Galerias Pacifico Shops – for shopping and beautiful ceilings
- A visit inside Casa Rosa (pictured below). Be sure to buy tickets online.
Where to eat and drink
Vinosfera Wine Gallery
Lovely little wine gallery offering wine/cheese/chocolate tastings for 600. We had a glass of wine each and received great advice from the staff. He even gave me a complimentary taster. It was an enjoyable visit.
Lab Training Coffee
Trendy little coffee store with a range of coffee styles and you can get your preferred milk style. No chemex on the day we visited. I personally found the coffee quite strong. Food and cake on sale too. Staff are efficient and nice.
Felix Felicis and Co
A small coffee shop selling good milk based coffees as well as cold brew, plus a number of small baked goods. Staff were friendly and the cafe has a cool vibe.
Chori is a takeaway style sandwich shop, serving chorizo sausages with various toppings. We tried the chorizo with aji sauce, caramelised onion, yoghurt, spinach and tomato on a fresh roll. It was a good burger. Although we didn’t have them, they have some cheesy vegetable sides too. The shop was pretty busy and they also sell alcohol and soft drinks.
We couldn’t go by without a visit here. The desserts are phenomenal. Yes you might consume your daily intake of calories and need a wheelbarrow home, but we’re pretty sure it’s worth it. Amazing cheesecakes and everything dulce de Leche! We tried the dulce de Leche cake with Oreos. It took us two days to eat. Amazing. The cafe is styled in an antique / rustic decor and the staff were lovely.
This is a famous Latin American steak house that is famous for a reason, they do really good steak. We visited both locations in Palermo. Be sure to keep an eye out for their happy hour each evening, which provides 40% off. We also recommend you book as by 8:30 people are lining up outside (but you get free snacks and champagne) so it’s not too bad at all. Don’t expect to leave this place hungry, to say the servings here are huge is an understatement. It is recommended that you share a steak, unless you are survivor hungry. The restaurant has a casual but upmarket feel, suitable for all including the niño (children). The waiters have character, making for an enjoyable experience.
The restaurant provides you with a delicious bread basket, which is very common in Argentina, there is olive oil and basalmic on the table and they provide a meat dipping sauce. We visited a couple of times and it never disappointed. The 850g T-Bone was a massive piece of meat, nicely seasoned and perfectly cooked. Some theatrics included when the waiter busts out the carving knife. The steak had a thick layer of fat, but other than that, it was delicious. The rib eye was superb, also seasoned nicely and perfectly cooked. The steak also came with a large assortment of sides including carrot brûlée, mashed potatoes, ratatouille, mixed salad (with egg, bacon, dressings), mate foam, pickled vegetables, beans and cheese, confit garlic as well as apple sauce and chimichurri. We don’t recommend you need any sides. The wine is also quite nice, the 375ml bottle is perfect for one person. We couldn’t do dessert as we were so full! They also bring out a lollipop tree at the end, which is a nice touch.
Don Julio is an upmarket steakhouse with a classy feel to it. They had the best steak we had in South America, maybe ever. The service was slightly off when we visited, one of the waiters appeared to be sick with the flu and the sommelier wasn’t interested in discussing the wine (she seem more interested in serving the most expensive wines to the rich people). As with most restaurants, the meal is provided with a nice selection of bread. To start, the grilled provolone was very nice, impossible to go wrong with hot cheese. For our meat dishes, we choose the beef ribs which were a tasty option, but the rib eye was out of this world. We could eat here everyday We really liked the cutlery, especially the steak knives, which are small gaucho knives. You can purchase these knives and they also come with a leather sheath, which makes for a nice souvenir.
Casa Dulce De Leche
We also did more research about places to eat which we didn’t get time for so maybe you could consider:
- Scarlett cakes bakery for their chocolate torta
- La Mezetta for their super cheesy pizza slices
- Cafe Tortini – a historically famous cafe known for their Tango Sensation routines with dinner
- Fabrica de Churros Olleros in the federal district for churros
- La Panera Rosa – a huge pink cafe known for brunch and desserts
Buenos Aires has been one of most favourite places to visit and we’re sure you’ll love it too.