Guide to Buenos Aires

The city of Buenos Aires is fast becoming one of South America’s must see destinations. The Argentine capital has been reinventing itself since the 19th century, combining European architecture with Latin passion.

Every Sunday sees the neighbourhood of San Telmo burst into life with its well-known antiques market. Hundreds of people crowd the cobbled streets as they meander their way through stalls selling a range of local produce and souvenirs. Also watch out for a street tango performance breaking out amongst the hordes of people as everyone gathers around to watch this intimate dance that the Porteños (name given to the locals) are so proud of. The gasps of excitement are soon replaced with a round of applause from the audience as everyone then goes their separate ways in search for more entertainment.

Musicians, artists and magicians all fight for the crowd’s attention as you hop from stalls to restaurant windows admiring the exquisite food on offer. This notoriously carnivorous nation is renowned for having some of the best steak in the world and it is very rare to see a restaurant in Buenos Aires without ‘bife de chorizo’ on the menu. A claim that most locals are very proud of and waiters are more than happy to remind you of several times during your meal. No meal is complete without sampling some of the nation’s best red wine, so make sure your steak is accompanied with a bottle to really enhance this great culinary experience.

Whilst the street tango performances are brilliant there is nothing quite like watching a live tango show in one of Buenos Aires many old impressive buildings. Tango is such a huge part of Argentinian culture and the Porteños really know how to put on a show. They often include a free dance lesson for any of those who want to embrace the passion of the tango for themselves. However you choose to enjoy your evening the shows always impress and really allow you to connect with this seductive city.

The capitals buzz is contagious as the locals liveliness spreads from the day into night as Buenos Aires clubs and bars spark into life. Locals rarely dine before 9pm, so when they finally get around to putting on their dancing shoes the night usually lasts till the very early hours of the morning. In most cases clubs don’t tend to shut until 6am. So if a local tells you that Buenos Aires hardly sleeps, you can be assured they are telling the truth.

A slightly less lively attraction can be found in the neighbourhood of Recoleta. This downtown residential area is home to its famous cemetery which contains the grave of Eva Peron, known for being the First Lady of Argentina and subsequently being the subject of the musical Evita. The cemetery itself is more like a small village, with its large vaults that tower over you as you feel as though you are trapped within a maze. It is a remarkable sight but after too long you start to feel like you are caught up in a horror movie.

There are so many beautiful buildings to admire in the capital, ranging from the presidential palace to a national historic monument, the Obelisk, which was built to commemorate the first foundation of the city. The city’s architecture includes a mixture of European influences such as Colonial and Art Deco, which combine to brighten up its slick neighborhoods. Many comparisons are drawn up between Buenos Aires and European cities such as Madrid and it is easy to see why. Its long wide streets are surrounded by buildings that tower over the city, with several grand parks made available for people to escape the hustle and bustle. For those who enjoy shopping then Florida Street is the place to be. This elegant street hosts a variety of shops and is also crawling with live entertainers.

Whilst Buenos Aires appears very clean in the centre, once you venture outside of this area you realise there a few ragged areas. Colourful neighborhoods like La Boca add to the appeal of the city with its brightly coloured houses in Caminito, a short pedestrian walk lined with corrugated-metal buildings. However this area can be a little hairy at times and is a stark contrast to what things are like within the centre of the city. La Boca is also known for La Bombonera, which is home to the football team Boca Juniors. Scenes here can get a little crazy at times so be prepared. If you are lucky enough to see a football match here though it will be an unforgettable experience as you get caught up in the lively atmosphere.

A final place of note to visit here is the neighborhood of Palermo. Whilst it is an area of few attractions it has an atmosphere very different to most other areas of Buenos Aires. Full of green parks, hip restaurants and trendy shops means this area is a playground for the city’s rich. It also has excellent nightlife. An afternoon spent here wandering through its gardens past the areas beautiful old buildings will certainly make it a great addition to your trip.

Buenos Aires boasts so many dazzling attractions that will make your stay extremely worthwhile. Its fast pace and lively lifestyle can often leave visitors in a spin. It is not until after your stay you have the time to soak in the experiences the city had to offer. Once you arrive home you soon realise all that you have accomplished during your time in Argentina’s capital and why so many people fall in love with its charm.

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