The Autonomous City of Buenos Aires is my favourite city so far! I’ve loved other cities on the trip (Sucre in Bolivia, Arequipa in Peru, Santiago in Chile) but BA has probably been the most fun. We managed to see and do so much in the 4 days we were there, so I wanted to sum up the best bits that you should definitely stick on your list if you’re planning a trip to Argentina’s capital.
Weekend Market in San Telmo
San Telmo is a really artsy and old-school neighbourhood, filled with loads of antique shops, cafés and small galleries. But it’s the weekend market that’s the highlight!
We arrived in BA on a Sunday, perfect timing to catch the last few hours of the market.
And it’s HUGE! So many stalls line the streets and when you’re walking along it feels like the market goes on for miles. We didn’t even manage to reach the end. Anything you could possibly want to buy can be found at the market – from souvenirs to original local art to feather dusters – so take plenty of pesos and find yourself a bargain.
And when you need a rest from the market, there are loads of cheap cafés and bars, including an amazing Indian restaurant that we stumbled across. We love a curry and had been craving one ever since we left the UK, so we were pretty much drooling when we went into Delhi Masala and ordered lunch. I think we must have died and gone to heaven – best curry we’ve had in a long long time!
The birthplace of tango and the home of Argentina’s biggest football team – La Boca is one of the most famous areas of Buenos Aires. We joined a walking tour of the neighbourhood (with Free Walks Buenos Aires, but this tour cost 200 pesos per person, about £10) which took us around the river front, the colourful buildings of Caminito street and ended at the Boca Juniors football stadium.
We also had a delicious lunch at La Gran Paraiso, which was our ‘steak night’ wedding gift from my wonderful brother and sister-in-law – thank you Ali and Cassia for our yummy treat!
La Recoleta Cemetery
Ok so you might think that visiting a cemetery is pretty morbid, however THIS cemetery is anything but! The rich and aristocratic of Buenos Aires are buried here and no expense has been spared on the tombs. They are so decorative and elaborate, I bet anybody would be chuffed to be buried here!
One of Argentina’s most famous icons is also a resident here – Eva Perón, or Evita as she was known. Her family’s tomb is covered in memorial plaques to her and there were still fresh flowers being put there.
The area of La Recoleta is also really nice to go and visit. The buildings are fairly fancy and there are lots of nice bakeries, restaurants and cafés. We bought some amazing empanadas and ate them in the park outside the cemetery.
Do what Joe and I did and visit La Recoleta Cemetery on Halloween to get your spooky fix… during the daytime… in the sun.
If you want to learn more about Evita you can visit the Evita Museum, just near Plaza Italia in the Palermo district. Entry is 90 pesos per person (about £4) and the exhibitions include a lot of her old outfits, information about her life, and TV clips of her famous speeches.
We hadn’t known a lot about Evita before going to the museum, but we found out that she was more than just a First Lady of Argentina. She really created a role for herself and was a huge supporter of working class people. She became an icon for trying to improve social injustices, including being a key person in rallying for women to get the vote.
The museum is closed on Mondays but is worth a visit if you can go on a Tuesday to Sunday.
La Bomba de Tiempo
If you like live music and you’re keen for a boogie, you will LOVE La Bomba de Tiempo. They’re a local percussion band and their music is incredible. They play a regular slot on Monday nights at Konex (in the Palermo area), which kicks off at 8pm. Tickets are 160 pesos (about £8) and you can buy them online in advance (with an additional 15 peso booking fee) or on the door.
Konex is an outdoor venue and the atmosphere is great, it’s like a cross between a club night and a festival. We loved the music and also enjoyed a bit of people-watching – the crazy dancers were standing towards the back of the crowd and were rocking some pretty out-there moves. Extra entertainment!
The band finish at 10pm but outside the party continues. Live percussion bands play in the street and everyone dances along. We definitely had a lot of fun and really recommend you see La Bomba de Tiempo if you’re in BA on a Monday!
Tango at Club La Catedral
If you prefer a different kind of dancing, you can’t visit Buenos Aires and not see some tango! There are a lot of touristy shows that also include dinner, but this was a bit beyond our budget so we went along to Club La Catedral in Palermo for a more hands-on approach – a tango lesson!
They run 2 or 3 classes most evenings, with the last class being 10:15pm. We went along early to watch the previous class (who made it look very easy) and then joined our lesson. We had to change partners a few times, which was probably a good thing for us so we could actually learn from other people, and then we got to practice a bit more after the lesson. Ok so we won’t be joining Strictly Come Dancing any time soon, but I don’t think we were too bad for first timers!
The club itself is fun and has a really good atmosphere, and apparently after the lessons each night there is a performance where the professional dancers show everyone else how it’s done. We waited around until 12:30am but the show hadn’t started, so we called it a night, although I’ve heard from others that the show is really good.
Lessons are around an hour and a half and cost 100 pesos each (about £5), or you can go along just to watch and have some drinks, or you can go along to practice your tango moves without a lesson.
Our hostel was in Palermo so we spent quite a bit of time exploring the streets in the area. There are lots of cool independent shops, cafés and bars, so if you like shopping, eating or drinking, you’re on to winner!
We had some chill out time in a great café on Plaza Serrano called Sans, which had an afternoon promo for a litre of beer and patatas bravas for 180 pesos (about £8). The next day we went to La Panera Rosa and treated ourselves to an amazing waffle topped with all the chocolate things you can think of. Yeah, the diet is going really well thanks…
We hope that our favourite bits inspire you to take a trip to Buenos Aires! Or have you already been and have some other great tips?? Leave us a comment and let us know! Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram for more travel photos @pitkinswithpassports