Buenos Aires & Argentina Travel Recommendations

 

We’ve gotten so many questions about Argentina we decided to compile a list of our favorite things.  We loved evBA 2010-03-22 013ery minute of our four months there. Enjoy!

Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires Touristy Must See:
Recoleta Cemeteryyou can tour this yourself or look up times for an English or Spanish tour. Check out the cats!
Feria de Mataderos (Sundays) – if you’re not into public transportation or short on time, it’s worth the taxi ride, otherwise the bus is convenient if long.  Be sure to eat there and find the gauchos competing on horseback.
A soccer game:
http://www.argentinesoccer.com/ or check to see if it’s Polo season.
Teatro Colón
– book a show or do a tour.  Beautiful. 

MALBA – art museum for great Latin American art collection that’s fairly unique. The café there is fun for a lunch as well.  The Xul de Solar Museum is also intriguing if you’re into art.

 

Tango – We’ve heard Esquina Carlos Gardel is the best high-end show in town.  We preferred the smaller milongas for the dancing and not the shows La Viruta (Armenia 1366, Palermo) hip tourist and local place.  La Catedral  (Sarmiento 4006, y Medrano) our favorite dance or tango place, plenty of great seats to hang out and watch or join.


FOOD!!!!
Puesto “mi sueño”
for choripan & churrasco in Puerto Madero (these are small stands that sell great meat sandwiches), street food.
El Nono Amigo – Guatemala 5800 (Esq. Carranza) (A small place that makes great empanadas), it also has wonderful meat and cheese boards; you can sit on a corner, drink wine and feel like a local.
Club Eros – (Uriarte and Honduras) Great local joint in Palermo, take a survey of the room and order whatever it is that’s popular.  This is a family type place where kids play soccer and families gather for informal dinners. The food is amazing, the atmosphere cannot be beat.  It might look closed; just search a little harder for the hidden door.
La Cabrera
– (Palermo Viejo) order any steak and provoleta. Go here for your tourist higher-end good steak and trendy atmosphere.

El Desnivel – (San Telmo) original BsAs steak place. Not fancy, you can combine it with visiting the historic neighborhood.

Cumana –(Recoleta) authentic Argentinean food. Great atmosphere, perfect sampling of the country’s cuisine. Inexpensive but popular.

*El Sanjuanino – BEST empanadas.

El Preferido de PalermoJorge L. Borges 2108 delicious Spanish style tapas. Typical food of the city.

El Gallego – Bonpland and Honduras, this was my favorite steak place and place to hang out.  It closed while we were there and I don’t know if it was able to reopen.

 

Make sure you try:

Dulce de leche and dulce de leche ice cream flavor.

Empanadas: beef(carne), ham and cheese (jamon y queso),  verdura (spinach)
Locro (casserole)
Guiso de lentejas (stew)
Pastel de papa (beef with mashed potatoes)

Matambre

 

Sarah’s favorite cafes – There’s no bad café in BsAs, but my faves:

 

Oui Oui – Palermo Hollywood, Nicaragua 6068, French and cute.

Ateneo Grand Splendid – Recoleta, Av Santa Fe 1860. This is also a favorite destination of mine in addition to café . A wonderful bookstore, (not as fun if you can’t buy Spanish books.)

Las Violetas – Almagro, Av Rivadavia 3899. Old fashioned grandeur.

La BielaAvenida Pres. Manuel Quintana 600 in Recoleta, sit outside in the sun with the locals who have been coming for 60 years.

 

How to order at these cafes: Coffee – un cortado (espresso with drop of milk), una lagrima (milk with drop of coffee), café con leche (half milk and half coffee), un submarino (chocolate bar placed in hot milk) with a medialuna (croissant)!

 

Bars in Palermo

878 – good cocktails, cool atmosphere. Whisky, 878 Thames st.

Olsen – For a fancypants, trendy drink. Scandinavian restaurant, they have a wonderful patio with a lot of green, great for the summer! 5870 Gorriti St.

Unico Bar – in the middle of the action.  5604 Honduras st.

 

Housing: There are two options.  You can try to get an unfurnished apartment like the locals do, which requires a 1 or 2 year lease and a guarantee from an Argentine owning property (due to the financial difficulties that they continually face down there.)  These apartments are really cheap by US standards, but it’s also difficult to commit to that long of a time period and to get someone to vouch for you.  The other option is to rent a fully furnished apartment on a shorter term basis.  This option is what most gringos do, and that’s what we did.  You usually provide a large security deposit (all in cash) which is refunded when you leave.  This option, while more expensive than an unfurnished place, is usually cheaper than staying in a hotel or hostel for any period longer than a week.  The biggest agency in town is http://www.bytargentina.com/.  We used them for a week or so, and they were fine.  If you can communicate in Spanish, you’re probably better off using http://www.soloduenos.com/buscar.asp.  That’s where we found our place, and we were able to negotiate a great deal.  You can also try craigslist, where you might be able to find a roommate.  (Which is a great way to learn the language.)

Neighborhoods:   I would strongly recommend Palermo (Hollywood).  It does have a lot of expats, but is safe, convenient, and has a lot of food and nightlife.  Recoleta is nice, also safe and upscale. 

Improving Spanish Skills:  A highly recommended tutor is Maria at http://www.eniedespaniol.com.ar/.  She tutored both of us one on one, and is an excellent teacher and very reasonable.  (Please tell her that Sarah and Gabe recommend her.) The Universidad de Buenos Aires has great programs as well depending on when you show up, you can test into classes at the beginning of semesters.  It’s also extremely affordable. Email Sarah for more information.

Sports: Definitely pick a local team to support and go to some games which are an experience. There are many expat and local games/leagues to join to play.  Here’s one easy example: http://www.cultour.com.ar/contacto.php?actividad=Jug%C3%A1%20F%C3%BAtbol%205

Shopping:

If you have money to spend go to La Casa de Las Botas and get a custom ordered pair of riding boots.  They are amazing and made right next to the store in the workshop.  Best leather and craftsmanship. Skip Calle Florida – it’s all for tourists, there are pickpockets and generally not nice things.  Check out the malls in Recoleta or Palermo Alto, and shopping in Palermo although more trendy and expensive is still fun. If you go farther north of Palermo Viejo you’ll find all of the outlets.  I love Prune for bags. For people living more long term, there is cheaper and more local shopping in Barrio Belgrano.

Trips away from BsAs:
For Mendoza information
see this blog. Iguazu Falls are amazing and definitely worth the flight to see them.  The Argentina side is wonderful; the Brazil side is not worth the hassle unless you’re on the way to or from Brazil.  They literally take your breath away.
We also visited San Antonio de Areco which is a gaucho (cowboy) town about 2 hrs from BsAs. It felt very authentic, and I definitely felt like I got a sense of the gaucho life from visiting there and a farm near the town. Tigre is also a decent day trip from BA but not a must see or you can stop in the town of San Isidro on the way.

Uruguay –

For trips to Colonia, Montevideo or Punta del Este – book as far in advance as you can.

BUQUEBUS or COLONIA EXPRESS


Check out the Argentina section of travels.sarahandgabe.com for more information.

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