Buenos Aires is the capital and largest city in Argentina, one of South America’s most diverse countries. The city’s immigrant history is due to its location on the shore of the Río de la Plata and Atlantic Ocean. Buenos Aires is often referred to as “The Paris of South America”.
In the heart of the city, you will find sprawling green spaces, neoclassical architecture and inviting cafés. Spend 72 hours in Buenos Aires and I guarantee you’ll be itching for more time. This South American city with a European vibe is a place where travelers return time and time again.
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How to get to Buenos Aires
By Air – The main airport used for flights to Buenos Aires is Ezeiza International Airport, located about 35 km south of the city. This airport is mainly used for international flights and has all of the commodities of a modern international airport. There is also a small airport, Aeroparque Jorge Newbery, located close to downtown. El Palomar Airport is a new airport located 18 km from the city and it serves low-cost airlines. It’s quite easy to find a taxi or shuttle from the airports to central Buenos Aires.
By Coach – The Terminal de Omnibus de Retiro commonly known as Retiro Bus Station is the main bus terminus with bays for 75 buses. If you arrive on a bus from another country, which I wouldn’t recommend due to long travel hours, this is where you’ll end up. That being said, taking a bus is often the best option for budget travelers and students. The bus terminal has ATMs, cafes, and telephone offices, where you can start figuring out the logistics of your time in Buenos Aires.
By Boat – Ferry services are available, operating between Buenos Aires and Montevideo. You can find the ferry terminals in Puerto Madero and La Boca. Companies such as Buquebus, Seacat, and Colonia Express run the ferry services. There are also numerous cruise lines that visit Buenos Aires. The terminal used is the Quinquela Martín located in Retiro’s neighborhood.
How to get around Buenos Aires
Walking – Buenos Aires is an easy city to walk around during the day because of the grid system. It is sometimes quicker compared to buses or taxis because of traffic. There are also a handful of pedestrian streets that are lined with shops where you can either window shop or buy stuff.
Bus – Buses are locally known as ‘colectivos’ or ‘bondis’ and are an efficient way to get around the city. They run 24 hours so they are always available. The buses have an electronic ticket machine, which accepts coins only and provides change. Most of the bus drivers will tell you the amount to pay for your destination and also inform you when to alight.
Train – The train is the best option when you want to visit neighborhoods that are far from the city center. They are also a good option when visiting Tigre and the river delta in Buenos Aires Province. You can either use the SUBE card or purchase tickets at the station with cash.
Private Car – There are international rental companies that you can use when hiring a rental car. To hire one you need to be over 21 years of age and to have had a driver’s license for at least 2 years. Most of the rental cars are manual, so come prepared! You are allowed to park in the streets if there is free space but to be safer you can park your car in an ‘Estacionamiento’ (garage).
Taxi – Taxis are an inexpensive means of getting around the city. They are, however, not the quickest means especially when there are traffic jams. You can easily spot them because they are painted yellow and black. When getting into one always ensure the meter is running. In order to feel extra secure, take a radio taxi and ensure the driver’s license is displayed.
Subte – The subte, Buenos Aires’s underground train network, is the cheapest and quickest way to Buenos Aires. It has six lines, A, B, C, D, E and H, that connect the coach stations, main avenues, and the train stations. The subte runs from 5 am to 11 pm Monday to Friday, 6 am to midnight on Saturdays and 8 am to 11 pm on Sundays and public holidays.
Bike – If you love cycling, you can take a bike from the free public bike share system. There are over 130 km of cycle lanes in Buenos Aires. You can take a bike for one hour on weekdays and up to 2 hours on weekends.
Where to stay in Buenos Aires
Palermo is the largest neighborhood of Buenos Aires. It has tree-lined streets and intersections where there are bars, restaurants, and boutiques. The best restaurants in Palermo Buenos Aires include Proper, La Cabrera, Don Julio, and Buenos Aires Verde for vegetarians.
There are several sub-neighborhoods in Palermo where you can find the vibe that fits your trip:
Palermo Hollywood: This sub-neighborhood got its name because of the many TV and film production studios. Here you will find restaurants and clubs. It is more lively on weekends after midnight. If you’re coming to Buenos Aires to party, stay here.
Palermo Soho: This is a stretch between Niceto Vega and El Salvador where you will find cool cafes and designer boutiques. This is where Full City Coffee House, the best coffee shop in Buenos Aires, is located.
Palermo Chico: This is where Buenos Aires’ most famous and rich live. It is desirable for the rich and famous because the buildings have easy access to the Palermo forest.
Plaza Italia: This is where the main avenues Sarmiento and Las Heras merge into Santa Fe.
In Palermo Buenos Aires, there are various hotels where you can stay such as the Grand Hotel Piazza Borsa, Hotel NH Palermo, Hotel Mercure Palermo Centro, and the Grand Hotel Villa Igiea.
This is one of the most upscale neighborhoods in Buenos Aires. It has many first-class restaurants, French-style buildings, and large green spaces. The famous Recoleta cemetery is also here. I recommend staying at either Esplendor Plaza Francia or Malala Hostel.
This is a vibrant neighborhood where there are important sites such as the Plaza Miserere and the National Congress. There are also good hotels, such as the Abasto Hotel, located near the Abasto Shopping mall. Your stay in Abasto Hotel will ensure that you have three perfect days in Buenos Aires.
Named after Manuel Belgrano, the creator of the Argentine flag, this neighborhood is much more residential than those mentioned above. However, there are still a handful of restaurants, shops, and architectural relics. I recommend staying at Argenta Suites Belgrano or Hostal VIP.
This is the most historic neighborhood with narrow cobblestone lanes. While here you can stay in the boutique hotels such as Patios de San Telmo and Mansion Vitraux.
Places to Visit and Things to Do in Buenos Aires
A cemetary, really? Once you arrive at the entrance to this place, you’ll understand why it’s included on just about every Buenos Aires itinerary. Each memorial is unique and ornate, but also some of the most important Argentines are buried here. You can spend hours here wandering around, admiring the incredible homages to the dead. The cemetery sits atop a hill, giving you a panoramic view of the Recoleta neighborhood.
Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes
This art museum happens to have one of the finest collections in the world. The best part about it? Free entry of course! If art is your thing, you have to include this in your itinerary. There is always a fine collection of international and Argentine art on display. Plus the building itself is gorgeous. After spending a few hours looking at art, be sure to head to one of the nearby parks for with an empanada in hand.
Dance Tango at a Milonga
Tango is one of the staples of Argentine culture. It’s fun to watch the professionals, but even better to get in on the action yourself. Milongas, or local dance parties, are the most relaxed way to do so. There is a Sunday night milonga in Plaza Dorrego in San Telmo where you can find locals and travelers dancing the night away. If you want to take a formal class, there are plenty of academies around the city where you can do so.
San Telmo Market
The markets around Buenos Aires are not only good places to pick up souvenirs, but they also provide the chance to get to know the authentic Argentine culture. San Telmo Market, which takes place on Sunday, is one of my favorite in the city. You can spend hours here wandering around, sampling local delicacies, and watching street performers.
Watch a Polo Match
Polo is another staple of Argentine culture. These people love their horses, which are always groomed to perfection. The best place to watch a game is at the Campo Argentino de Polo. If you know how to ride a horse well, there are a few places in the city where you can learn how to play the game as well. If you’re like me, head to the stadium, grab a drink, and enjoy watching this unique sport.
The Casa Rosada or “Pink House” is the Argentine version of the White House. It’s where the president works and important gatherings happen. Adjacent to the building is the Plaza de Mayo, where some of the most important historical events in Argentina’s history took place. Both of these places are impressive sites to see, especially if you are informed about Argentina’s turbulent history.
Wander around La Boca
Need to snag some photos for social media before you leave town? Head to La Boca. This colorful neighborhood is arguably the most photogenic spot in all of Buenos Aires. There is always something going on in the streets of this vibrant neighborhood. I recommend visiting during the day as the area can be a bit dodgy at night. That being said, even if you only have 48 hours in Buenos Aires, I’d recommend putting it on the top of your list!
Tours to do in Buenos Aires
Small-Group City Tour of Buenos Aires
During this 3-hour group tour, you will visit the most visited sights in Buenos Aires. You will pass by Retiro, Puerto Madero, and San Telmo neighborhoods. Your first stop will be at Plaza de Mayo, the oldest and most important public square. The next stop will be at La Boca neighborhood where you will see the Bombonera (Boca Juniors stadium), the Proa Foundation (museum of modern art), and Caminito (museum alley). Your last stop will be at The Recoleta Cemetery which is in my list of 10 things to see in Buenos Aires.
Buenos Aires Bike Tour: Recoleta and Palermo Districts
A 3.5-hour bike tour through Puerto Madero, Palermo, and Recoleta neighborhoods. You will pick your bike in San Telmo after a short demonstration and briefing on safety. You will visit Recoleta Cemetery, where Argentinians former first lady Eva Peron is laid to rest. You will then ride through Barrio Parque to Palermo Woods and you will see the Botanical Garden, Buenos Aires Zoo, the Polo Fields and, the Galileo Galilei Planetarium.
La Ventana Tango Show with Optional Dinner in Buenos Aires
A 4-hour tour where you will enjoy a memorable tango show. You will first head to cobblestone streets in San Telmo then to conventillo, a restaurant-theater. If you chose to have dinner you should arrive 90 minutes before the show starts. You arrive early so that you can enjoy your three-course dinner. This three-course dinner will feature different Argentine and international dishes paired with Argentine wines. If you didn’t choose the dinner option you will be provided with wine and soft drinks as you enjoy the show.
Buenos Aires Small-Group Wine Tasting
This is a 2-hour small group tour where you will enjoy tasting local Argentinian wines. A group will usually consist of 8 people or fewer. You will go to Miravida wine cellar located in Palermo Soho. While here you will have a taste of the local boutique wines. You will also taste Malbec and Torrontes, the wines of Argentina. Your wine tasting experience will be accompanied by appetizers and small bites. You are also allowed to ask questions and take notes.
3 Day Buenos Aires Itinerary
Recoleta is a great place to spend your first day in Buenos Aires. You’ll get a great feel for the vibe of the city while taking in some of the more important Buenos Aires attraction. Café La Biela is a good launching point, but be sure to grab a coffee and pastry beforehand. Then head to Teatro Colón, the city’s most important opera hall. I strongly recommend doing a guided tour to learn about the majesty of this historic space. If you’re still curious about this place, try and grab some tickets for a show one of your nights in the city.
Located right behind the theatre is one of the principal streets in Buenos Aires, 9 de Julio. It’s not necessarily the most beautiful street to walk down, but you will get a feel for the business of Argentina’s capital. Take a picture at the famous obelisk, and then make some lunch plans. If you want to continue your walking tour of Recoleta, pick up some empanadas. If you have the time to sit down, I recommend trying a typical Argentine lunch or eating a slice of the city’s famous pizza at Los Maestros.
In the afternoon, go visit the famous Recoleta cemetery. It’s fun to walk around here and admire the tombstones, but doing a tour will give you a more indepth look at who rests here and the story behind their ornate burial. After the tour, go get some rest wherever you are staying. At night, make a reservation for dinner at Don Julio. This restaurant is known for serving up some of the best steak in all of Argentina. Enjoy the steak, a few glasses of fine wine, and then get yourself some rest.
For your second day in Buenos Aires, I recommend heading to La Boca. Take a cab, uber, or public transportation to El Caminito. Once here, take some time to wander around and appreciate the rich culture that the neighborhood is home to. If you are interested in art, there are a handful of tours that you would love in La Boca. The neighborhood is the hipster center of the city, and you may find yourself sharing maté with a local artist if you’re lucky.
Try and eat lunch at one of La Boca’s famous bodegons. When you’re food has settled, find your way to San Telmo. The Plaza de Mayo and adjacent Casa Rosada are two of the most important places in Argentina. Next, I recommend that you spend some time simply wandering around the streets of San Telmo. There are plenty of markets, boutique shops, and bookstores to get lost in. Grab a drink at one of the many happy hours available and watch porteños continue along with their busy days.
In the evening, grab yourself some ticktets to a tango show. El Querandi is another popular theatre in Buenos Aires that has a variety of options available in regards to tickets. You can simply enjoy the show, or purchase an all-inclusive dinner and beverage special. Whichever you choose, you are sure to enjoy the romance that the Argentine tango spurs in the heart.
It’s your last day in Buenos Aires, and I’m sure you’re looking at the calendar, planning your trip back to the city. In the morning, enjoy your last Buenos Aires breakfast, rent a bike, and then head to Palermo. There are many different sub-neighborhoods to see, which is why I recommend using a map to explore the different areas. Palermo is where you will really feel the pulse of Buenos Aires. In the morning, I recommend checking out Palermo Soho, Palermo Hollywood, and Palermo Viejo. All of these different neighborhoods have different attractions that are worth your time.
In the afternoon, go explore the Botanical Gardens or Parque Tres de Febrero. Bring your journal and spend an hour or two jotting down what you’ve been up to the past few days. You won’t want to forget, and it’s best to get everything down while it’s still fresh in your head. When you’re ready to dive back into Buenos Aires, have your wallet ready. Palermo is the best place to shop in the city, and I’m sure you may need to snag some souvenirs for your friends and family back home.
For dinner, you should book a spot at The Argentine Experience. This social experience is a great way to spend your last night in the city. You’ll meet other travelers and learn more about the different aspects of Argentine culture. The wine flows and the food follows, so come prepared. If the wine gives you energy, spend your last night partying with new friends in Palermo, the hub for nightlife in the city. Just be sure to set an alarm so you don’t miss your flight in the morning.
Recommended tours in Buenos Aires
- Rojo Tango Dinner and Tango Show including Private Transfers
- Iguazu Falls Private Day Trip from Buenos Aires with Airfare
- Gaucho Day Tour Ranch in San Antonio de Areco from Buenos Aires
- The Argentine Experience: Empanada Making, Steak, Wine, Alfajores and Mate
- Small-Group San Isidro and Tigre Delta Tour
- Small-Group City Tour of Buenos Aires
- Private Buenos Aires City Tour with an Expert Guide
- Buenos Aires Small-Group Wine Tasting
- Buenos Aires Super Saver: City Sightseeing Tour, Tango Show with Dinner and Tigre Delta River Cruise
- Buenos Aires Sightseeing Tour
- Best of Buenos Aires in 4 days
- Buenos Aires Bike Tour: Recoleta and Palermo Districts
- Small-Group Buenos Aires Graffiti Art NorthTour
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