Buenos Aires City Guide
About Buenos Aires
The port city of Buenos Aires is popularly referred to as ‘Bue’ and is located on the west bank of the Río de la Plata, an estuary of the Parana and Uruguay Rivers. This estuary takes the form of a fertile, muddy basin that lies between Argentina and Uruguay. Buenos Aires is the capital city of Argentina and its largest port. Buenos Aires holds the position of the largest port in South America and its residents are often referred to as ‘portenos’ or ‘people from the port’.
Buenos Aires is a fascinating city with an interesting historical background. Founded by Spanish colonists in the sixteenth century; Buenos Aires went on to welcome large scale immigration from Europe in the 19th century. At this time, the city opened its doors to people from various diverse European nations like Spain, Italy, Poland and Russia, who brought a distinct European influence to this Latin American city, so much so that Buenos Aires soon came to be known as the ‘Paris of the South.’
Later on in the early twentieth century the city received immigrants from other Southern American countries as well as from Asia. These different waves of immigration gave rise to the vibrant multicultural character of modern day Buenos Aires.
Buenos Aires today is a vibrant, fashionable city and is also renowned as the home of the sensual dance form known as the tango. The city is a popular Latin American vacation destination which welcomes hordes of tourists every year.
Where to stay in Buenos Aires
The neighborhood of Palermo Viejo is divided into two sections: Palermo Soho and Palermo Hollywood and is currently the trendiest section of Buenos Aires. In spite of being achingly trendy, the neighborhood continues to exude an old-world feel with its cobblestone streets and low-rise houses. Palermo Viejo is home to several stylish boutique hotels, which are generally favored by hipsters on a vacation to Buenos Aires.
The Paris-like Recoleta neighborhood of the city is home to some of the most luxurious hotels in Buenos Aires. However, this area doesn’t have any convenient metro stops and if you wish to stay at a grand luxury hotel in Recoleta, you should be prepared to shell out for cabs to travel around Buenos Aires.
Barrio Norte borders Recoleta but it has much more commercial feel populated as it is with many shops, restaurants and cafes. Barrio Norte is equipped with many diverse hotels and also offers easy metro access.
If you enjoy the vibrancy and hustle bustle of a big city, then the many varied hotels located within the Microcentro area of Buenos Aires should be your favored accommodation option. This area is served by several subway lines and hosts various attractions like the Teatro Colón, within its environs. Microcentro is additionally equipped with a whole host of tourist conveniences like cheap telecommunication centers that offer low priced phone and internet services.
The charming, old-world San Telmo neighborhood of Buenos Aires offers numerous discount hotels and other budget accommodation options like hostels, bed and breakfast inns and small boutique hotels. However, San Telmo is another neighborhood of Buenos Aires, which doesn’t have good subway links. If you don’t mind spending on taxis while saving on your room rates; then San Telmo should get your vote for accommodation in Buenos Aires.
The neighborhood of Monserrat borders San Telmo and offers many middle range as well as luxury hotels. This area is additionally well connected by various subway lines to the other areas of Buenos Aires.
No matter where you choose to stay in Buenos Aires, you can be sure of acquiring cheap hotel rooms through the attractive hotel deals offered by us. So if you are looking for hotel discounts for your trip to Buenos Aires, be sure to check out the cheap hotel rates and last minute deals that we at Fare Buzz have to offer.
Places to see in Buenos Aires
Calle Museo Caminito
Caminito is a street market situated in La Boca and is the old port area of Buenos Aires. This street has vendors selling a variety of local handicrafts and other knick knacks in tiny shacks painted in rainbow hues and topped by corrugated sheets. La Boca also hosts the Boca Juniors ‘Bombonera’ stadium, which was built in 1940. The Stadium is adorned with soccer themed murals painted by Benito Quinquela Martin and Perez Cellis. Football (soccer) is almost a religion in Argentina and the country is the home of the world famous football wizard Diego Maradona, who actually played with the Boca Juniors soccer team.
The Boca Juniors ‘Passion Museum’ is located at Brandsen Street close by. At the museum you can browse through soccer memorabilia as well as participate in interactive soccer displays. La Boca also stakes its claim as the birth place of ‘tango’ the famous dance form that originated in Argentina. Tango dancers are often visible on the cobblestone streets of Caminito.
Buenos Aires offers several grand museums, which are definitely worth exploring on any visit to the city. The Museo Nacional De Belles Artes is a fine art museum, which is located within Recolta, and was founded in 1933. This museum offers more than thirty galleries adorned with the works of Argentinean artists as well as artworks of the renowned masters like Vincent Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso and Auguste Rodin.
MALBA or the The Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires/Colleccion Constantini which is located in the Palermo Chico is yet another interesting museum. This museum is housed in a building that was designed by three Argentinean architects. MALBA showcases the contemporary artworks of Latin American geniuses like Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and Fernando Botero.
Another small museum, which should be on your museums to see list on your visit to Buenos Aires, is the Museo Nacional de Arte Decorativo in Recoleta. This museum is housed in building, which was formerly known as Palaccio Errazuriz. This building was the private home of a wealthy couple which was designed by French architect Rene Sergent in a neoclassical style in 1911. The Palaccio was declared a landmark building in 1998 and presently hosts nearly 4000 pieces objets d’art including an ‘El Grecco.’
Jardin Botanico Carlos Thays
The Buenos Aires Botanic gardens were designed by French landscaper Carlos Thays and they were opened to the public in 1898. Theses gardens spread over 69,772 sq meters and feature 5500 species of plants. These plants are grouped according to several categories such as country of origin, style, family and use. There are also five green houses located within the gardens.
A verdant belt located on the southern coast of the River Plate, a few blocks away from the administrative and financial center of the city has been declared ‘Natural Park and Reservoir Zone’. It covers 360 hectares and is situated on reclaimed land. There are walking and bicycle paths here as well as viewing galleries which afford stunning views of the river.
The Cementerio de La Recoleta
Yet another must do in Buenos Aires is the city’s old world, stylish, upscale, ‘old money’ district called Recoleta. This district is famous for its magnificent cemetery, La Recoleta Cemetery. This cemetery contains the remains of the rich and famous of Buenos Aires, including the remains of Eva Peron, an actress and the politician wife of former Argentinean President, Juan Peron.
This charming neighborhood also contains Floralis Generica, which is an animated metal sculpture situated on the United Nations square. This intriguing piece of art was offered to the city by Argentine architect Eduardo Fernando Catalano who describes it as a ‘green, environment friendly attraction whose metallic petals open and close depending on the incidence of the sun’s rays.’ Visitors to the site will find the giant metal sculpture 'in full bloom' during the daytime when the sun’s rays are the strongest and closed at night in the absence of sunlight.
L’ Avenida 9 de Julio
L’Avenida 9 de Julio is reputed to be the widest avenue in the world and commemorates Argentinean national day, which falls on 9th July. L’ Avenida 9 de Julio extends from the Retiro district in the north to Constitucion station in the south and has within it another famous landmark, the Obelisk. This 67 meter tall Obelisk is thought to mark the heart of Buenos Aires and it affords panoramic views of this enchanting city from the four observation windows which are located at its summit.
Best time to visit Buenos Aires
Buenos Aries generally enjoys mild temperatures all year round. As Buenos Aires is located in the southern hemisphere it experiences its summers during the months of December to February. Summer daytime temperatures in this port city tend to often soar over 30 C(86F).
Many visitors aver that the best time to plan a visit to Buenos Aires is generally during its spring season, which extends from September to November when daytime temperatures are a pleasant 15C (60F) or then during the fall season, which lasts from March until May and is characterized by temperatures that hover around 20C (70F). Both these seasons are additionally marked by much rainfall but that is not a big impediment for a vacation in this beautiful city.
Getting around in Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires is served by its two main airports. The Ezeiza International Airport (Aeropuerto Internacional Ministro Pistarini) is located in Retiro in Grans Buenos Aries and accessed via an half hour drive from downtown Buenos Aires on the Ricchieri Highway. The city’s other airport’s the Aeroparque Jorge Newbery airport is located 10 minutes away from downtown Buenos Aires and serves mostly domestic flights. The Ezeiza International Airport welcomes a whole host of South American and international carriers, which make getting Buenos Aires infinitely easy. Further, this airport is connected by various modes of public transport to the city center.
Buenos Aires is a well planned city with a grid like organization. Taxis are a convenient mode of transportation within the city but the horrendous traffic gridlocks can cause headaches for tourists. If you are based at a hotel during your stay in Barcelona, it’s advisable that you ask the desk to call a cab as there are unscrupulous individuals in the city who operate cabs just to rob and harass tourists.
The public buses in Buenos Aires are called collectivos. Information about bus routes can be obtained from the city guides, which are available at several kiosks around the city or a subway station. Buses operate 24/7 with less frequent services at night and on holidays.
Buenos Aires has one of the longest underground networks in South America. The Buenos Aires subway is called Subte which translates as subterranean and it is a cheap and quick mode of travel around the city though the subway can get very crowded at peak hours.
If you need to rent a car for your stay in Buenos Aires, you should be aware that traffic is often gridlocked in the port city. However if you are willing to put up with this inconvenience and would like to partake of a car rental during your visit to Buenos Aires, it is worth knowing that Fare Buzz offers several affordable car rentals for Buenos Aires.
Additionally your reservation for a car rental in Buenos Aires can be made at the same time and at the very same platforms, Fare Buzz.
Where to shop in Buenos Aires
The port city of Buenos Aires is reputed to have some of the best shopping in the world. The city’s main shopping districts, situated within its various neighborhoods are guaranteed to satiate designer divas, window shoppers, fashionistas and bargain-hunters alike.
Palermo is the trendiest district in Buenos Aires; this area is littered with boutiques and stores belonging to the biggest names in the fashion business. If its designer duds that you are after, you are likely to get all your shopping needs met within a few blocks of Palermo Soho.
If the goal of your shopping in Buenos Aires is antiques and curiosities, you should focus your shopping energies on the city’s San Telmo district. The streets of Defensa are home to several antique stores, which offer much opportunity for browsing and purchasing. Moreover on Sundays, the streets of Defensa are pedestrianized for they host the San Telmo market, a popular destination for antiques and souvenir shopping.
The history-laden, downtown neighborhood, Recoleta is one of the most exclusive neighborhoods in Buenos Aires and it accordingly hosts several luxury goods stores along Avenida Alvear and near the Alvear Palace hotel. For more affordable shopping finds, try neighborhoods like Villa Crespo, home to several leather goods stores and outlet stores of well-known brands.
Stores in Buenos Aires are open for business from 9am to 8pm during the work week. On Saturdays, however many stores stay open until midnight. Most stores in downtown Buenos Aires especially along the city center Calle Florida are shut on Sundays, though shopping center and malls in Buenos Aires tend to stay open for business daily.
International visitors can avail of tax free shopping at various stores in Buenos Aires. You have to spend a minimum of 70 pesos on a product made in Argentina to get back the hefty 21% tax levied. Once you have made your purchase at a store offering tax free shopping, you need to ask the retailer for the special Global Refund check form if you need to get a refund of the tax amount paid. When leaving the country you are required to show this form and the item to customs and after the form is stamped, you can get cash back at the Global Refund desk or then have it electronically refunded to your credit card within a few weeks.
Where to eat in Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires is popularly referred to as the ‘beef capital’ of the world, however nowadays the city offers a varied dining scene featuring several excellent Argentinean and international eateries.
Popular restaurants in Buenos Aires currently include joints like Café Dorrego (famed for its delicious croissants), Las Cabras (a steakhouse in Palermo), La Cabrera (steakhouse), Astrid & Gaston (offering upscale Peruvian food), Christophe and Dada (both French restaurants), Tô (Japanese and French fusion), Godoy (international eats), Little Rose (Sushi), and Azema Exotic Bistro (international eats).
Nightlife in Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires is world renowned for its vibrant nightlife scene which features thumping nightclubs, fashionable bars and glamorous, stylish late-night restaurants, which stay open until the wee hours. The city’s many nightlife haunts offer something for every time of reveler.
Buzzing nightlife establishments in Buenos Aires currently include hotspots like Dill and Drinks, Flux, La Catedral, Origen, Club Gricel, Oui Oui, La Divina Milonga (all bars) and nightclubs like Hype @Kika, Jet, Crobar, Angels, Rumi and Fiesta Bubamara.