Buenos Aires was my favourite city in South America, but I actually don’t really know why. It just has something quite magical about it.
I often struggle to give good recommendations for it, because part of its appeal is just walking around the streets and taking in the architecture. Also there are many parks, so if you have a lot of time, its a great place to linger. I spent two weeks there.
People say it’s like the Paris of South America. In some ways I can see this comparison, but make no mistake, this is certainly Argentina.
What to do in Buenos Aires
- See a tango show. Ok, it’s touristy as hell, but it can be incredible and you can get quite good deals which include a tango class, and a steak and wine dinner.
- Visit La Boca. This is the part of town with the colourful buildings. If you are one of those people who feels like they must visit the famous spots, then check it out. But know that it’s not wildly interesting. You can get there by bus. Be careful, outside the main drag, it’s one of the dodgiest parts of the city. Leave valuables in your hotel.
- Recoleta cemetery – This is a large cemetery with ornate tombstones, including that of Eva Peron as well ad a few other stars. Beautiful place to visit.
- Plaza de Mayo – This is one of the main squares in Buenos Aires and has the pink presidential palace, which is rather cool. The streets around the area have some of the nicest Parisian-style architecture.
- Museo de Eva Peron – A museum dedicated to the life of Argentina’s most famous first lady. Recommended.
- MALBA – a pretty good art gallery dedicated to Latin American art.
- El Ateneo – a famous book store that used to be a theatre. There’s also a cafe there, you can have dinner of the stage! The waitress that served us was the grumpiest I have ever encountered. Would still recommend – it’s a great building.
- On Monday nights there is a famous drum show called la Bomba del tiempo. Sadly I never went, but I heard it is… the bomb.
Where to stay in Buenos Aires
Most people stay in either Palermo or San Telmo. The former is a bit cooler and more modern, the latter a bit more traditional. San Telmo also has a cool street market on Sundays and you might see some street performers performing tango there. I stayed in both and enjoyed both.
Buenos Aires Bonus points
If you’re a Spanish speaker, be prepared to get a little confused by the porteño way of speaking (or really, the Argentine way of speaking full stop). Give yourself a few days and you’ll get the hang of it sure enough.
I am British and was amazed at how much the topic of the Falkland Islands came up (Las Islas Malvinas). I was in Argentina for about five weeks and legit had about four separate people raise the issue with me. To be truth there’s no winning that conversation, so if it happens to you, don’t pursue it.
If you’re heading to other parts of Argentina I can advise further. My absolute favourite places other than Buenos Aires were Jujuy near the Bolivian border, and Bariloche in the lake district. I found Mendoza to be overrated.
Enjoy your time in Buenos Aires. I wish I could give even more advice but it’s been nearly three years since my visit.