Buenos Aires Travel Tips and Guide
Truth to be told, initially, we wanted to visit Brazil. But just because Argentina and Uruguay are visa-free countries for Armenians, we decided not to bother ourselves with complicated documentation and headed off to Buenos Aires. The day after we bought the tickets, Brazil became visa-free for us too. SUCH LOSERS! – You might think, don’t you? Well, yeah! At least we were feeling like that UNTIL we reached Buenos Aires and found out that the city is effortlessly cool!
Buenos Aires has a diverse culture where traditions and modernity are blended. Here you’ll find diverse nature, world-renowned steaks and wines, beautiful architecture and sights, tango as well as blond and blue-eyed Argentinians. The latter you didn’t expect, did you? We neither!
We came across so many new things we didn’t face or heard before and decided to share our experience and some helpful tips you need to know while traveling to Buenos Aires.
Travel Tips to Know Before Visiting Buenos Aires
- You need to know Spanish. English is not common here as you might think. Although Argentinians are lovely people and eager to help when you approach them, they speak only Spanish. Thus, either learn some basic of that language or communicate with locals using your body language. The latter will be challenging though.
- You can have a freshly squeezed orange juice almost everywhere in Buenos Aires. Thus, no need to buy a bottle of artificial orange juice.
- You can distinguish Argentinians from the crowd easily. Not only they have bright skin tone and hair color but also nearly every Argentinian has a cup filled with a mate on hand. Yeah! They drink mate all day long.
- Buenos Aires is not safe! Do not distinguish yourself with expensive jewelry, phone or other belongings. Thieves can literally take your phone right from your hands during the day. Fortunately, I didn’t lose anything there, but someone got into my bag while we were walking along the street.
- Be careful with money exchange. We were cheated at a small EXCHANGE office- we got fake 300 dollars which weren’t possible to utilize. My piece of advice read some articles and learn how to detect Argentinian fake pesos before traveling to Buenos Aires.
- Have cash with you because many places don’t have the infrastructure to accept credit cards.
- Use a taxi to get home if it is dark. Don’t underestimate the danger even in touristic places. We were told by some of our friends not to wander around the streets even (and especially) in La Boca in the evening.
- Try to visit Buenos Aires in the spring. We visited in January (in the summer) when the heat was killing, and there was no air to breathe. It turned out that the best seasons are from September to November and from March to May.
- Get a SUBTE public transport card and make your appointments wisely because there is always traffic. Even if you use a subway, you’d most probably miss out several trains because of the queue. Again, be careful with your handbag!
- If you’re Armenian, you’ll see so many things connected with Armenia; statues, churches, restaurants, schools, businesses and much more. We visited and highly recommend the Sarkis restaurant where food is just amazing! You most probably be standing in a queue for a minimum of 30 minutes, but it’s worth a try!
- Read the reviews of the hotel/apartment you want to stay. We had to change our place because it was packed full of cockroaches. We found another apartment via Airbnb, which was quite modern and clean. Unfortunately, it´s not possible to put a link here because the latter is not for rent anymore. But make sure you check out what other people say about that particular place before renting it.
If you have more tips feel free to add in the comments :))
This city is huge. Thus, try to venture out into the streets as early as possible because there are so much to see and the sights in Buenos Aires are far from each other!
Things to Do and Popular Sights in Buenos Aires
Dance or Watch Tango in Caminito, La Boca
We heard from many people that La Boca has a reputation for being the most dangerous place in Buenos Aires. However, the only thing we experienced here was cheerfulness and positive energy. El Caminito is a tourist destination number one in this neighborhood – so make sure you don’t miss it. Here, you can find colorful houses, different forms of art as well as witness how tango dancers and singers compete for your attention.
See the Modern Side of Buenos Aires in Puerto Madero
This is another sightseeing place in Buenos Aires; a vibrant neighborhood which is diffused by restaurants, offices and shops. The icon of here is Puerte de la Mujer also know as Women’s Bridge. This part gets even more romantic in the evening when lights shimmer in the dark. People leave here their “locks of love” of different sizes and shapes. So did we.
Next Stop in Buenos Aires is Palermo
Yeap, another Palermo exists in Buenos Aires! What you can see here are folksy cafes, century-old trees, modern architecture and much more. So add it to your must-visit places list in Buenos Aires and base yourself here.
Have a Coffee Break at Cafe Tortoni
Cafe Tortoni is the oldest coffee shop in Buenos Aires founded by a French immigrant in 1858. Thus, when you step into the cafe, it seems you’re back in time due to the exclusive interior they have. We ordered a cake and coffee here; however, the idea of taking a photo came into our heads after utilizing that all. (wink wink)
Dive into the History of San Telmo
If you’re here for several days, try to visit San Telmo on Sunday to see also the antique market and buy some souvenirs or just observe Argentinian culture. We purchased a cup for a mate which we used a lot later in Uruguay.
Visit the Recoleta Cemetery
Being one of the most stunning cemeteries in the world, Recoleta Cemetery holds the remains of Buenos Aires’s prominent personalities. It’s like a labyrinth decorated with impressive stones and statues – something which will keep you engaged for several hours.
Explore the Historic Plaza de Mayo Square, Obelisk, Florida Street
We had a long walk around the downtown area, admired Obelisk, scrolled down the street Florida and came across Plaza San Martin. Then we headed off to see Plaza de Mayo square where we found their government house – Casa Rosada, also known as a Pink House.
Visit the Floralis Generica When the Bulb is “Open”
The next famous sight in Buenos Aires is this huge metallic flower known as Floralis Generica which you can find in Plaza de las Naciones Unidas. This sculpture opens in the morning and closes at night and is a representative icon of Buenos Aires. Close to this you’ll also find the Malba Museum which worths to visit IF you understand contemporary art.
Be at Peace With Yourself at Jardin Japones
In a bustling and vibrant city such as Buenos Aires, you’ll most probably need some time to calm your anxious mind or get relaxed. Thus, go to the Japanese garden which has beautiful red bridges, various trees, and oriental plants and is breathing the culture of Japan. Take photos, breath fresh air or just feed koi fish there.
Take a Day Trip to Tigre Delta
Tigre Delta is only 1 hour away from Buenos Aires and takes a whole day to explore the area. The most common thing here is taking a boat tour of Tigre and sailing through the river of Delta del Parana. It’s an excellent chance to leave the chaos of the city and see another aspect of Argentinian life as well as appreciate the tranquility of nature.
What To Eat in Argentina
If you love meat then here you can find your nirvana. But there is more than just meat in Argentina. These are our favorite Argentinian foods we recommend you to give a try;
- Mixed Asado is a traditional barbeque which includes steaks, sausages, pork, chicken, etc.
- Empanadas is deep-fried or baked dough stuffed with meat. Empanadas can be found almost in every country in Latin America those are prepared differently in every country.
- Choripan is Argentinian hot dog with grilled pork or beef
- Ice Cream – Because many Italians immigrated here, Argentina is one of the countries with the best ice cream.
- Alfajor is a biscuit with jam or caramelized condensed milk (dulce de leche).
- National Yerba Mate – Drinking yerba mate is a social practice for every day. Hot water added to yerba mate herb and served with a special cup and bombilla.
- Criolla sauce – It consists of tomatoes and raw onions. Almost in every restaurant, a bread basket with a variety of dipping sauces will be served on your table.
We stayed in Buenos Aires for a week which, and this city is a tiny part of Argentina. The latter is enormous; it encompasses the snow-capped Andes mountains, glacial rivers and lakes, mountains and tropical wilderness. This is a place where the adventure never ends, and you’ll always find something to see and experience. Thus, we added Argentina to our list of countries which we’ll visit again to explore other parts of it.
Although our journey was coming to the end here, we still had another country to explore for 4 days. So, we left this fabulous country and headed off to Uruguay. Continue reading about Montevideo and Punta Del Este Travel Tips.