Buenos Aires has it all.
The sheer size and grandeur of Buenos Aires will render any visitor speechless – as will the world-class cuisine, arts, shopping and nightlife. The city and the Porteños, the residents of Buenos Aires, exude a sophistication almost unknown elsewhere in the continent and there lurks a contagious sense of sensuality and mystery that grows heavier as the sun sets.
Buenos Aires is an alluring option for those looking for a luxurious and cosmopolitan destination different from any other South American big city. Not only does it offer European inspired living at a fraction of the cost of Paris
, but there is a strong sense of national pride that makes Argentina – well, Argentina. Buenos Aires carries national pride to the highest level and sends shivers down your spine just hearing the national anthem.
Whether it’s the tango culture that has gives Buenos Aires that sexy ambiance, the European elegance of the streets, or the commanding power of an Argentine – Buenos Aires will capture and amaze you.
Buenos Aires has six popular neighbourhood frequented by travelers – the Microcentro, Puerto Madero, Palermo, Recoleta, La Boca and San Telmo. Despite heavy tourist flow and busy well lit streets in those six major areas, Buenos Aires has a dangerous side that involves police corruption, petty theft and vandalism. If you wander into a seedy area you’ll definitely see and feel the change in your surroundings. Keep a close watch on your belongings, wear your backpack in front and avoid wearing excessive jewellery or flashy clothing.
Buenos Aires is a massive transportation hub for South America. With its 2 airports Ezeiza International Airport (EZE) and Aeroparque Jorge Newbery (AEP), train station, major bus terminal and ferry boats, destinations such as Iquazu Falls, Bariloche, Ushuaia, Córdoba, Mendoza
, Montevideo, and Punta del Este
as easily assessable.
Microcentro, Buenos Aires
The commercial lifeline of Buenos Aires runs through the Microcentro. This downtown core features a collection of shopping streets, banks, malls, historic buildings and business high-rises amalgamated into one hectic neighbourhood.
Avenida Florida A pedestrian only street of shopping and dining starting at Roque Sáenz Peña ending at Marcelo T de Alvear.
Casa Rosada The Argentine version of Washington’s White House. Balcarce 50, Microcentro, Buenos Aires. Tel. (54-11) 4344-3600
Plaza de Mayo An understated plaza in front of the Casa Rosada acting as a roundabout for traffic going through the Microcentro.
Tucumán 1171, Microcentro, Buenos Aires. Tel. (54-11) 5533-5599 for tickets and information.
Puerto Madero, Buenos Aires
The trendy dockside neighbourhood of Puerto Madero lies to the East of the Microcentro, a five minute walk from the Plaza de Mayo. The brick and chrome buildings of Puerto Madero are the newest edition to Buenos Aires and add a hint of modern chic to a traditional and historic city. Proximity to the business district means a large shirt and tie clientele and overpriced dining. If you’re just there to walk around, take some photos of the city from the Puente de la Mujer which connects the two dockside pedestrian zones.
Palermo, Buenos Aires
Palermo is a chic bohemian neighbourhood where the upper middleclass live and play. Clothing boutiques, specialty shoe stores and designer baby stores intermingle with the trendy bars and steakhouses. The options here are overwhelming.
For the best steak in Palermo, venture over to La Cabrera at 5099 Cabrera, Palermo, Buenos Aires. Tel. (54-11) 4831-7002. Each steak is served with a variety of homemade sauces, compotes and tapenades – the traditional Argentine way of serving a steak. Reservations are a must. Dinner ends far past ten o’clock, and after midnight the bars around Plaza Serrano start to fill with young hip Porteños who carry on conversations until the early morning sipping wine and fernet, an Argentine liquor made of herbs and spices. If you stay out late enough, stop by the Muu Lecheria in the morning for a hearty milkshake and a stack of pancakes piled high with fresh fruit. Armenia 1810, Palermo, Buenos Aires. Tel. (54-11) 4831-3168.
Botanical Gardens Admission is free. Entrance off Santa Fe, Palermo, Buenos Aires
Plaza Serrano Serrano and Honduras, Palermo, Buenos Aires
Evita Museum Lafinur 2988, Palermo, Buenos Aires. Tel. (54-11) 4807-0306.
Recoleta, Buenos Aires
Northwest of the Microcentro, the quiet neighbourhood of Recoleta is perfect for a walk on a nice day or an afternoon glass of Malbec while people watching. The tranquility of the area is in part due to the older crowd that resides in Recoleta as well as the very old crowd that now rests in the famous Recoleta Cemetery. Visiting the cemetery is not a morbid or strange thing to do. The mausoleums and tombs are spectacular pieces of art that commemorate some of Argentina’s famous figures.
The Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes at Avenida del Libertador 1473 is also a worthwhile attraction when in Recoleta.
La Boca, Buenos Aires
La Boca is notorious for tourist muggings and petty theft and visitors should stay in the tourist walkways of El Caminito. The colourfully painted buildings and tango restaurants of El Caminito hide the poverty that lies beyond the tourist zone, but straying off the beaten path can bring unwanted trouble. Walking through La Boca you feel like a dollar sign. Aggressive restaurant hosts yell daily specials in your ear and pretend tango dancers pose in sultry dance positions for loose change. Despite being a tourist trap, La Boca offers excellent tango shows that you can enjoy for free with the purchase of lunch or drinks.
One of the oldest restaurants in La Boca and famous for having competitive tango dancers perform the lunch shows. El Caminito, La Boca, Buenos Aires. Tel. (54-11) 4301-9197
La Bombonera Estadio Boca Juniors Football Club is one of the most popular soccer clubs in Buenos Aires and the team plays out of La Boca stadium. Games are rowdy and exciting, buy tickets in advance. Brandsen and Del Valle Iberlucea, La Boca, Buenos Aires. Tel. (54-11) 4309-4700
San Telmo, Buenos Aires
The crumbling neighbourhood of San Telmo is known as the Tango District, however little tango is seen in the streets. There are a number of dinner and tango shows in San Telmo, but the majority of the tango you’ll see in this area will be on the walls of the many tango themed budget hostels. This area can be dangerous at night so take a taxi after dark. During the day you can wander the antique market and dilapidated mansions.
Buenos Aires Nightlife
La Bomba de Tiempo
- Every Monday night in Buenos Aires La Bomba de Tiempo
percussion group hits the stage at the Konex with instruments like the djembe, conga and trumpet. Sarmiento 3131, Buenos Aires. Tel. (54-11) 4864-3200
Pacha Buenos Aires
- This international brand of clubs brings the party to Buenos Aires. Costanera Norte and Pampa, Buenos Aires. Tel. (54-11) 4788-4280
Asia de Cuba
- Dinner, dance and lounge. Pierina Dealessi 750, Puerto Madero, Buenos Aires. Tel. (54-11) 4894-1328
Niceto Club and Club 69 Dance beats, guest DJs and drag shows make Niceto an eventful night out in Buenos Aires. Niceto Vega 5510, Palermo, Buenos Aires. Tel. (54-11) 4779-9396
Mint Friday dance, Saturday pop. Costanera Norte and Sarmiento, Buenos Aires. Tel. (54-11) 4806-8002
La Cigale - 25 de Mayo 722, Buenos Aires. Tel. (54-11) 4312-8275
The Roxy A popular rock venue. Casares and Sarmiento, Buenos Aires.
Milongas in Buenos Aires
For a tango dancehall, check the listings for afternoon and evening events throughout Buenos Aires.
Plaza Serrano This curved plaza in Palermo is lines with bars that later turn into clubs. Serrano and Honduras, Palermo, Buenos Aires.
Tango in Buenos Aires
Tango has become one of the biggest tourist attractions in Buenos Aires and as a result, theatrical dinner and show packages are available any night of the week, 365 days a year. If you are looking for a more professional and technical tango experience, try one of the tango shows at the Borges Cultural Centre. If daytime tango is more suited to your itinerary, a walk through La Boca will satisfy your hunt.
The most exclusive and sexy cabaret tango show in Buenos Aires. At the Faena Hotel + Universe, Martha Salotti 445, Dique 2, Puerto Madero, Buenos Aires. (54-11) 5787-1536
Centro Cultural Borges
Purchase tickets in advance as there is limited seating. $50 ARG/$12 USD. Florida and Córdoba, Microcentro, Buenos Aires. Tel. (54-11) 5008-8011
Esquina Carlos Gardel
- an entertaining theatrical dinner and tango show. Carlos Gardel 3200, Abasto, Buenos Aires. Tel. (54-11) 4867-6363
- another dinner and show option where the dinner is best skipped. Belgrano 2608, Microcentro, Buenos Aires. Tel (54-11) 4941-1119
Milongas in Buenos Aires
To dance your own tango visit one of the tango dancehalls around Buenos Aires. Women have an easier time finding a dance partner even at beginner levels, men are encouraged to know at least the basics before stepping foot into a Milonga.
Buenos Aires has a bed to suit any price range. In the bohemian quarters of San Telmo you’ll find budget hostels are plentiful and across town in the chic Puerto Madero district you’ll be hard-pressed to stay anywhere for less than $100 USD a night. Location is everything when it comes to accommodation in Buenos Aires.
If you are planning on staying a week or longer in Buenos Aires, think about renting an apartment. BYT Argentina
offers short term and long term stays in all neighbourhoods of Buenos Aires for less than the cost of an average hotel room. Tourist often save money by renting apartments and get to know the city from a local perspective.
Budget Hotels Buenos Aires
Housed in a beautifully traditional building typical of the Recoleta neighbourhood. Uriburu 1183, Recoleta, Buenos Aires. Tel. (54-11) 4823-3848
- very clean and very modern. Lima 11, Microcentro, Buenos Aires. Tel. (54-11) 4383-4561
Hostel Carlos Gardel
The name and cabaret theme of the hostel are inspired by the tango icon Carlos Gardel. Carlos Calvo 579, San Telmo, Buenos Aires. Tel. (54-11) 4307-2606
The tango theme is not as well done as the Hostel Carlos Gardel, but still fun and kitschy. Peru 708 and Chile, San Telmo, Buenos Aires. Tel. (54-11) 4300-7314
Kaixo Buenos Aires
Although in the centre of Buenos Aires, this hostel has some nice outdoor space. Juan Domingo Perón 1267, Microcentro, Buenos Aires. Tel. (54-11) 4384-9342
A great budget option in Palermo close to boutique shopping, steakhouses and bars. El Salvador 5115 and Uriarte, Palermo, Buenos Aires. Tel. (54-11) 4774-2859
Midrange Hotels Buenos Aires
Housed in a traditional building with a modern airy touch. Azcuénaga 1268, Recoleta, Buenos Aires. Tel. (54-11) 4821-4744
Hotel la Perla
Simple, stylish and modern. Avenida Jujuy 36, Microcentro, Buenos Aires. Tel. (54-11) 5218-7737
A step up from the off-the-highway Howard Johnson. Great location close to the shopping district. Florida 944, Microcentro, Buenos Aires. (54-11) 4891-9200
One of the best midrange options in Puerto Madero. 25 de Mayo 724, Puerto Madero, Buenos Aires. Tel. (54-11) 4314-1101
Luxury Hotels Buenos Aires
Marriott Plaza Hotel
An icon in Buenos Aires architecture, this historic building offers all the modern amenities and a prime downtown location. Florida 1005, Microcentro, Buenos Aires. Tel. (54-11) 4318-3000
Faena Hotel + Universe
The atmosphere at the Faena is sleek, sexy and sophisticated. Martha Salotti 445, Dique 2, Puerto Madero, Buenos Aires. Tel. (54-11) 5258-2190
Hilton Buenos Aires
The modern style of this hotel encompasses all that is Puerto Madero. Güemes 351, Puerto Madero, Buenos Aires. Tel. (54-11) 4891-0000
725 Continental Hotel
Rooftop pool and modern decor make this a trendy boutique hotel for anyone looking to escape the chaos of the city. Roque Sáenz Peña 725, Buenos Aires. Tel. (54-11) 4131-8000
Abasto Plaza Hotel
Rich dark colors and elegant lines try to capture the sensuality of tango in the decor of the Abasto Plaza Hotel. Condominium Abasto, Avenida Corrientes 3190, Buenos Aires. Tel. (54-11) 6311-4466
NH Hotels - a collection of eight luxury hotels in central locations. From modern to historic, chic to traditional – NH has a hotel to suit any taste. Tel. (800) 0115-0116
Sheraton Buenos Aires
Close to the main shopping district and close to the main bus terminal with service to all areas of Argentina. San Martín 1225-1275, Microcentro, Buenos Aires. Tel. (54-11) 4318-9000