Welcome to Buenos Aires! This beautiful city is home to some of the best tango dancing, red wine, leather goods, food and architecture you will come across in South America, and in some cases the world! Buenos Aires is the capital and most populated city in Argentina, home to many native Argentinians and immigrants alike. Because of that, in a way reminds me of London due to the city being somewhat of a melting pot. Some even call it the Paris of South America!
A few weeks ago my mom and I decided to spontaneously fly down to Buenos Aires for 3 days to enjoy Summertime in the middle of February. Yes, its summertime in February in Buenos Aires. Before flying down there a few weeks ago I don’t think I realized just how far south it is. Only a few hours more and you will be flying into Antarctica! I had never been to Argentina before, not even for work, so this was a whole new country to check off the list for me. My mom, however, had been when she was younger and used to spend some of her summers there so she had been wanting to come back.
Sooooo here we go. My mom and I took an overnight flight from MIA to EZE and it took roughly 10 hours, landing in Buenos Aires around 10 am. By the time we got to our hotel it was roughly 12:30, and I’m going to tell you why it took so long.. Getting from the airport to downtown where our hotel was at was kind of a nightmare so I suggest planning transportation in advance with your hotel or just taking one of the cabs nearby. The cabs are going to cost you about $60 to get into the city, but we ended up taking an uber and it only cost us $20. The problem with ubering in Buenos Aires is
1) the airport was huge and hard to figure out where to ge picked up and
2) the taxi drivers are constantly on the lookout for uber drivers and will literally chase you down and threaten to call the cops on your uber driver.
Apparently uber is still fairly new in Buenos Aires and there has been a lot of argument on whether or not it should be legal because it ill be taking away so many jobs from taxi drivers. So while it’s not impossible to get a cheap ride to your hotel I think it would have been worth it to just pay the extra money and get a taxi from the start. All said and done, the ride took us about 45 minutes. Once you are away from the airport ubering around is easy and I have to say all of our drivers were extremely nice, friendly and helpful.
So our first day in the city was really half a day by the time we got settled, and according to everyone we met, the best option when you arrive in Buenos Aires is to simply take the hop on hop off bus around the city to get your bearings. It costs $30 for one day or $40 for 2 days (paying per 24 hr period). We ended up just getting the 24 hr bus ticket and it was more than enough. We started our bus tour around 3 pm so we were able to use it until about 3 pm the next day. There are 3 different routes around the city taking you to different tourist spots and historical areas, and a guided audio track in many different languages to listen as we drive past all the buildings, parks and monuments. You were able to get off at many stops, and picked back up either every 20 or 30 minutes from each stop. We ended up riding the bus until it stopped around 5pm and then went back to the hotel to relax and get up early the next day to continue our bus tour.
On our second day in the city we ate breakfast at the hotel and got back on the bus. Some of the stops we got off at throughout both days that we enjoyed included
- La Boca
- Bosques de Palermo
- Avenida de Julio
- Floral Generica
- Avenida de Mayo
Stop 8 on the Blue Line: La Boca (caminito) is a series of colorful buildings, stores, restaurants and neighborhoods. Although beautiful, don’t wander too far away from the bus stop or caminito as there is a lot of crime recently- especially directed towards foreign tourists. Still, La Boca was probably one of my favorite areas we saw in Buenos Aires. I can’t get over the colorful buildings! And watching locals tango in the streets was pretty cool too!
La Recoleta (23 Red) : Includes the cementary , Basílica Nuestra Señora del Pilar, and this cute little cafe called La panera rosa
Bosques de Palermo: Red line, Stop 20 includes the Argentinian Hipódromo (horse racing). We didn’t get to see a race, but if you have a chance I would go see a race, get dressed up and have a few drinks!
La Avenida de Julio is one of the widest avenues in the world, and can be found at stop 13 on the Red line. Here you can find the famous BA letter sculptures covered in plants, as well as some olympic rings. Nearby is Calle Florida that is known for being touristy and filled with tango dancers, artisan crafts, food, shopping and more.
On 15 Red, The Floralis Generica can be found. It was a gift to the city, a sculpture donated to the city by its creator, architect Eduardo Catalano.
Avenida de Mayo (1 Blue) has many famous things to see nearby. From la Casa Rosada to Cafe Tortoni to the Theatre. La Casa Rosada is the executive office and mansion of the President of Argentina. If you want to get inside the gates, you can make a reservation to tour the pink house online if you do it a few days in advance.
As you can see we only got off mostly on the red and blue line. But we did ride the Green line all the way through as well, and it has many interesting stops. You can learn more about each stop and what to expect on the bus website.
At the end of the day we headed back to the hotel and started getting ready for our tango dinner and show. Argentina is known for the tango and great steaks and wine, so why not combine it all into one dinner show? The show started at 8 pm and went until midnight. We booked ours through the hotel and it cost roughly $100 each. Even though it sounds pricey it was well worth it! The show was so fun and it was interesting to learn more about the Argentinian culture. The food was amazing too! Check out La Ventana for more information.
Our last day was more relaxed, we took an uber to the Recoleta cemetery, which is known for its massive mausoleums and elaborate burial grounds. Many of Argentina’s wealthiest and most famous individuals and family members are buried here. Most cemeteries may have one or two mausoleums, but this cemetery is made up almost entirely of them. Walking through the grounds feels like you are walking through a small city, each tomb telling its own story. I highly recommend taking a tour- there are many offered for very little to no cost at all. If you are able to understand Spanish and interested in a free tour, every weekday at 11 there is a free tour. This is what my mom and I opted for and it was so interesting to not just walk by all the tombs but learn about the people and families who were laid to rest inside of them. If you want to just do a self guided walking tour, this site has a list of 10 of the most famous tombs to visit, with some information included.
After the cemetery we decided to stop by the shopping malls on the way home, one of them being Las Galerias Pacifico, which was right near our hotel. It is also stop number 12 on the blue line bus.
After this, we headed back to the hotel and relaxed until we decided to get an uber to the airport. We ended up leaving several hours before our flight and due to protests on the highway and streets, almost didn’t make our flights. Security at the airport was crazy too, so I highly suggest leaving at least 3-4 hours before your flight to make it to the airport on time. Most hotels in the city will be roughly 45 minutes away, however due to the protests it took us almost two hours. This could have been a coincidence, but I would leave early just in case!
Overall my mom and I had a great time in Argentina. Buenos Aires is a beautiful city and spending a weekend there or just 2-3 days is the perfect amount of time in my opinion! Argentina has so much to offer, and seeing the biggest city was just one of my any stops I plan on making in this huge country. Next up when I visit Argentina again is Patagonia and Ushuaia hopefully!