The colorful neighborhood, it’s probably the most visited and photogenic area of the city. The “all colors” houses, where immigrants used to live, are now a big attraction on the main street. This working class area originally populated by Italian dock workers has bloomed into a center of art, restaurants and the colorful metal houses which present a refreshing change from the rest of the city.
The colors come from the brightly painted houses on the Caminito a pedestrain walk named for the tango of the same name and the waters of the Riachuelo stained by oil sludges.
The painter Benito Quinquela Martín was a leading influence in the use of color and his home, now the Museo de Bellas Artes de La Boca, displays his paintings of dock workers.
Other art exhibitions can be appreciated at the beautiful Fundación Proa, at the corner of Caminito and Mendoza- a not so visited spot where nice views from the river can be appreciated.
The most thrilling and visceral experience of any visit to La Boca is probably donning a fluffy blue and yellow hat and bouncing along with the tribal fanatics of Maradona’s beloved team.The intoxicating display of the leaping and singing multitude is often more exciting than the game on the pitch.
The football stadium, just a couple of blocks from the main street, has tours inside- but always better to assist to a game.
Learn more about La Boca Buenos Aires, on our special post about this colorful neighborhood.
This section of the city retains some of the colonial flavor of past years and is steeped in the city’s history. It was a fashionable district for years until a yellow fever epidemic drove the inhabitants north into what is now the Recoleta, and the lower classes and immigrants moved in.
It has cobblestoned streets, low buildings, antique shops and the famed Sunday antique market in the main square of the barrio.
Some of the oldest cafés, combined with new artist and Tango music everywhere makes the ambience.
San Telmo is a must visit, on your list of Buenos Aires neighborhoods, most of Buenos Aires city tours include them. Have a look at more info about this famous location.
Perhaps the most photographed building in Buenos Aires Casa Rosada or Pink House is the main presence on Plaza de Mayo. Officially known as Casa de Gobierno (Government House) or Palacio Presidencial (Presidential Palace), it’s BA’s equivalent to the USA’s White House. It is home to the presidential offices; the grand residence of the president is in Olivos. The building dates back to President Sarmento’s time. Its construction began in 1873 on the site of a fort – the ruins of which can be seen from inside the Casa Rosada itself and the Plaza de Mayo.
The historical balcony, which faces the Plaza, is from 1900 and for the Argentinians represents more than a simple balcony. It is the symbol of the institutional power and witness of the most important events, famous due to the speeches of President Juan Peron and his wife Eva Peron. Visits are via the south side entrance, which also leads to the Museo de la Casa Rosada (on Hipolito Yrigoyen 219) which is open Wed- Sun 11am-6pm The tours are free.
Plaza de Mayo is Buenos Aires’ political heart, first mapped out in 1580. Today, the grassy, treed plaza attracts visitors with cameras and relaxing locals, and is also the venue for rallies and gatherings. The center of the plaza features an obelisk called the Pirámide de Mayo, erected to commemorate independence from Spain. Grand 19th century buildings line the plaza, but the colonial arches that once circled the plaza are long gone. Nearby are the Cabildo (from the Colony), the city council building, the Cathedral (were the rests of San Martin, the national hero of the independence are) and fine bank buildings. Every Thursday 1530 still the mothers of the “desaparecidos” (killed people during the last military regime) come here to walk around the Plaza, in order to remind the society its close past.
The second largest performing arts theater in the southern hemisphere, second only to the Sydney Opera House in Australia, Teatro Colon is venerable, opulent and perfect. Tours are run, everyday 9-1545 in English and Spanish.
Situated at 1860 Santa Fe Avenue in Barrio Norte, the building was designed by the architects Peró and Torres Armengol for the empresario Max Glucksman (1875-1946), and opened as a theatre named Teatro Gran Splendid in May 1919.
The theatre had a seating capacity of 1,050. Glücksman started his own radio station in 1924 (Radio Splendid), which broadcast from the building where his recording company, Nacional Odeón, made some of the early recordings of the great tango singers of the day. In the late twenties the theatre was converted into a cinema, and in 1929 showed the first sound films presented in Argentina.
The ornate former theatre was leased by Grupo Ilhsa in February 2000. Ilhsa, through Tematika, owns El Ateneo and Yenny booksellers (totaling over 40 stores), as well as the El Ateneo publishing house. The building was subsequently renovated and converted into a book and music shop under the direction of the architect Fernando Manzone; the cinema seating was removed and in its place book shelves were installed. Following refurbishment works, the 2,000 m² (21,000 ft²) El Ateneo Grand Splendid became the group’s flagship store, and in 2007 sold over 700,000 books; over a million people walk through its doors annually.
Chairs are provided throughout the building, including the still-intact theatre boxes, where customers can dip into books before purchase, and there is now a café on the back of what was once the stage. The ceiling, the ornate carvings, the crimson stage curtains, the auditorium lighting and many architectural details remain. Despite the changes, the building still retains the feeling of the grand theatre it once was.
The Guardian, a prominent British periodical, named El Ateneo second in its 2008 list of the World’s Ten Best Bookshops.
The ritzy Recoleta neighborhood draws visitors in the numbers for a wander through Buenos Aires’ up-market residential streets and public parks.
Here is where the aristocracy settled down at the end of 1800, when we were one of the wealthiest countries in the world, and land owners living in this area were since that the wealthiest families in the world.
Walking on Alvear Avenue, equivalent to 5th Avenue in New York, still you can see some of the palaces that a hundred years back used to be used by the families. For most visitors, the main attraction is the Recoleta Cemetery, an ornate necropolis so large it’s like a mini city of states and marble sarcophagi. One of the most famous tombs is that of Eva Peron (Evita).
Here people were buried as they were living, like kings.
The enclave also attracts thousands of people for its weekend crafts market, held on Plaza Francia outside the Basílica de Nuestra Señora del Pilar. Nearby the cemetery there are a good variety of good restaurants and cafés, as well as art galleries and museums.
Located just minutes away from downtown, Palermo is the city’s lungs. We could call it the Central Park of Buenos Aires. It is the biggest green area of the city, and where Porteños love to spend weekends, paddling in the lakes, riding bicycles, roller skating, running, drinking mate or even practicing hockey.
The Rose Garden, the Andalúz Patio, the Japanesse Garden and the Poets Garden are worth visiting as well as the Planetarium Galileo Galilei where one will be able to learn about planetary peculiarities and participate in activities on the universe and subjects of scientific matters.
One of the pleasures of Buenos Aires is its open-air markets (called mercados) or fairs (ferias), many of which combine shopping with entertainment. From street tango dance to the finest handicrafts, as well as antiques or the latest fashion are things you can find during weekends, on the streets.
Every year this Feria becomes bigger and bigger. Now it takes place on Defensa street from Plaza de Mayo to Parque Lezama. It began as a flea market, but now has a mixture of paintings, purses, antiques and handicrafts making it more chaotic and fun. On Sundays from 10. Try to get early- it gets packed after noon.
Much more organized than San Telmo, in order to have a stand in this Feria you are evaluated by an Admission Office, so the handicrafts tend to be original and of higher quality. It is very hard not to buy something. The area gets full on Sundays, when locals go to the park to drink mate and play guitars! On Sundays and Saturdays from midday until 20:00 hrs aprox in front of Recoleta Cemetery.
It is a one hour bus ride to get to this Gaucho Feria, very different from those downtown. You will see gauchos, horse competitions (in a very local game called Sortija), regional foods (cheeses, organic wine, homemade breads and huge empanadas) made with local products from the farms nearby. If the weather is warm, there will be many people and bands playing folklore. Go by buses 55, 63, 80, 92, 126, 141, 155, 180.
At the small plaza at the intersection of Calle Serrano and Honduras, which forms the heart of Palermo Soho, the bohemian arts and crafts are sold while dreadlocked locals sing and play guitars. Officially, the fair is held Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 6pm, but impromptu vendors will also set up at night when the restaurants are crowded. Those very same restaurants will fold up their tables in the afternoon and fill the spaces with clothing racks for young designers who cannot afford their own boutiques.
Buenos Aires contains a number of museums, galaries, and exhibition halls. The most unique and interesting works are by local artists while the internationaly renowned European artists are a bit under-represented in Argentina- although you still can find good pieces in Museo de Bellas Artes, or the Private Collection of Amalita Fortabat.
Lafinur 2988. Tel. 4807 0306. This interactive museum shows videos, objects and magazines of one of the most emblematic political figures.
Av. Del Libertador 1902. Tuesdays to Sundays in the afternoon (except January and February when it closes on Sundays too). Open from 14 to 19 hrs. This mansion, once a family house, shows how the aristocracy used to live in the country at the beginning of the 1900s.
Av del Libertador 1473. Tuesdays to Fridays, 14:30 to 20:30- Saturdays and Sundays 12:30 to 20:30. Our major art collection on the first floor holds excellent argentinan art. There are also rooms dedicated to European and pre-Columbian art. Free entrance.
Figueroa Alcorta 3415. Open from Thursday through Monday and Holidays from 12:00 to 20:00. Wednesday till 21:00. Closed Tuesday. If you like modern art, you will love this museum. It is consider the best modern art collection of Latin America.
Centro Cultural Recoleta, Junin 1930. Monday to Friday 10 to 17 hs. Saturdays, Sundays and hollidays from 15:30 a 19:30 hs.(includes school holidays from December to March). This science museum is mainly for kids, but also to anyone interested in science. This museum shows in a very interactive way that science can be easy understood if you can touch it!
If the tango shows show you the dance in its most professional way, the milongas will show you ordinary people that just go to dance. They are the discotheques of tango. Usually they offer classes first and with the same ticket you can stay to enjoy the Milonga. Entrances around ar$30.
Here is a selection of the ones we highly recommend you to visit!
Tel 4774-6357. Armenia 1366 Downstairs. A must for starters, classes are everyday from early afternoon to 22 hrs. You pay once and can stay for all the dance classes of the day and the milonga (usually gets good around midnight and lasts until 6 or 7am!). Teachers are friendly, and although the class is in Spanish they are happy to try to use their English!
Tel 1553251630; Sarmiento 4006. The rough and tumble warehouse space gets full on Tuesdays. Surrounded by a bizarre decoration of old artifacts, colorful lamps and accompanied by vegetarian menu, it gets full and vibrant. Classes held everyday 19:30 or 21 hrs. The milonga starts after 22:30 goes until the dancers decide to go home.
Tel. 15-4526-7580. Suipacha 384. The old confiteria, just one block from the obelisk, has a good mixture of locals, tourists and old fashion architecture. It has been going on for the last twenty years, long before the young people rediscovered tango. Maybe that is why you will find many white-haired ladies taking their high heels from their bags while the DJ plays the first tango. Sunday afternoons are one of the best days, but check their schedule at the entrance of the Confiteria as they change it quite often.
Tel 4832-6753; Scalabrini Ortiz 1331. A great dance floor and some of BA’s finest dancers grace this traditional venue’s stage. It gets very full and stays open very late. Milongas and classes everyday, but the most popular one is on Fridays.
Tel 4147-8687. Humberto Primo 1462. Takes place on Thursdays at the Central Regional Leonesa, attracting a large variety of aficionados- some consider it the best milonga in town. It has a great atmosphere, large ballroom and good dance floor. Take taxi to go and come back.
We could write a book with all the variety that Buenos Aires has to offer. You can find Asian, Chinese, Peruvian, Brazilian, and even African dishes on the city streets.
A good on-line guide is www.guiaoleo.com.ar – Spanish web site where locals write their critics about the local cuisine.
Here a short selection of our favorites in every neighborhood. We have very proudly chosen just local cuisine…
Rocha 801, esquina Don Pedro de Mendoza. Tel 4303-5917 Housed in a 1920s building, this restaurant has an elegant décor made up of leather walls and velvet curtains, but the most interesting feature is a library with hundreds of cookbooks. The menu presents traditional Argentinean cuisine, much admired by the city’s hip crowds.
Paraguay and San Martin. Tel 4311-1639 This parrilla is popular with tourist and locals because of its huge portions, their great high quality of beef and the nice home made lemoncello that you get as a courtesy. (Shhh…but if you ask as an aperitif they also give you some tasty Jerez!) Don’t forget to taste the cream spinach…ñamiiiiii
Carlos Pellegrini 521, Inside Panamericano Hotel, Tel.4326-6698
Two sisters opened this restaurant in 1971 but only moved to its present location in 1994. What has always remained the same is a menu consisting of personal favorites that has long been considered one of the best in the city. The red walled-dining room is rather nondescript, but that just shows you that all the attention does and should go to the food.
Florida 165, 1st floor. Just for lunch from Monday to Friday.
This vegetarian all you can eat is one of the healthiest and delicious options in downtown. Very busy with people from the offices, completely hidden, not even a sign, but always full.
Defensa 1665. Tel 4307-2746.
In the south of San Telmo, a non fashionable parrilla has been the chosen by locals for the last 23 years. Not just good grills, also typical dishes such as Puchero. Big portions, friendly staff and good ambience. The room is not big so better to make a reservation as it gets full.
Av. Corrientes1612 Tel: 4374-8063/ 4374-0920
A classic. They have been cooking the best soufflé potatoes in the country for the last fifty years. Good variety of dishes: beef, chicken and pastas.
Talcahuano 937. Tel 4816- 1758.
It sounds bad to eat pizza in Buenos Aires, but you have to bear in mind that Italian influence in this country affected also their food. Porteños love to say that their pizza is much better than the Italians.
Definitively best pizza in the country. Also delicious tuna empanadas and fugazzeta.
Defensa 855 Tel.4300-9081
This is a bizarre parrilla, you love it or hate it. The beef is good, full of young people, gets packed and portions are huge.
A.M. de Justo 430. Tel. 4319- 8733. Nice terrace with canal views, white covers and dressed up waiters, this restaurant serves excellent pastas, enormous and delicious salads, good fish and beef. The Ensalada del Diablo with smoked salmon melts in your mouth.
A.M. de Justo 516. Tel. 4313-1336. It used to be the best parrilla in the city, and many said in the country. Nowadays too many guidebooks have recommended it and it became extravagantly expensive, despite the fact is very hard to find anyone speaking Spanish in their room. Still the beef is to die for. You can cut it with a fork.
A.M. de Justo 1714. Tel. 4315 6801 / 6802. Porteños love it! An all you can eat with excellent parrilla. Good value, excellent if you are hungry!
Gorritti 5143. Gabi Oggero has been cooking killer dishes for the last ten years, and every day he cooks better. In a modern room, accompanied by an oyster bar, you can have also cocktails and excellent wine. The dessert tasting: too good to be true.
Cabrera 5099. Tel. 4831-7002. It is so popular nowadays that if you go without reservation you will have to wait for ages, not so bad as they offer champagne and tapas on very busy days!
The beef is excellent and the best sweetbreads of the galaxy.
Humboldt 2199. Tel. 4774-3880. Organic and vegetarian, in Bio you can even try their best organic wine. Small and casual.
Gorriti 5092. Tel 4833-7832. Attractive red outside and inside a cozy bed, this restaurant offers mostly pasta, meats and fancy salads. The shrimp, spinach and ricotta ravioli is delicious! Good value.
Uriarte 1658. Tel 4833-1112
Opened in December 2004, Casa Cruz is one of the city’s chicest restaurants. With its enormous polished-brass doors and lack of a sign on the door, it feels like you are entering a nightclub, and inside the dark modern interior maintains the theme.
The menu here is eclectic and interesting, overseen by Germán Martitegui, the popular argentinean chef. Rabbit, sea bass, Parma ham rolls, and other interesting and exotic ingredients go into the many flavorful dishes.
Posadas 1515, 4924-0888.If you want to feel like a local, mix with them and enjoy one of the best empanadas in a warm ambience, we recommend you to try this small hidden spot, just a couple of blocks of Alvear Palace Hotel, you can forget hear about the aristocracy in the surrounding.
Las Heras 2101. Tel 4776-3122. This club that owns many restaurants in the city offers “milanesas” big as a pizza and with all sort of combinations: with mozzarella on top, spinach, bacon, french fries, pumpkin or any other cover you can image. They can have a base of chicken, beef, soya or fish and can be shared between two, three or four people.
Reconquista 1076, at Paraguay. Tel. 4311-2891
The unpretentious seafood spot where businesspeople and those in the know have eaten for 40 years.
Posadas 1042. Tel. 4328-4104, in the Recoleta la Recova area, near the Four Seasons hotel. The selection of food concentrating on northern Italian cuisine is superb, with a stunning array of risottos.
Av. Alvear 1891. Tel 4805-3857, in the Alvear Palace, is hands down the best French restaurant in Buenos Aires and the recipient of numerous awards. Yes, it’s very formal and very expensive, but you wouldn’t expect something different here.
There is a national institution that is the Cafeteria; a traditional social meeting spot. In the first years as a Republic these places where were the revolutionaries used to meet to discuss their political ideas. Later on in the history where the new ideas were born, where most of our writers used to spend their inspirational hours, and where nowadays Porteños start or end the day.
The oldest ones have been declared by the city as “Bares Notables” (Notable Bars) as a way of promoting people to keep going. Many of these have been serving customers for more than a hundred years.
Tomamos un café?
Av. De Mayo 825. The oldest Café of Buenos Aires, still popular with porteños in the early mornings, although tourists cue outside in the afternoon to grab a table. Old wooden chairs, vitró lamps and a sculpture with the most characteristic characters of the Argentinean art make for a classic ambience. But, don’t expect too much of the waiters: they seem not to like people.
Carlos Calvo 599. Tel. 4300-4313. This bohemic café in the heart of San Telmo opened in 1864 as a bar to become a brothel later. Nowadays you can listen tango while you taste their delicious home made beer, as well as their picadas (try the one with fried ravioli).
Bulnes 331, Almagro. Tuesdays to Fridays, 19 to 4 hrs. If Buenos Aires can be bohemic and bizarre, this is the place to feel it. Wine and tango, around 22 hrs they start playing, until someone decides to close.
Medrano with Rivadavia. It was the first bar of this neighborhood, born for the high class, came down during the 90’s when it almost closed. Actually, it did, but had to re open, as the neighbors went to the streets in protest. Since then it is always full, and overpriced, but still has its character. English tea includes cakes, croissants, bread, butter, marmalades and anything else you can image, good to share in a hungry afternoon!
Defensa and Brasil. Similar story to Las Violetas, but on the other side of the city. El Britanico was the first 24 hrs bar, managed by three Spanish friends who came 50 years ago, open the café, and never left. Good for an early coffee after the discotheque, or the last beer with views to Lezama Park, on the south end of San Telmo.
Corrientes 1453. The waiters might be as old as the place. Here people come for their hot chocolate and churros in cold days. As soon as you cross the door you feel definitively in the 70’s
Corrientes 1669. Need a tea? In Gato Negro you will find their own blends and also exquisite herbal varieties in a cozy ambient.
Thames 878, 4773 1098
Behind an unmarked door on a relatively quiet street, you’ll find 878 (or ocho7ocho), a former speakeasy, now all above board, with heaps of character.
Ring the bell and you’ll be granted entry to a suitably low-lit space full of comfy couches. The walls are bare-brick and the whole place has the feel of something quickly cobbled together, an on-the-hoof, raw and rather illicit vibe.
Is considered by many the best for cocktails in town. Dim reddish lighting and candles make for a flirtatious night’s fun as you coyly glance over the top of yet another daiquiri to-die-for. Or watch a saucy ‘b’ movie over someone’s shoulder in this eclectic American diner meets classic cocktail bar.
Parana 1048, 4815-9925
This glorious bar is housed in an incredibly attractive old mansion with French doors. It has balconies, an elegant staircase and at the back, a cascade of greenery framing a tranquil courtyard. Inside there’s a compact bar area and a superbly stylish restaurant. The building dates back to the dawn of the 20th century and has been thoughtfully restored so that something of that old world atmosphere remains, though in other ways this is a very modern place serving top notch tapas, excellent Argentine steaks and potent cocktails. Milion is at its best in warmer weather when you can relax in the garden under the darkening sky or, if you start to feel chilly, retreat into the separate garden room with its inviting red cushions and wall projections. Reservations are pretty much a must if you want to secure a table in the restaurant.
Libertad y Santa Fe 4811 1108
Contemporary New York meets South America in this welcoming bar/restaurant with a long bar, plush sofas and intimate lighting. Cocktail aficionados will not be disappointed here, nor will anyone else with the truly impressive choice of spirits on offer or the delectable sushi. This is where the city’s sophisticates and movers n’ shakers go to play.
In the city most of the blocks are 100 mts each. That is why porteños measure the distances in blocks.
To get to know the city, it is always helpful to start with a city tour. They usually visit center, La Boca, and Recoleta neighborhoods. They give you a better idea about what to see and where to go.
Taxis are cheap compared to other cities in the world. A taxi in the city shouldn’t cost you more than ar$60 (usd15) from corner to corner.
It’s generally easy to get around either by walking, taking the bus, or taking a taxi. The only trick is that the taxi drivers don’t speak English so know how to say the exact name or write down your destination for the cabbie.
There is a useful governmental tourism website where you can check for free activities each week- www.bue.gob.ar You find often guided tours, exposition, festival and events organized for free or for very cheap tickets.
Any foreign consulate can provide a list of area doctors who speak English. If you get sick, consider asking your hotel concierge to recommend a local doctor — even his or her own. You can also try the emergency room at a local hospital. Many hospitals also have walk-in clinics for emergency cases that are not life-threatening; you may not get immediate attention, but you won’t pay the high price of an emergency room visit.
The medical facilities and personnel in Buenos Aires.
Argentina has a system of socialized medicine, where basic services are free.
For an English-speaking hospital, call Clínica Suisso Argentino (tel. 4304-1081).
The Hospital Británico (4309-6600), established over 150 years ago during the British empire’s heyday also has English-speaking doctors.
If you worry about getting sick away from home, you may want to consider medical travel insurance. In most cases, however, your existing health plan will provide all the coverage you need, but call to make sure. Be sure to carry your identification card in your wallet. You should also ask for receipts or notes from the doctors, which you might need for your claim.
Calling from Buenos Aires: Pay phones operate with chip cards or change (5, 10, 25, 50 cents and AR$1). You can make either short or long distance calls. Direct International Dial-Up: 00 + country code + area code + number.
Calling Buenos Aires: The international prefix for Argentina is 54 and for Buenos Aires is 11. For example, to reach the 4555-5555 in Buenos Aires when calling from abroad, dial: 54-11-4555-5555
– International operator: 000
– National operator: 19
– Medical Aid: 107
– Information: 110 – Official time: 113
– Phone Technical Support: 114
– Fire Department: 100
– Police Department: 911
A little basic Spanish goes a long way here and we recommend studying up (at least a tad) on menu translation so that you don’t end up eating the only thing you know how to order all the time. Although the guidebooks say that most Argentineans speak a little English, we dont think so.
Some things are pronounced differently – for example, all “ll” are pronounced with a “sh” sound so “pollo” (Chicken) is pronounced “posho.” To say goodbye they use “Ciao” instead of “Adios” or “Hasta Luego.” “Disco” means supermarket, not, uh, a disco.
In a word… stylish. An overwhelming percentage of people are dressed up with their hair carefully done (and make up, for the women).
Buenos Aires has a whole bunch of activities to offer, from traditional city tours to polo classes followed by champagne and barbecue. From a traditional Tango Show to a Football Game in the main Football stadium of the country.
Find below a list of the organized excursions offered, and let yourself to be surprised by the city. And don`t hesitate our Buenos Aires Packages.
TRADICIONAL CITY TOUR
Explore Buenos Aires’s major tourist attractions on this 4-hour tour that hits all of the highlights of this cultural metropolis. Guided by a knowledgeable guide, learn about Porteño’s lifestyle, vibrant culture and music. Visit important historical monuments on your way to Plaza de Mayo and take a moment to admire significant buildings like the Casa Rosada or the Congress. Experience the European flair that has given the city its fame strolling around eclectic neighbourhoods; from antique San Telmo and colorful working class La Boca to fancy and chic Recoleta with its famous Cemetery, representing the elegant and historical Buenos Aires and containing the graves of many Argentina’s emblematic figures, such as Eva Peron.
Duration: 4 hours
Included: Private car, english speaking guide. As a private service, the tour can be customized according to your interest and preferences as long as they fit with the times.
Not included: Entrance to the Recoleta Cemetery.
TANGO CLASS AND MILONGA TOUR
Experience real tango as danced by locals by attending an authentic milonga which is a gathering with live music and dance. You will be accompanied by your tango professors who will enhance the experience and be able to bring alive what is occurring on the dance floor. Before the dance begins, you will have the chance to polish your skills with a private tango lesson in a salon, to perhaps later on adventuring out on the floor and try your moves.
Duration: 6 hours. From 20.30hs to 02.00hs approx.
Included: Transfer In/out, dinner, beverages.
Note: leather-soled shoes for the class are recommended.
WALKING CITY TOUR AROUND DOWNTOWN & SAN TELMO
Explore the historical and bohemian Buenos Aires in this enjoyable guided walk along the downtown area and San Telmo neighborhood. Learn about the history and the political situation of the country whilst visiting important historical monuments on your way to Plaza de Mayo and taking a moment to admire significant buildings like the Casa Rosada or the Congress. Head to the antique San Telmo and walk through its beautiful cobblestoned streets surrounded by old colonial architecture and shady plazas where, every Sunday, an antique market takes place.
Duration: 3 hours
Included: English speaking guide, public transportation tickets and water bottles or coffee. Meeting point will be arranged the day before with the guide.
Note: You can upgrade the tour for a full day version visiting also Palermo and Recoleta areas.
WALKING CITY TOUR AROUND RECOLETA & PALERMO
Explore the elegant and modern Buenos Aires in this ejoyable guided walk along Recoleta and Palermo neighborhoods. Experience the European flair that has given the city its fame strolling around beautiful palaces, museums, parks and monuments in the fancy Recoleta area, also famous for its Cemetery that contains the graves of many Argentina’s emblematic figures, such as Eva Peron. Delight your senses relaxing and having mate in the gorgeous green area of Palermo before heading towards the trendy Soho and Hollywood districts with their vintage and stylish bars and restaurants and artsy ambience.
Duration: 3 hours
Included: English speaking guide, Cemetery entrance fee, public transportation tickets and water bottles or coffee. Meeting point will be arranged the day before with the guide.
Note: You can upgrade the tour for a full day version visiting also downtown and San Telmo areas.
HALF DAY TIGRE
Head north towards San Isidro neighborhood to admire the unique architecture of its historical houses and famous Cathedral. Set out on a sightseeing cruise around the Tigre Delta, one of the largest in the world, passing by English style rowing clubs, countless marinas and elegant mansions from the ‘Belle Epoque’ to understand why the region is prized by locals as a relaxing and natural escape from the bustling Capital. Discover the huge and gorgeous Fruit Artisanal Market full of colors and a variety of furniture, handicrafts, flowers and home design stores that will make your eyes look brighter!
Duration: Half Day (6.30hs including lunch / 4.30hs without lunch)
Note: Only AM departures.
THE ARGENTINE EXPERIENCE DINNER
Live a unique night with this fun culinary experience, combining what many travelers are looking for on an evening out in Buenos Aires: great food, fun, laughs and social interaction with people from all different backgrounds. The night includes a cocktail-making class (learn how to make wine-based cocktails under the guidance of a sommelier), empanada competition and what we believe is the best steak in town. Led by passionate local and expat hosts, the evening quickly turns to shared laughter and joy as you take a unique look at some curious quirks and customs that make Argentineans some of the most interesting and passionate people of Latin America.
Duration: 3 hours (Only Dinner) 4 hours (Dinner + cocktail class)
Not included: Transportation In/Out (You can include it for an additional price)
Sample Argentina’s local wines in this small-group tasting experience in Buenos Aires. Take almost two hours in the city, instead of a day trip to the Mendoza wine region, to taste some of the country’s spectacular boutique wines. Snack on traditional tapas plates while an expert guides you through the tasting experience and educates you on the history and viniculture of Argentine wine. Numbers are limited to 15 for a personalized experience.
Duration: 01:30 hour
NORTH GRAFFITI TOUR
Discover the artistic side of Buenos Aires appreciating the vibrant urban art reflected on the walls and streets of Colegiales, Chacarita, Villa Crespo and Palermo neighborhoods. Get to know the rich variety of art with its many upcoming local artist and international ones, exploring the streets on foot and on a minibus, learning about this exciting world and its compelling history.
Duration: Starts at 15.00hs in Colegiales and finishes at 18.00hs in Palermo.
Included: Mini-guide of Buenos Aires.
Not Included: Transfer to/from hotel.
Note: Tours run every Wednesday, Thursday, Friday & Saturday.
SOUTH GRAFFITI TOUR
Discover the artistic side of Buenos Aires appreciating the vibrant urban art reflected on the walls and streets of emblematic La Boca and the Bohemian neighborhoods of San Telmo and Barracas. Get to know the rich variety of art with its many upcoming local artist and international ones, exploring the streets on foot and on a minibus, learning about this exciting world and its compelling history.
Duration: Starts at 14.00hs in La Boca and finishes at 17.00hs in San Telmo.
Included: Mini-guide of Buenos Aires.
Not Included: Transfer to/from hotel.
Note: Tours run every Monday and Tuesday.
Argentina’s unit of currency is the peso, which has held steady for a few years at about four to one against the US dollar (but this rate could change quickly). Notes come in denominations of 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 pesos. One peso equals 100 centavos; coins come in denominations of 5, 10, 25 and 50 centavos, and 1 peso. The $ sign in front of a price is usually used to signify pesos, so this should be the case unless otherwise marked.
Don’t be dismayed if you receive dirty and hopelessly tattered banknotes; they will still be accepted everywhere. Some banks refuse worn or defaced US dollars, however, so make sure you arrive in Buenos Aires with pristine bills. Casa Piano (a well known Cambio) will probably change your older or written-on bills, but they will discount a 3% of the value.
Sadly fake currency has became more common. So look for a clear watermark or running thread on the largest bills, and be especially careful when receiving change in dark nightclubs or taxis. If you hesitate ask to change it for another note.
Open daily from 10 hrs to 15 hrs. Not all the banks change foreign currency however there are many currency exchange shops.
Banks might have longer lines and more limited opening hours but may offer better rates, as well as more security regarding fake notes. Cajeros Automáticos (ATM) are everywhere in the city, but they dispense just Argentinean currency.
There might be a limit amount per transaction, depending the bank, but you can always do many transactions in the same ATM.
Beware of per-transaction fees. To avoid having a fistful of large-denomination bills, withdraw odd amounts like 290 pesos.
Many tourist services, larger stores, hotels and restaurants take credit cards such as Visa and MasterCard, especially for big purchases. Be aware, however, that some businesses add a recargo (surcharge) of up to 10% to credit-card purchases; ask ahead of time if this is the case. Some lower-end hotels and private businesses will not accept credit cards, and tips can’t usually be added to credit-card bills at restaurants.
Traveler’s checks are very impractical in Argentina, and even in BA it’s hard to change them. Only the fancier hotels and a few banks and cambios will take them, and they’ll charge a very hefty commission. Stores will not change them. Porteños don’t like or understand the use of them. American Express checks can be cashed without commission at its central office from 10am to 3pm Monday to Friday, though you won’t quite get the best rate. Their office is right in front of Plaza San Martín, a few metres from Florida, the main pedestrian street.
Arenales 707 PB (C1061AAA) Capital Federal. Tel:(011) 4310-3535 – Fax: (011) 4315-1846
Outside BA it’s almost impossible to change traveler’s checks. If you do decide to bring some, get them in US dollars.
The Spanish word for tip is ‘propina’ – a synonym of ‘reward’- and derivative from the Latin word “propinare” meaning to give something.
We cannot stress enough that tipping is a personal choice and should be based upon the quality of service provided. Nobody should expect a tip and do not feel obligated to give one if you are unsatisfied with the service.
It is difficult to give firm guidelines as to how much to tip a provider of services.
In general terms, we can say that It is normal practice in Latin America to tip anyone who provides a service, including waiters, guides, porters, room-service and maid-service in hotels. For everyone, with the possible exception of guides, it is more convenient to receive a tip in local currency.
In restaurants its customary to tip about 10% of the bill. Some Argentines just leave leftover change. Note that tips can’t be added to credit-card bills, so carry cash for this purpose.
Tip hotel porters for handling bags. Calculate an amount of currency equal to about $1.00 for every two bags.
Same amount is calculated for drivers if they help you with your suitecases.
If you are happy with the housekeeping you may want to consider tipping the maid between US$0.50 – $1.00 per night
You might also tip the concierge staff if you have used them to arrange dinner reservations, transportation or leisure activities.
In Argentina we don’t regularly tip taxi drivers.
Everywhere in the city.
One of Argentina’s primary state revenue-earners is the 21% value-added tax known as the Impuesto de Valor Agregado (IVA). Under limited circumstances, foreign visitors may obtain IVA refunds on purchases of Argentine products upon departing the country. A ‘Tax Free’ window decal (in English) identifies participants in this program, but always check that the shop is part of the tax-free program before making your purchase.
You can obtain tax refunds on purchases of $AR70 or more made at one of these participating stores. To do so, present your passport to the merchant, who will make out an invoice for you. On leaving the country keep the purchased items in your carry-on baggage; a customs official will check them. And be sure to leave yourself a bit of extra time at the airport to get this done.
As this can be done just in international airports, the main one in Ezeiza has a few offices spread in the different terminals.
Buenos Aires has been getting a bad reputation these past few years. Crime does exist (as it does in any big city) and you’ll notice that porteños are very security conscious, but in general BA is fairly safe.
Some neighborhoods where you should be careful at night, however, are Constitución (around the train station), the eastern border of San Telmo, and La Boca (where, outside tourist streets, you should be careful even during the day).
Crime against tourists is almost always of the petty sort, such as pickpockets in crowded markets or buses, or bag snatches when you’re not looking – things travelers can easily guard themselves against. There’s also a tourist police that can help.
Remember that being conscious and careful is good advice anywhere: don’t flash any wealth, don’t stagger around drunk, always be aware of your surroundings. Even imitation jewelry and small items can attract attention and are best left behind. Keep a very firm hold of purses and cameras when out and about, and keep them on your lap in restaurants, not dangling off the back of your chair.
Always remain alert for pickpockets. Try to keep your cash and credit cards in different places, so that if one gets stolen you can fall back on the other. Tickets and other valuables are best left in hotel safes.
Avoid carrying large sums of money around, but always keep enough to have something to hand over if you do get mugged.
Women can expect the occasional piropo (a flirtatious remark, usually alluding to some physical aspect), and some advances. This is inoffensive, actually feel proud if you get some! But don’t be extremely confident. Be careful as you would be at home. If you’re heading out for the night, it’s wise to take a taxi.
Beware scams such as the offer by a seemingly kindly passerby to help you clean the mustard/ketchup/cream that has somehow appeared on your clothes: while your attention is occupied, an accomplice picks your pocket or snatches your bag.
Taxi drivers in Buenos Aires are usually honest, but occasionally they decide to take people for a ride, literally. All official cabs have meters, so make sure this is turned on. Some scam artists have hidden switches that make the meter tick over more quickly, but simply driving a circuitous route is a more common ploy. It helps to have an idea where you’re going and how long it will take. Local lore says that if hailing taxis on the street you are safer with those with lights on top (usually labeled “Radio Taxi”). Late at night, try to call for a cab—all hotels and restaurants, no matter how cheap, have a number and will usually call for you.
When asking for price quotes in touristy areas, always confirm whether the price is in dollars or pesos. Some salespeople, especially street vendors, have found that they can take advantage of confused tourists by charging dollars for goods that are actually priced in pesos. If you’re in doubt about that beautiful leather coat, don’t be shy about asking whether the number on the tag is in pesos or dollars.
“Mix together a beautiful European-like city with attractive residents (call them porteños), gourmet cuisine, awesome shopping, a frenzied nightlife and top-drawer activities, and you get Buenos Aires, a cosmopolitan metropolis with both slick neighborhoods and equally downtrodden areas – but that’s part of the appeal. It’s an elegant, seductive place with a ragged edge, laced with old-world languor and yet full of contemporary attitude. BA is somehow strangely familiar, but unlike any other city in the world.
In between cutting-edge designer boutiques, ritzy neighborhoods and grand parks are unkempt streets full of spewing buses and bustling fervor. Seek out classic BA: the old-world cafés, colonial architecture, fun outdoor markets and diverse communities. Rub shoulders with the formerly rich and famous in Recoleta’s cemetery, making sure to sidestep the ubiquitous dog piles on the sidewalks. Fill your belly at aparrilla (steak restaurant), then spend the night partying away in Palermo Viejo’s trendiest dance club.
Hunt for that antique gem in a dusty San Telmo shop, or visit on Sunday for the barrio’s spectacularly popular fair. Learn to sweep your leg dancing the sultry tango, and then attend a super-passionate fútbol match between River and Boca. These unforgettable adventures (and many more) are just waiting for you to go out and experience them.
Everyone knows someone who has been here and raved about it. You’ve put it off long enough. Come to Buenos Aires and you’ll understand why so many people have fallen in love with this amazing city, and even decided to stay. There’s a good chance you’ll be one of them.”
“Of all South America’s capitals and major cities, Buenos Aires – Capital Federal, Baires, BsAs or simply BA – has by far the most going for it. Seductive and cultured, beguilingly eclectic and in constant flux, it never bores, seldom sleeps and invariably exerts a mesmerizing power over its visitors. Described as a hybrid of Paris, Madrid, Milan and London, with a dash of Manhattan, and yet with its own deeply entrenched traditions – such as drinking tea-like mate – and its hospitable, extravagant inhabitants, known as Porteños, it is in fact a city that is totally sui generis.
By Latin American standards Buenos Aires enjoys an incomparable lifestyle. You’ll find restaurants, bars, cafés and nightclubs to suit every taste and pocket, plus a world-class opera house, myriad theatres, cinemas and galleries and splendid French-style palaces (the city’s favourite nickname is the “Paris of the South”) that underscore its attachment to the arts and its sense of style. Both these qualities are reflected in the tango – in its various forms of music, dance or song – often the main reason why people travel to Buenos Aires in the first place. A few of the city’s many museums are undeniably world-class, presenting collections of European and Latin American art, old and modern, or the works of great home-grown artists, or furniture and artefacts imported from the Old World, or else the fascinating history of the city and the people who have made it. Another boon are the many parks and gardens around the city, some coming complete with cycle-paths, boating-lakes and even a planetarium – plus outstanding sports facilities. Porteños are great sports fanatics and any trip to the city should include a football match, a horse race or a polo game.
Buenos Aires owes much of its character to its proximity to nature. To the northeast of the city flows the caramel-hued Río de la Plata (River Plate), linked to Buenos Aires’ history, development and personality ever since conquistador Pedro de Mendoza first sailed up it to found the city in 1536. The city’s stores, markets and restaurants, meanwhile, are full of reminders of the closeness of the Pampas, a verdant plain lapping at its western edges. “
“Incredible food, fresh young designers, and a thriving cultural scene—all these Buenos Aires has. Yet less tangible things are at the heart of the city’s sizzle—for one, the spirit of its inhabitants. Here a flirtatious glance can be as passionate as a tango; a heated sports discussion as important as a world-class soccer match. It’s this zest for life that’s making Buenos Aires one of Latin America’s hottest destinations.”
“…It is one of the largest cities in Latin America, with a lot of cultural offerings, and is the point of departure for travelling to the rest of the country…Buenos Aires is a singular, open and integrating destination that allows the visitor not only to view the city but also to have an exceptional urban adventure.”
“Buenos Aires is one of the world’s great cities: grand baroque buildings to rival Paris, theatres and cinemas to rival London, and restaurants, shops and bars to rival New York. But the atmosphere is uniquely Argentine, from the steak sizzling on your plate in a crowded parrillato the tango being danced in the streets.
The city seethes with life and history. Once you’ve marvelled at the grand Casa Rosada (government house) where Perón addressed his people in Plaza de Mayo, and sipped espresso at Borges’ old haunt, Café Tortoni, head to the cemetery in swish Recoleta where Evita is buried amid stunning art galleries and buzzing cafés. Take a long stroll around charming Palermo Viejo, with its enticing cobbled streets full of chic bars and little designer shops. Or explore beautifully crumbling San Telmo, the oldest part of the city, for its Sunday antique market where tango dancers passionately entwine among the fading crystal and 1920s tea sets. Buenos Aires’ nightlife is legendary and starts late. You’ll have time for your first tango class at a milonga, before tucking into piquant empanadas, a huge steak and a glass of fine Argentina Malbec at around 2300. Superb restaurants abound; wander around the renovated docks at Puerto Madero, try the trendy eateries of Las Cañitas or the hip hangouts of Palermo Viejo. Or combine the pleasures of fine food and a dazzling tango show.
But if the city’s thrills become too intense, take a train up the coast to the pretty colonial suburb of San Isidro or take a boat through the lush jungly delta, where you can hide away in a cabin, or retreat to a luxury estancia until you’re ready for your next round of shopping, eating and dancing. While there’s plenty to keep you entertained in Buenos Aires for a week at least, there are great places to escape to for a day or two within easy striking distance. These include the calm rural estancias , the Tigre (river delta) and the cowboy towns.”
“Spontaneous, chaotic, beautiful: Buenos Aires is a truly thrilling city”
“In his poem, ‘The Mythical Founding of Buenos Aires’, Argentina’s prodigal son, the writer Jorge Luis Borges, wrote ‘Hard to believe Buenos Aires had any beginning/I feel it to be as eternal as air and water’.
As Argentina approaches its bicentennial anniversary in 2010, it is hard to wander the streets of its capital Buenos Aires and imagine that, with the exception of La Boca, San Telmo and some of downtown, all the city was fields 200 years ago.
In two centuries of independence, porteños, as the city’s residents are called, have developed some strong characteristics. They are gregarious, occasionally melancholy yet endlessly welcoming. It is likely that an impromptu chat or drink with a talkative resident will stay in your memory long after you’ve relegated your photo of the Casa Rosada to the bottom drawer and forgotten your tango steps.
Buenos Aires, you see, is not a city to visit, but a city to live in. That is not to suggest that everyone should quit their jobs, sell up and move to Argentina’s capital, but those who come should, whether visiting for three days or three months, take time to live like porteños. Be sure to visit the sites, take amusing perspective shots of the Obelísco, and watch a cheesy tango show, but also spend hours in coffee shops mulling over a novel, cheer along with fanatics at a football game, chat for hours after your steak dinner and stay up until dawn, partying with BA’s carefree and beautiful young crowd. This is how to get under the skin of an utterly, and wonderfully, beguiling city.
Through its chaotic and frenetic exterior, you will see that much of the city is beautiful, with grandiose buildings, world-class art galleries, fine restaurants and a thriving fashion industry. Yet those who come with the wince-inducing ‘Paris of the South’ tag in mind will be disappointed (if that’s your bag, we suggest Paris). Buenos Aires, despite the occasional European pretence, is undoubtedly a Latin city, as anyone who takes time to explore neighbourhoods, such as Once and Retiro, will discover. Like every other city in Latin America, it still has major problems with inequalities of wealth.
Buenos Aires is unpredictable. Sometimes frustratingly so, but more often thrillingly so. You never know what’s around the next corner: a spontaneous tango display, a flash mob from BA’s exciting theatre scene, a free concert by one of the world’s leading artists, or maybe another protest.
This is why we adore Buenos Aires, and why we know you will too.”
“Contemporary Argentine history is a roller coaster of financial booms and cracks, set to gripping political soap operas. But through all the highs and lows, one thing has remained constant: Buenos Aires’s graceful elegance and cosmopolitan cool. This attractive city continues to draw food lovers, design buffs and party people with its riotous night life, fashion-forward styling and a favorable exchange rate. Even with the uncertain economy, the creative energy and enterprising spirit of Porteños, as residents are called, prevail — just look to the growing ranks of art spaces, boutiques, restaurants and hotels.”
“Buenos Aires n’en finit pas de fasciner. Peuplée de 3 millions d’habitants (environ 13 avec sa banlieue), cette grande métropole est sans doute la plus européenne d’Amérique du Sud. Elle est en majorité peuplée de descendants de colons d’Europe du Sud, venus d’Italie ou d’Espagne au début du siècle dernier dans l’espoir d’un avenir meilleur. Cet héritage se ressent dans les différents quartiers de la ville : les hôtels particuliers de la Recoleta évoquent Paris, La Boca a les airs mal famés de Naples et les larges avenues du centre rappelant la Gran Via à Madrid. Durement touchée par la crise de 2001, Buenos Aires a connu une spectaculaire renaissance. La ville a retrouvé sa vitalité culturelle et une vie nocturne particulièrement intense. Quant au tango, vous pourrez le danser dans les nombreuses milongas du vieux quartier de San Telmo. Une ville fabuleuse !”
“Buenos Aires no longer rests on its laurels as the world’s beef and tango capital. It now fancies itself as South America’s creative trendsetter in fashion, street art and nightlife. Glossy-haired girls and dapper men parade around boutique-studded Palermo Viejo, the MALBA and galleries citywide showcase sought-after art, and slick new nightspots debut at an impressive rate. Drop into a milonga in San Telmo and be wooed into the passionate arms of tango.”
When the Aragonese conquered Cagliari, Sardinia from the Piisans in 1324, they established their headquarters on top of a hill that overlooked the city. The hill was known to them as Buen Ayre (or “Bonaria” in the local language), as it was free of the foul smell prevalent in the old city (the Castle area), which is adjacent to swampland. During the siege of Cagliari, the Aragonese built a sanctuary to the Virgin Mary on top of the hill. In 1335, King Alfonso the Gentle donated the church to the Mercedarians , who built an abbey that stands to this day. In the years after that, a story circulated, claiming that a statue of the Virgin Mary was retrieved from the sea after it miraculously helped to Buen Aire (“Holy Mary of the Fair Winds”), a name chosen by the chaplain of Mendoza’s expedition, a devotee of the Virgin of Buen Ayre. Mendoza’s settlement soon came under attack by indigenous peoples, and was abandoned in 1541. For many years, the name was attributed to Sancho del Campo, who is said to have exclaimed: How fair are the winds of this land!, as he arrived. But Eduardo Madero, in 1882, after conducting extensive research in Spanish archives would ultimately conclude that the name was closely linked with the devotion of the sailors to Our Lady of Buen Ayre. A second (and permanent) settlement was established in 1580 by Juan de Garay, who sailed down the Paraná River from Asunción(now the capital of Paraguay). Garay preserved the name chosen by Mendoza, calling the city Ciudad de la Santísima Trinidad y Puerto de Santa María del Buen Aire (“City of the Most Holy Trinity and Port of Saint Mary of the Fair Winds”). The short form “Buenos Aires” became the common usage during the 17th century.
An estimated 3 million people and a total of 13 million if we include the greater Buenos Aires area.
Buenos Aires has recently been selected as one of the best citys for artist by the Lonely Planet guide. Many artist among the years have been inspired by the cosmopolitan Paris of the South. Here a selection of interesting, useful, fun and informative articles that we love reading and sharing with you.
In the land of beef, wine, and eating disorders, my guide to Argentine good food, not so good food, restaurants and my own creations made from my crappy Buenos Aires kitchen. From a very young age, I’ve had a passion for food – intensely devouring it like a possessed demon child. Since I spend my days planning my next meal, it was only fitting that I channeled this obsession in the form of something a bit more socially acceptable: A Buenos Aires Food Blog.
The Back Story In May 2007, 18 months after moving to Buenos Aires, I left a tango club, hailed the first taxi I saw and asked the driver to take me to his favorite restaurant. When I ended up at Parrilla Peña with a plate of transcendent bife de lomo in front of me, I knew I was on to something. Every week, I get in a taxi, ask the driver to take me to his or her favorite restaurant, and chronicle my adventures,which have been featured in major news outlets including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post. As a licensed New York cabbie and Not for Tourists editor, I also document my search for cheap, delicious eats while I’m on duty.
“It is better to look good than to feel good,” the Argentine actor Fernando Lamas once remarked. He could have been talking about Buenos Aires after its 2002 peso crisis. The financial meltdown emasculated the Argentine economy, but it also made Buenos Aires, the expensive cosmopolitan capital, an attractive and suddenly affordable destination. Now largely recovered from “La Crisis,” the city is being energized by an influx of tourists, expatriates and returning Argentine émigrés, and its glamorous night life and conspicuous consumption have reached a fever pitch. While inflation is now reappearing, Buenos Aires, at least for the moment, not only looks good but feels that way too.
Top Ten Reasons I Love Argentina & Buenos Aires Well, here is my list, in no particular order:
There’s a high beauty quotient among the people of Argentina, and they dress with flair. Even women in jeans have that ability to throw on an ordinary scarf or shawl in such a way that they end up looking elegant.
My friend Pam and I look at each other immediately after arriving on the streets of Buenos Aires. We’ve been friends since college days — so long we can sometimes read each other’s minds. She says it first: “Haircuts.”
We stop in the first salon we pass. At these prices, we might as well get highlights, too. A wash, cut, highlights and blow-dry cost 37 pesos each — about $13.
Try doing that in Paris, which I’ve come to think of as the Buenos Aires of Europe.
You don’t have to know the difference between a cornice and a cantilever to see that Buenos Aires is an architectural wonderland. In this melting-pot South American capital, no one style prevails – thanks to a mix of influences from the Old World, art-nouveau apartment buildings rise up beside Italian Renaissance-style palaces.
The experimentation began when Argentina declared independence from Spain in 1816. Proud porteños rejected Spanish culture, which explains the city’s relative dearth of colonial architecture except for a few examples like the Cabildo on Plaza de Mayo. Defiant architects adapted aesthetics from elsewhere in Europe – Italy, France and ancient Greece – to build the city’s most magnificent structures. Teatro Colón was influenced by German, French and Italian Renaissance styles, while Mario Palantiborrowed both thematic and structural inspiration from his native Italy to build Palacio Barolo.
There are Argentinians, other Argentinians and there are porteños. Used to refer to the citizens of Buenos Aires, porteño means ‘person of the port’, and harks back to the arrival of hundreds of thousands of Spanish and Italian immigrants in the first half of the 20th century. So while the porteños might share the same country as their compadres from, say, Salta or Rio Gallegos, they look and act more like Italians.
Buenos Aires is proud of its identity, so you’ll see and hear the word ‘porteño’ (or ‘porteña’ in the feminine) all around, to describe restaurants, taxi firms, football teams and tango. But porteño is more than just a geographical indicator, it’s a way of being. Porteños have their own slang (‘Lunfardo’), their own fashion, their own complex psyche and their own attitude. So if you want to ‘do’ porteño, you’ll need more than a Spanish dictionary and a smile.
Cerys Matthews recommends the best band haunts in Nashville, and our other industry experts reveal their favourite musical places, from juke joints near Memphis to tango clubs in Buenos Aires.