Five Things You Can’t Miss – Buenos Aires.
A modern bustling city with tons to do, you can comfortably fill a week exploring its various neighbourhoods. Each area has it’s own particular vibe and charm. We stayed in Palermo which is full of new shops, old restaurants and cool bars of all descriptions. Transport is easy so getting around via Metro or bus isn’t a problem. Just look for the SUBE cards available at most kiosks and stations.
San Telmo Market.
Buzzing with colourful market stalls and eccentric personality. This meandering Sunday market stretches south from Plaza de Mayo all the way down to Plaza Dorrego. Here you’ll find a mixture of tourist souvenir stalls, old antique stores and tasty street food. We wandered past the Afro Cultural Centre where a reggae group were playing to a chilled crowd. The beer was cheap and free flowing and so we found a spot and whiled away an hour. Afterwards we carried on down the narrow cobbled street where tango dancers were showing off their moves in the small plaza. Don’t miss the local choripan stalls if you’re feeling hungry. A thick sliced chorizo in crunchy baguette accompanied by a mouth watering assortment of spicy chilli and herb condiments.
This was definitely worth a visit but some hail it as BA’s #1 tourist activity, which we think is a bit of a stretch. Everyone in here is looking for it’s most famous resident, Eva Peron. You can find her modest mausoleum by following the hordes of group tours. Our suggestion would be to go off piste and look for some of the older more elaborate structures located on the west side. You can see right inside some of these into the coffin chambers themselves. It’s weird but morbidly fascinating. Also keep an eye out for the creepy cats that move eerily around the cemetery, like strange feline ghosts.
Located in La Boca, BA’s more rough and ready blue collar neighbourhood, El Caminito is a throwback from Argentina’s 1930’s era. It’s a surprisingly small street where the houses are preserved in their original state and the vintage shop signs are a work of vaudeville art. It’s now somewhat of a tourist trap with some enterprising locals dressed up as football legend Maradona (in various stages of health) offering pictures for a small fee. There’s tango dancers on the street and the whole place has a bohemian vibe. Grab a coffee and watch the world go by while being entertained by the various street performers. Be aware some of the attractions are worth avoiding, so don’t pay to go into a ‘show’ without having seen what’s behind the door first.
Parque 3 de Febrero.
This was once the private retreat of 19th century dictator Juan Manuel de Rosa, but when he was finally ousted it was rightly given over to the public. Now it’s one of the best parks in the country and the perfect place so spend a lazy afternoon. There’s a huge rose garden with over 100 different species, a Japanese Garden with koi carp ponds and a huge lake where you can grab a picnic and chill in the sunshine. If you’re feeling more adventurous there’s roller blades for hire and a pedestrian only path circumventing the perimeter.
If you’re looking for some high octane action then this is where you need to head. This long running immersive theatre show is a must for anyone that likes the strange, unexpected and downright fun. Think Cirque de Soleil on acid and you might be getting close. From acrobatics to pyrotechnics and everything in between, this show pushes the boundaries of perception and reality. We won’t spoil it here, but you leave wondering what the f*ck just happened. And you might just be slightly wet..
Buenos Aires had so much to offer we could have stayed another week at least. There’s loads more to do and many free or cheap concerts & events during the week. Two great Buenos Aires institutions to check out for free events are: Néstor Kirchner Cultural Centre and Centro Cultural Recoleta.
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