Buenos Aires is one of those cities where expectations are completely different from reality. This is not such a popular destination as Rio de Janeiro, so there is not much information about the city on the Internet.
The first thing you understand when coming to Buenos Aires, that it is huge: wide streets, gigantic buildings, and large distances. Only the way from the airport to the city center takes 1.5 hours by taxi.
However there is no such things as city center like in European cities. Buenos Aires is just a giant area with a lot of stuff in every district. It’s absolutely impossible to explore it on foot.
You should spend at least one week in Buenos Aires, to enjoy the local food and visit all the places. Use an opportunity and take a tango course, as it is so cheap here.
Best places to visit in Buenos Aires:
1. Take a wonderful photos in La Boca
Exactly at this place in 1536 Pedro de Mendoza have laid the city of Buenos Aires. In the times of the Spanish colony La Boca was a place where were built barracks for black slaves. The area was very poor and dangerous.
“La Boca” in Spanish means “mouth”. Here was the first port of the city. In the 19th century, the emigrants from Italy actively started to buy houses near the port, they gave the area a modern appearance. Migrants painted their homes with multi-colored paints. The paint was taken from the leftovers after ships painting. So they had to paint the houses in different colors. And then it became a tradition.
According to the legend, the tango was originated here. Sailors arriving to the city headed into the Borders, and while waiting in the queue danced with each other Tango.
Today, La Boca is the tourist epicenter of Buenos Aires. In fact, there is nothing of a real atmosphere of the city here. It is kind of an attraction for tourists.
La-Boca still remains a poor and even dangerous area with a small tourist spot in the form of a small pedestrian street of El Caminito.
Nevertheless I would recommend to visit this place to make bright photos of the colored houses and courtyards. But don’t eat in those restaurants or take photos with the artist on the streets.
2. Have a dinner at Puerto Madero
The modern and most prestigious area of Buenos Aires. It appeared quite recently as a project to restructure port docks and contrasts with other areas of the city: green areas, space without cars, embankment with pleasure tracks and stylish restaurants with terraces. This is one of the favorite places of the local residents. An ideal place for evening walk and dinner.
3. Book a hotel at Palermo
This is the largest and diverse area of the city. In my opinion it is the best district to book a hotel in. There are few parks with lakes and alleys, Botanical Garden, creative safes, designer shops and nice street-art.
4. Visit the most atmospheric bookstore «El Ateneo Grand Splendid»
The bookstores always have a special atmosphere. El Ateneo Grand Splendid is the most atmospheric bookstore I have ever visited. It is located in the building of the beginning of the 20th century theater. Book shelves are located right in the parter, and on the stage there is a cafe.
5. Enjoy the tango show
Tango show is considered typical tourist entertainment. It has the same sense as listen to opera in Milan or watch the Flamenco Show in Spain. Let’s agree, that nowhere in the world you can see theatrical statement, where all the words and actions of actors are expressed in the form of Tango. The spectacle is impressive, although it is designed for tourists.
Tango shows go in the cabaret style. The audience is sitting at the tables, enjoying dinner and drinks, while the show is happening on the stage.
We watched the show at Tango Porteno. Very comfortable place, as the theatre is large enough, and you can always find tickets.
By the way, you can watch the tango free of charge performed by street dancers on the tourist streets of the city, but usually there work those who did not get into the tango show. Therefore, the level of such dances is essentially worse.
6. Admire the architecture of the city
I decided not to write about each building and the attraction separately, but to combine into the general list of Top-5
- Palacio de Aguas Corrientes – Palace of water, today there is a water hygiene museum.
- Obelisco de Buenos Aires – it is a modern monument and a meeting place in the center of the city.
- Theater “Colon” – a historical theater.
- Plaza de Mayo – it is the famous theatrical area of the 19th century.
- La Casa Rosada – the residence of the President of Argentina.
7. Buy souvenirs at San Telmo
Authentic area with preserved colonial architecture. Streets of San Telmo are filled with trading rows and improvised tango shows on a playground 2×2 meters.
8. Станцуй на Милонге
Milonga is a special tango party. All Tangeros from around the world dream to dance at true Milonga in Argentina. If you do not know how to dance Tango, then use the opportunity of your stay in Argentina and take some individual lessons. Good prices will motivate you, besides tango schools are literally at every step.
9. Visit the Iguazu Falls
In Buenos Aires you can take a tour or buy a bus ticket (there are direct buses) to visit the most famous sightseeing place in South America – Iguazu Falls.
If you plan to visit the waterfalls, the following article may be really useful: Plan your visit to Iguazu Falls
10. Try the local cuisine
Juicy steaks, alfajores and dulce de leche… Read my next post that is dedicated to the Argentinian cuisine: Top-7 foods you need to try in Argentina
11. Visit Uruguay
Let’s be clear, Uruguay is not a kind of touristic direction that you will plan to visit. However, why not to take a chance and have a spontaneous 1-2 days trip inside the journey?
There is a 1 hour ferry that goes from Buenos Aires to the city Colonia del Sacramento. This is a small cute city in the south of Uruguay. A wonderful direction for a day trip. If you want a more global adventure, then take a bus from the Colony del Sacramento and visit the Montevideo.