“Gran Gromero” giant Rubber Tree in the Recoleta neighborhood
Disclaimer: Buenos Aires owns some prime real estate in my heart. I’m biased; unquestionably & unapologetically. Years ago, I fell in love with BA’s complicated, beautiful city soul. You might, too.
There’s a lot of talk about how Buenos Aires is a mix of Europe & South America. True, but somehow that marriage of influences has produced a quirky, energized off-spring that is a unique entity. New. Fresh. Pulsing with life, creativity & the black and yellow cabs that zip around the city like pinballs.
A Google image search will show you that it’s a large, hectic city with lots of traffic and a fair number of deeply unattractive buildings. It will also show you the sprawling parks, funky public art and the “gotta-see” neighborhoods. Places like Palermo Soho, Palermo Hollywood, La Boca and Recoleta.
There are countless blogs, Instagram feeds, webpages and guidebooks devoted to Buenos Aires. Check them out. As many as you can. Planning a trip or researching a destination is half the fun. My list below is the down & dirty, cut-to-the-chase version that I tell my friends. Here’s the skinny…
Where to stay?
The Poetry Building, Recoleta / http://poetrybuilding.com
- In the upscale, safe & central neighborhood of Recoleta.
- 15 apartments with front desk staff to answer questions, make dinner reservations, arrange cabs and give helpful advice.
- Roof-top pool and small honor bar. Free wi-fi.
- The staff seem to truly want you to help & are proud to show off their neighborhood & city.
- Bottom line: feels like you live in a friendly, upscale apartment building in one of the best neighborhoods of the city.
1 of the 2 apartments I’ve stayed in – both functional & comfortable
The apartment terrace right after a brief downpour
2 of 2 of the apartments I’ve stayed in…both were fully equipped with everything I needed
What to do?
Visit Plaza de Mayo on a Thursday afternoon
One of the white-scarf wearing “Mothers of the Plaza Mayo” in 2014
Witness living history in Plaza de Mayo every Thursday. You may even meet one of the brave women who brought to light human rights violations after Argentina’s “Dirty War”. Learn more at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mothers_of_the_Plaza_de_Mayo
Take a graffiti / street art tour
Black & white street art in a working-class, non-tourist neighborhood
Who knew that 2 street artists often combine their artwork in a kind of style slam that makes 1+1=3? Not me.
Teta & Salta were created to honor two neighborhood kids. It’s a story worth hearing.
Normally, I’m a bit “anti-tour”. Thankful I made an exception. The best $24.99 I’ve spent in YEARS. Saw areas of Buenos Aires I’d never stepped foot in before. Learned the difference between graffiti, street art & tagging and more than expected about history and architecture. Check out Graffiti Mundo at: http://graffitimundo.com/graffiti-street-art-tours-buenos-aires/
Experience a Soccer Game
Boca Juniors at La Bombonera
The guy in the red shirt selling snacks didn’t even fake it. He only sold during timeouts and half-time. The rest of the time he joined the crowd yelling at the players and chanting.
Whether you see the Boca Juniors or River Plate, you haven’t really seen a soccer game until you’ve seen one in Buenos Aires. European games can’t hold a candle to the mad frenzy at a Boca Juniors game. Find a reputable ticket seller and watch Argentines in their natural habitat. While I can’t remember which re-seller I’ve used in the past, these three look pretty good…
Here are a couple of the team songs you’ll hear (many times) at a Boca Juniors match … https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yr2Nea_MQ0s
Have a coffee and watch the world go by…
The start of a perfect day at the corner of Serrano & Honduras in Palermo Viejo. $3.78 for a cafe con leche, three mini croissants and a small glass of sparkling water. People watching nirvana.
Whatever you do in Buenos Aires, I hope you fully enjoy it. This blog only scratches the surface of the options in this vibrant and creative city. Please share your BA favorites in the comments below – the best tips come from fellow travelers. Hoping BA finds it’s way into your heart, too!
**9/17 update: Argentina is no longer requiring the “reciprocity fee”. If you have it already, you may want to bring a copy in case there’s a flip-flop, but don’t get one if you haven’t already.
P.S. USA travelers – be sure to have your proof of payment for the $160 USA/Argentina “reciprocity fee”. You’ll need to show it before you board your final flight into Argentina. More details at: http://www.embassyofargentina.us/en/consular-section/reciprocity-fee-for-us-citizens.html