a guide to Buenos Aires, Argentina

Oh Buenos Aires, you little troublemaker. Despite being robbed in the middle of the day on a busy street in BA, I did actually love the city. It was my first taste of South America and the energy of the city was electric! The people spoke Spanish in such a romantic way, over-exaggerated with their hand movements. The architecture spoke to the city's history. There is a reason people call the city the 'Queen of Passion.'  There's a lot to love! 

Here's a guide for those of you heading down to the Tango capital!


Where to stay? 

Tash and I stayed at the Rock Hostel in Buenos Aires for two reasons: 1) it was insanely cheap and 2) location, location, location. Remember that house party you went to in college where everyone was way too messy and the next morning the entire home smelled like tequila? Yeah, that's the Rock Hostel.

I definitely would not recommend this place for anyone {like Tash and myself} who planned on long days of sightseeing, but if you're a massive party-goers {not Tash and myself} then this place is your Mecca. However, it right in the middle of everything. If you want to experience Buenos Aires by foot, this is your base camp. My suggestion? Take the good with the bad and bring earphones for sleeping. Also, prepare to see a drunk girl passed out in the shower come morning. 

What and where to eat?

Argentina's food was disappointing. Lost somewhere between a bland version of Italian cuisine and not quite impressive empanadas, Argentina was not what I was hoping for in terms of food. However, I'm a vegetarian and thus cannot speak to their world famous steak.

The one meal we had in BA that was far from disappointing was the empanadas at the much talked about San Juanino's restaurant. It's a hole in the wall that's family owned. And it was fantastic! Without hesitation, it was the best meal I had in BA. I know the photo doesn't look like much, but if we had been given more time, I probably would have eaten here for lunch and dinner every meal. Like the rest of South America, prepare to pay for water. 

What to do? 

Learn to tango or catch a show! Tango lessons and shows are expensive and sell out early, but there is no denying the rhythm of Buenos Aires. 

Tour around the La Boca neighbourhood! Known for it's colour, La Boca is a touring photographer's dream. Note of caution, La Boca has one of the highest crime rates of any neighbourhood in BA. Watch your things. I can't wait to return to Buenos Aires and make a trip to the 'hood we didn't have time to visit before leaving for Patagonia. 

Visit the 'Pink Palace'! La Casa Rosada is the office of the President of Argentina. Prepare to see protesters and picket signs {we saw overturned cars being set on fire...}, but don't be afraid to visit. The pink estate is surrounded by guards and gardens. It's really a sight worth seeing. Currently, it's closed to the public, but the outside alone is worth walking around. 

Take in the street art of the city! Buenos Aires, like many South American cities, is covered in murals, political art, and colourful street graffiti. Just walking around the city can keep a person busy with their camera snapping it all up for hours.

Visit the Floralis Generica! This giant aluminum flower blooms every day in the middle of a lush, green park right in the heart of the city.  The flower represents the new beginning that comes with each new day. Bring a picnic or a book and enjoy the green space within the city near the beautiful sculpture. 

Notes on how to get around...

Thieves target bus stations. We were told this from the very beginning. That doesn't mean you shouldn't use the bus. We bused around South America and, apart from certain smells, had no trouble. You should be aware of your surroundings wherever you are traveling, but in places that have earned an especially harsh reputation for robberies and muggings, it's helpful that you have a combination bag lock on your bag.  Taxis are cheap by Western standards and are known as the relatively safer option. Buenos Aires is easily walkable and that's the way I recommend seeing the city. 

What about language and currency?

Argentina uses the Argentine peso. You'll find people speak Spanish, but there is a heavy Italian influence in the country and thus some people speak a mixture of both romance languages. 

Disfrutar de buenos aires y toda la pasión de la ciudad!