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Buenos Aires Guide - discover Evita

The ‘Paris of Latin America’, Buenos Aires is a city of tango and steak, and the hedonistic capital of Argentina. With leafy streets of elegant French buildings, pounding nightclubs where the party starts at 2 am, and designer boutiques along the Avenue Florida, Buenos Aires offers all the delights of a European city on a budget.

What to See

Buenos Aires is the third-largest city in South America, but differs from the endless sprawl of Brazil’s Sao Paolo and Rio de Janeiro, thanks to the city’s visitor-friendly layout of ‘barrios’: distinct neighbourhoods that are perfect for aimless wandering. The best way to see the city is to explore the barrios on foot and soak up each one’s unique ambience. There is a distinct divide between the barrios of the north, where Argentina’s moneyed class live, and the more working class neighbourhoods in the south.

Where to Stay

Many of the upscale and chain hotels are in the downtown district of the city, or hidden away in the elegant neighbourhoods of the north. But there are plenty of comfortable and affordable Argentina hostels to choose from if you don’t have much cash to burn. Choose from larger hostels in Buenos Aires in the city center, or go for a bit of local character, choose the chic boutique hostels in the bohemian neighbourhood of San Telmo.

The North

In the North, you’ll find the city’s most glamorous and greenest districts; Recoleta with its boutiques and galleries, and Palermo, with its landscaped parklands.

Spend a morning in Recoleta and explore La Recoleta Cemetery, in the grounds of a Franciscan Monastery, where one of the city’s most famous resident, ‘Evita’ Eva Peron is buried. The city’s main cultural sights are also close by – the Centro Cultural de Recoleta, which stages exhibitions on local art, and the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, showcasing the work of European masters.

Palermo’s leafy parkland is dotted with some of Buenos Aires’ best museums and monuments. For a taste of Argentine heritage, check out the Museo Hernández, a museum of folk heritage, and the Museo de Arte Latinamericano de Buenos Aires, packed with modern and contemporary Latin American art. Get out in the fresh air walking around the Parque 3 de Febrero, or sit on the terrace of the trattorias and trendy cafes in the lively Plaza Cortázar.

The South

The south may not have the glitz and glamour of the upscale northern neighborhoods, but it is home to some of the most historic areas of the city.

Montserrat and San Telmo are the oldest districts in the city, and both boast winding narrow streets of colonial architecture. San Telmo’s cobbled streets and crumbling coloured buildings are famous as the birthplace of tango. Visit the tango bars that come alive when night falls, or visit Plaza Dorrego, the district’s main square, which on Sunday hosts an elaborate antiques market, often with a free tango display on the side.

Football fans should head to La Boca, a south-eastern district of brightly colored wooden and corrugated iron houses. La Boca is famous for its football team, La Boca Juniors thanks to Diego Maradona, and you can visit their stadium La Bombonera, before heading on to Caminito, Buenos Aires’ most colourful street of houses, and the daily arts and crafts fair. This port district is full of local character and is what gave the residents of Buenos Aires the name ‘Porteños’.


Eating and Drinking

Buenos Aires has been dubbed the gourmet capital of Latin America, and Argentineans love to dine out, many not even sitting at the table until 10pm. Argentina is famous for its succulent beef and steaks, and the ‘Asado’ barbeque is an institution, served at ‘Parrillas’ restaurants with mountains of fries and salad.

For something a little less carnivorous, there are heaps of snacks to choose from. Empanadas are pastries that come stuffed with anything from cheese to chicken, and the national delicacy Dulce de leche is delicious spread on bread or the small and sticky ‘Media Lunas’ croissants. Pizza and pasta has almost become a national cuisine, and you can find them served anywhere in the city.

Argentine wine and beer is excellent and widely available in the cities bars, although as a whole the Porteños aren’t major drinkers. If you want to drink like a local, try ‘Mate’ but be wary of the etiquette that goes with drinking this bitter national brew.

Nightlife

Going out is a way of life in Buenos Aires, with events on every night in the city. The young and hip sip cocktails at trendy bars along ‘El Bajo’, but for a more traditional night out, watch a tango show, or attend a ‘Milonga’ if you want to join in and dance. ‘Bailantas’ are club nights playing the home-grown infectious rhythms of Cumbia music.