Buenos Aires, Argentina
Buenos Aires is the capital of Argentina and its largest city. Located on the Rio de la Plata, Buenos Aires draws travelers from all over the world because of its thriving nightlife, delicious food, cultural sights, tango, beautiful architecture and sophisticated city dwellers. Its population is listed just under 3 million in the metro area, but including the suburbs (and there are many) the population is truly closer to 13 million.
Tango is just as popular here, if not more, than in the rest of the country.
Spending anytime in the center of town you are sure to run into street dancers displaying their proficiency in this cultural art. Tango is popular amongst tourists as well and classes are a great way to experience this integral part of Buenos Aires culture. The Tango Show at the Carlos Gardel theatre is a must see and offers a fabulous dinner as well.
Mate is an herbal tea high in caffeine and higher in popularity. Nearly every street fair has artisans selling mate trinkets and it’s common to see Argentines sipping this communal tea. Although it’s considered more of an acquired taste, it’s worth a try during your visit.
The city is full of futbol fanatics and pick up games and extensive discussions on the sport are everywhere. The sports section of the newspaper is nearly entirely dedicated to soccer, although Rugby and Polo are highlighted during their perspective seasons.
The nightlife in Buenos Aires is legendary. It isn’t uncommon for dinner to take place around eleven and most of the boliches (clubs) don’t get going until about three. It is vaguely considered social suicide to arrive at a club much earlier and most young city-goers don’t arrive home before dawn. Along with being out, looking good while you’re out is something else you’ll see in Buenos Aires. The culture is largely conscious of appearance and thus it is very common for people to be immaculately turned out and to shop extensively.
A few locations and neighborhoods in Buenos Aires shouldn’t be missed. This includes Plaza de Mayo located on Avenida de Mayo in the center of town. Plaza de Mayo is home to the President’s house and is a very famous political landmark of Argentina. Walking along Avenida Florida is another must see in Buenos Aires and is a great place to pick up souvenirs. The street performers and shops along this famous avenue end at Plaza de San Martin, which has a gorgeous park and a large open plaza.
San Telmo is a neighborhood bordering downtown and is famously known for its Sunday Antiques fair. Walking from Plaza de Mayo along Avenida Defensa is a great way to experience the fair, where there are antique booths and shops, open rain or shine. San Telmo is also known as a popular living destination for young people and its architecture is stunning.
Puerto Madero is a modern neighborhood, just coming into its own. Resting closest to the Rio de la Plata and a stones throw away from the Ecological Reserve, Puerto Madero is a trendy boardwalk where rich foreigners and savvy Argentines call home. Puerto Madero has exquisite eating (most of them parillas, or steak houses) and is a popular destination after work by Argentine businessmen.
Recoleta is one of Buenos Aires’ most popular neighborhoods for living. Mostly older couples with young children, Recoleta is chic and relaxed. Perhaps best known for its cemetery, the Recoleta graveyard is popular amongst tourists and incredibly beautiful. The Recoleta cemetery has large fields to the side where a weekend fair takes place with artisan booths, performers and food every Saturday and Sunday. Avenida Sante Fe is a long avenue running from Recoleta to the border of Las Canitas and is a great walk for someone who wants to see the city and do some shopping.
Palermo is growing in size and in popularity and is trendy amongst Argentines and foreigners. Littered with boutique hotels and shops, Palermo is home to hundreds of nice restaurants and bars that are booming in the Buenos Aires social scene. Palermo is also known for its beautiful parks, which span for miles and contain lagoons for renting boats as well as grassy fields for nuzzling couples. Check out the Buenos Aires Zoo while you’re there – it’s famous for its success in breeding white tigers.
Las Canitas and Belgrano
Both Las Canitas and Belgrano are growing in popularity. Considered wealthier neighborhoods, the two border one another where Palermo ends. Lots of high-end shopping and gorgeous city streets contain small eateries with popular bars and nighttime hot spots. Near the racetrack and polo field, Las Canitas and Belgrano are icons of Buenos Aires high society.
Buenos Aires to the traveler
Because of Buenos Aires’ size and accommodation, there is much to see and do in the city. Theatres line Avenida Corrientes, and there are many cinemas to attend on the off rainy day. Like any large city, there is something for everyone in this ‘Paris of the South.’ Ladies, enjoy a manicure for US$ 3 and for the men, there is enough steak to keep you happy for ages.