If you like cities, Buenos Aires should definitely be on your list ! I spent a couple of days there and I loved it, I would have stayed longer if I could. It’s the kind of place you just don’t want to leave and I’m pretty sure I will come back one day.
Walking through the streets, everywhere I looked there were beautiful buildings. The architecture varies – it’s definitely not colonial. Everything is ridiculously big and tall. There are magnificent French and Italian style houses.
I did two walking tours during my stay and learned a lot about the history of BA. I can definitely recommend both. The first was in the neighbourhoods of Recoleta and Palermo – both posh parts of the city. The tour finished in the cemetery of La Recoleta, a place you have to visit, it’s a must in BA ! I was really surprised when I entered the cemetery as I wasn’t expecting anything like it. It’s not an ordinary cemetery like we are used too in Europe. It’s a little city inside the city, you can spend a few hours walking around and it atmosphere was peaceful and pleasant. The second tour is in the city centre and is also interesting although our guide was a little over-talkative.
If you like books and theatres I suggest you go to the most beautiful book store I’ve ever been to: the El Ateno Grand Splandid. The building is a theatre and it’s magnificent. I spent a while going trough the book shelves on the different levels of the theatre and loved it !
Another place you have to go to is the neighbourhood of la Boca, the “dodgy” part of the city, but it’s so different from the rest and it’s really worth a visit. I spent a day there. In the morning I went to the semi-finals of the World Tango Championships – part of the Festival TangoBA at the Usine de Artes (beautiful building by the way). I went with three guys from my hostel, Leroy and Jono from Australia and Tona from Mexico. The tango show was great, we spent 4 hours watching the best Tango couples in the world. Something important to say about this famous dance: it was invented in Buenos Aires and to be more precise in La Boca. It was a dirty dance back in the days and now it’s of course famous worldwide. It’s impressive to see how images change over the years.
From the festival we walked to the famous tourist spot of La Boca, el caminito. It was a 20 minute walk. At one point police officers came over to us and told us not go any further as we were entering the dangerous part (very reassuring). We finally found it – a lovely place full of tourists. The houses are very colourful, there are people dancing tango in the streets, restaurants and shops everywhere. We all had a Choripan, the Argentinean hotdog. It was very good and you should defiantly try one during your stay in this country but maybe not every day.
I also went on a spontaneous night out on a Monday. We were a big team from the hostel which was cool. We went to see a drum show called “La Bomba de Tiempo”. Then we went to a night club located five blocks away, walking in a kind of parade with the drums leading the way. The club wasn’t spectacular, it was full with tourists and not many locals but who cares, I enjoyed my time there. (For my friends back home, it was la Bamba of Buenos Aires !) The next day wasn’t the best day of my life, the hangover was nasty. I eventually got out of the hostel and went for a walk in the afternoon then I went back to the hostel and watched films with the other guests.
I stayed in two different hostels, one called the Sabatico traveller hostel – a very quiet hostel, not many people were staying there as it was the low season. The second one was the Estoril hostel which I really recommend ! I met a lot of people, the location is great and it has a “buena onda”. There’s a very nice roof terrace with a beautiful aerial view over the city which is hard to find in BA apparently.
You want to eat a good Argentinean steak ? Go to the restaurant called Parrilla Peña. One of the best steaks I’ve had on my trip, so delicious !
The city is well serviced with public transport and taxis are not expensive. There’s loads to do so you can easily stay a few days. Just go to Buenos Aires, live the experience of this city, you won’t be fooled, I promise ! It’s my favourite South American city so far !