South America > Argentina > Pampas > Buenos Aires (province) > Buenos Aires
- For other places with the same name, see Buenos Aires (disambiguation).
Buenos Aires is the capital of Argentina. The name means fair winds, or literally good airs, in Spanish. The official name is Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires ("Autonomous City of Buenos Aires"), also called Capital Federal ("Federal Capital"). It is one of the largest cities in Latin America, with many cultural offerings, and is the point of departure for traveling to the rest of the country. People from Buenos Aires are called porteños, meaning "people from the port" as Buenos Aires was founded as a port city to fend off pirates and other enemies. Buenos Aires is an open and welcoming destination that allows the traveller not only to visit the city but also have an exceptional urban adventure.
The City of Buenos Aires has 48 districts called barrios (neighborhoods), which can be roughly grouped into the following areas:
|North (Palermo, Recoleta)|
Palermo is a hip residential neighborhood of tree-lined streets and intersections packed with restaurants, bars, and boutiques. Recoleta is considered one of the finest and most expensive areas of the city. It boasts many French style buildings, large green spaces, and first class restaurants. The famous Recoleta Cemetery is well worth a visit.
|Centro (Retiro, San Nicolás, Puerto Madero, San Telmo, Monserrat, Constitución)|
City centre with many of the major tourist attractions, like Florida pedestrian street, Casa Rosada, world famous Teatro Colón and the renewed part of Puerto Madero among many others.
|South (Barracas, La Boca)|
La Boca is considered Buenos Aires's most colorful neighborhood with a very outgoing personality. Tourists favor this picturesque district for its rich history and vibrant colors: greens, yellows, reds, and purples highlight the urban scenery. Furthermore it is home to La Bombonera - the football stadium of Boca Juniors. Barracas is famous for its Pasaje Lanín - a street, where all houses are decorated with colorful tile mosaics.
|Outskirts (Comuna 3-15)|
Mostly residential and not very heavily touristed, but some of these neighborhoods do include important tango clubs and historic architecture, as well as parks and cheap shopping.
The city is geographically contained inside the province of Buenos Aires but is autonomous politically.
The city extends across a plain covering 19.4 km (12.1 mi) from north to south and 17.9 km (11.1 mi) from east to west.
About three million people live in the City of Buenos Aires (the Federal Capital of Argentina with 202 km2 (78 sq mi). The City is divided into 48 districts or barrios (neighbourhoods). Together with its metropolitan area called Great Buenos Aires (Gran Buenos Aires), it is in the top 30 of most populated urban conurbations in the world with over 15 million people. The majority of Argentina's economic activity is concentrated in this single city and its surroundings.
Buenos Aires always receives tourists from all over the world and offers a wide choice of cultural events, nightlife, restaurants and bars, for which you can expect good service.
Buenos Aires has one of Latin America's biggest LGBT communities. There is a receptive attitude towards LGBT culture in the city. Same-sex marriages are legally performed and recognized in Argentina. There are many LGBT oriented businesses based in the city which extend to the tourism industry. For example, there are travel agents, various classes and nightlife events as well as accommodation catered to LGBT travellers. There are gay cruise ships and even a gay five-star hotel.
|Daily highs (°C)||29.9||28.6||26.3||22.8||19.3||15.7||15.4||17.1||19.3||22.1||25.2||28.2|
|Nightly lows (°C)||19.6||18.9||16.9||13.3||10.4||7.7||7.6||8.3||10.0||12.7||15.4||18.1|
Sources: NOAA. See weather forecast at Servicio Meteorológico Nacional
Buenos Aires enjoys a temperate climate with 4 distinct seasons. Because it is located near the coast, extreme heat and cold are rare and the weather allows the city to be visited throughout the year. Winters are cold though frosts are rare. Though daytime temperatures are mild, nights are much colder. It is necessary to wear a coat. Dull, foggy and damp weather characterize winters in Buenos Aires although there is the occasional warm day. At the end of winter, heavy storms are common and it is popularly known at the Santa Rosa Storm which marks the beginning of Spring. Spring and fall are changeable weather with heat waves pushing temperatures up to 38°C (100°F) and cold, polar air masses pushing temperatures down to -4°C (25°F). Even in November, temperatures can drop down to 2°C (36°F). Summers are hot and humid with heavy thunderstorms. It is the sunniest and least cloudiest season. Heat waves can bring periods of muggy weather with high humidity, making it uncomfortable. However, these heat waves do not last for long and cold fronts bring thunderstorms followed by cooler temperatures and lower humidity, bringing relief from the heat.
The Spanish in Buenos Aires is pronounced differently from most of the Spanish-speaking world. Most conspicuously, the ll sound as in "calle" and "pollo" sounds like English sh. The difference in pronunciation probably reflects the influence of Italian traders in the port in the 19th century—many of the words that Porteños pronounce differently from the rest of the Spanish-speaking world are pronounced identically to an Italian word for the same thing.
Much has been written on the Spanish language in Buenos Aires. It was influenced by the many nationalities that immigrated here, especially Southern Italians.
If you have studied Spanish, you will find these differences enormous. Also, vocabulary differs greatly from Iberian Spanish and other Latin American varieties of Spanish. So it may be useful to get an Argentinian dictionary or take some lessons in Argentinian Spanish before getting to Buenos Aires. Despite these differences, any person who is fluent in Spanish should not have difficulty navigating through conversations with Porteños or other Argentinians. Anyway, most "Porteños" (inhabitants of Buenos Aires City) speak a little English but it is very easy to find people who are very fluent, particularly if you stay around the tourist friendly areas.
Buenos Aires is the international gateway to Argentina and is easily accessible from Europe and North America, along with other major South American cities.
The main airport for international flights to and from Buenos Aires is Ezeiza International Airport, about 35 km south of the city center. Most domestic flights use Aeroparque Jorge Newbery Airport, a short distance from downtown Buenos Aires. Flight information for Ezeiza International Airport and Aeroparque Jorge Newbery is available in English and Spanish at +54 11 54806111 or the aa2000.com.ar website. Buenos Aires also has several small airports dedicated to chartered flights and private aircraft.
Flights from Buenos Aires and the rest of Argentina are usually more expensive for foreigners. This can pose a problem for short-term travellers who do not have time to take a bus to places like Iguazu Falls, Bariloche and Ushuaia. These travellers are often advised to find smaller travel companiesor agents that can help them find lower prices on lower flights, deals that larger online travel sites would not have access to.
People from other nationalities must pay a reciprocity fee on arrival at the EZE international airport. The amount depends on how much the country of origin charged for Argentinians to enter that country.
Ezeiza International Airport
- 1 Ezeiza International Airport (referred to as Aeropuerto Internacional Ministro Pistarini / Minister Pistarini International Airport EZE IATA) (located in the suburban area named Gran Buenos Aires, about 30–45 minutes from downtown by highway.). Planes fly from and to most countries in the Americas and Europe. Ezeiza is a modern airport with good services such as ATMs, restaurants, free (but slow) Wi-Fi and duty-free shops. For being the main airport in a metropolitan area of 14 million people, it is surprisingly compact.
Aeroparque Jorge Newbery
- 2 Aeroparque Jorge Newbery airport (referred to as Aeroparque, the Spanish for Airpark/Airfield AEP IATA), Ave. Rafael Obligado (20 min away from the downtown area by car. You can take a taxi (AR$160) or bus from there.), ☎ (extension 107/122 Information: 4576-1111). The smaller airport, used by most domestic flights.
LAN has 3 daily flights to Santiago (Chile) from this airport.
In Aeroparque, there are 2 ATMs. There is also a tiny change office, with a huge queue. Free (but very slow) Wi-Fi in the departure zone.
For budget-conscious travellers, regular bus line 33 passes a few metres from the main gate at Av. Costanera Rafael Obligado and goes to Retiro-Plaza de Mayo-San Telmo for a very low fee.
To Ezeiza, count about an hour by remis (more if huge traffic jams, which are not rare, particularly on Fridays).
Long-distance trains are slowly returning to Argentina, but they are yet few in numbers and limited compared to the by inter-city bus network. There are no international services but using domestic train to get around have finally become a somewhat viable option again. Overnight services with sleepers are available from Bahía Blanca, Cordoba and San Miguel de Tucuman while there are daytime trains from Mar del Plata (temporarily suspended as January 2017, check availability in advance) and Rosario. Most trains run 2-3 times a week. Ticket prices ranges from about AR$400 in second class to AR$1200 for sleepers. A full timetable and tickets are available at the national operator SOFSE. The best and updated site to check which lines are working is Satelite Ferroviario
Córdoba, Tucumán and Rosario trains arrive at the central Retiro station located in the centro. While Mar del Plata and Bahía Blanca arrive to Constitución Terminal.
There are four main highways entering the city which connect to suburban areas and other national routes. As with the trains, the bigger and more frequented routes are centered in Buenos Aires, so you will have no problem driving to and from the rest of the country.
Heading to the city of Rosario, you can travel by highway all the way (north access highway, then route 9). From here you can keep heading north on a good route (Panamericana), or turn right about 150 km from Buenos Aires and go to the Mesopotamia region.
To the west, you can drive to the Cuyo region using the north access highway, then route 8. Traveling out of the city on the west access highway, you can follow routes 7 and 5, which will lead you to the west and southwest, respectively. If you want to visit western Patagonia, route 5 is a good choice.
As a tourist is possible to rent a car while in Buenos Aires, in the zones of Centro, Retiro, Versalles,Nunez, and Ezeiza.
- 3 Retiro bus station. There are very good services covering the whole country. Generally speaking the more expensive the ticket, the more comfortable the bus will be. The most expensive tickets will get you seats that fully recline and you will also be served meals and drinks by an attendant on board.
With an almost non existent railway system and plane ticket prices that are somewhat expensive, the long distance bus system is widely developed. Almost all long-distance buses use the huge and well-organized Retiro bus station on the northern edge of the city centre. The buses are mostly relatively new, however the roads they will travel through are relatively old; there are frequent services to most parts of the country and international bus services to neighbouring countries. A second bus terminal is situated in the Liniers neighborhood, but it is much smaller and not connected to the subway.
You may catch taxis from Retiro bus station, and the subte (underground) also stops there. There are many local buses that stop outside the station as well.
There are numerous operators. The basement level is for cargo and package services. The ground level holds waiting areas, cafes, shops and services including a barber. On the upper level you find a large number (close to 200) of ticket offices, or boleterias. The upper level is conveniently divided by color into geographic areas for companies which serve the place you want to go, including an international area. Look for the signs.
Cama Suites or Dormi Camas lie completely flat and some have dividing curtains. With these services, the seating arrangement is one seat one side and two seats on the other side. Semi-Cama services are laid out two and two, and do not recline as far. Companies usually have photographs of bus interiors. Make sure the journey you choose has the service you want. Most of their buses are double decker. You may also found out some bus classes such as Cama-Vip, Cama-Suite, Ejecutivo or more, just make sure to read info about it or look up photos of bus interiors, usually on websites about south american buses or websites with lots of info about argentinian bus companies.
Bus travel times to/from Buenos Aires:
- Mendoza: 12–14 hours
- Córdoba: 9 hours
- Bariloche: 22 hours
- Iguazú: 20 hours
- Rosario: 4 hours
- Santiago de Chile: 20 hours
Terminal de Omnibus de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires
- Address: Antártida Argentina Avenue and Ramos Mejía
- Phone: +54 11 4310-0700
- Subte: Retiro (Linea C)
You can buy a ticket to practically anywhere in Argentina and departures are fairly frequent to the most popular destinations. Reservations are not necessary except during peak summer and winter holiday seasons (January, February, and July), but it is recommended to buy a ticket in advance for better prices.
To find out which companies are available for a specific destination you can consult online information system for buses from Buenos Aires to the main national and international destinations.
Three companies operate this service.
- Buquebus- Dársena Norte/Puerto Madero terminal - Av. Antártida Argentina 821 (1104). Tel. +54 11 4316-6500
- Seacat Colonia- Dársena Norte/Puerto Madero terminal - Av. Antártida Argentina 821 (1104). Tel. +54 11 4314-5100
- Colonia Express - Dársena Sur terminal - Pedro de Mendoza 330. +54 11 4317-4100
All three offer ferries to Colonia and connecting buses to Montevideo, Piriapolis, and Punta del Este. Buquebus also offers a significantly more expensive direct ferry to Montevideo. For all three companies, tickets are cheaper if you book in advance.
Colonia Express is typically the cheapest option. To Colonia, it can be as low as AR$216.60 online and this is frequently available. However, it leaves from the small and dilapidated Darsena Sur terminal which is in La Boca. When arriving from Uruguay late at night, catch a taxi from the terminal area instead of trying to meander around.
Seacat Colonia is the second cheapest option. To Colonia, it can be as low as AR$228 online though it is hard to get this rate and most will likely have to pay the Economía rate of AR$328, the Flexible rate of AR$356 or Full Rate of AR$397. They leave from the much nicer Dársena Norte/Puerto Madero Terminal. If you are already in Buenos Aires already there is an AR$277 rate available at the terminal. In low season, you may be on the same ferry as the Buquebus passengers who probably paid significantly more.
Buquebus is the most expensive but most popular option. To Colonia, they have a cheaper slow boat as well as a slightly more expensive hydrofoil. Like Seacat Colnoia, they leave from the Dársena Norte/Puerto Madero terminal. For about AR$36 you can upgrade to first class both ways, which includes VIP lounge access and a free glass of champagne. Highly recommended on the nicer boats (you can upgrade on board).
Dársena Norte is a modern terminal. Currency exchange, food, and rental cars are available. Luggage storage, in the basement level of the parking area, costs AR$50 and is not secure.
From the official city site: the city is an important destination for the maritime and fluvial cruisers industry of South America. The Benito Quinquela Martín Passenger Terminal, a few blocks away from downtown, at Ramón Castillo street between Avenida de los Inmigrantes and Mayor Luisioni street, has a surface of 7,100 m², a boarding room for 1,000 passengers and baggage facilities with capacity for 2,500 suitcases. Additional features include tourist information, handicrafts shops, snack bars as well as the offices for Migration, Customs, Interpol and Prefectura (Coast Guard).
You may also take a boat from nearby Tigre to Nueva Palmira in Uruguay. Trains leave from Retiro Station to Tigre frequently. Boat services to Nueva Palmira also connect to Colonia del Sacramento by bus.
There is also a service from Montevideo-Carmelo-Tigre-Buenos Aires. A one way ticket is AR$900 (about US$31), which is not cheaper than the competition, but you do have the option of taking the 8-hour voyage overnight to arrive around 09:00 in the city center. Get the tickets and depart from Tres Cruces in Montevideo. The price includes a bus to Carmelo, boat to Tigre, and another bus to the center of Buenos Aires. They often have very good special offers that include some nights in hotels in Buenos Aires.
Grimaldi Lines - Freighter Travel operates a bi-monthly freighter link from Europe to South-America via Africa. Five freighter ships do the rotation and each accepts 12 passengers. The journey lasts about 30 days (60 days for a round trip) and port calls include: Hamburg, Tillbury, Antwerp, Le Havre, Bilbao, Casablanca, Dakar, Banjul, Conakry, Freetown, Salvador de Bahia, Vitoria, Rio de Janeiro, Santos Zarate, Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Paranagua, Santos, Rio de Janeiro, Dakar, Emden, and back to Hamburg. Only the stops in Europe and at Buenos Aires permit passengers to either embark or disembark. However, passengers are allowed to visit all of the visited ports. All the port calls are subject to change depending on the loading and unloading needs of the ship. Tickets for a cabin on a Europe to Buenos Aires trip start at €1450/pp for a double cabin and €1890 for a single cabin (more expensive luxury cabins are available).
The public transport in Buenos Aires is very good, although crowded during rush hour and the bus network can be confusingly complex. The metro (or underground railway) here is called the "Subte", which is short for Subterraneo (underground). The network itself is not very large, but reaches most tourist attractions of the city, and there is a large range of bus routes and several suburban railways used by commuters. Trains, subte and bus are most easily paid for with a SUBE card (AR$30), which is a magnetic card that you can buy at kioscos, some newsstands, and at every subway station. It will have no credit when you buy it, but you can charge with money in train/subway stations or kioscos (grocery shops) equipped with the relevant machine (they will likely have a SUBE logo on display). One card can be shared by any number of people since it is used only once, upon entering the transport (except on trains, where every passenger needs its own card). The card is also used in many other cities (e.g Bariloche), so don't throw it away when you leave Buenos Aires, as your balance can be used elsewhere.
Since February 2018, a multimodal system has been implemented in which increasing discounts are applied to the fare when doing connections, regardless of the chosen method of transportation. The second trip will receive a 50% discount, the third trip will have a 75% discount and so on, up to 5 trips within the lapse of 2 hours.
Some electronic resources can help you find bus routes : the websites ComoViajo and CómoLlego (official and the most reliable app for Buenos Aires), or the iPhone App miTinerario. Google Maps Transit isn't always accurate when it comes to buses and many important lines are notably absent.
Finding your way around is relatively easy. Most of the city grid is divided into equal squares with block numbers in the hundreds, using a grid system similar to Manhattan, New York. Most streets are one way with the adjacent parallels going the other way, so beware that the bus or taxi won't follow the same route back. If travelling by taxi, tell the driver the street and block number, e.g. "Santa Fe 2100"; or two intersecting streets, e.g. "Corrientes y Callao".
City maps are issued by many different publishers (Guía T, LUMI) and the local tourist authority. They are indispensable for those wanting to use public transportation, since they include all bus routes. As always, check towards which direction the map is pointing, because some maps are bottom up (South on the top of the map). This is true for the maps at the official taxi booth at Ezeiza airport.
Walking is a great way to get around Buenos Aires during the day. With the grid system it is relatively easy to get around and because of the traffic it may even be quicker than a taxi or bus. The larger avenidas are lined with shops so there is plenty so see. In the Micro centro calle Florida is a pedestrian shopping street where you can walk from Plaza San Martin to Avenida de Mayo near the Plaza de Mayo. It crosses Lavalle (also pedestrian only) which takes you to the Plaza de la Republica and the Obelisk. For safety reasons do not walk to La Boca; take a bus or taxi instead.
Taxis are not the quickest way to move around the more congested parts of the city, especially during rush hour, as traffic jams are common. Still, you will find that taxis are usually rather inexpensive, convenient, and exciting (in a white-knuckled, classic-wooden-roller-coaster kind of way). Make sure to take the "radio taxi", as some taxis do no turn on the meter and will ask for a very expensive fare.
It is relatively safe to travel by taxis. For details refer to Stay safe. If you are uncomfortable hailing a taxi on the street you can have your hotel or restaurant call a taxi for you. You should always check the driver´s personal information is legible in the back part of the front seat, and make sure they turn on the meter after they set off, to avoid any disagreement over the fare later. It is suggested to use small bills and exact or almost exact changes with taxis, since as with many large cities around the world, it sometimes can be quite problematic of getting changes back from a taxi driver.
As of December 2016, Uber is readily available. You will often have a 5-10 minute wait compared to a taxi which can be hailed in seconds, but there are few of the risks associated with catching a taxi as a tourist. Since taxi drivers are against Uber, it's not recommended to order an Uber from a taxi stop, or from other places with taxi lines, as some big hotels or the cruise ship terminal. It is never a bad idea to send a SMS to the driver to arrange the pickup location.
The principal means of public transportation within the city are the buses (colectivos). Tickets must be bought on the bus through a machine using a prepaid RFID proximity card named SUBE, since April 2016 it is the only way to pay for transportation. You can expect to pay AR$8-9, each ticket price depending on approximate distance and rising in 0.25 intervals.
In case of an emergency, ask a local to pay your ticket with his/her SUBE and then pay him/her back: it is an unorthodox but frequent way to travel, but locals are aware of these difficulties and most of the times helpful. In no case will the driver accept money for a ticket; he (rarely she) will simply deny you entry. The reason that this is doable is because a SUBE card can be shared between multiple people and subsequently scanned multiple times when getting on a bus or at a ticket gate. If you are travelling in a group or a couple, it is possible to purchase just one SUBE card and simply scan it twice when necessary.
There are more than 150 lines covering the whole city. They work 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, but run less frequently on holidays and late at night. For each route the bus is painted differently making them easy to distinguish. The best way to figure out the bus system is using the BA Como Llego app, or to buy a Guía "T" (which might not be up-to-date). It's essentially a little book with a directory of streets, which corresponds to map pages, and has bus listings on the facing page for each map. These can be bought at many kiosks around the city, or subway stations; once mastered - not a simple task - it is fairly easy for a seasoned traveller to get pretty much anywhere in the city at any time by combining two or more bus and/or subte lines.
On most services, board the bus and tell the driver your destination (or if you already know the fee, do what Argentines do—just yell how much the ticket is); he will press a button instructing the SUBE machine to deduct the fare from your card, you will notice the amount to be paid on the display of the reader with the SUBE label next to him. You can then use the card against it and the payment will be processed, and the balance of the card will be shown. Please note that no actual ticket will given to you when paying by SUBE card. Do not use the card before the driver selects your destination, since he may still be in the process of processing your order and say "no, todavia no" ("No, I'm still selecting the destination", or "not yet!")
You can also use buses to move in and around the suburban area (Gran Buenos Aires), but navigating Buenos Aires' immense metro area (10 million people) while avoiding dangerous areas can be a daunting task. The suburban-only lines (you can differentiate them because their line numbers are above 200) have less comfort, and many of them don't run after 23:00.
By Subte (subterraneo)
The city has a subway network ("subte", short form of "tren subterráneo", which means "underground train"). It is very efficient and you can save a lot of time by using it. It is cheap (in 2017, AR$7.50 for unlimited transfers as long as you keep underground travelling throughout the network). If you need to be somewhere by 08:00-09:30 or 17:00-18:00 on a weekday, however, the Subte will be incredibly crowded and depending on where you are catching it from, you may have to miss several trains in a row before there is space for you. Once on board, during peak hours it can get very crowded. Factor this into your timing arrangements to make sure that you make your meeting on time.
The subte runs approximately from 05:00-22:00, except on Sundays, when service starts at 08:00.
Many subte stations have interesting murals, tiles and artwork. The "Peru" station is the oldest subway station and still has the old trains that require passengers to open the doors manually. Transferring between lines is indicated by combinación signs.
Remember to know which way your destination lies from your starting point, as the network uses its cabeceras (head stations) as way pointers and it can get confusing which way is the one you are supposed to ride. If you happen to realize that you are headed in the wrong direction, ask a local if they know of which the next station with a andén central (central platform) is, there you can easily get on the right train by just going across the platform.
For example, if you want to get from Palermo to El Centro using the D line, you will use the platform headed to Catedral because that's the one in Plaza de Mayo. If you instead go for Congreso de Tucuman, this one in Cabildo Avenue, simply wait to get to Palermo, Plaza Italia, or Carranza station and the take the other train.
As for the bus, you can use your SUBE card to pay your trip (simply swipe the card at the turnstile to get to the station). Also every station has a SUBE charging post, either automatic or attended, this can be quite useful because sometimes its easier to walk to a close known Subte station than trying to find a kiosk that charges.
The current network comprises six underground lines, labelled "A" to "E" and "H" which all converge to the downtown area and connect to the main bus and train terminals.
The A line used to be a destination on its own because of the old wooden carriages. It was built in 1913 making it the oldest metro system in Latin America, the Southern Hemisphere, and the entire Spanish-speaking world. The old wooden carriages have been replaced in 2013.
In the southeast branch (the E line), the service is extended by a trainway known as premetro, but beware, it goes to some of the least desirable places in the city. Premetro is AR$0.60, or AR$0.70 with a Subte Transfer.
The subte and premetro services are own by the city transport and operated by Metrovias S.A. authority. You can reach their Customer Service personnel by calling -toll free (within Argentina)- on 0800-555-1616 or by sending a fax to +54 4553-9270.
There is a good deal of railway connections to the suburban area and nearby provinces (commuter trains) laid out in such a way that it resembles a shape of a star. The quality of the service ranges from excellent to not quite so desirable, depending on the line; ask before using them at night time. They mostly cater to local commuters and not tourists, except perhaps Tigre branch of Mitre Line. The terminal stations are the same from suburban transportation. From Retiro station you can take the Mitre Train to the Tigre Delta. Those trains are modern and all of them have A/A. There you can do a boat cruise and see the wetland and recreational area of the porteños.
The main railway terminals are Retiro, Constitución, Once and Federico Lacroze. From all of these you can then use the metro and bus network to get right into the center. The suburban fares are very cheap.
- Metrovias: Urquiza trainway and metro - Good service, safe for traveling at any hour.
- Trenes Argentinos: Sarmiento, Mitre, Roca, San Martín and Belgrano lines. The Sarmiento line is the most used one. It is however overcrowded and can be very difficult to use in rush hours; also covers less desirable places. Mitre line takes you to some really beautiful places like "Tigre", a very picturesque small town with old French-style little houses and a beautiful walkside by the river near a theme park, Parque de la Costa in the north of the suburban area. Be careful as every line has its own branches, so be sure you are boarding the correct train, which would be the Tigre one (there are displays on each platform, and a huge display oncentral hall). Mitre, Sarmiento and most Roca trains are new and all of them will have A/A and loudspeakers
- Tren de la costa (site available in English): It's a small touristic cosy train which runs from Maipu st (change from TBA's Mitre Line, Mitre Branch, Mitre station) to Parque de la costa in Tigre, with stops in very exclusive zones such as San Isidro which is worth a couple of hours walk. As a tourist attraction, tickets are far more expensive than regular trains: one way daily ticket costs 16 pesos for non-residents and allows you to hop on hop off as many times as you want. Be sure to check their website as it offers a brief description of each station and its attractions.
All trains are payed with SUBE card, and in most cases you'll just have to approximate it to a turnstile, both when entering the departure and exiting the arrival one.
If you are truly adventurous (and a bit of a risk-taker), cars are available to rent in Buenos Aires. There are several things to keep in mind before renting a car in Buenos Aires. First, Buenos Aires is such an excellent city for walking that if something is within 20 or 30 blocks, it is often worth the extra effort to go on foot and get to know the city on a more intimate level. The terrain is flat, so it can be easily walked on. Second, if you aren't much of a walker, the public transportation system in Buenos Aires is cheap and efficient. It can get you anywhere fast! Third, and perhaps most important, the traffic in Buenos Aires is extremely unpredictable. Stoplights, signs, traffic laws—for many porteño drivers, are mere references. Picture yourself trying to get several thousand head of cattle to move down the street and stay inside the lanes, and you have a decent idea of driving in Buenos Aires. It's also very difficult to find where to park your car in many neighborhoods, and close to impossible in downtown. Do not leave your car parked where you're not supposed to because it will be towed away, and the recovery fee is very expensive. Many hidden speed control cameras have been installed lately (specially in avenues), so be sure to stick to the speed limit, even in routes outside the city. DO fasten your seat belt and have your lights turned on or you will be fined.
If driving outside the city, you should not only stick to the speed limit (which varies a lot depending on where you are), but have your identification and driving license with you, as it's possible that you get stopped by traffic control policemen. National routes are in a good state of maintenance, but be careful in province only routes as there may be unexpected and dangerous potholes in the pavement.
There is also the option to do private car tours. One (fun) option is to go for Buenos Aires Vintage Tours, which offers original Citroën 3CVs to do the tour. Check Buenos Aires Vintage for details on available tours.
Buenos Aires is not the most suitable city for cycling. Traffic is dangerous and hardly respectful toward bicycles; the biggest vehicle wins the right of way, and bikes are low on the totem pole. However recently a bicycling network has been developed and it's constantly expanding. Check the web site for the updated map: http://mejorenbici.buenosaires.gob.ar/ It can be a very hectic experience, but by no means impossible if you have ridden a bike in traffic before. Be sure to avoid avenues, specially if busy.
Some spots call out for two-wheeled exploration, such as Palermo’s parks and the Reserva Ecológica Costanera Sur; on weekends and some weekdays you can rent bikes at these places. Here's some tips:
- In Buenos Aires, traffic is really good at anticipating the green light: some cars/buses start going when it's still red, knowing that it will turn green in the next second or few.
- Indicators and head lights seem to be used randomly, don't be surprised if a car suddenly cuts into you without indicating first.
- On one way streets, stick to the left lane to avoid the buses which go really fast and stop all the time as well as the taxis that go at a snail's pace and stop or change direction suddenly to pick up a fare.
Buenos Aires is a big city, so check the districts section for detailed listings.
If you are a fan of walking in green open spaces and parks in big cities like Buenos Aires, be sure not to miss a promenade in Palermo, a beautiful area in the northern part of the city. Here you will find not only open spaces to walk in but also a large lake where you can rent paddle boats and a huge flower garden that is free to enter! Although the Japanese and the botanical gardens and the surroundings are very nice, they are also very noisy as several major roads traverse the area. For a quiet, shady walk or jog head to the golf course north of the railway tracks.
Another great place to walk along and experience Argentine street life is El Puerto de Buenos Aires. Its personality however is quite contrasting during the day and during the night.
La Boca has the Caminito pedestrian street with arts and crafts. There is also a river cruise you can take from there where you can see a huge picturesque metal structure across the river. You can try and catch a rowboat to Avellaneda on the other side of the water for 0.50 pesos, but you will have to try your luck as the rower may not allow you on citing that its dangerous. La Boca is famous for Tango and you can often catch glimpses of Tango dancers practicing in the streets. If you fancy having a picture taking with a tango dancer you can but expect to pay a small fee. In addition to tango, La Boca is famous for its football, and you can take a tour of the La Bombonera Stadium where the buildings are painted in bright colors.
The prices for almost everything in La Boca tend to be 2 to 3 times higher compared to the rest of the city. It's very touristy since it is an enjoyable place with some authentic Argentine sights. La Boca is probably best to be enjoyed during the day when the streets are crowded and there are other tourists around, it is generally advised to be avoided at night.
There is no Subte to La Boca, but many buses go there.
Remembrance park (Spanish: Parque de la memoria) a public space that is situated in front of the Río de la Plata estuary in the northern end of the Belgrano section of Buenos Aires. It is a memorial to the victims of the 1976–83 military regime during the Dirty War...pack some sandwhiches and perhaps something stronger to relax on the hillside (and watch the planes landing overhead at the airport nearby) contemplating things after learning more about this tragic yet important part of Argentina´s history that is a must visit for any visitor.
The Cementerio de la Recoleta: This is where all the rich families in Buenos Aires have their final resting places. Expect to see big ornate tombs. Be sure to visit the tomb of Eva Perón, the daughter of an aristocrat and beloved First Lady who, despite having the most visited tomb in the cemetery, is considered by many to be too close toward the people for eternal interment in Recoleta.
The Palermo Viejo district: This is a trendy neighborhood with charming cobblestone streets, bookstores, bars, and boutiques; definitely better than the touristic San Telmo area for a nighttime excursion. The Palermo station, on D line, is the closest metro stop.
San Telmo: Best visited on Sundays when tourists and locals alike flood in to attend the weekly street fair and flea market. Be watchful for good deals, and bring in your own water, as it's quite expensive here. On Sunday nights, there is a tango performance in the lovely plaza, which is specifically for tourists. (Visit an underground tango club for the most amateur experience. If there is advertising, or disco ball, then it's not an amateur)
Argentina has a renowned football reputation and the sport is big throughout the whole country including of course, Buenos Aires. The capital is the home town of two of the most appreciated football teams in the world, Boca Juniors (which resides in Boca) and River Plate (Núñez). A game between these two legendary teams is called the "Super Clasico". This is by far the hottest ticket in the city and one of the most intense rivalries in the world, and it is often necessary to buy tickets well in advance. Also, the Argentine National Team is very, very popular. Tickets to their World Cup Qualifying matches can difficult to come by, involve waiting in very long lines, and should be ordered in advance for more convenience.
Argentinian fans are known for their passion and the songs (which are practically love songs) which they sing to their teams. Even if you are not a huge football fan, going to a game is definitely worth it just to take in the atmosphere and to observe the fans singing and cheering. While this is an experience you don't want to miss while visiting Buenos Aires, it can also be dangerous for tourists to go on their own depending on the stadium.
Tourists are often advised to go with large, organized groups such as LandingPadBA with bilingual guides, in particular to a Boca Juniors game. This ensures that you can watch the game in peace and still have a great time. If you want to see a match on your own, the best choice is to see River Plate, in the rich northern suburb of Belgrano. Best to purchase a (more expensive, ~AR$900, 2018) Plateas (grandstand) ticket rather than being in the Populars (terraces, ~AR$350 prices, 2018).
In the Plateas you can safely take your camera and enjoy the show. Go with a friend or someone local you trust who knows not only the area but also supports the local side and is familiar with the way things operate on match day.
Purchase tickets in advance or through a friend if they are a member of the club or supporters' section, also known as a socio. Often tickets are mainly sold out for the big times, but you can sometimes find them on sale on match day for teams like Racing, and as the ticket prices have risen only matches rarely sell out (except the above-mentioned Superclasico).
A trip to Buenos Aires is not complete without some sort of experience of the Tango, the national dance of Argentina. A good place to go and watch some authentic Tango is at the Confitería Ideal Suipacha 384 (just off of Corrientes, near Calle Florida). However Tango is best experienced not in La Boca and on Calle Florida, but in the Milongas. A milonga is both a place where a Tango dance will take place, as well as a specific type of tango dance.
Milongas take place either during the day or late at night. "Matinée Milongas" usually start in the early afternoon and go until 20:00-22:00. They are popular with tourists who may struggle staying up until 05:00 every night. Inside a milonga, you will find many locals who will be more than willing to show you how to dance. The night Milongas start at around 23:00, but don't fill up until around 01:30. They may go on until 05:00 or 06:00. Some Milongas to note are: Salon Canning, El Beso and Porteno y Bailarin.
There are many milongas held in different parts of the city every day. There's a free distribution guide called TangoMap Guide which contains all the information of the milongas day by day, including times and location. This guide also informs about tango teachers and tango shops, so it's the best reference for any tango lover. It is edited by Caserón Porteño, a Tango Guest House in Buenos Aires that also gives free tango lessons every day for its guests.
You can start learning tango through the group lessons offered at many studios. Some popular schools are at the Centro Cultural Borges, on the very top floor. It can be very hard to find the actual place as there are some stairs you have to go up, and then you have to go through a museum. Ask the security officer where the "Escuela de Tango" is. In the summer time the rooms can get very hot. The Centro is within the Galerias Pacifico, the American-style mall near Calle Florida on San Martin. The best way to learn, and the quickest, even if you do not have a partner, is with private lessons. You can find instructors who charge as little as US$40 per hour, all the way up to ones that will charge US$100 per hour. If you want to try the authentic style that the Argentines dance socially in the milongas, look up some of the milongueros who teach tango, like Alejandro Gee, Juan Manuel Suarez, Jorge Garcia, Jorge Kero. They will not only teach you traditional tango or milonga, but you can also find out a lot about the culture by hanging out with them. You can google them up for videos or in order to find them. Many of the more 'famous' instructors command a premium price. If you start taking tango lessons it will seduce and consume your life and you will then be force to make many pilgrimages back to Buenos Aires to dance.
If you don't want to dance be careful of the eye contact you make. Here, you will not see men physically getting up to ask a woman to dance. He will get her attention with his eyes, nod or make a "let's go" move with his head. If she accepts she will nod and smile, and they will both meet on the dance floor. The locals here are very friendly and if you are interested in learning tango, asking a local for instructors is the best bet.
If you prefer to start taking lessons in reduced groups and have personal attention, there are two tango oriented hotels with professional tango teachers who offer group tango lessons every day (free for their guests). One option is Caserón Porteño and the other one Tango Lodge. You can check the complete schedule for the tango lessons at their websites.
Spend a night seeing what it is like to be a real gaucho. Live the life of an Argentine cowboy; ride horses, eat traditional gaucho foods, drink traditional gaucho wines, and dance like they used to do back in the day. A great way to get out of the city for a day and see another side of Argentine culture. Great for adults, kids, or anybody who ever wanted to be a cowboy when they were younger.
Buenos Aires hosts exhilarating skydiving activities within its clear blue skies. You can experience a 20 minute flight, followed by a 35 seconds freefall, and a slow descent of nearly 7 minutes to enjoy a breathtaking view. Discover a unique bird's-eye view of Buenos Aires and its expansive pampas as you dive through 3,000 meters (9,000 feet) of open air. There is no better place to feel the adrenaline of a tandem skydiving jump.
Argentina is renowned for its excellent selection of wine. The most popular being Mendoza which is rated among the worlds most popular regions due to its high altitude, volcanic soils and proximity to the Andes Mountains. The terrain seems to complement the European grape varietals with interesting notes not present when produced in other climates, this allows the Argentine wine to be positioned in a league of its own.
The best way to experience and understand the selection of Argentine varietals is a wine tasting, which is offered by quite a few companies and bars around the city.
Argentina is well known for having one of the best polo teams and players in the world. The largest tournament of the year takes place in December at the polo fields in Las Cañitas. Smaller tournaments and matches can also be seen here at other times of the year. For news on tournaments and where to buy tickets for polo matches, check Asociacion Argentina de Polo.
Around Buenos Aires there are plenty of Polo schools. Most Polo courses run for a week and include accommodation on site. A popular option for a day-trip is Polo Elite, who operate polo lessons for beginners as well as guided trips to polo matches. They provide transportation for the 45min drive from downtown to their school.
Another option is Argentina Polo Day which runs professional polo games every day of the year, as well as polo lessons for beginners and pros. Its full day program includes also a typical Argentinean BBQ with unlimited wine and refreshment. The Polo Clinics includes also accommodation. Transportation is provided, for the 45 minutes drive from downtown to their polo ranch.
Puesto Viejo Polo Days is another option. These full day experiences collect participants from the city and take them to a luxury polo estancia in the countryside. They offers transport, snacks, Argentine lunch with wine, lesson, mini match, use of hotel infinity pool, and an opportunity to watch a full polo match.
Buenos Aires has become a popular destination among LGBT travellers. For international LGBT travellers, the "Paris of the South" has also become the gay capital of South America. Same-sex marriage is legal in the country and in the central districts you will find most people helpful and amiable. There are many gay-oriented services to help you make the best of your stay.
If you are looking for accommodations you can start by visiting BA4U Apartments which specializes in finding rentals for the LGBT community. They can also direct you to tours and services their clients use like Day Clicker Photo Tours. While you are visiting you might also want to stop in to see Chef Mun at the popular closed door restaurant Casa Mun.
The city of Buenos Aires and its suburban surroundings cover a tremendous expanse of land that cannot be easily and quickly walked, biked, or driven. That is what helicopter rides are for. You can discover Buenos Aires from a unique perspective: see the skyline of Puerto Madero's skyscrapers, the grid of concrete streets filled with taxis and colectivos or buses, the tourist attractions including the Obelisco, Casa Rosada, and Cementario Recoleta. Tour the skies above the human traffic on an exciting helicopter ride, a different way to explore the city.
You might not think of it as you walk around this big city of skyscrapers, but there is some very good golfing very close by. There are many trips to the golf courses that make it easy and relaxing for tourists to enjoy a day on the green. . Packages include any greens fees, equipment and a caddie who you can blame when you hook that shot into the woods!
Buenos Aires is home to the biggest Jewish community in Latin America and one of the biggest in the world. There are many sights and activities specifically for Jewish people. There are beautiful synagogues, museums, monuments, barrios and history for all travellers to soak up and enjoy. Tours are given around the city to hit all the major Jewish landmarks. This is a great way to see a different side of Buenos Aires that many people wouldn't think about seeing.
Urban spas or day spas have flourished, some of them at large hotels such as the Alvear, Hilton, Hyatt among others. Furthermore, some green spas have opened shops and offer a great range of eco-friendly treatments.
Making medical procedures part of your overall vacation package is a growing trend, and since Buenos Aires is relatively affordable for Westerners, it is at the forefront. If you decide to go the medical vacation route, there are a number of firms that have established relationships with local medical clinics who can deliver a total package. Make sure you check out the credentials of the doctors and other healthcare professionals before making your decision. Buenos Aires is home to plenty of well-trained doctors with excellent reputations.
Foreigners have been flocking to Buenos Aires to take advantage of the great deals. For those who come to Argentina, it is essential to know, for themselves and their children, that the country's education is considered one of the best in Latin America.
- 1 The University of Buenos Aires. The most important school in Argentina and one of the most prestigious in Latin America. Founded on August 12, 1821, it depends financially on the State but it is autonomous, open, secular, and completely free. Furthermore, the only condition for entry is completion of the Ciclo Básico Común (also free, and part of the University).
Buenos Aires is a great photography destination, offering a huge array of locations that provide something for everyone, whatever you like photographing, Buenos Aires has it all, an exciting street art scene, gritty culture, beautiful architecture, an intriguing and visually exciting food culture and inhabitants that generally, don't mind being photographed. Brush up on your photography skills at one of the collages or private schools.
Many people interested in learning Spanish choose Argentina as an inexpensive destination to accomplish this. You will hear Argentines refer to Spanish as Castellano more often than Español, as the Castillian dialect that is often called "Spanish" is actually only one of several dialects and languages spoken in Spain. Spanish in Buenos Aires is Rioplatense Spanish. The Spanish of Argentina uses the verb form of voseo instead of tú. While the Spanish of Argentina is beautiful, it is slightly unusual sounding to the rest of Latin America. You might also pick up a little of the slang of Buenos Aires known as Lunfardo, and is influenced by several other languages.
There are several options for studying Spanish. You can attend one of several fine schools, study individually with a tutor, or there are social groups where people get together for the purpose of talking in each other's languages to improve their skills.
- LyCBA (Lengua y Cultura Buenos Aires). There's one Spanish School that is specialized in the language for tango and addressed at tango lovers (even when they teach anyone interested in their lessons). Also has teachers who can attend to the place where the person is staying.
Schools provide a very rigorous schedule, typically, of intense study. Be wise, if you have spent three weeks in classes and find yourself getting overwhelmed, a week off will help your brain catch up. There is the occasional student who has been in classes for six weeks whose brain is clearly suffering from overload.
The schools would rather keep you in class, so it's up to you to pace yourself.
Events take place almost nightly in bars and restaurants throughout the city.
Many very qualified teachers advertise on Craigslist, which is more known by foreigners on the Buenos Aires page than locals. Often these teachers have formal education in teaching language and prior or current experience in a school of language.
Employment is available for Spanish-speaking visitors in Buenos Aires. Many foreigners work as translators, or English teachers. There's also a recent trend for technology and recruiting companies hiring English-speaking or bilingual employees.
It is very common for foreigners to work in call centers. There are companies that provide customer care and technical support services to many big American and European companies like Microsoft, Verizon, Vodafone, Motorola and others. If you speak just a bit of Spanish, you can get this kind of job. Wages in call centers are much less than in countries like the USA, far lower than the difference in the cost of living. In 2007, typical wages were 1/5 of the typical rate for the same work in the USA, while living costs were between 1/3 and 1/2.
If you wish to work, remember to obtain proper immigration status so as to be able to work legally. It is possible to convert your tourist visa into a work permit, but you need to bring with you a letter of good conduct from your country of residence and a birth certificate. Both documents have to have a postille. You may find the latest requisites at Dirección Nacional de Migraciones. Some employers may still offer you work under less than formal terms, but be reminded that if you accept this sort of employment you may not receive the full benefits that are mandated by law and are actually 'helping' that employer break a good number of local laws.
Shops at shopping malls and supermarkets are usually open from 10:00 to 22:00, 7 days a week. Non-chain, small stores usually close around 20:00 and stay closed on Saturday afternoons and Sundays except on big avenues and touristic areas. All of the main avenues are full with kiosks and very small convenience stores that stay open 24 hours. You will find no less than 2 for each 100 meters you walk. In the Recoleta area, several bookstores and record stores close as late as 02:30 daily.
Money can be exchanged at Banco de la Nación Argentina at the airport and at any of the cambios (changes) along Florida or Lavalle, but, if you have the time, shop around for the best rate at the zone known as "La city". This zone is the banking district of Buenos Aires, and numerous exchange places are located right near one another. This means fierce competition and options to check the best rates. In addition to this, in this zone it is possible not only to change US dollars or euros, but also some other major currencies from Latin America (such as Brazilian reals, Mexican pesos, Colombian pesos), Canadian dollars, Asian (Japanese yen, Chinese yuan, etc.), and Europe (Swedish kronas, Swiss francs, etc.) This can mean a saving of time and money by not having to convert twice. Take into consideration that whenever you go to an official money changer, you are always required to present your passport. Copies might be accepted but this should not be assumed.
Traveller's checks are rarely used and may actually be difficult to exchange, but there is an American Express office at San Martin Plaza that will take American Express' Traveller's Checks. Banco Frances will cash them with proper identification, and are located all over B.A., including around tourist attractions such as El Obelesco.
Banks open from 10:00 to 15:00 and only on weekdays. Banelco or "Red Link" ATMs can be found around the city, but banks and ATMs are few and far between in residential neighborhoods like Palermo. Try major roads near metro stations. ATMs are the most convenient source of cash but should be used only in banks or ATMs that acted as the banks' branches. Just like in most cities, independent ATMs (not affiliated with any bank) are considered less safe.
ATM limits and fees Some ATMs strictly limit withdrawals on foreign cards. You may be able to get out only AR$3000 per day with a fee of around AR$200, so plan to visit the ATM often or hunt around for a more relaxed limit. The Citibank multipurpose ATMs are currently the only ones allowing withdrawals over AR$300 per day (probably up to the limit of your card). Otherwise, look for ATMs in the Link network. Banco Patagonico has a limit of AR$600 Pesos. The Visa Plus network of ATM cards have a lower limit of AR$320 per withdrawal with US$5–6 fee. Fees vary wildly from nothing to US$6. Read the fine print! Cash exchange rates for US dollars are very competitive, and it may be advantageous to simply bring a large sum of US currency.
Fees for banking may be from both your bank and the Argentinian bank. Specific fee amounts depends on your bank and the ATM you use; most ATMs will charge foreign travellers around US $5–7 per transaction, which will be added to your withdrawal amount. Sometimes the machines also dispense US dollars for international bank cards that are members of the Cirrus and PLUS networks. Visitors from Brazil can find many Banco Itaú agencies all over the city.
Change is not a problem in Buenos Aires anymore since the implementation of the SUBE card for urban transport. However of you haven't acquired your SUBE card yet, be sure to always have some spare change in coins, as these are requires in large numbers for the bus (Subte and urban train lines do have cashiers).
Credit cards are used less commonly in Argentina than in the USA or Europe. Many businesses in the city accept them and you can expect any major chain - supermarkets, fast food, clothing stores, etc. - to also accept them. Note that the standard 10% tip in restaurant is often expected to be paid in cash, even when you pay the bill by credit card. Many places will ask for ID along with the credit card so bring a driver's licence - even a photo of your passport is usually sufficient.
- The mate: It is a sort of cup made from different materials, commonly from a desiccated vegetal core (a gourd), sometimes with silver or gold ornaments; which is used to drink mate, the most traditional social non-alcoholic beverage. The mate is drunk in Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, and southern Brazil.
- Other gaucho items: Traditional clothes, knives, etc.
- Leather items: The cow is totally used here: meat, milk, sausages, and leather; all high quality. You can find coats and other leather products on Murillo street though the quality of the goods here varies widely. The best place to find high quality leather goods may be the malls and other major shopping streets.
- Alfajores: These traditional cake/cookies, often containing dulce de leche, are delicious.
- Football Jersey: Football ('soccer' for Americans) is a huge part of Argentine culture, so it is normal to bring home a jersey to represent your time there. Shirts from River, Boca or the Argentine National Team are always very popular and make great gifts.
- Tango Shoes The zona de calzados is just Past Diagonal Norte on Suipacha. You will see many shops grouped together that sell tango shoes. As with many things in Buenos Aires shop around and make sure you are not getting the gringo price. Men can buy excellent hand made leather shoes for around US $50. For those of you with time on your hands you can ask them to make you a pair. They will draw your foot on a piece of paper and you can design your own shoe for the same price. Do be aware that if they tell you that it will be ready in a week, that probably means about 10 days (or around 7 business days).
- Handmade Ponchos: The Native Americans in Argentina wear ponchos made of handwoven materials, usually distinct from other regions of South America. Some are seasonal, many are considered unisex. A good deal can be found, especially on the outskirts of the city.
- A Bottle of Malbec: Argentina is famous for its wine, and Malbec is the signature grape of the land. A fine quality Malbec can be had for US$8-10 per bottle and makes a fine gift. If you know nothing about wine, go to a liquor store and look for the same brands/years found in nice restaurants.
- Florida Street and Lavalle Street (from 500 up to 1000) are for pedestrians only and is the place to find the majority of tourist's shops in the centro. At the intersection of these two pedestrian streets, there is often some sort of interesting street performance going on, especially at night.
- The Palermo Viejo in Palermo has many shops that will appeal to young or artsy people (think New York's SoHo). Nearby is Murillo Street, a block full of leather houses.
One of the Porteño's passions, which they are very proud of, is to read. Buenos Aires is believed to be the city with the most bookstores per citizen in the world, it hosts some of the biggest and prettiest bookstores of the continent, and it hosts some og the most prestigious publishing houses in the Spanish speaking world. Expect to see people reading at the bus, metro, at the park, and even at the streets! There are several options:
- Santa Fe Avenue offers not only lots and lots of clothes and book shops but also a nice atmosphere where you can walk along. You can start from the intersection of Santa Fe Avenue with 9 de Julio Avenue, and walk along Santa Fe up to the Alto Palermo Shopping (Av. Santa Fe 3253).
- On Corrientes Ave. from the Obelisco (big obelisk in the intersection with 9 de Julio avenue) up to Ayacucho St., you will find a lot of cheap bookstores with tons of books mostly in Spanish. Some remain open as late as 03:00, seven days a week.
- For second-hand books, try Parque Centenario and Parque Rivadavia's kiosks, both in the Caballito neighbourhood. Open from Wednesdays to Sundays, they offer a great variety of books, many long out of print, for convenient prices. You may also find food stands and a very relaxed and familiar environment.
- For that rare, collectible, antique or hard-to-find book, try ALADA, the Asociación de Libreros Anticuarios de la Argentina (Argentina's Guild of Antique Booksellers). In their website you will find an index of the most prestigious bookstores of the city, some of them of international prestige. Most of these are located at Microcentro and Recoleta.
Markets and fairs
Saturdays and Sundays are great days for the outdoor markets, especially in the summer.
- Feria Recoleta. is an assortment of all sorts of artisan products, from jewelry to shawls.
- Palermo, Plaza Serrano, Palermo viejo. comes alive in the afternoon with more artisan's handiwork and freelance clothes designers. Another nearby Plaza (in Palermo viejo) between Malabia, Armenia, Costa Rica and Nicaragua streets has stalls with items for sale. The Último Taller at Jorge L. Borges 1975 (between Soler and Nicaragua streets) sells funky candles and street address plates and markers; there are charming cats, and photos can be etched onto these plates as well.
- San Telmo, Plaza Dorrego, San Telmo. On Sundays. offers tango and antique products. Defensa street from Chile to San Juan comes to life with live performers and vendors. The crowds are thick, so keep an eye on your possessions.
- Feria de Anticuarios, San Isidro (at the train station of Barrancas). Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays. has a nice atmosphere. It offers nearly 70 stands of antiques, from toys to books and stuff for your home.
- San Fernando, in Madero and Rosario streets (located at San Fernando train station, between Sarmiento and 9 de Julio). Sa 10:00-18:00, W 10:00-16:00. This is a market where you will be buying items directly from producers, with the condition that goods are produced with social and environmental ethics in mind. You'll find books, vegetables, handmade clothing, musical instruments, etc. If you plan to buy things, remember to bring your own bag.
While the primary food consumed by Argentinians is beef, there are other options in this cosmopolitan city. Italian food is pervasive but in neighborhoods like Palermo, pizza joints are seeing heavy competition from sushi, fusion, and even vegetarian bistros. Just about everything can be delivered - including fantastic, gourmet helado (ice cream).
You will want to try asado (beef/steak barbecue) at a parrilla, restaurants specializing in roasted meats. There are expensive parrillas, and more simple and cost effective ones, In either case you will likely have some of the best "meat" you have ever tasted. The bife de lomo (tenderloin) is unbelievably tender.
As a matter in fact, the first regular refrigerator ship is the Steamers Le Frigorifique and Paraguay, that carried frozen mutton from Argentina to France.
Jugoso means rare (literally "juicy"), however the Argentine concept of rare is very different from that of someone from the States (perhaps its a tourist thing, but an American ordering rare is likely to get something between medium well and hockey puck). Argentines cook their meat all the way through, and they can only get away with this method because the meat is so tender that cooking it well does not necessarily mean it's shoe leather.
For Westerners, don't be afraid to order "azul" ("blue"), you will not get a blue steak, more like an American Medium Rare. If you like your meat "bloody", or practically "still walking" it might pay to learn words like "sangre" ("blood"), or to make statements like "me gusta la sangre" ("I like the blood"). Don't be afraid to spend two minutes stressing how rare you want your steak to your waiter- this is something no one talks about in guidebooks but every other American and Brit once you arrive will tell you the same thing, if you want it rare, you have to explain exactly how rare.
Only the most old school parrillas (grills) don't offer at least one or two pasta dishes and pizza is everywhere.
Parrilla Tour Buenos Aires leads walking tours around different neighborhoods of classic parrillas. During the tour, participants stop and sample traditional foods at 4 restaurants, 3 parrillas (steakhouses) and an artisanal ice cream shop, as well as learn about the history and culture around Argentine cuisine. The stops chosen tend to be hole-in-the-wall, locals only, establishments not in guidebooks.
Italian and Spanish food are almost native here, as the cultural heritage heralds in great part from these two countries. Other popular meals are pizzas and empanadas (small pastries stuffed with a combination of cheese and meats). They are a popular home delivery or takeaway/takeout option.
Pizza is a strong tradition in Buenos Aires. It comes al molde (cooked in a pan, usually medium to thick crust), a la piedra (baked in a stone oven, usually thin to medium crust), and a la parilla (cooked on a parilla grill, very thin, crispy crust). Best places: "Los Inmortales", "Las Cuartetas", "Guerrín", ·El Cuartito", "Banchero's", "Kentucky".
"El Cuartito" in Recoleta has a delicious "Fugazzeta rellena" pizza. This restaurant can be packed with families and friends even at midnight.
In "Guerrin", ask for a slice of pizza muzarella with a glass of Moscato.
In Buenos Aires, as in the rest of the Argentina, beef is served everywhere, and even items like french fries, pastries, and snack foods are apt to be cooked with animal fat. However vegetarians and vegans need not despair. No less than a dozen vegetarian oriented bistros have popped up in the last few years (notably in Palermo) and many spots popular with tourists offer inventive vegetarian versions of traditional meals.
One incredible and typical Argentinian kind of "cookie", is the alfajor, which consists of two round sweet biscuits joined together with a sweet jam, generally dulce de leche (milk jam, akin to caramel), covered with chocolate, meringue or something similarly sweet. Any kiosk, supermarket, bakery and even cafe is crammed with a mind-jamming variety of alfajores, and every porteño has their favorite. Be sure not to leave without trying one.
Also, all bakeries offer a wide selection of facturas, delicious sweet pastries of all shapes, doughs and flavors, most of them of French, Spanish and Italian inspiration but with a twist of their own. Porteños are very keen on these, which are generally served by afternoon, with some mate of course.
Do not expect service to be comparable to large cities in Europe or in the USA. Don't expect your waiter to take your drinks order when the menu is delivered and don't expect the menu to arrive very quickly. If you want service, attract the waiter's attention. S/he will never come over to take your empty plate, etc., unless they want to close.
Patience is the key. Argentinians are so accustomed to the relaxed service that they don't bother to complain directly to the waiter, but only comment toward fellow Argentinians. Speak out to the waiters if you feel it is appropriate.
There are a lot of al paso (walk through) places to eat; you eat standing up or in high chairs at the bar. Meals vary from hot-dogs (panchos), beef sausages (chorizos, or its sandwich version choripán), pizzas, milanesas (breaded fried cutlets), etc. Don't forget to indulge in the perennially popular mashed squash - it is delicious and often comes with rice and makes a full meal in itself. It is perfect for vegetarians and vegans to fill up on.
You can go to a huge variety of small restaurants, with cheap and generous servings, most notably the ones owned by Spanish and Italian immigrants. There are also many places which offer foreign meals, mostly Japanese, Chinese, Thai, Arabic, Spanish, and Italian.
The most expensive and luxurious restaurants are found in the Puerto Madero area, near downtown, heading to the River Plate.
But the nicer places in terms of decoration, food and personality are in Palermo.
The main areas to go out are: Puerto Madero, close to the Casa Rosada. Safe during the day and night, due the obvious reason (Casa Rosada). At Recoleta area (close to the famous cemetery) there are also plenty of restaurants, bars and a cinema complex. This area used to be trendy but it is now mainly for tourists. Palermo SoHo and Palermo Hollywood are full of trendy stores, restaurants, and young and trendy bars. Palermo Las Cañitas is another nice area close to the Polo stadium. Also, San Telmo has a very bohemian, and very fun, nightlife scene. Buenos Aires has a popular cafe culture.
- Confiteria Ideal, Suipacha 384. Ancient, authentic and full of character.
Buenos Aires has a great variety of clubs and discos that are open until late hours (06:00 or 07:00) and bars that stay open 24 hours a day. Have in mind that at closing times the streets will be swarmed with people trying to get home, so it isn't easy to get a taxi and the public transportation will be very busy.
Young teens are used to staying out and by-passing the little security, so be cautious when engaging girls in provocative clothing. They might try to hit off with foreigners as part of a dare with their friends. The famous Palermo Barrios (SoHo, Hollywood, Las Cañitas or simply "PalVo") have many hip restaurants that turn into bars as it gets later.
- Late Night Tango Late night tango shows are also very popular among tourists and locals alike. They often include dinner, a great show, dance lessons, and a few complimentary drinks. The dancers are all professionals and bent on putting in their best shows every single night. These shows start around dinner time, but can go well into the night. They can be a great starting block for the rest of your crazy night in Buenos Aires.
Buenos Aires has a tradition of rock concerts going on all the time. Most of the time top international artist include several dates on their tour in Buenos Aires. Football stadiums are frequently used for the concerts. Buenos Aires rock fans often claim to be the "best crowd in the world" and this claim is echoed by a number of international acts, including Foo Fighters and AC/DC (who in 2009 released a live DVD of 3 sold out concerts, called Live at River Plate). They constantly jump, sing as loud as possible, do Pogos (they usually push each other while jumping following the music, but it's not a kind of violence, it's a friendly and common thing), they also do Moshpits, and sometimes, Walls of death. If you're not accustomed to this, don't try to get to the front row because there is where it happens. People don't stop for a second not even to take pictures.
Fans also go to the airport to receive artits and give them gifts, take pictures and ask them for sign things. They follow them to their car or van and sometimes they even follow it. Naturally, Argentina and especially Buenos Aires have long had a thriving local rock scene, known as "Rock Nacional", which has produced numerous bands which have achieved popularity throughout Latin America.
You will be able to find a good selection of budget and mid-range options as well as more luxurious and expensive hotels. Accommodation is scattered around the city; some areas to look in include:
- Centro - There are budget hotels and hostels in San Telmo on the edge of downtown. In addition, lots of foreign travelers prefer to stay at hotels in Puerto Madero, the most secure area of the city, such as the Hilton.
- North - chic high-end boutique hotels, and the four-star and up crowd including the Park Hyatt.
There are hundred of apartments, ranging from economy to deluxe, and the prices are very good. As well as going through an agency keep an eye and an ear out for individuals who rent their upscale apartments by the day, week, or month. Many times these apartments are three times the size of a hotel at half the price.
It is worth noting that there are many short-term rental agents in Buenos Aires (an online search will bring up most of them). However the availability calendars can be misleading, since the apartments are often advertised by multiple agents and these agents don't communicate with each other. Photos can also be misleading and street noise can ruin an otherwise beautiful apartment so do some research off and on the field before signing up. If you are flexible on the area it may be better to wait until you arrive before looking. It is also easier to negotiate discounts face-to-face.
For budget accommodation there is an enormous number (more than 150) of hostels. In the more famous hostels, booking in advance might be necessary, but you'll always find a dorm bed if you need it. There are several budget hotels where you can get your own room for no more than 55 to 75 pesos ($15 or $20) per night. You will not find them advertised on the internet. They can be hard to find, but there are many. Walk down Avenida de Mayo near Café Tortoni. Start from Avenida 9 de Julio (the giant, wide one) and make your way towards the Plaza de Mayo. Look on the small side streets plus or minus two blocks and you will find many of these places.
Unlike most South American cities, the better Buenos Aires hostels will be fully booked at weekends. You can always find something, but if you want a specific hostel, book in advance.
The stylish and Bohemian Palermo Soho and Palermo Viejo neighborhoods are home to some of the trendiest small boutique hotels in Buenos Aires. These hotels offer the amenities of their larger international chain counterparts, plus a more personal style of service, often at a fraction of the cost.
- General Emergencies Line - Toll free call 911
- Emergency - Ambulance emergency service SAME (Immediate Health Emergency Service), Toll free call. 107
- Tourist Ombudsman - Communicate with the Tourist Ombudsman, phone number: +54 (11) 4302 7816. To contact personally, can go to Ave. Pedro de Mendoza 1835 ("Benito Quinquela Martin" Museum) in the neighborhood of La Boca. From Monday to Sunday, from 10AM-6PM.
- Tourist Police Station - Corrientes 436. 0800 999 5000 (toll free)/4346 5748 (firstname.lastname@example.org). Provides information in English, Italian, French, Portuguese, and Ukrainian.
Most people travel in Buenos Aires without any incident. Nevertheless, as with any large city, like in Europe, crime is an issue for tourists and residents alike. Conduct yourself intelligently as you would in any large city.
The most frequent incidents of crime involve pick-pocketing, distraction theft, and bag snatching. Distraction thefts commonly occur in public areas such as internet cafes, train stations, and bus stations. You should keep a close eye on your personal possessions and bags at all times, which is also why many inhabitants wear their backpack in front of them. In some public spaces you will find that chairs with webbing and clips to clip to your bag or purse to the chair. An aid in avoiding problems is, dress to blend in and avoid carrying lots of items. It safer to travel just the bare necessities in your front pocket. While using public transportation or walking around common sense should be used.
In a common scam one person sprays something on the victim like hand cream mustard or the like. Another person tries to help the victim. There can be several people at once working in coordination. The object is to distract you from your belongings and, in the chaos, steal from you. Avoiding confrontation is their object so do the same. Ignore their 'help', just focus on your belongings and extracting yourself from the scene.
Another common occurrence is the slitting of handbags in crowded places. Be particularly attentive in popular tourist areas, such as San Telmo. You should avoid carrying large amounts of cash or wearing ostentatious jewelry.
If a woman (or even a man) apparently normally calls you on the street to see an "apresentación" and earn massage girls for free, without commitment, the first time, do not pay attention and leave! In fact, they are agents of brothels. Once taken "inside", they do not let you out, physically preventing you, until they disburse a large sum of money. This type of scam is relatively common in the center, especially in Corrientes Avenue, Florida Street, and Lavalle Avenue.
The dangers of hailing a taxi has received lots of press but is not common. Petty crime continues (like taking indirect routes or incorrect changes during payment). Taxicabs that loiter in front of popular tourist destinations like the National Museum are looking for tourists, and some of these drivers are less honest than others. Do things like the locals would be a good choice, like stopping a cab a block or two away on a typical city street. Alternatively, Uber is widely available, although you can expect a 5-10 minute wait while the driver locates you and picks you up.
Armed robberies in the street, in taxis and in restaurants are highly unlikely. In the past, kidnappings occurred, where victims are grabbed off the street based on their appearance and vulnerability. They are made to withdraw as much money as possible from ATM machines, the victim is usually quickly released unharmed. However, this is even more unlikely for tourists to happen.
Rough Spots and Neighborhoods
As with any major city, some spots are suggested to be visited carefully, and others avoided entirely. Common dangerous spots are the three biggest train terminals at the city: Constitución, Once and Retiro. They are very busy and centrally located, so it is highly probable that a tourist shall pass by any of these. While mostly safe during the day, petty thefts are common, so be sure to keep an eye on your belongings, avoid any confrontation and be cautious; avoid them entirely past 22:00. The same goes with some turistic spots like La Boca or the vast city parks of Palermo.
Dangerous neighborhoods that should not be visited without the guidance of locals are Barracas, Nueva Pompeya, Villa Lugano, Villa Soldati, Villa Riachuelo, Bajo Flores (not Floresta) and Mataderos.
Counterfeit money is frequent, especially from a regular exchanger of currencies from people of various lifestyles (like taxi drivers), so be on the lookout for counterfeit bank notes being given with your change. Some counterfeit notes are very well done and may even have what appears to be a watermark. Get to know the notes and exactly what they look and feel like, also identify the water marks and serial numbers. When exiting a taxi, hold up your notes to the light to check them before final exit, or better yet, use exact change in taxis (or use Uber).
Be careful of counterfeit money. There have been occasions where genuine bills have been exchanged for counterfeit ones. Counterfeit bills are mostly fifties, given as changes. Hundreds are frequently given back to tourists by deceiving exchangers claiming that counterfeit bills were given to them, after they have switched the bill given to them with a fake one. Using exact or almost exact changes will pretty much solve most of this kind of problems.
Don't accept torn or damaged bills, as they are difficult to use.
Characteristics of good currency can be found at the Argentine Central Bank web site.
In order to use a credit card to pay for items, you will also need an ID such as drivers license or passport.
Ezeiza International Airport
As any large airports in many countries, there are records of airport staff stealing from the passengers.
In July 2007, Argentina's TV network "Canal 13" conducted an investigation revealing that several security operators at the airport are stealing valuable objects such as iPods, digital cameras, cellular phones, sun glasses, jewelry, laptops, and other valuables while scanning the luggage of passengers.
According to the special report, security operators at the airport are supposed to check each luggage before putting it into the plane; however, some operators take advantage of the scanner machine to detect valuable objects and steal them. The report states that this event occurs every day. The stolen items include anything from electronic devices to perfumes and works of art or even expensive clothes (such as football jerseys or leather coats).
Travelers and residents are strongly encouraged to place high-value items in your carry-on luggage to prevent any incidents. However, since these carry-on luggages will be scanned too before being carried into the plane, their insides are also at risk of being stolen. With the staff or accomplice distracting the passengers (usually when the staff is searching for any metal or other item on the passenger), while another staff or accomplice steal the items. Another extra accomplice from outside the airport will usually pick up the items later.
Wrapping your baggage and carry-on luggage when leaving and arriving is an idea, since for only around US $16,50. you can discourage robbers from opening (and probably breaking) it,. However for checked-in baggage, it can not be used for passengers exiting and entering the U.S.A., since the T.S.A. demanded that all checked-in baggage to be easily accessible. While wrapping a carry-on luggage will pretty much also denied you of quick access to the carry-on luggage.
Before and after check-in, It would be better to carry only 1 carry-on item and place all of your items (including tickets, wallets, handphones, any metal such like a beltbuckle, and so on) securely inside and not easily accessiblle, requiring the entire carry-on item to be stolen and only 1 item to be watched upon. Travelling in groups will also allow you to divide the task of minding your belongings, one person or more can guard the belongings, while another one is being scanned by the metal detector.
The plumbing water in Buenos Aires, unlike in many Latin American cities, is drinkable straight from the tap.
Public hospitals are available for tourists, with 24 hr emergency service, without charge.
There are many stray animals in the city. They usually do not cause harm, but be careful not to touch them as they may harbor diseases and you may not be aware of their temperament.
- Bolivia (consulate general), Bartolomé Mitre 2815 (Plaza Once), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. M–F 08:30–17:30.
- Canada, Tagle 2828, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. M-Th 8:30AM-12:30PM, 1:30PM-5:30PM, F 8:30AM-2PM.
- Egypt, Virrey del Pino 3140, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: email@example.com. Monday-Friday 9AM-17PM.
- Finland, Avenida Santa Fe 846, 5to. piso 1059 Buenos Aires, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Mo-Fr 9AM-noon.
- 2 Georgia, 14 de Julio 1656 C.A.B.A. Buenos Aires - Argentina, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com.
- India, Torre Madero, 19th Floor, Avenida Eduardo Madero, 942, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 9AM-1PM, 1:30PM–5:30PM.
- 3 Indonesia, Mariscal Ramon Castilla 2901, 1425. Ciudad De Buenos Aires, Argentina, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: email@example.com. 9AM-1PM, 1:30PM–5PM.
- Japan, Bouchard 547 Piso-17, ☎ , fax: .
- United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Dr. Luis Agote 2412 (1425), fax: .
English language newspapers
- The Buenos Aires Herald, the local English-language newspaper, is available online and at newsstands downtown. If you are, in town for a few weeks, you can ask at your local newsstand and they can probably get a copy delivered to your home or hotel free of charge every morning.
- The Argentina Independent is a free, fortnightly English-language aimed at the young traveler and expatriate market. It has information for tourists as well as economic, political, and environmental news. The current issue and some back issues are available for download in PDF format at the website.
- La Plata - located 56 kilometres south of Buenos Aires, La Plata is easily accessible with buses running from Retiro, trains running from Constitución station (much more reliable, fast and cheap service than the buses) and various other points in the city multiple times per day. A medium-sized, student-centered city, La Plata is known for its array of plazas, its Central Park-like Bosque, and it's vibrant music scene.
- Capilla del Señor - a quaint old town filled with memories of colonial times, it is ideal for a weekend visit. You can complete your day out with a bicycle tour, a hot air balloon ride or a trip on an old historic steam train.
- Tigre - a town up the river delta where people can go shopping or take boats to go further up river to explore the habitat, with a quaint amusement park, a great crafts fair on the weekends, a multi-storied casino, and a beautiful river to walk along. A popular choice is to take a boat ride through the Paraná Delta, ideal on a sunny day. It is an easy 45 minute train ride from the Retiro train station in the north east of Buenos Aires. There are many tours that go to Tigre, and it's a great place to get out of the city for a day and get some fresh air. The most popular day to go is Sunday, but there are things to do all week long.
- Lujan - famous for its incredible (although controversial) zoo and its world famous cathedral. Other than that, it is just a great place to go for a day if you want a break from the city. There are tours all the time that can help you get there and show you where to go once you arrive.
- San Antonio de Areco - located 113 km from the city of Buenos Aires, Areco is an old-fashioned village with quaint colonial architecture. Exploring the streets you will discover ancient houses with colonial fences and narrow footpaths that speak of historic times.
- Montevideo - a major city in Uruguay across the Rio Plata. You can get there by ferry that departs from the ferry terminal in Puerto Madero, at the bottom of Avenida Cordoba.
- Colonia del Sacramento - a historic town in Uruguay that can be reached from the same ferry terminal.
- Carlos Keen - a small town, stopped in time somewhere in the 19th century. A gastronomic haven, Carlos Keen is full of restaurants and tea houses.
- San Isidro - an upscale neighborhood which consists of the old city zone, with colonial houses in front of the Río de la Plata, the area behind the famous Cathedral, whose gardens take over the tracks and lead to an open view of the river, as well as the areas around Plaza Mitre where time seems to have stopped. San Isidro is still the oldest and most traditional neighborhood in the area.
- Iguaçu Falls - too far for a day trip but close enough for a 2-3 day trip and one of the world's most amazing natural wonders. Accessible via air (1:40h flight) or bus.
- Martínez - affluent suburb.
- Adrogué - a distinguished residential area 23 km south of the city, with numerous cobbled streets, lush trees and several squares.