Allocated one week for Argentina, and immediately upon arrival, decided to stay the whole week in Buenos Aires. The city is one of the largest I’ve visited, it wouldn’t have made sense to jump around. Longer time’s needed if you want to visit Rosario and Mendoza, for example. A lot longer if you wish to make it down south to Patagonia.
The Spanish spoken in Buenos Aires is relatively clear and slower; easier to understand. My level of Spanish on the ‘broken scale’ has also improved by that time, so that helped as well. Most people speak at least some English, however.
Stayed in Palermo, a trendy neighborhood with lots of great food, excellent micro breweries and clubs that stay open up until 7 am (even on weekdays). Here is a video of Acid Pauli performing Nana at Niceto club in Palermo!
One of the best neighborhoods in Buenos Aires is Recoleta, which has the united nation square adjacent to it. Perfect place to spend your afternoon, with lots of restaurants and several green spaces. People typically play music in these parks, which adds to the experience.
Among the must sees in Buenos Aires was the La Recoleta Cemetery. Like most, I’m not a big fan of graveyards, but this one was interesting. Only famous and/or rich people are buried there, with all graves costing hundred thousands (if not millions) of dollars to build.
One of the most visited graves is Eva Perón’s grave. ‘Evita’ served as first lady for six years in the late forties. She is regarded as one of the most influential figures in Argentinian politics and a renowned feminist. She passed away at age 33 due to cervical cancer and her funeral was attended by nearly three million people. Look her up, she’s a great deal in Argentina, apparently.
Moreover, the pantheon below is unique, since the cemetery does not officially recognize national events, and contains only a few group memorials. The memorial is to remember the soldiers that lose their lives during the 5-year war in the 1860s, right after Argentina and Uruguay declared their independence. The 5-year war was between ‘The Triple Alliance’ and Paraguay; the triple alliance consisted of Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay, hence the three flags in the photo below. The lady on top resembles Argentina.
Enough history, another area worth visiting is La Boca. La Boca exhibits a completely different vibe than the rest of Buenos Aires. Its colorful streets with outdoor restaurants and tango dancers is something else. You’d be very lucky if there is a Boca Juniors game going on, and more lucky if it’s a rivalry game. The area is obsessed with football, which makes sense since it’s Diego Maradona’s home team.
It is wise to stick to the ‘Caminito’ while in Boca, and not go in too deep. I was about to walk to a different neighborhood (Puerto Madero) with my camera when a police officer stopped me in front of a police station and advised me to take a cab instead. Apparently, it can be dangerous, especially if you’re carrying something valuable.
Speaking of which, in Puerto Madero, you can have great BBQ and Asado at Siga la Vaca restaurant. Go hungry because it’s all you can eat. I cannot empathize enough on the steak and Asado; really hard to screw up an Argentinian steak because the meat itself is top notch. Try as many restaurants as you can.
One last point to discuss is exchanging money. Despite the fact that the Argentine Peso is no longer floating, you can still get more pesos for a dollar if you exchange from street dealers yelling ‘cambio cambio’. There is no problem doing that from a legality standpoint; in other words, it is acceptable in Argentina. I suggest you ask several street currency dealers before exchanging, to make sure you get the best rate.
There is a lot more to Argentina than Buenos Aires. Rosario and Mendoza will need to be explored on the next trip, in addition to the very south of Argentina (Patagonia). Regardless, a few days will be spent in Buenos Aires prior, because this city is absolutely beautiful – in every aspect.