With a bustling nightlife and a vast offer of arts, sports, culture and gastronomy, you will never get bored in Buenos Aires.
Here are some insider tips to get around the city and make the most out of your stay in Argentina.
Arriving in Ezeiza airport
If you haven’t prearranged transportation with your hotel, your options to go downtown are not that many. Except for one bus, there’s no public transportation to the city. You can either take the shuttle to Retiro / Puerto Madero area or you can take a private cab (which will be more expensive, obviously).
If you arrive in the daytime and you are on a budget you can take the shuttle, walk to Retiro train station and find your way to your hotel.
Considering that you are staying in the neighborhood of Palermo, which is the most popular nowadays, walk down to the San Martin train terminal. You will need to buy a SUBE card which is the unified electronic payment system for all the public transport in the city, similar lo London’s Oyster card. You can buy it in any kiosk around the station.. just top it up with some bucks, get a ticket to Palermo and jump in the train. It should be a 10 minutes ride.
Getting around the city
If you didn’t get your SUBE card yet, now is the time to do it, as you will need it for every bus, train or metro that you may need to take.
Many of the touristic attractions and point of interest can be reached by metro (we call it “subte”). You can check the map of the network here.
However, the subte network doesn’t connect all the city and there are many other interesting places that you will need to reach by bus if you don’t want to walk like crazy.
Unfortunately, taking the bus without any knowledge of spanish or the streets where you are going can be a bit tricky, as the bus doesn’t have any electronic sign on board indicating the name of the stations, and you have to pay the fare according to your destination.
The best thing to do if you want to get adventurous without getting lost in the city is to get an offline map in you phone to track your position with GPS (I personally recommend maps.me).
If you think you don’t need that sort of thing, then you can check the route of the bus and pay attention to the streets the bus is going on.
To check what bus you need to take and where to take it and get off, you can use this map which will tell you everything you need to know. It works better than Google Maps.
Must see & do
Explore the wonderful architecture and find out why Buenos Aires is called “The Paris of South America”.
Start in Plaza de Mayo and check the Casa Rosada (Government Palace), the Cabildo and all the buildings around dating back the 19th century.
Keep walking on Avenida de Mayo and make sure to keep your head up to fully appreciate the area. Among some of the attractions there, you can find the Barolo Palace and the famous and traditional Café Tortoni.
By the end of the road you will find the Congress, an amazing piece of architecture.
Another highlights of the area include the Teatro Colón, one of the best and finest theaters in the world and the Grand Splendid El Ateneo, a beautiful old theater turned into a book shop.
Still the old part of town, is another popular spot for the nightlife. Here you can find plenty of cafes, pubs and clubs.
If you fancy antiques you can also find the antiques day market near Plaza Dorrego.
Puerto Madero – Costanera Sur
The newest part of the city, it’s kind of the skyscraper district. It consists of a series of old docks refurbished into restaurants, cafes and clubs. The shops here, although very good quality, are quite expensive.. so keep that in mind.
Keep walking east and you’ll get to Costanera Sur, where you’ll find a lot of nice parks and an Ecologic Natural Reserve which is quite big and is home to a lot of bird and other animal species.
One of the most posh neighborhoods in the city. Here you can find plenty of art and cultural activities such as visiting the Centro Cultural Recoleta, the Bellas Artes Museum, the popular cemetery where a lot of celebrities rest, or walk around Plaza Francia to check the many handicraft stalls.
Without a doubt, the most trendy, popular and vibrant part of the city.
You will never run out of different places to go out and try while you’re there, either if you are looking to drink, dance, eat or shop.
But that’s not all… if you’re feeling like chilling out in the green, you can get down to the Bosques de Palermo and relax around the big lakes, check the Rosedal and the local Planetarium.
A nice day out of the city is going to Tigre. Less than an hour away with the Mitre train, this is the place where the delta river is located.
You can get aboard a sightseeing boat and explore the many island and picturesque landscape. There is also a nice walk along the river with many restaurant to take a break.
Where to eat
If you are a big food lover like myself, you will find that Buenos Aires has one of the best cuisines in the world.
In a city famous for its meats and barbecues, you can’t leave the country without trying a good old “asado”. Don’t be scared to try the weirdest cuts apart from the big stakes.. I personally recommend you get “mollejas”.. and be sure to add plenty of lemon 😉
But in a city where 80% of the population descents from Italian and Spaniards, meat it’s not the only great dish you’re going to find.
From my personal experience, here you will find the best pizza in the whole world, and I say that having tried plenty in Italy!
There’s also pretty good pasta and many other options for all the vegetarians out there.
If you have the chance, this are just some of the places that I personally recommend:
- Pizzeria Guerrin – located in Corrientes Av. (the best pizza in the world!)
- Siga La Vaca – many branches (all you can eat barbecue)
- Las Cabras – Palermo (great barbecue, reasonable price for the area)
- Bar Defensa – San Telmo (restaurant serving super size dishes, very cheap and delicious)
You should also try a “choripan” (meat sausage sandwich) from one of the many street stands in Costanera Sur. It’s definitely the most traditional and iconic food in Argentina.
Argentina has a reputation abroad for being a dangerous city. Truth is that it’s not really that bad, as long as you take precautions, use common sense and are aware of your surroundings.
It’s definitely not Europe or the States, so please don’t flash your valuables (phone, camera, etc) while on the street.. specially at night.
If you’re taking the metro be aware of pick pocketing as this is a pretty common situation, specially on crowded trains. Keep everything in your back pack in front of you and / or out of the reach of anyone but you.
Finally but not least important.. enjoy the city and have loads of fun!