The Puente de la Mujer, a famous bridge located in the Puerto Madero district of Buenos Aires.

Buenos Aires Guide

Tailor-made Itineraries by Local Experts
The Puente de la Mujer, a famous bridge located in the Puerto Madero district of Buenos Aires.

Buenos Aires Guide

Tailor-made Itineraries by Local Experts

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Overview

Visitors to the cosmopolitan capital of Argentina might think they’ve stumbled upon Europe and not Latin America. The ethnically diverse port city of Buenos Aires, which stretches along the southern shore of Rio de la Plata (Silver River), has a strong European influence with the majority of the population being of Italian, German or Spanish origin. As a result, the city’s architectural style heavily reflects Baroque and French Neoclassical models, giving justice to the city’s nickname as the “Paris of South America”.

Sunset over the port in Buenos Aires

The beautiful Porteños (people of the port) of Buenos Aires take pride in knowing that their city is the cultural hub of all Argentina. Here, travelers can try what are arguably the best cuts of meat in the world; dance the night away thanks to a thriving nightlife that rivals that of European capitals; visit some of the best art museums in all of Latin America; and see masters perform the world’s sexiest dance, the tango.

Football fans will recognize Buenos Aires, the city of “Fine Airs”, as the home to the world famous Boca Juniors football club, the club who gave birth to legendary football player Diego Maradona. Extreme sport fans who wish to trek the Patagonia and ski in Bariloche usually use this metropolis as the start-off point of their Argentina travel adventure; and with so much to see and do in capital city, it would perhaps be a mistake to start anywhere else.

Geography and Climate

The Federal District of Buenos Aires lies across 78.3 sq miles (202 sq kilometers) of fertile pampa plains that make up this region of the country bordered by the Atlantic Ocean coast to the west. Home to some three million people who populate the 48 districts (or barrios) of this port city, the remaining 11 million residents live in the surrounding 24 municipalities than make up the metropolis of Greater Buenos Aires, therefore making it one of the ten most populated cities in the world. With one in three Argentines living in Buenos Aires proper, the rapidly modernizing region has always been a desired place to live and visit for natives. However, since main attractions, cultural events, nightlife, etc. are located in the federal district, most tourism is concentrated within this area that only stretches 12 miles (19 k) north to south and 11 miles (17 k) east to west.

Boasting generally mild weather all year long, travelers can visit Buenos Aires virtually any time of year and enjoy an amiable subtropical climate perfect for sight-seeing. The winter season, can get cold but is regulated by the South Atlantic, with the remaining three seasons of spring, summer and fall being a-kin to those of New York City: mild and pleasant with bouts of humid days during the summer. During those hot summer days, porteños escape the city center for cooler areas of the Buenos Aires province, but tourists can take advantage of the lack of crowds during these days. Cold fronts have been known to occur, but rarely, with the most recent 2007 one leaving the city covered in a blanket of snow – something that hadn’t occurred in decades. Rainfall, however, is common during the summer months, with the city receiving an annual rainfall of 900 mm per year.

Buenos aires weather guide

Buenos Aires Winter

The perfect time to take advantage of Buenos Aires’ café culture, the average temperatures during the winter months (June-August) range from 7°C (45°F) to 17°C (63°F).

Buenos Aires Summer

The average temperatures for summer (December-February) in this metropolis range from 17°C (63°F) to 30°C (87°F).

Buenos Aires Spring/Fall:

Arguably the best time to visit Buenos Aires, the spring (September-November) and fall (March-May) months boast the perfect climate with highs of 26°C (80°F) and lows of 10°C (50°F)

Geography & Map

The city of Buenos Aires is located at the northeastern edge of the flat plain known as the Pampas, which occupies the agricultural heartland of Argentina.


Elevation
82ft (25m)


City Population
3 million

map of buenos aires

Transportation

Getting to Buenos Aires

As the capital city and the main tourist draw for Argentina, Buenos Aires serves as the chief transportation hub for the entire country and is easily accessible by most forms of transit.

Buenos Aires Airport Information

Situated in the suburbs of the Great Buenos Aires area is the Ezeiza International Airport (also known as Aeropuerto Internacional Ministro Pistarini), 30-45 minutes drive from downtown Buenos Aires. For international departures it is recommended that travelers arrive three hours ahead of time for an international flight and two hours for a national departure, therefore it is recommended to keep peak hour traffic hours in mind.

Buenos Aires Airport Departure tax

As with many cities in Latin America, there is a departure tax that must be paid when leaving the country. Currently, the rate is US $18 for international flights and US $8 for regional flights. Since this tax is paid separately during your check-in, it is best to arrive early to allow ample time should lines be long.

Buenos Aires Airport Shops and Services

As expected of any international airport, visitors to this capital city’s terminal will find an array of restaurants, cafes and bars, as well as a duty-free shop, pharmacies, currency exchange outlets, ATM’s and a 24-hour bank. To make your arrival or departure more convenient, the Buenos Aires airport also features a tourist information desk (Terminal A), a left-luggage facility, medical service and a VIP lounge with internet access.

Buenos Aires Bus Information

The major bus transportation hub in Buenos Aires is the Retiro bus station where buses come in and go out to cities and towns all over Argentina and to other countries. This well-organized and very large bus hub is located on the northern side of the city center and serves this metropolis with frequent national and international bus services that vary on quality of seating and amenities depending on price, something that should be taken into account when traveling long distances. Less expensive bus companies can be found at the smaller bus terminal located in the Liniers neighborhood.

Many taxis stop by the Retiro bus station, therefore hailing a cab should not be difficult. The Subte (metro) is also conveniently connected to this bustling station, and many local buses make a stop outside, as well. Inside the terminal travelers will find waiting areas, shops, cafes and more conveniences.

Getting around Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires is a city that is made for walking. A good portion of the city grid is divided into equal squares with block numbers in the hundreds. This combined with the fact that the terrain is very flat should inspire travelers to walk around the beautiful capital and get to know it on a more intimate level. City maps, usually including all bus routes, are readily available at the local tourist authority or at the Ezeiza Airport, as well as through publishers Guía T and LUMI.

Though if you’re not much of a walker, you’ll be happy to know that the Buenos Aires subway system is very efficient and will take you to most tourist attractions in the city. Another economical form of transportation is the city buses (colectivos) which move inside as well as outside the city borders. Taxis are also very cheap when compared to other world capitals, but a quicker ride is not guaranteed if taken during rush hours.

Taxi

Hailing a taxi in Buenos Aires is very easy, especially around major tourist attractions. All feature meters that begin with an initial cost of AR$3.80 and then increase AR$0.38 every 200 meters. Rates are very reasonable and it’s recommended that tourists carry small bills in order to avoid taxi drivers that might not have (or claim to) change. If a cab does not have a meter or the driver claims the meter is broken, this should be a warning sign that a scam is at hand. If tourists exercise caution and even learn a few key phrases in Spanish, then a taxi ride in Buenos Aires can be a pleasant and most convenient way to get around.

If unsure of how to approach a taxi, your hotel or restaurant can always arrange for a secure one to pick you up. Tipping the driver is not obligatory.

Colectivos

Most Porteños use the colectivos (buses) as the main form of public transportation as there are more than 100 lines that service the entire city 24 hours a day and 365 days a year, while the fare is an inexpensive fixed rate of AR$1.25, so long as you move within city borders. Have change on you because ticket machines – located on the bus – only accept coins.

While the bus route is easy to figure out – for each route the bus is painted in a different color to differentiate – a tourist can make their colectivo experience easier by purchasing Guía "T"; a directory of streets that features bus listings for each map. These hand guides are available at subway stations or kiosks around the city.

Once on board, tell the driver your destination or tell them “un peso, por favor”. This will indicate to them that you’re traveling a standard distance and wish to pay one Argentine peso. He will press a button on the ticket machine instructing it to take the amount for your destination. After you insert your coins, the machine will automatically dispense your ticket.

The Buenos Aires Metro

Buenos Aires’ Metro (often called “subte” as a way of saying “tren subterráneo”, which means “underground train”) is not very extensive but extremely efficient for times when you want to save time as well as money – the rate is AR$1.10 for any combination of routes. As always, avoid the lines during morning or evening rush hours as cars can be very crowded and finding space on one can prove to be time consuming. However, if not boarding during peak hours, this method of transportation is one of the best.

Comprised of six lines, this subway line – the oldest in Latin America - runs from 5AM to 10PM everyday except Sundays when service begins at 8AM. The magnetic strip tickets used can be purchased at the cashier counter but since they are reusable, you can add credit on them through ticket machines and avoid lines. Signs are readily displayed at each station indicating what stops each line makes. The oldest metro in Latin America and the Southern Hemisphere is located in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The extensive system - often called “subte” a shortened version of tren subterráneo or “underground train” - has now grown to serve much of the city; 1.7 million passengers use some 52km of routes every day.

The system’s six lines are labeled from “A” through “E” and also “H” (lines F, G and I are currently being constructed) each of which is identified by its own color. These are centered on the downtown area and serve all of the important Buenos Aires districts.

The metro has a highly regarded place in Buenos Aires’s cultural history. Each station sports a colorful and imaginative mural painted on its walls, all of which fall into similar themes to make the whole system something of an artistic spectacle. The architecture of some stations is also very elegant and unique; in 1997 this was recognized when a number of stations were made National Historic Landmarks.

Fares on the Buenos Aires metro are most reasonable; any combination of routes will cost around 1.10 ARS (about $0.31 USD) making this option even more affordable than the city’s bus network. The trains run approximately from 5am to 10.45pm, except on Sundays when the service begins at 8am. Negotiating the metro is straightforward. Each station has clearly marked directions and information which indicates the stops that each line makes. The reusable magnetic-strip tickets can be purchased at the cashier counter; you can add credit on to them through ticket machines and avoid queuing to buy a ticket every time you use the metro. This ticket must be inserted into the ticket barrier system before boarding the train – make sure not to damage the metal strip on your card if you plan to reuse it.

Although the metro usually runs smoothly and quickly, it should be noted that routes can become very crowded during morning and evening rush hours, particularly at around 9am in the morning.


History

Many do not know that this Latin American capital city was founded twice. In 1536, Spanish conquistador Pedro de Mendoza established the settlement as Ciudad de Nuestra Señora Santa María del Buen Ayre (City of Our Lady Saint Mary of the Fair Wind) in what today is the district of San Telmo. Unfortunately, his new city was short-lived as a result of the attacks of indigenous tribes who forced the settlers out of the region, leaving it abandoned until a second Spanish explorer, Juan de Garay, landed on the port once more in 1580. Garay gave the port of the new settlement a similar name - Puerto de Santa Maria de los Buenos Aires – and thus the capital was permanently established.

Argentine national congress in the center of Buenos Aires

The new city thrived as a hub of illegal trade for the region that today contains present-day Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and some of Bolivia. During the 17th and 18th centuries, all official trade with Spain had to be made through Lima so for years Buenos Aires thrived in contraband trade until Spain finally made the city an open port in the late 1700s. Still, Porteños feeling the need for liberation from Spanish rule eventually revolted in May of 1810 – as a secondary effect of British invasions against the colony left the city to defend itself when Spain abandoned it - and established a temporary government after they expelled the Spanish Viceroy. Formal independence eventually came in 1816. 19th century Buenos Aires can be characterized as politically unstable as the country was divided between Unitarians who preferred a strong central government while Federalists wished for autonomy in the provinces. When Federalist Juan Manuel de Rosas did rise to power in 1829, the first Latin America secret police – the Mazorca – made it their mission to persecute the Unitarians who had not fled the city. Thankfully by 1852, Rosas was ousted from power and the first Argentine constitution was ratified in 1853.

During these tumultuous years, the city went through more many political changes as from 1853 and 1860 it became the capital of the seceded State of Buenos Aires. For years after that the status was debated and fought over until finally in 1880, the capital became federalized and a seat of government, as the Mayor was appointed by none other than the President.

Economically, the city prospered during the second half of the 19th century with the region’s fertile pampas providing a great deal of produce and railroad construction business increasing the demand of raw materials to the city’s factories. New railroads also meant an increase in the sale of leather as now the port city was more easily connected to the rural Argentine lands where cattle ranches thrived. The beginning of the 20th century saw in influx in European immigrants to Buenos Aires, most especially Spanish and Italian immigrants, along with residents of Argentina’s provinces and other bordering countries. To accommodate room for some of these groups, villas miserias (shantytowns) began popping up around the city’s main industrial areas. This image of a more downtrodden Buenos Aires was an extreme difference to the supposed affluent appearance of the city that during this time became a cosmopolitan capital to rival its European brother, and now housing the world famous Colón Theater, a top opera venue.

1940’s Buenos Aires saw the rise in power of Juan Perón who reached the presidency in 1946 with liberal ideas. He saw the need to improve education in the country and support the working class. He and his famous wife Evita, who also become a darling of the city’s and country’s blue-collared citizens thanks to her championing for labor rights and woman’s suffrage, were eventually ousted from power by forces within his government after a failed coup d’état that started as one of Buenos Aires’ darkest days - June 16 1955 - when the Plaza de Mayo was bombed and 364 civilians were killed. They would succeed three months later in attaining power.

Terror characterized 1970’s Buenos Aires with citizens fearing for their lives if they rebelled against the military communist government that rose to power after a military coup that overthrew vice president Isabel Perón. Jorge Rafael Videla led the coup and the resulting “Dirty War” where the ruthless government kidnapped and killed opponents to their regime. These unfortunate citizens became known as the desaparacidos (the disappeared) as their deaths were never reported, leaving many families wondering what became of their loved ones. Today, mothers of these victims silently march Plaza de Mayo every week in memory of their children who lost their lives during unjust times in Buenos Aires.

Raúl Alfonsín became president in 1983 and ended the military dictatorship, quickly bringing the leaders of the “Dirty War” into questioning and asking for accountability on the estimated 30,000 desaparacidos. Trials began in 1985 and many top generals, including then President Jorge Vidal, were convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment. An economic crisis characterized the early 21st century in Buenos Aires, with the economy collapsing in 2001 after an inflated exchange rate between the Argentine Peso and the US dollar led to a devastating recession. Unemployment eventually reached 25% and many businesses and citizens went bankrupt.

Fortunately today, Buenos Aires is politically and economically stable and has become a fascinating capital to visit not just within Latin America but around the world.


Attractions and Activities

Heavily influenced by European style, architecture and cuisine, this cosmopolitan port city of Latin America offers visitors a cultural experience that reflects Porteños rich immigrant background. While there are important historic monuments to be seen, travelers to this metropolis would not receive an authentic Buenos Aires vacation experience without also checking out a sensual Tango show or dining on delicious steaks from a true gaucho ranch in the Greater Buenos Aires area. This “Paris” of the Americas - as it is known for its architecture that is reminiscent of the design of the “City of Lights” – has so much to offer, so be sure to plan a lengthy visit to see it all.

The mammoth Obelisco monument of Buenos Aires was constructed in 1936 to commemorate 400th anniversary of the founding of the city of “Fair Airs”. Situated in the Plaza de la Republica, it measures 267 meters (220 ft) in height, with a base area of 161 square meters (530 square ft) and has come to be recognized as a symbol of not just the city, but of the country. It is the meeting and celebratory point for fans when the national football team does well and also serves as a venue for government sponsored cultural events.

Sunset over the famous Obeliso with the city of Buenos Aires stretching into the distance

A morbid but captivating attraction in this city is the Cementerio de la Recoleta. Located in the wealthy neighborhood of the same name, this cemetery was meant for the elite of Buenos Aires and houses the body of its most famous figure, Eva Perón. Immense Greek columns welcome visitors, while the inside features distinct marble mausoleums, each unique and some decorated with beautiful statues. “City block” sections separate rows and rows of crypts that feature bronze or brass plaques with family names etched on. Trees line the rows at this graveyard, providing a beautiful resting place to figures that were once the crème de la crème of Buenos Aires society.

Blue peacock in the ecological reserve in Buenos Aires

For visitors looking to get away from the bustling crowds, hectic noise and traffic of Buenos Aires, a great and relaxing alternative would be a visit to the Reserva Ecológica Costanera Sur, situated in the dock district of Puerto Madero. The only ecological reserve in the city, it has interesting origins as waste material from demolished buildings were tossed into the river were the reserve now exists. As time went on, sediment mixed with sand and a marshy land developed, which would serve as a foundation for the reserve, eventually becoming home to willow trees, wild flamingos, parrots and more distinct flora and wildlife. With numerous trails that are perfect for strolling, bird watching and cycling, this reserve is the perfect escape from the craziness of this capital city.

A pair of dances performing tango, an iconic dance and cultural symbol of Buenos Aires

One of the most colorful neighborhoods in all Buenos Aires is the tango and football loving district of La Boca. Here tourists can walk along the famous Caminito pedestrian street, catch a spontaneous Tango dance (and even pose for a picture with the dancers!) and purchase tango-related memorabilia, along with wonderful pieces of art by Boca resident Benito Quinquela Martín who spent years preparing and painting the walls facing Caminito in the vivid colors that the street is now known for. Football fans would also be recommended to visit the neighborhood’s La Bombonera Stadium, home to the world famous Boca Juniors football club. Here tourists can visit and tour the grounds of the blue and yellow (official team colors) stadium that comes alive when the home team is there to play a match.

A row of colorfully painted houses in the La Boca neighbourhood of Buenos Aires

Downtown Buenos Aires is home to some of the city’s most famous historical attractions, such as the Plaza de Mayo that has origins tracing back to the city’s beginning and has been used as a political or cultural event meeting point since that era. The presidential palace, more commonly known as La Casa Rosada (“The Pink House” thanks to the pinkish tone of its exterior) lies at the eastern end of the Plaza de Mayo and its balcony that faces this direction has been utilized as a podium by Argentine presidents and historical figure. Also overlooking the plaza is the Catedral Metropolitan, the main Catholic church of the city, constructed in 16th century Buenos Aires but re-established a few times afterwards due to poor quality materials used. This Cathedral holds the remains of General José de San Martín, liberator of Argentina, in a beautiful marble mausoleum.

The elaborate Teatro Colon of Buenos Aires with empty seats, stage and soaring dome ceiling

Opera fans will be delighted to know that one of the finest opera houses around the world calls Buenos Aires home. Teatro Colón opened in 1908, can sit 2,487, with standing room available for 1,000 and is considered to in the top five of opera houses with the best acoustics worldwide. Situated on the very wide 9 de Julio Avenue, another attraction in itself, this opera has housed national and international opera stars, as well as ballet and orchestra performances.

Three horses grazing, pictured through a wire fence

For those looking to get away from the city, Argentina for Less can arrange a visit to an authentic gaucho ranch during your visit. Live the life of an Argentine cowboy by riding horses, eating traditional gaucho foods such as delicious barbequed steaks and drink renowned Argentine wine with gauchos who are sure to make your escape from the city an enjoyable one.


Shopping

A fashion capital of Latin America, Buenos Aires is home to two high-end shopping centers in its chic Recoleta neighborhood: the Patio Bullrich and Buenos Aires Designs. The former sits across from the sophisticated Caesar Park Hotel and houses boutiques featuring designer brands such as Christian Dior and Armani Exchange at prices that may not be as outrageous for patrons purchasing with different currency. The latter is a stylish shopping mall that is solely devoted to beautiful interior design pieces for the home, at sensible prices.

However, travelers looking for more unique and less expensive Buenos Aires souvenirs are advised to seek out the city’s many street and artisan fairs and markets. The Weekend Recoleta Fair in Francia Park, as well as Sunday’s San Telmo Market, are particularly noted for the handicrafts such as handmade jewelry, colorful shawls and other nick-knacks. Most markets come alive on Sundays, such as the Defensa Street Marketin the antique-shop friendly district of San Telmo that features street performers and vendors selling anything and everything. Feria de Matadores is a bit far out of the main city center but is well-worth the trip with authentic Argentine handicrafts on sale, regional music and dances on display and even a guacho horsemanship show for visitors to see.

Argentina is the number one beef consumer in the world and does not let any of the cows go to waste. Expectedly so, the country produces some of the finest leather goods in the world, available to visitors for more than reasonable prices. Stores specializing in this market are concentrated near the Plaza San Martin, along Florida.Aida at Galeria de la Flor can make you a customized leather jacket in one day, while Galeria del Caminantehas an excellent variety of shops that sell wallets, belts, handbags and more, all made of quality Argentine leather.

Casa Lopez, Marcelo T. de Alvear 640/658, – Tel: +54 (11) 4312-8911

Probably the most traditional marroquinería (leather goods shop) in all of Buenos Aires, travelers should definitely make the stop here for a vast array of leather goods to choose from, made from the finest cowhide in Argentina.

Patio Bullrich, Avenida Del Libertador 750 and Posadas 1245, Tel: +54 (11) 4814 7400

One of the more sophisticated shopping centers in Buenos Aires, this mall is situated in a historic building and features prominent national and international brand names that cater to the upper-middle class of the city but foreign visitors will find sells well-known merchandise at reasonable prices.

Puna, Arte Indígena, Galeria Promenade Alvear, Avenida Alvear 1883, local 41, Tel: +54 (11) 4801 6589

Visitors looking for quality handicrafts and art should look no further than this beautiful indigenous art shop located in the Recoleta shopping district. Here shoppers can find handmade silver jewelry, hand-woven llama wool rugs and pottery, some from the Argentina Puna region, as well as Bolivia.


Nightlife

If you’re going out for a night on the town in Buenos Aires, don’t expect to see a lively crowd until well after midnight. Buenos Aires nightlife doesn’t fully come alive until most cities have already gone to sleep, with many nightclubs staying open when most are heading off to work. From posh bars and lounges that cater to a more sophisticated night owl, to immense venues where partiers dance all night, to friendly pubs where most begin their wild nights, Buenos Aires nightlife is sure to please any visitor’s style.

The puente de la Mujeres, a famous bridge located in the Puerto Madero district of Buenos Aires

Niceto Club, Niceto Vega 5510, $4-$10, Tel: +54 (11) 4779 9396 (http://www.nicetoclub.com/)

One of the trendiest nightlife spots in all of Buenos Aires, this multistory club is appropriately located in the modern district of Palermo. Before the peak hours of 3-5AM, the venue features live music from national and international artists that play everything from Electro-pop to Flamenco. Afterward, each section and level the club features its own genre, such as hip hop and psychedelic trance, pleasing just about every such musical palette.

The Shamrock, Rodríguez Peña 1220, Tel: +54 (11) 4812-3584

Expats from all over will feel right at home at this genuine Irish bar situated in the city center. The after-work crowd at this always packed joint makes it a popular place among a young Buenos Aires crowd looking for good beer after a long day. The extensive happy hour that runs until midnight keeps patrons happy and on weekends the basement becomes an intimate but lively dance club. This pub is a favorite with both locals and tourists, who have helped it to become a Buenos Aires institution.

Bar 12 de Octubre, Bulnes 331, Tel: +54 (11) 4862-0415

Lovers of Tango should spend at least one night during their Buenos Aires vacation at this tattered, tiny but more authentic Tango club in the city that gave the world the sensual dance. A young crowd of grungy porteños keep this one of the most sought tango bars and with weekly music and with tango shows that run from Tuesday to Friday nights, you too can discover its rustic charm.

Fusion Bar & Club, Florida 328

A new and extremely expat friendly locale, Fusion Bar & Club is open every night from 6PM until 6AM, with each night dedicated to a different theme with a karaoke, tango, and even “study abroad” night dedicated to welcoming international students who have made Buenos Aires their home for a few months. Drink specials are available daily at this laidback bar and club where a great night is guaranteed.

Cossab, Carlos Calvo 4199, Tel: +54 (11) 4925-2505 (www.pubcossab.com.ar)

Popular with the student and bohemian crowd, this pub has a beer menu that features more than 80 beers from Argentina and around the world. Unique house beers include Cossab de Miel, a beer that features a honey aroma, and Cossab Rozija, an ale that is red in color and fruity tasting. With yummy picadas (snacks) and pizza also being dished up, this pub is ideal for a drink with friends.


Restaurants

Argentina is the third largest beef exporter worldwide and each person consumes about 68 kg of a year, making it the world’s chief beef consumer. Therefore, it is no surprise that cuisine in its capital city is known for delicious asados (beef barbeques) served at restaurants called parillas which specialize in this style of cooking over a grill or open flame. Vegetarians need not worry, however, as the city is seeing a semi-boom in veggie-friendly restaurants popping up within the last few years and especially in the bohemian Palermo district. As expected from the heavy influence of Italian culture, pizza in Buenos Aires is some of the best around and Italian eateries feature an array of delectable pasta dishes. Finally, there is no shortage of international fare with Thai, Chinese and even Arabic restaurants available to please the palette of any visitor.

A man standing over a grill cooking pieces of meat, a common part of Argentinian cruise known as asado

Krishna, Malabia 1833, - $6-$11 - Tel: +54 (11) 4833 4618

Situated on the end of Palermo Viejo Square, the hip and culturally-vibrant neighborhood of Buenos Aires, this vegetarian restaurant serves up delicious Indian-inspired dishes at wallet-friendly prices. Specialties here include vegetable empanadas, homemade ricotta, sautéed vegetables, curry, and chapattis. The exterior of the restaurant is unabashedly humble, but the interiors of this quaint eatery are nothing but with bright walls, mosaic-decorated tables and comfortable cushioned low-level seats covered with multi-colored Indian-influenced patterns. Krishna is the perfect choice for travelers looking for a leaner but still appetizing meal in the city.

Bio, Humbolt 2199, $12 and over - Tel: +54 (11) 4774 3880
Mains: 16-20 pesos (£2.70-£3.40)

Calling itself the first organic restaurant in Buenos Aires, this vegetarian and vegan-friendly locale is located in the charming and artsy neighborhood of Palermo Viejo. Dishing up 100% organic meals in a lovely, country house-like locale, Bio is a favorite among the young Buenos Aires crowd looking for a lighter dining alternative in the beef capital of the world. Every meal comes with an appetizer of freshly baked bread with a delicious carrot spread and travelers are recommended to try the vegetable lasagna, Thai rice, pumpkin and fennel salads, and deliciously-seasoned couscous and quinoa platters with steak-sized tofu served alongside. The refreshing ginger lemonade is a great way to top of a delectable meal at this restaurant.

Siga la Vaca, Avenida Alicia Moreau de Justo 1714, $12 and over - Tel: +54 (11) 4315 6801.
Various locations throughout.

Visitors looking to get a great value on an asado meal should look no further than this buffet-style restaurant situated in the up-and-coming waterfront district of Puerto Madero, but with other locations throughout the city. The tenedor libre policy of all-you-can-eat for a fixed rate makes this locale a carnivore’s dream with a menu featuring juicy steaks, pork chops and sausages, all cooked over an open flame. Wooden chairs and tables, covered with white, immaculate linens and an extensive salad bar that sits atop a ceramic countertop island make for a simple but elegant atmosphere where diners can enjoy a hearty Argentine meal for a comfortable price.

Güerrín, Correintes 1368, $6 and under – Tel: +54 (11) 4371 8141

A Buenos Aires institution, this family-run pizzeria is considered by many locals as the best in the city. Located on the bustling Avenida Corrientes in the city center, and only a few blocks from the famous Obelisk monument, this modest and some might say plainly decorated eatery might lack attractive décor but certainly makes up for it with its menu of delectable pizzas. With a crust that’s crisp and golden on the outside but soft and doughy on the inside, and toppings galore to choose from, diners will love the pizza here. Beef or chicken-stuffed, baked empanadas also come highly-recommended at this very popular pizza joint.

Café Tortoni, Avenida de May 825-9, $2 - $7, Tel: +54 (11) 4342 4328

This 100-year-old haunt is probably Buenos Aires’ most famous café. Situated in the historic city center, this elegant and luxurious bistro was founded in 1858 and has served some of the most recognized Porteño’s, such as poet Jorge Luis Borges and Tango legend Julio de Caro. To eat at Café Tortoni is to walk back in time with beautiful wood finishes, stain glass ceilings and marble columns all wonderfully preserved bringing this celebrated institution to life. With standard cafeteria fare such as lomo (steak) and turkey sandwiches, a variety of cakes and excellent coffee and tea, and nightly Tango shows in one of the many salons of the locale, this café should not be missed.

Cabaña las Lilas, Alicia Moreau de Justo 516, $12 and over, Tel: +54 (11) 4313 1336,

Considered by many as the best parrilla in all Buenos Aires, this Puerto Madero steakhouse serves up cuts from its own private ranch. Located on the docks of Puerto Madero, visitors to this celebrated restaurant will not leave hungry. The best cuts to choose from include the rib-eye, baby beef and the thin skirt steak but don’t miss out on the deliciously grilled sweetbreads. Beforehand, waiters will bring diners a spread of mozzarella, olives, dried tomatoes and garlic bread and your entrée will be accompanied by a fine Argentine wine from the well-stocked wine-wall. With indoor and outdoor seating in this spacious restaurant that boasts classy décor but a casual atmosphere, this is the ideal place for a true Argentine steakhouse experience.

La Cabrera, Cabrera 5099, $15 - $20, Tel: +54 (11) 4831 7002

In the trendy neighborhood of Palermo Soho lies this immensely popular steakhouse that has locals and tourists typically waiting half an hour (without reservations) for a table. Yet, with a complimentary glass of champagne in hand and the excellent dinner that awaits them, guests are happy to stand on line for a dinner of excellent cuts of meat and modern takes on classic side dishes such as beet purée or mashed pumpkin with a raisin garnish. With attentive service in a friendly-atmosphere, this top-rated restaurant is sure to please diners.

Piegari, Posadas 1042, $14 - $35, Tel: +54 (11) 4328-4104

With over half the population of the city coming from Italian origin, Buenos Aires had Italian eateries just about everywhere. One of the best, however, can be found in the upscale neighborhood of Recoleta. Specializing in Northern Italian cuisine, with an emphasis on pasta and seafood, this formal restaurant serves a variety of delicious risottos, homemade spaghetti, black salmon ravioli and a crispy pan pizza, to name a few. One main entrée is large enough for two and the selection of wines is vast and varied, making a meal here the perfect Italian dining experience in the “Paris of South America”.


Cultural Calendar

February / March:

Birthplace of the seductive and sensual dance known as the Tango, the city of “fine airs” also plays host to the Buenos Aires Tango Festival during late February and sometimes early March. Close to 200 of the world’s finest Tango dancers unite to perform shows, exhibitions, give dancing displays and lessons, as well as showcase a one-minute film festival, culminating with the Metropolitan Ballroom Tango Championship finals. Attendees will be delighted to know that many shows and concerts of this officially-organized festival are free of charge.

March:

Coinciding with International Women’s Day and hugely popular with fitness enthusiasts, the yearly Marathon for Women covers 8,000 meters and begins its track at the University of Buenos Aires Law Faculty Building.

April:

The biggest event for bookworms of this Latin American metropolis is the three-week long Buenos Aires Book Festival. Drawing more than a million readers to the La Rural Exhibition Complex, this event is a can’t-miss for book aficionados.

May:

Argentine artists have the Feria de Galerías de Arte as a particular day, every year, to showcase their talents. Painters, graphic designers, photographers, videographers, sculptors and more display their most prized pieces during this art fair that was founded in 1991 and takes place each May at the Predio Ferial de Palermo.

To commemorate the anniversary of Argentina’s May Revolution - where several political and social events marked the transition from Spanish-rule to independent state – a Military Parade for the Revolucion de Mayo now takes place with Argentine Soldiers parading past the Casa de Gobierno (Presidential House).

June:

The man known as “King of Tango” died a tragic death during an airplane crash at the peak of his career on June 24, 1935. A week of the sexy, Argentine dance now marks the Anniversary of Carlos Cardel’s death, arguably the most important figure associated with the art of Tango.

July:

Founded by Silvina Szperling in 1995, the International Video-Dance Festival unites Latin American video-dance artists at the Ricardo Rojas Cultural Center every year. Here they learn about live multimedia installations, dance documentaries, and other seminars, lectures and workshops to help them shape their talents to express this modern art media.

October:

Internationally-renowned Tango dancers make the trek every October to Buenos Aires for the annual and week-long World Tango Festival. Featuring workshops taught by top Tango instructors and nightly performances of what some consider the most seductive dance ever created, this festival is sure to please.

November:

Polo fans from around the world have made their way to the annual Argentine Polo Open Championship since 1893. The most important international polo championship at club level, it takes place at the Catedral de Polo in the Palermo district of the city.

Celebrating the formation of the city’s first ever gay assembly in 1969, Buenos Aires Gay Pride Weekend now sees thousands upon thousands of participants. Starting at Plaza de Mayo and ending at Avenida de Mayo, this colorful parade of immense floats and over-the-top drag queens is a significant event for the citizens of this modern city.

December:

December 11 is the birthday of Tango legend Carlos Gardel. Appropriately so, it is also the day that porteños have dubbed National Tango Day and guests to the city on this particular day can enjoy a myriad of related events city-wide.


Sports

As with anywhere in Latin America, Argentina’s sport of choice in undoubtedly football, known as soccer in other countries. More than a game in this country, it is a form of life and Buenos Aires is home to some of the best football clubs in the world. However, a multitude of other sports are quite popular in this bustling city, most in particular polo, golf and even skydiving.

Football fans in the stadium waving the Argentinian flag

Buenos Aires Football

With 24 professional football teams – the highest concentration belonging to any city worldwide – and with many of its teams playing in the major league, football in Buenos Aires is no joking manner. A match between the city’s most famous rivals (Boca Junior and River Plate) was named one of the “50 sporting things you must do before you die” by the UK Sunday newspaper The Observer; any visitor to this great city would be shameful to not score a ticket to that once-in-a-lifetime event if given the opportunity. Travelers hoping to see a “Super Clasico” (game between Boca Junior and River Plate) or World Cup Qualifying matches for the hugely popular National Team should try to obtain tickets will in advance to their arrival.


Two polo players head to head on the field, surrounded by spectators

Buenos Aires Polo

Travelers can enjoy a day at a private polo club either watching or participating in world-renowned Argentine polo. Most clubs allow guests to visits the barns where the ponies are kept meet the professional player and, of course, watch a thrilling match. Enjoy a delicious barbeque accompanied by Argentine wine, ride one of the gorgeous ponies and even get private lessons by the club’s private teachers.


Health and Safety

With an increase in tourism and the economic downturn in the country, crime has unfortunately increased in this very cosmopolitan city. Travelers are recommended to be extra cautious of pickpockets in the districts of San Telmo and Boca, but muggings and robberies have been known to occur all around the city and even during the day. It is also advised that tourists be extra careful when using cameras and other high-tech valuables, being as discreet as possible.

As with any place in Latin America, travelers should always be careful of accepting counterfeit money or using large bills, as some merchants or taxi drivers could claim to not have exact change. And in relation to taxis, it is highly recommended that visitors act cautiously when flagging down a taxi cab. As mentioned earlier, all Buenos Aires taxis run on meters, so if one you get on does not have one or is broken, it should prove to be a signal that scamming is afoot.

A football game between long-time arch enemies Boca Junior and River Plate can be a thrilling but also dangerous experience as a result of over exuberant fans if not done properly. Try to attend this “clasico” game with a local who knows their way around.

It is best to drink bottled water while traveling in Buenos Aires as anywhere through South America, especially in rural areas, to prevent contracting any harmful parasites or water-borne illnesses. If no bottled water is available, be sure to travel with water purification tablets or boil water for 15 minutes to eliminate any harmful bacteria.

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