Buenos Aires – A backpackers guide
Buenos Aires is a city best suited for your Nikes, a wide waistband and a healthy appetite for vino. It’s not full of amazing tourist must do's but its is full of grand architecture with a lot of character with a European feel. Think a hint of New York, a bucket full of Paris a dash of Italy all brought together with a Latin American flare and you have the capital of Buenos Aires. Here you can find tango lining the streets, mouth watering food and of course some amazingly cheap vinos
Our favourite things to do
Get your walking shoes on. The best way to see B.A is to put your walking shoes on and go exploring, it's a large city with each suburb brings unique sights. Plus if your wondering around some of the parks you are likely to spot a few dog walkers, these amazing beings walk about 10-12 dogs at a time, it’s truly amazing and coming from a dog lover SO CUTE.
La Recoleta Cemetery. Though wandering through the cemetery gave me the creeps, it was very beautiful and extraordinary cemetery. With the most expensive real estate In Buenos Aires, it is the resting place for B.A most rich and famous including presidents, intellectuals, army generals and entertainers. Though some of the architecture tomb stones are almost three stories high and would easily cost more than average family home, few of them have been neglected with broken entrances and glass. It’s worth a wee visit but if you're like me and ryan your visit might be quicker than excepting … we got too creeped out.
La Boca. The iconic colourful streets is a definite must see, here you will find a cultural very touristy hub full of colour, football and tango. Though it maybe a slight tourist trap you can still enjoy a meal or a drink in one of the restaurants with live tango or if you're after something a bit cheaper skip the meal and grab yourself a choripan from one of the street vendors around. Also this neighbourhood is a bit unsafe so if you find yourself outside the colourful neighbour turn back, better safe than sorry.
El Ateneo Grand Splendid. This has to be one of the worlds most beautiful bookstores, it is an old converted 1920s theatre. Many parts of the theatre still remain including the stage with the iconic plush red curtains, the balconies and all the incredible architectural details like its painted roof and delicate decor.
Pizza. The Italian influence in B.A is very evident with the abundance of pizza and pasta restaurants lining almost every street. If you're after an old traditional pizza place than Pizzeria Guerrin is for you. Guerrin offers a cheaper standing area where you can buy the pizza by the slice or if you're after a sit down affair head towards the back for their sit in menu. Their mozzarella is a must try, as their cheese to base ratio is out of this world, after eating this you may want a couple,of extra walks around the block.
Steak. You can’t go to B.A and not eat one of their famous mouth watering, size of your face steaks but sadly this can be a bit of budget breaker. Luckily we heard of an amazing deal, happy hour at La Cabrera which meant 40% off your bill … AMAZING RIGHT. All you need to do is show up before 7pm, even earlier just to secure your spot and enjoy the feast of a lifetime.
Asado. Pretty much is meat, meat and more meat served on a parrilla (grill) on your table, and trust me you want to go hungry. We went to a local restaurant in Buenos Aires to give one of these a shot. Between four of us we order a mixed grill for two and a veggie grill, how two people would be able finish this mammoth meal of steak, chicken, ribs, sausages and offal.
Markets. The most popular one is San Telmo which is on every Sunday where you’ll find millions of antique. But we opted for a more local adventure and went out to the feria de mataderos with a couple of fellow kiwis who know work in B.A. This market was filled of local crafts, music, produce and most importantly some of the best street food (see below). It’s a lovely place to wander around, maybe buys some fresh cheese and salami and watch some of the locals dance the traditional tango or peñas folklóricas.
Choripan. Chorizo-pan (bread). Pretty much Argentine version of a sausage sizzle but much much better. Ditch the shitty white bread for a crispy baguette or bun, and swap out the cheapy tasteless sausage from a grilled chorizo and better still top with chimichurri, and there you have it, a delicious, cheap meal on the go.
Empanadas. Literally means wrapped bread. A flaky pastry pocket filled with everything from delicious carne (meat), pollo (chicken) or even you can get your hands on some vegetarian filled ones. The ones we have found to be best are deep fried or oven baked fresh to give you that extra crispy, flake away outside.
Protests and parades. Protest are very common in Argentina with some happening every week, we even witnessed two separate protests going on simultaneously. Also we were lucky enough to in Buenos Aires during their 100 years of independence celebration, so of course there was a parade to celebrate all the service men who helped achieve this. It was one of the most random parades I have seen to date where even the scuba divers where there marching alongside the camouflaged sniper.
Where to stay
You want a party – Milhouse is for you. Though I would suggest staying at Milhouse hipo, the smaller one of the two but be warned this hostel might just break you.
Somewhere funky – Art Factory might be your cup of tea, with awesome painted walls and even eggs for breakfast!
Piece and quiet – After a private room we got a great deal at Hotel Costa Rica lovely area of Palermo.
Hostels. A good but budget hostel will cost you from AR$150-200 for a dorm room. A private room ranges from as little as AR$400 or all the way up to AR$750.
Hotels. You can find some great deals on booking.com, eg a three star hotel will cost around AR$400-AR$800.
Activities. There are loads of different activities you can do in B.A, so here are some costing of some of the most popular ones.
La boca tour – from AR$180
Tango show – including a lesson, dinner and wine from AR$850
Bike tour – from AR$600
Free walking tours – a tip based service
Tigre Delta full day trip – from AR$750
Transport. Get yourself a rechargeable SUBE Card, for when you want to take bus or more easily the metro. You can find out where to find one here, or else a fellow traveller might be kind enough to give away theirs once they leave.
Let me know what your favourite thing about Buenos Aires was?