Country: Argentina
Currency: Peso (ARS)
Peak Season: December-February
Shoulder Season: June-August
Median Temperature: 17.50 C / 63.5 F
Main Languages: Spanish, English
Primary Modes of Transportation: Bus, train, subway, taxi, private car
Recommended Duration of Stay: 4 days
Recommended Pocket Money: $120.00/day
Tourist Passes: n/a
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If there’s a city where both young and old celebrate the joy of life just as jubilantly, it must be in Buenos Aires. The capital of Argentina is exploding with frenzied lifestyles, and it doesn’t limit itself to the metropolitan archetype of commerce and finance it has (enduringly) become—instead, it creates a distinct persona in its vibrant culture, evident in La Boca and San Telmo. It’s really a shame that retirees flee to other countries—with so much beauty and personality, Buenos Aires is the most fitting retreat for any tired soul.

Like the colorful character South America is known for, Buenos Aires locals dabble themselves in almost every subject matter: you can talk to bus drivers from anything from cartoons to nuclear warfare. In a nutshell, the city is an amalgamation of the archetypical “barrio” and the bustling urban jungle of tourists and illegal immigrants. Going around the city is a breeze thanks to serviceable public transport. It’s a big mistake not to pig out on the scrumptious Argentine cuisine, known for heavy servings of meat, even in pastries.

On issues of safety, it’s a matter of discretion. Many been-there tourists consider Buenos Aires to be a unanimously safe destination. However, be reminded that going to Argentina (or to the rest of South America for that matter) is different from visiting Europe—so enjoy yourself and just take the necessary precautions.

Packing List

  • Simple, casual apparel and a small bag with no important belongings; most parts of the city tend to get crowded at times, so try bringing a small bag to avoid jostling and coming into contact with people
  • International credit cards, since they’re widely-honored, especially in the urban regions; before visiting shops and stores, read a phrasebook or pocket guide, as Spanish is still the main spoken language
  • Legal documentation and valid IDs; the city is stringent with regards to foreign entry—the alarming growth of illegal immigrants is reason to always keep your passport and visa intact for routine checks
  • Essential medication (sunscreen, loperamide) and toiletries; the nightlife scene in Buenos Aires is sure to give you a hangover, so pack an aspirin or two to keep things in check (and also for your safety)
  • A camera for the lovely attractions; Argentines aren’t particularly fond of gadgets—they prefer refined pleasures like book reading, café culture and attending shows, so bring a book or two to blend in easily

Things to Do

  • Visiting the upscale, architecturally-classy neighborhood of Recoleta; it has many tourist attractions, including the Recoleta Cemetery, which houses grand mausoleums of the opulent dead
  • Appreciating Argentine greats at the Latin American Art Museum (MALBA); there are more avant-garde and post-impressionist pieces than “customary” paintings, making it an intriguing museum
  • Entering the colorful neighborhood of La Boca—the houses are literally saturated with colors; the district is the definitely the place for scrumptious restaurant cuisine and nightlife circuits
  • Piquing your curiosity at the religious theme park of Parque Tierra; everything is Christian-themed—a great place for pious folks or just for those wanting to see something out of the blue
  • Enjoying equestrian activities at either Caballos A La Par or Polo Elite; the fine sport of polo has a defining identity of the city, whose high season lasts from the month of August to December

DON'T

  • Discuss politics, religion, and more importantly, immigration; the city has been lenient to illegal immigrants for the past decades and the repercussions of this has turned into a serious national issue
  • Employ gestures and pleasantries that are considered obscene; Argentines do not take lightly the idea of being subjects of ridicule and instead are the types who prefer to initiate the harmless jokes on tourists
  • Be giddy to go into a house party or bar; you can enter bars and bistros as late as midnight just to find the establishment is not yet full—don’t get drunk if you have a quick temper, else you’ll get into a fight
  • Be surprised to find how Argentines (particularly the men) are “doubtfully” very accommodating to tourists—this isn’t a pretense, as the locals have been known to “show off” their city to clueless people
  • Cause a faux pas by eating at the streets and inside public transportation—you’re not in Spain; pouring wine for others and being too “casual” or “reserved” when inside homes is considered rude behavior