I am always one to support someone leaving his or her job to take some time off and travel the world. While I have never done it myself (I’ve always done my extended travel in between jobs), my college classmate Cheryl is currently doing just that, and has just made it as far south as Buenos Aires. Although my time in the “Paris of the South” was brief when I traveled there before jumping off to Patagonia in December 2013, it was enough to get a taste of the town’s neighborhoods, nightlife, and main draws:
I hope this note finds you thoroughly enjoying your travels, and from the looks of Facebook, it appears you are. How was Jamaica? How is Brasil? Looking forward to finally hitting up the latter myself this summer!
Super excited to hear that you’re going to Buenos Aires. I loved that city, but didn’t realize it until after I left. My first recommendation would be to not get too caught up in the whole “Paris of the South” thing…I did and that set my expectations a bit inappropriately. The city most definitely has a European feel, but it’s its own unique town with a kick of Latin flare that makes it like nowhere else in the world. I think I mentioned this on FB, but that would be high on my list of places to go back to live at one point.
You mentioned you have a flight, but do you have a place to stay yet? When we were there we stayed at Hostel Suites Florida (which we weren’t terribly impressed with) in downtown along the pedestrian street Corrientes Avenue and close to the Obelisk. This area will be most central to the places that I would recommend checking out, but if you want something closer and more convenient to great nightlife, I’d stay in the Palermo neighborhood instead.
As far as my “must-do’s” for your time there, here are some of the things I enjoyed most during my visit:
- San Telmo Sunday Fair – This was one of the more pleasant surprises we came across for only being in BA for 2 days. Tons of vendors selling antiques, souvenirs, and clothes that are a bargain. Good musical entertainment, dancing, and fresh orange juice along the way as well. It runs along Calle Defensa for a number of blocks. You can’t miss it.
Tapas at SAGARDI San Telmo (Humberto Primo 319, 1103 Buenos Aires, Argentina) – Once you get to the southern end of Defensa, pop in here for a light lunch or a light bite in general. I’m a sucker for Spanish tapas bars that serve it up the way they do in Barcelona: everything is pre-prepared on plates that sit across a bar/counter, and you grab the tapas you want and pay by the toothpick when you’re done. If I remember right they have a number of vege-friendly options, but regardless of what you eat, get some wine to help you cool off from the heat of the market!
- Check out the Colorful Houses in La Boca – BA’s quintessential colored houses that appear stacked upon one another are down in this barrio. Go during the day.
- Eating and Drinking in Palermo – While I can’t remember the specific clubs or where we went to eat (but we were after steak, which I believe still isn’t your main jam), I do know that the neighbor was DENSE with plenty options for restaurants, pubs, and clubs. One place I do recall by name is Acabar, which upon further research I just realized closed last year. Major bummer…this place was a board game bar, and a nice casual spot to start the night before things would get too cray cray. Hopefully there is a good, chill substitute in its place.
Go to a Tango Show – It can be touristy but it’s a must when in BA. I would recommend going to Cafe Tortoni (Av. de Mayo 825, 1084 CABA, Argentina). While most tango show options are large, glitzy, expensive dinner + drink + show packages, this one’s more affordable, and set within an 1858 French cafe, so you can grab food and drink if you want. The show itself is more intimate than others as well, which let’s be honest, “intimate” is about the only way one should be spectating or participating in tango.
Hope this helps, and if you have any further questions please let me know. This is by no means a comprehensive list, as you’ll notice it skips key things like the Recoleta Cemetery, but hopefully you’ll enjoy some of the items on this super-biased top 5 list. Have fun, and let me know if I can assist further.