According to Wholevehicles, the capital of Argentina is usually associated with the name of Evita, tango or football. “Port of Our Lady Saint Mary of the Good Winds” is the historical name of Buenos Aires. Without exaggeration, this is one of the most beautiful and controversial cities in South America: next to modern skyscrapers, the old Spanish quarters are preserved here, and numerous poor areas and slums contrast with fashionable areas.
The old part of the city with its colonial architecture is reminiscent of Paris, London and Madrid at the same time, while the new districts are a modern city with high-rise buildings and skyscrapers.
The locals refer to themselves as “porteños” – “people from the port”, implying that almost all of them are immigrants or their descendants. In many ways, this determines the “face” of the city: it is very different, here you can see Spanish, Italian, German features.
District of Buenos Aires
Microcentro is the historical center of the city and its heart is May Square (Plaza de Mayo). The Presidential Palace, the Cathedral, the Cabildo and other important city buildings are located here.
The La Boca area is a poor neighborhood and at the same time a popular tourist attraction. Here is the Bombonera stadium of the Boca Juniors team, for which Diego Maradona played. The area is interesting and colorful, but not the safest due to the proximity of the slums. So much so that even taxi drivers sometimes refuse to go here at night.
Palermo is one of the most prosperous parts of the city. There are many parks here, and the locals call it “Freud’s villa”, here in almost every house there is a psychotherapist’s office. In addition, everything is excellent with the infrastructure in this part of the city: restaurants, bars, inexpensive supermarkets, etc. The entire nightlife of the Argentine capital is also concentrated here. In the neighborhoods of Palermo-Hollywood and Alto Palermo, local golden youth and embassy workers live, so the degree of luxury and pathos is slightly higher than the average for the area.
According to WHO statistics, there is one psychologist for every 645 Argentines. There is no such concentration in any country in the world.
Next door to Palermo is a less noisy and green area – Belgrano. There are many Chinese restaurants and shops here, and it is convenient to get to the northern suburbs from here.
The San Telmo area is one of the most beloved by tourists: it is old and colorful – built up with colonial architecture, close to the main attractions, as well as noisy, fun and inexpensive.
Recoleta is an elite and quiet “pensioner quarter” not far from the center – mainly wealthy elderly Argentines live here, there are many expensive boutiques and restaurants in this area. The main local attraction is the famous Recoleta cemetery.
Puerto Madero is another prestigious area of Buenos Aires to the east of Microcentro. Previously, there was a port built in the 19th century, and now offices, expensive restaurants and hotels are located in the port warehouses. It is absolutely safe here, but there is nothing to do except spend money and ride a bike in the Costanera Sur Ecological Reserve.
Buenos Aires Hotels
There are about 850 hotels in Buenos Aires. For example, you should not choose housing in Retiro, as the Villa-31 slums are located nearby. The local mayor’s office is fighting them, but so far with varying success.
To be closer to the sights, you can settle in the areas of Palermo, San Telmo, Belgrano or in the Microcenter. Palermo has a lot of bars and shops, but it can be noisy at night, Belgrano is quieter, and San Telmo has many old buildings, and there are interruptions in hot water and other communications. Accommodation prices are about the same: an inexpensive “three-ruble note” with a bathroom will cost from 1200 ARS per day for a double room, a bed in a hostel – from 400 ARS per person, and prices for 4 * start from 2000 ARS.
The most expensive areas of the city are Recoleta and Puerto Madero: at least 2500-3000 ARS per day.
You should not settle in La Boca: there are disadvantaged areas nearby, there are many pickpockets and vagrants. But cheap – from 900 ARS for a double room in a simple hotel.
In Buenos Aires, the “star” of hotels is not always true. 5* are often disappointing, and 4* may cost less, but pleasantly surprise with service.
Since January 1, 2017, a law has been in force in Argentina, according to which foreign tourists are exempt from paying VAT (21%) if they pay for accommodation with a bank card. To do this, when booking a room, you need to indicate in the comments that you are a foreigner with a bank card from another country and are exempt from paying tax (IVA – in Spanish).
Communication and Wi-Fi
There are 4 mobile operators in Argentina: Claro, Movistar and Personal and Nextel. Coverage and rates are almost the same, although users note that 4G and LTE work best with Movistar and Claro. All offer prepaid SIM cards, postpaid and better rates with a long-term contract available only to residents of Argentina.
SIM cards are sold in communication stores, newspaper and tobacco kiosks and shops at metro stations, the cost is 20-30 ARS. The number, as a rule, is already activated, but there is no money in the account. You can buy recharge cards at the same kiosks and shops where there is a “Carga virtual” sign, or you can deposit money into your account using a phone number in orange terminals at retail outlets.
The Personal operator has a special offer for tourists: 3 GB of mobile Internet, unlimited use of WhatsApp, 30 minutes of international and 100 minutes of local calls for 500 ARS. The tariff is valid for 30 days from the date of activation. SIM cards are sold at Ezeiza Airport (Terminal A, ground floor), at Jorge Newbery Airport and branded salons in the city.
Other operators offer 50 Mb of mobile internet per day for 11-12 ARS, packages of 200 Mb, 1 GB (30 ARS for one day and 40 ARS for two days) and 2 GB (110 ARS per week and 150 ARS for 15 days) are also available. days). If you overuse, you will be charged 0.14-0.15 ARS per MB, while WhatsApp remains free.
Mobile Internet (including 4G and LTE) and Wi-Fi work well in Buenos Aires. At the airport, free Wi-Fi is available in unlimited quantities. In the city center – in every restaurant and hotel.
Argentina is famous for its leather products, but locally produced jackets, bags, shoes and other accessories are several decades behind fashion, the dressing is rough, and prices are not lower or even higher than in Moscow. In some places there are shoes from Brazil – you should pay attention to it: excellent leather, and prices from 1200 ARSfor a couple. Leather clothing and accessories stores are concentrated on Florida Avenue, not far from the Galerias Pacifico shopping center (Av. Cordoba 550), one of the most beautiful in the capital. In addition to shops, there is a nice food court, free art galleries on the top floor, and occasional tango nights. Another shopping complex is Abasto Shopping (Av. Corrientes 3247) in the Jewish quarter, the brands here are mostly budget, there is a kosher McDonald’s and a children’s museum with attractions and a Ferris wheel.
The Dorrego Square in San Telmo hosts a flea market on weekends. Here you can buy vintage jewelry, silver, furniture, tango shoes and handmade musical instruments.
From Buenos Aires, it is worth bringing mate tea, “bombilla” and “calabashes”. The latter are made from everything in a row, including goat hooves, but it is better to choose the classic one – from pumpkin.
For souvenirs, it is best to go to Florida Avenue or La Boca, and for wine and delicacies – to the Las Canitas area.
Cuisine and restaurants in Buenos Aires
There are many restaurants in the capital, as locals prefer to dine out. Most of them are meat – “parillas”, there are also bakeries and cafes for breakfast at every step. In “parillas” it is worth trying steaks, sausages, ribs and oxtails – this dish is held in high esteem here. The tails are marinated in red wine and grilled. The local wine is quite good, there are many wine shops in the city center, but the Malbec from the supermarket is a very worthy option.
Argentinean breakfast is “medialunas” (croissants with various fillings, mostly sweet) served with coffee. “Dulce de leche” (dulce de leche) is one of the main gastronomic prides of Argentina. This is a soft caramel, similar in taste to boiled condensed milk, from which almost all desserts are prepared here, including the famous Alfajores cookies.
Be sure to grab a bite to eat at the Britanico bar (Av. Brasil, 399). It opened in Buenos Aires in 1928, and the owners are obliged to keep its interior and traditions in their original form. A light breakfast here will cost from 300 ARS, as in most cafes in the capital.
Lunch in “parillas” will cost 500-600 ARS per person, and you can have a snack with a sausage sandwich or “empanadas” (local pies) for 300-400 ARS. The “meat” places of the city are Lavalle Street and the Recoleta district, lunch here costs 1000-1200 ARS per person, and dinner with wine for two costs 2500-5000 ARS, depending on the institution.
Argentines’ favorite gastronomic joke: a proper lunch for one is a kilo of meat and a bottle of wine.