I find it somewhat difficult to write about Buenos Aires from the tourist point of view, as my trips to that city have always been based on shopping, eating in good restaurants and going to the theater. I have rarely seen the city through different eyes than those of a traveler in search of recreation but lately I left aside the shopping and devoted to travel in a different way. That is why in addition to share with you my favourite spots to sleep, eat and shop I will write about the city’s cultural activities and tourist offer.
Buenos Aires is the largest city of South America and the gateway to Latin America as Madrid is to Europe. Buenos Aires is modern, elegant, dynamic, a city of contrasts, with a vibrant nightlife and European culture. The French and Italian influence in buildings of Recoleta, the combination of row houses and apartment blocks and the colorful “conventillos” (joint houses) of La Boca neighborhood are a true exponent of its eclectic architecture. Buenos Aires nightlife is a glamorous showcase of trendy bars and clubs, classy restaurants, theaters and art galleries. You must remember that in the austral hemisphere seasons are the reverse than those in the northern hemisphere. The best season to visit Buenos Aires is autumn and spring, the months of March, April, September, October and November. Summer can be very hot and winter can be chilly and wet, sometimes freezing.
BA FREE TOUR Free walking tours along the downtown area, witnessing some icons of the city and knowing about the secrets and history. Schedule is two tours a day, at 11am and 5 pm, duration is mor or less two and a half hours.
BUENOS AIRES BUS Double-decker tourist Micros, you can hop on and off at any of the stops.
MOBILE AUDIO GUIDE The mobile audio guide is a service provided by the Government of the City of Buenos Aires to see the main tourist and historical capital of Argentina. Through mobile audio guide can be accessed 12 tourist routes that include voices, sounds and music context.
DAR – DISCOUNT ARGENTINA Discount travel card.
GLAMOUT A stylish guide for restaurants, wines, drinks, shows, bars and shopping in Buenos Aires.
BIKE ITINERARIES Service is free and runs Monday through Friday from 8 to 20 pm and Saturday from 9 to 15. It’s easy, you register, you look for a bike at the nearest station and you start to enjoy a fast means of transport, ecological and healthy.
Major airlines fly to Ezeiza International Airport, about 35km of the city. Domestic flights or from neighboring countries come to Aeroparque Jorge Newberry Airport, located 5 minutes from downtown. The best way to get to Buenos Aires from the international airport is to take a “remise”, similar to a taxi, which charges a fixed price. “Manuel Tienda León” bus company is a semi-public transport to take you directly to the city center at a reasonable price and once there you can take a taxi to your destination. In the hall of the airport there are a variety offices where you can hire transport to the city .. Estimated travel time from Ezeiza Airport to the city is an hour if you drive, two hours if it is by bus. If you need to change money, you can do at the offices of the National Bank located in Terminal A, the arrivals area, or at an ATM.
Choice is endless, from luxury and stylish hotels to furnished apartments for rent, apart hotels and bed and breakfast. Our best options are
FOUR SEASONS Posadas 1086/88 . For those who love luxury in a traditional style. The building combines warm and comfortable accomodations in the main hotel tower, built in 1992 and recently renovated, with seven suites in the adjacent building, La Mansion. La Mansion is a Belle Epoque style townhouse of 1920, one of the oldest mansions in the Recoleta area. Suites in La Mansión offer French country décor, dramatic high ceilings and Toile de Jouy wallpaper, private garden with a heated swimming pool, as well as a rich, romantic history. Rates from USD400/night for a double superior room.
PALACIO DUHAU PARK HYATT HOTEL Avenida Alvear 1661, Recoleta. For those who love luxury and modern design in historic buildings. Former residence of the Duhau family, the old French Chateau of 1934 opened as a hotel in 2006. The building responds to neoclassical lines of French influence, inspired by the Château du Marais (in Le Val-Saint-Germain, near Paris). Within the hotel there are three restaurants and a bar. The magnificent outside terrace, accessible through both exits of the Piano Nobile Salons as well as the Oak Bar, enjoys magnificent views over the landscaped garden of the Palace, this is the place to go for lunch, tea time or a drink before dinner. Rates from USD 475/night.
BOBO HOTEL & RESTAURANT Guatemala 4870, Palermo. For those who love elegant boutique style. This small bourgeois bohemian style property is situated in a quiet area of Palermo Soho, within walking distance of restaurants and shops. It also has a gourmet restaurant, open for lunch and dinner. Rates from USD175/night for a superior room.
NUSS HOTEL El Salvador 4916. Located in Palermo Soho in a renovated Spanish-style convent. It has 22 rooms and a terrace with outdoor swimming pool, ideal for relaxing in summer. Rates from USD160/night for a superior room.
SOFITEL Arroyo 841, Recoleta. For lovers of hotel chains. Located in the tranquil Arroyo street, in an area of antique shops and art galleries. The Cafe Arroyo, decorated in a retro style, is a hot spot for a business lunch or a drink after work. Rates from USD334/night for a superior room
HOME BUENOS AIRES Honduras 5860, Palermo Hollywood. A young and fresh hotel located in fashionable Palermo Hollywood, with a nice garden with a heated pool and barbecue for summer dinners. Rates from USD150/night for a standard double room.
Palacio Duhau Image longhorndave
FOOD & DRINK
In Buenos Aires there are plenty of places to eat, very well in most of them, as the Argentines enjoy good food and good drink. Gastronomy is characterized by its best-known ingredient, beef, giving rise to the traditional and grilled “ojo de bife”. Cuisine options are wide, thanks to the contribution and influence of regional cuisine, each region has its specialty, and European immigrants, especially Spanish, French, and Italian have contributed with different dishes. Guia Oleo is a comprehensive guide to restaurants in Buenos Aires, ranked by popular vote.
Traditional breakfast is simple, the “cortado”(coffee with a dash of milk) with croissants (medialunas) or the typical “mate” accompanied by pastry (“bizcochos” or as they call them “factura”). At lunch choice is between a fast food or “minuta” and a more elaborate meals in trendy restaurants. A “minuta” is a fast and less elaborate preparation. The most typical are the “milanesas” served with two fried eggs and fried potatoes sticks, a grilled steak with salad, ravioli with a sauce, eggs “gramajo” (scrambled eggs, “baveuse”, with thinly sliced fried potatoes). Between meals is very typical to stop at a bar or enjoy an “impasse” between hours of work or shopping, and have tea or coffee or just a drink before dinner, served with small portions of appetizers, much like Spanish tapas. The meal hours are wide, usually lunch is offered between 1 and 3 pm and dinner runs until 12 at night, in some cases even later. Desserts are classic Argentinian like the flan with dulce de leche, Martin Fierro (cheese and quince jelly) rice pudding and fruit salad. Our suggestion for those who want to enjoy a good meal
LAS LILAS Avenida Alicia Moreau de Justo 516, Puerto Madero. Not a cheap place, is rather expensive, but be sure you’ll eat very well. The menu offers a variety of premium meats, for dessert try the crepes filled with traditional Argentine caramel.
LA CABRERA Cabrera 5099, Palermo Soho. Argentinian restaurant – grill (parrilla), known for their good meat and generous dishes. Specialty: rib eye steak (ojo de bife) and their original and creative side dishes. If weather is nice remember to book a table in the cozy outdoor patio.
PARRILLA PENA Rodríguez Peña 682, between Viamonte and Tucuman, on the right side. City Centre. Excellent meat and service in an unpretentious and affordable restaurant.
OSAKA Soler 5608, Palermo / Juana Manso 1164, Faena Arts Center, Puerto Madero. Japanese-Peruvian restaurant, trendy, expensive and a bit bustling. You should make reservations in advance. Great food and ambience.
SUCRE Sucre 676, Belgrano. Grilled meats on quebracho firings are the basis of the kitchen. Ideal for drinks and dinner.
OVIEDO Beruti 2602, Barrio Norte. Spanish restaurant, the house specialty is rice and fish. Out of seafood, authentic Patagonian lamb is a must. The wine list is one of the best in the city, a top choice for gourmet dinning in Buenos Aires.
MARKS El Salvador 4701, Palermo Soho. Gourmet sandwiches and salads. The place is full of well dressed and beautiful people, if there is room, it is best to choose the patio tables with umbrellas. If not, a good plan is to ask to go and have lunch at Plaza Armenia. Good for a shopping break.
SOCIAL PARAISO Honduras 5182, Palermo Soho. The menu includes pasta, meats, fish and risotto and is constantly renewed. The often crowded interior has few tables, the courtyard also hosts guests and there are two more tables on the sidewalk for smokers.
IL MATTERELLO Martín Rodríguez 517, La Boca. A good option to indulge while you visit La Boca. Italian family restaurant, the memorable bread basket and homemade pasta worth a try.
LA PETANQUE Defensa 596 esq. Mexico, San Telmo. La Petanque is a typical brasserie on a corner of San Telmo neighborhood. The place is spacious and the decor is typically Provencal, as is the menu, food is excellent and has very good prices. I suggest to call ahead to book a table, for the place is almost always full.
CROQUE MADAME Avenida del Libertador 1902. Located under old trees and beside a fountainin, in the gardens of the Museum of Decorative Art, the restaurant has one of the most beautiful terraces of Buenos Aires. A relaxed place to enjoy at any time.
LA BOUTIQUE DE JEAN PAUL Ayacucho 2027, Recoleta. You may enjoy the flavors and aromas from the kitchen of the restaurant La Bourgogne at the store next door. Delicatessen, breads, croissants, pâtés, hot and cold dishes and sweet pies, everything delicious. The store is open Monday to Saturday from 8 am to 10 pm.
CAFE JOSEPHINA Guido 1502, Barrio Norte. The little corner of Juncal and Guido is a great stop on a nice shopping day. Depending on your mood, you can have a coffee or a glass of champagne, anyway, you will be spending a good time and take a break.
TEALOSOPHY Av. Alvear 1883. Local 37. A charming store next to the hotel Alvear, perfect for tea lovers.
Cafe Josephine Image B.J. Allen
Argentina has an exceptional natural beauty, covering a diverse territory of mountains and plains that contain several climatic regions with particular settings. Nature has been generous to Buenos Aires. The city is situated on the banks of the Rio de la Plata, which it is said to be the widest river in the world. Furthermore, it has many parks and plazas, wide tree-lined avenues and streets. The city has several places to enjoy natural landscapes, of which I have chosen
EL ROSEDAL Is a very nice spot to go in Plaza Holanda, Bosques de Palermo, situated between Av. del Libertador and Av. Sarmiento. Palermo houses some of the most important green areas of Buenos Aires. With more than 80 total acres, this park offers many alternatives to enjoy with family or friends. The Rose Garden was designed in 1917 by landscape architect Carlos Thays.
ZOO AND BOTANICAL GARDEN Av. Sarmiento and Av. Las Heras. The Zoo is located in the lung of the city of Buenos Aires, the Palermo Woods. It not only has species from all over the world, but also faces species conservation projects and environmental care, together with other institutions.
JARDIN JAPONES The Japanese Garden is a peaceful public space located within the Bosques de Palermo, built by the Japanese Embassy in 1967. It represents a typical park of Japan with its lakes, bridges and waterfalls and many species of plants and trees
RESERVA ECOLOGICA COSTANERA SUR The Ecological Reserve is a large area of marshy land on the Río de la Plata riverbank located on the east side of the district of Puerto Madero in Buenos Aires. It has number of trails leading to the river which are perfect for birdwatching, strolling, cycling and nature lovers. Bikes are available for rent outside the park entrance on the weekends (daily in summer).
PARKS AND SQUARES IN RECOLETA Recoleta neighborhood offers a variety of parks and places to enjoy a pleasant day outdoors. Plaza Francia is a square renowned for its artisan market, the Recoleta Cemetery and the Recoleta Cultural Center.
Buenos Aires is a city full of arts, culture and design. Its luxury buildings, squares and monuments show different styles such as Spanish, French, Baroque and Modern and each one is part of the heritage and memory of the city. Buenos Aires is one of the cultural centers of the continent. The city is considered the fourth most important in the world in terms of theaters and music and has great museums and art galleries, both national and international. Tango music and dance can be seen at the more sophisticated tango venue or at the most popular neighborhood. Places which I believe you should not miss are
TEATRO COLON The theater is a fantastic building, located in the heart of Buenos Aires at Cerrito 628, acknowledged for its acoustics and the artistic value of its construction.
SAN TELMO Is one of the oldest neighborhoods of Buenos Aires and part of the old town. A very typical quarter with cobblestone streets, a huge antique market, tango street dancers and great places to eat and drink. The famous Antiques Fair takes place on Sundays from 10am to 4pm at the Plaza Dorrego.
RECOLETA CEMETERY Junín 1760, Recoleta. Open from 7am to 17.45pm. Is one of most important of the world with that of Staglieno in Genoa and Père Lachaise in Paris. It contains the graves of notable people, including Eva Perón, several presidents of Argentina and members of wealthy families.
EL ATENEO GRAND SPLENDID BOOKSHOP Santa Fe 1860, Barrio Norte. Is a gem of a bookstore. The building keeps its former splendor, with its three carpeted floors in red and gold, the painted dome, original balconies and decoration. There are comfortable chairs scattered all over the place and the former stage is used as a reading and coffee-room, the boxes are used as tiny lecture halls. Each time I go to Buenos Aires I keep visiting this wonderful place and I spend hours looking at books and magazines, there is no better activity for a rainy afternoon.
MALBA Avenida Pres. Figueroa Alcorta 3415. The Latin American Art Museum was founded in 2001 with the aim of collecting, preserving, studying and disseminating Latin American art since the early twentieth century to the present. It is a private non-profit organization featuring the Constantini Collection that preserves and exhibits an estate of about 400 works by leading modern and contemporary artists in the region. Opening hours are from 12p.m. to 20p.m. The Cafe des Arts is the museum’s restaurant, which opens its doors at 9am to 9p.m.. When the weather is nice it is very enjoyable have lunch on the terrace of the restaurant, and then move on to visit the museum.
MUSEO NACIONAL DE BELLAS ARTES Avenida del Libertador 1473. The National Fine Arts Museum is home to several collections, including a permanent collection of 20th-century Argentinian art, Andean pre-Columbian art and works by european artists as Rodin, El Greco, Goya, Picasso and many other. Free Admission.
MUSEO EVITA Lafinur 2988. The collection of the Museo Evita comprises documents,publications, photographs, audio and film records, and many items related to the works of Eva Peron Foundation. Also clothing pieces and accessories and personal items that belonged to the Eva Peron and which are kindly loaned by the heirs of the Duarte family. Lunch in the museum’s outdoor café is an experience not to be missed. The courtyard is lovely, has a staircase decorated with plants and flowers which is great.
COLECCION FORTABAT Olga Cossettini 141, Puerto Madero Este. The museum is housed in a modern glazed building that allows direct contact with the environment. Shop, guided tours and a café complement the visit. Tuesday through Sundays from 12 noon to 9 p.m. Closed Mondays.
VILLA OCAMPO Elortondo 1837, Beccar, Partido de San Isidro, about 30 km north of the city of Buenos Aires. Villa Ocampo es the historic home of Victoria Ocampo, one of Latin America’s greatest cultural figures, founder and director of Sur magazine. Today the site belongs to UNESCO, the house is open to the public for tours and has a rich cultural program. Outside the cafeteria, the gallery surrounded by bouganvillas and jasmines has a wonderful garden view. There you can have tea with scones, lunch and dinner, the second and third Friday of each month.
GALLERY NIGHTS Gallery Nights is a cultural tour born in 2001 and for 12 years has brought the work of artists to the public. Runs from April to December in Buenos Aires (Barrio Norte, Retiro and Palermo). This is not a guided tour, the idea is that with map in hand, you can tour the galleries of the area the way you want. Everything is free, including complimentary glass of Chandon offered by galleries. The minibuses are a free shuttle to travel more comfortably and are identified with a logo of Gallery Nights.
THE MUSEUM NIGHT The ninth edition of The Night of Museums will take place on Saturday November 10, 2012, from 20 pm. until three in the morning. It is a good tour to schedule if you are in Buenos Aires on this date.
ROJO TANGO SHOW Dinner tango show in Faena Hotel + Universe, Martha Salotti 445, Puerto Madero. Without doubt the best tango show in Buenos Aires, not to miss, whether you like tango or not.
El Ateneo Grand Splendid Bookstore. Image by Herbert Brant
This finishes the first part on what to do and see in Buenos Aires. There is one more thing to write about, shopping and walking through the most famous neighbourhoods, which is no less important, I promise I will be posting next week.