Difference between revisions of "Buenos Aires"
Revision as of 16:25, 25 December 2012
Buenos Aires (the official name 'is Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires/Autonomous City of Buenos Aires, also called Capital Federal/Federal Capital) is the capital of the Argentine Republic. The name means fair winds, or literally good air in Spanish. It is one of the largest cities in Latin America, with a lot of cultural offerings, and is the point of departure for travelling to the rest of the country. Inhabitants of Buenos Aires are called porteños, "people from the port", implying that many of the inhabitants are immigrants in some ways or another. Buenos Aires is a singular, open, and integrating destination that allows the visitor not only to view the city but also to have an exceptional urban adventure.
The city is geographically contained inside the province of Buenos Aires, but it is politically autonomous . Its coordinates are 34º 36' S, 58º 26' W.
The city extends on a plain covering 19.4 km (12 mi) from north to south and 17.9 km (11 mi) from east to west.
Approximately three million people live in the City of Buenos Aires (the Federal Capital of Argentina with 202 km² [78.3 mi²]). The City is divided into 48 districts or barrios (neighborhoods). Together with its metropolitan area or Great Buenos Aires (Gran Buenos Aires), this is one of the ten most populated urban centers in the world with over 15 millions people. Most of the country's activity is highly concentrated in this single city and its surroundings.
Buenos Aires constantly receives tourists from all over the world and offers a large choice of cultural events, nightlife, restaurants, and pubs. So you can expect good services and a wide range of options.
Buenos Aires also has one of the largest homosexual communities in Latin America and there is a receptive attitude towards gay society in the federal law, same sex marriages are legally performed and recognized in Argentinian federal law. In recent years there has been an increase in gay oriented businesses such as real estate, apartment rental, travel agents, language classes, tango classes, bars, restaurants, hotels, and guesthouses. Since 2007, the city has seen the arrival of more gay cruise ships, the opening of a gay five-star hotel and a general increase in gay tourism.
Districts (Barrios, or neighborhoods)
The City of Buenos Aires has 48 districts called barrios (neighborhoods). The most important and visited are:
Buenos Aires is Argentina’s international gateway and easily accessible from North America, Europe, and Australasia, as well as other capital cities in South America.
The main airport used for international flights to travel to and from Buenos Aires is Ezeiza International Airport, about 35km (20 miles) south of Buenos Aires. Most domestic flights, as well as many flights to and from neighboring countries (Uruguay, Brazil, Chile and Paraguay) use the smaller but more convenient Aeroparque Jorge Newbery airport, a short distance from downtown Buenos Aires. Flight information for both Ezeiza International Airport and Aeroparque Jorge Newbery, is available in English and Spanish at 5480-6111 or http://www.aa2000.com.ar/ . Buenos Aires also has a lot of small airports dedicated to chartered flights and private aircrafts.
Flights from Buenos Aires and the rest of Argentina are usually more expensive for foreigners. This can pose a problem for short-term travellers who do not have time to take a bus to places like Iguazu Falls, Bariloche, Ushuaia, etc. These travellers are often advised to find smaller travel companies/agents that can help them find lower prices on lower flights, deals that larger online travel sites would not have access to.
People from other nationalities must pay a reciprocity fee on arrival at the EZE international airport, the amount depends on how much the country of origin charged for Argentinans to enter that country.
Ezeiza is a modern airport with good services such as ATMs, restaurants, and duty-free shops.
Most international and some domestic flights use the Ezeiza International Airport (officially referred to as Aeropuerto Internacional Ministro Pistarini / Minister Pistarini International Airport), located in the suburban area named Gran Buenos Aires, about 30-45 minutes from downtown by highway (can be much longer at rush hours). Planes fly from and to most countries in South America, Europe, North America and Oceania.
Aerolíneas Argentinas (Argentinian Airlines) domestic flights
Some flights from Aerolíneas Argentinas to Río Gallegos and Ushuaia leave from Ezeiza during peak season, so check to see on which airport you fly into or leave from. There is a daily flight from Ezeiza to Mendoza and Córdoba, which connects with most Aerolíneas Argentinas International Arrivals and Departures.
From South America
There are flights from Ezeiza to most South American cities like: Caracas, Bogotá, Lima, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Cochabamba, Santiago de Chile, a dozen of Brazilian destinations, Montevideo, and Asunción. However, many flights to/from neighboring countries (Uruguay, Brazil, Chile and Paraguay) now use the smaller but more convenient Buenos Aires City Airport-Aeroparque Jorge Newbery (AEP), very close to downtown (see below). Service from Montevideo, in particular, is almost exclusively to Aeroparque, with only one daily flight to Ezeiza as of October 2012, contrasting with several throughout the day to Aeroparque.
Direct flights to Europe are available with British Airways (to London-Heathrow) , Lufthansa  (to Frankfurt), Iberia  (to Madrid), Air France  (to Paris-Charles de Gaulle), Alitalia (to Rome-Fiumicino), KLM (to Amsterdam, three times each week), Turkish  (to Istanbul - Ataturk)and Aerolíneas Argentinas  (to Madrid, Barcelona, and Rome Fiumicino).
From North and Central America
Non-stop service to the U.S. is available from Atlanta (Delta Air Lines), Dallas (American Airlines), Miami (American Airlines, LAN Argentina, and Aerolíneas Argentinas), Houston (United Airlines), New York-JFK (American Airlines), and Newark (United Airlines).
For Canada, Air Canada flies from Toronto via Santiago, Chile.
Qantas  used to fly thrice weekly to Sydney non-stop. However, since March 2012, Qantas flies into/from Santiago, Chile instead. Connecting flights with LAN from Santiago are available to get to Buenos Aires when coming from Australia to Argentina.
Aerolíneas Argentinas still flies from Ezeiza to Sydney.
From the airport, there are taxis, private cars (remises), buses, and minibuses.
There is also a railway station near Ezeiza International Airport named Ezeiza Station. Unfortunately, due the location of Ezeiza International Airport's main entrance and exit, getting to and from the station itself would at least take around a third of the trip between Ezeiza International Airport and Buenos Aires itself. It is not advisable to go there if your final destination is central Buenos Aires.
Trips on coaches such as Manuel Tienda León  from Ezeiza International Airport to Retiro cost 75 pesos. The coaches leave every half hour--less frequently during evenings. From their terminal in Retiro (corner of San Martin and Av. Madero), a smaller van will deliver you to any downtown address for an additional 15 pesos. Manuel Tienda León also offers transfers between Ezeiza International Airport and Aeroparque Jorge Newbery Airport. Tickets can be purchased from their booth just outside of customs. If you miss it in customs (European, Australian, and U.S. travellers are probably more used to such services being located not inside customs), then walk outside. Keep walking for about 200 meters heading towards Terminal B, turn left, go to Terminal B departures, and there's an outside booth there.
By private car
Private driving services to and from the airport are more expensive but more personalised. Some offer English speaking drivers. SilverStar Transport is an excellent option. They have English-speaking drivers and can be booked online. 
Prepaid taxis (remises) from Ezeiza International Airport to downtown cost at least 250 pesos (during 02/01/2012) plus additional costs (mainly tolls). They are your simplest and safest transport from the airport. As you exit customs there are booths on either side of the receiving area of the airport. Some of the prepaid remises will provide you with a 20% discount coupon for your airport return. If you manage to hold on to this coupon, dial them directly to come and collect you and save yourself 20%. You must also present the original receipt to receive the discount.
There are other established companies, such as Manuel Tienda León and Go Airport Taxi Buenos Aires, which allow for a pre-reservation online in order to guarantee your car/driver prior to your arrival. This may be essential in the morning hours, when the bulk of the long-haul flights arrive to the airport.
Hailing a curbside taxi is not recommended for tourists that are only newly acquainted wth Buenos Aires, but if one does, one should select a taxi that is dropping someone off. It will cost approximately 30% less than a remis. The cab driver will tell you a fixed price beforehand, if not, you should negotiate the price before leaving the pickup area. You should have some familiarity with Buenos Aires and speak Spanish fairly well, as you cab driver will likely not speak English.
By public bus
The cheapest way to get downtown is to take the number 8 bus. The stop is just outside terminal B arrivals, and you need to walk 100 m. The bus will take almost 2 h to get to the Plaza de Mayo, going straight on Rivadavia Avenue and then on Hipolito Yrigoyen street. It will cost 4 pesos to get downtown. Be ready to have coins to use them on the bus: you can get change at the counters where the airport tax is paid or at any airport shop. This is not advised for someone unfamiliar with the city. Be mindful of your surroundings and avoid the common scam mentioned in Stay safe.
Returning to airport
If you are returning to Ezeiza International Airport from downtown, be sure to ride the 8 bus that says AEROPUERTO (AIRPORT) as there are several 8 buses that go to other places. The bus stops all along Mayo Avenue and then Rivadavia Avenue. It can take more than two hours to get to the airport from downtown (longer than the trip in from the airport), and the bus can get extremely crowded. If you are pressed for time or short on patience, it is highly recommended that you skip this bus and take a taxi or remise.
Located in the Ave. Rafael Obligado. +54 11 4576-5300 extension 107/122 (Information: +54 11 4576-1111). Nearly all domestic flights and from/to Uruguay, as well as many flights from Brazil, Chile and Paraguay, use Jorge Newbery Airport (referred to as Aeroparque, the Spanish for Airpark/Airfield). Aeroparque is smaller and less modern than Ezeiza, but it is also much more convenient, as it is only 20 minutes away from the downtown area by car. You can take a taxi (25 pesos) or bus from there.
There are national railways, but they are very few in numbers. There are some long distance domestic services. Buses are usually faster and more comfortable, but also three times as expensive. There are several main stations in the Buenos Aires area (see below).
Retiro - Córdoba (overnight): departs Mon. & Fri. 20:10, arrives 10:25
Córdoba - Retiro (overnight): departs Thu. & Sun. 16:30, 07:33 (25 pesos - tourist class)
Retiro - Tucumán (overnight): departs Mon. 10:05, arrives 10:40
Tucumán - Retiro (overnight): departs Wed. 18:00, arrives 19:20 (35 pesos - tourist class)
Federico Lacrosse - Posadas : departs Tue 10.50 and Fri at 20:00, with 54 stops and taking at least 30 hours.
There are four main highways entering the city which connect to suburban areas and other national routes. As with the trains, the bigger and more frequented routes are centered in Buenos Aires, so you will have no problem driving to and from the rest of the country.
Heading to Rosario city, you can travel by highway all the way (north access highway, then route 9). From here you can keep heading north on a good route (Panamericana), or turn right about 150km from Buenos Aires and go to the Mesopotamia region.
To the west, you can drive to the Cuyo region using the north access highway, then route 8. Traveling out of the city on the west access highway, you can follow routes 7 and 5, which will lead you to the west and southwest, respectively. If you want to visit western Patagonia, route 5 is a good choice.
As a tourist is is possible to rent a car while in Buenos Aires, in the zones of Centro, Retiro, Versalles,Nunez, and Ezeiza.
There are very good services departing from Retiro bus station , covering the whole country. Generally speaking the more expensive the ticket, the more comfortable the bus will be. The most expensive tickets will get you seats that fully recline and you will also be served meals and drinks by an attendant on board.
Almost all the long-distance buses use the huge and well-organised Retiro bus station on the northern edge of the city centre. The buses are mostly relatively new, however the roads they will travel through are relatively old; there are frequent services to most parts of the country and international bus services to neighbouring countries. A second bus terminal is situated in the Liniers neighborhood, but it is much smaller and not connected to the subway.
You may catch taxis from Retiro bus station, and the subte (underground) also stops there. There are many local buses that stop outside the station as well.
There are numerous operators. The basement level is for cargo and package services. The ground level holds waiting areas, cafes, shops and services including a barber. On the upper level you find a large number (close to 200) of ticket offices, or boleterias. The upper level is conveniently divided by color into geographic areas for companies which serve the place you want to go, including an international area. Look for the signs.
Cama Suites or Dormi Camas lie completely flat and some have dividing curtains. With these services, the seating arrangement is one seat one side and two seats on the other side. Semi-Cama services are laid out two and two, and do not recline as far. Companies usually have photographs of bus interiors. Make sure the journey you choose has the service you want. Most of their buses are double decker.
Bus travel times to/from Buenos Aires:
Terminal de Omnibus de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires
You can buy a ticket to practically anywhere in Argentina and departures are fairly frequent to the most popular destinations. Reservations are not necessary except during peak summer and winter holiday seasons (January, February, and July).
To find out which companies are available for a specific destination you can consult the official webpage of the terminal Retiro  and an online information system for buses from Buenos Aires  to the main national and international destinations.
Three companies operate this service.
The services are now coordinated by Buquebus. The ferry tour ship is the slower one, used for Colonia. You may still make a fast trip to Colonia, at a higher price. Certain boats are nicer than others, but for about 36 pesos ($10) you can upgrade to first class both ways, which includes VIP lounge access and a free glass of champagne. Highly recommended on the nicer boats (you can upgrade on board).
From the official city site: The City is an important destination for the maritime and fluvial cruisers industry of South America. The Benito Quinquela Martín Passenger Terminal, a few blocks away from downtown, at Ramón Castillo street between Avenida de los Inmigrantes and Mayor Luisioni street, has a surface of 7,100 square meters, a boarding room for 1,000 passengers and baggage facilities with capacity for 2,500 suitcases. Additional features include tourist information, handicrafts shops, snack bars as well as the offices for Migration, Customs, Interpol and Prefectura (Coast Guard).
You may also take a boat from nearby Tigre to Nueva Palmira in Uruguay. Trains leave from Retiro Station to Tigre frequently. Boat services to Nueva Palmira also connect to Colonia del Sacramento by bus. As always, be careful of leaving your belongings at a station
There is also a service from Montevideo-Carmelo-Tigre-Buenos Aires . It costs around 36 pesos($10) one way for the whole thing. Get the tickets and depart from Tres Cruces in Montevideo. The price includes a bus to Carmelo, boat to Tigre, and another bus to the center of Buenos Aires. They often have very good special offers that include some nights in hotels in Buenos Aires.
Grimaldi Lines - Freighter Travel operates a bi-monthly freighter link from Europe to South-America via Africa. Five freighter ships do the rotation and each accepts 12 passengers. The journey lasts about 30 days (60 days for a round trip) and port calls include: Hamburg, Tillbury, Antwerp, Le Havre, Bilbao, Casablanca, Dakar, Banjul, Conakry, Freetown, Salvador de Bahia, Vitoria, Rio de Janeiro, Santos Zarate, Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Paranagua, Santos, Rio de Janeiro, Dakar, Emden, and back to Hamburg. Only the stops in Europe and at Buenos Aires permit passengers to either embark or disembark. However, passengers are allowed to visit all of the visited ports. All the port calls are subject to change depending on the loading and unloading needs of the ship. Tickets for a cabin on a Europe to Buenos AAires trip start at €1450/pp for a double cabin and €1890 for a single cabin (more expensive luxury cabins are available).
The public transport in Buenos Aires is very good, although crowded during rush hour. The metro (or underground railway) here is called the "Subte", which is short for Subterraneo (undergrround). The network itself is not very large, but reaches most tourist attractions of the city, and there is a large range of bus routes and several suburban railways used by commuters.
Finding your way around is relatively easy. Most of the city grid is divided into equal squares with block numbers in the hundreds, using a grid system similiar to Manhattan, New York. Most streets are one way with the adjacent parallels going the other way, so beware that the bus or taxi won't follow the same route back. If traveling by taxi, you simply need to tell the driver the street and block number, eg. "Santa Fe 2100"; or two intersecting streets, eg. "Corrientes y Callao".
City maps are issued by many different publishers (Guía T, LUMI) and the local tourist authority. They are indispensable for those wanting to use public transportation, since they include all bus routes. As always, check ton which direction the map is pointing, because some maps are bottom up (South on the top of the map). This is true for the maps at the official taxi booth at Ezeiza airport.
Walking is a great way to get around Buenos Aires during the day. With the grid system it is relatively easy to get around and because of the traffic it may even be quicker than a taxi or bus. The larger avenidas are lined with shops so there is plenty so see. In the Micro centro calle Florida is a pedestrian shopping street where you can walk from Plaza San Martin to Avenida de Mayo near the Plaza de Mayo. It crosses Lavalle (also pedestrian only) which takes you to the Plaza de la Republica and the Obelisk.
Taxis are not the quickest way to move around the more congested parts of the city, especially during rush hour, as traffic jams are common. Still, you will find that taxis are usually rather inexpensive, convenient, and exciting (in a white-knuckled, classic-wooden-roller-coaster kind of way). Make sure to take the "radio taxi", as some taxis do no turn on the meter and will ask for a very expensive fare.
It's relatively quite safe to travel by taxis. For details refer to Stay safe. If you are uncomfortable hailing a taxi on the street you can have your hotel or restaurant call a taxi for you. You should always check the driver´s personal information is legible in the back part of the front seat, and make sure they turn on the meter after they set off, to avoid any disagreeement over the fare later. It is suggested to use small bills and exact or almost exact changes with taxis, since as with many large cities around the world, it sometimes can be quite problematic of getting changes back from a taxi driver.
The principal means of public transportation within the city are the buses (colectivos). All rides inside the city border are fixed at a cheap maximum fixed price (1.25 pesos), as long as you are moving inside the city borders. Tickets must be bought on the bus through a machine that accepts coins only.
There is a prepaid RFID proximity card named SUBE, that works with every city bus or metro. It is similiar to Suica, Octopus, Oyster, EZ-link, and so on in other countries.
There are more than one hundred lines covering the whole city. They work 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, but run less frequently on holidays and late at night. For each route the bus is painted differently making them easy to distinguish. The best way to figure out the bus system is to buy a Guía "T". It's essentially a little book with a directory of streets, which corresponds to map pages, and has bus listings on the facing page for each map. Once you get your hands on one, it's very easy to figure out, but give yourself fifteen minutes the first few times you use it to plan a route. These can be bought at many kiosks around the city, or subway stations.
Otherwise, visitors who are comfortable with speaking a little Spanish can call 131, a toll-free free telephone number from any phone, to help you find which colectivo to take. You just have to tell the corner (or the street and the number) where you're at and the one you want to get to.
On most services, board the bus and tell the driver your destination (or do what Argentines do -- just say "un Peso venticinco, por favor" that literally means "a Peso twenty five, please". Meaning you'll be traveling a normal distance and want to pay 1,25 Peso); he will press a button instructing the coin machine to take a certain amount of money for you, which will then appear on the machine as the amount to insert. Step a bit further back into the bus and insert coins into the machine which now knows your destination and has calculated your fare because the driver punched it in. You will receive change and your ticket automatically, collect it at the bottom of the machine. If you do not have a SUBE card (which you cannot get unless you have a D.N.I.) you will now be charged 2 pesos minimum within Capital Federal. The old MONEDERO card that tourists could use has been deactivated.
If you're using the SUBE proximity card, just show your card to the the driver, and also say the ticket price or your destination. Just wait for the driver to selects your destination on his panel, you will notice the amount to be payed on the display of the yellow reader with the SUBE label next to him. You can then use the card against it and the payment will be processed, and the balance of the card will be shown. Please note that no actual ticket will given to you when paying by SUBE card. DO NOT use the card before the driver selects your destination, since he may still be in the processing of processing your order and say "NO, TODAVIA" ("No, I'm still selecting the destination", or "NOT YET!").
If you see a little metal knob on the coin machine, it's not for dispensing your ticket like the candy/toy machines in grocery stores. It's the service panel to the inside of the machine to change the paper and so on. Don't turn it! It's meant to be used for service only.
You can also use buses to move in and around the suburban area (Gran Buenos Aires), but the fares are higher (up to 2 Pesos, depending on the distance and service). The suburban-only lines (you can differentiate them because their line numbers are above 200) have less comfort, and many of them don't run after 11PM.
By commuter train
Commuter trains connect Buenos Aires’ center to its suburbs and nearby provinces. They are mostly catered for local commuters and not tourists. The terminal stations are the same from suburban transportation. From Retiro station you can take the train to the Tigre Delta. There you can do a boat cruise and see the wetland and recreational area of the porteños.
The city has a subway network ("subte", short form of "tren subterráneo", which means "underground train"). It is very efficient and you can save a lot of time by using it. It is cheap (2.50 pesos for unlimited transfer as long as you keep underground travelling throughout the network). If you need to be somewhere by 9AM or 9.30AM on a weekday, however, the Subte will be incredibly crowded and depending on where you are catching it from, you may have to miss several trains in a row before there is space for you. Once on board, during peak hours it can get very crowded. Factor this into your timing arrangements to make sure that you make your meeting on time.
The subte runs approximately from 5AM to 10PM, except on Sundays, when service starts at 8AM.
Many subte stations have interesting murals, tiles and artwork. The "Peru" station is the oldest subway station and still has the old trains that require passengers to open the doors manually. Transferring between lines is indicated by combinación signs.
You can buy reusable tickets and add credit on them which can be used for several trips saving you from having to always go to the cashier to purchase individual tickets. Tickets are not swiped or taken away upon exiting stations, therefore you may use one magnetic stripe ticket for more than one traveler, as long as it has the required number of fares.
The current network comprises six underground lines, labelled "A" to "E" and "H" which all converge to the downtown area and connect to the main bus and train terminals.
The A line is a destination on its own because of the old wooden carriages. It was built in 1913 making it the the oldest metro system in Latin America, the Southern Hemisphere, and the entire Spanish-speaking world.
In the southeast branch (the E line), the service is extended by a trainway known as premetro, but beware, it goes to some of the least desireable places in the city. Premetro is 0.60 pesos, or 0.70 with a Subte Transfer.
The subte and premetro services are under Metrovias S.A. authority. You can reach their Customer Service personnel by calling -toll free (within Argentina)- on 0800-555-1616 or by sending a fax to +54 4553-9270. For more information you can visit this links , .
For specific lines:
Ferrovias (Belgrano line; 0800-777-3377; www.ferrovias.com.ar) To Villa Rosa and the northern suburbs.
Trenes de Buenos Aires (TBA, Mitre line; 0800-333-3822; www.tbanet.com.ar) To Belgrano, San Isidro, Tigre, Rosario.
Transportes Metropolitanos (San Martín line; 4011-5826) To Pilar and the northern suburbs.
Metropolitano (Roca line; 0800-1-2235-8736) To the southern suburbs and La Plata.
Ferrobaires (4306-7919; www.ferrobaires.gba.gov.ar) Bahía Blanca and Atlantic beach towns.
Trenes de Buenos Aires (Sarmiento line; 0800-333-3822; www.tbanet.com.ar) To the southwestern suburbs and Luján.
There's a good deal of railway connections to the suburban area laid out in such a way that it resembles a shape of a star. The quality of the service ranges from excellent to not quite so desireable, depending of the line; ask before using them at night time.
The main railway terminals are Retiro, Constitución, Once and Federico Lacroze. From all of these you can then use the metro and bus network to get right into the center. The suburban fares are very cheap.
If departing from Retiro station, it's a good idea for a whole day journey (specially in summer where daylight lasts much more) to buy a one way ticket at Mitre station, stop for a small walk at some of the stations and arrive to Tigre where you can find lots of attractions, and in then go back to Retiro using the Tigre branch of the Mitre line.
If you are truly adventurous (and a bit of a risk-taker), cars are available to rent in Buenos Aires. There are several things to keep in mind before renting a car in Buenos Aires. First, Buenos Aires is such an excellent city for walking that if something is within 20 or 30 blocks, it is often worth the extra effort to go on foot and get to know the city on a more intimate level. The terrain is flat, so it's can be easily walked on. Second, if you aren't much of a walker, the public transportation system in Buenos Aires is cheap and efficient. It can get you anywhere fast! Third, and perhaps most important, the traffic in Buenos Aires is extremely unpredictable. Stoplights, signs, traffic laws--for many porteño drivers, are mere references. Picture yourself trying to get several thousand heads of cattle to move down the street and stay inside the lanes, and you have a decent idea of driving in Buenos Aires. It's also very difficult to find where to park your car in many neighborhoods, and close to impossible in downtown. Do NOT leave your car parked where you're not supposed to because it will be towed away, and the recovery fee is VERY EXPENSIVE. Many hidden speed control cameras have been installed lately (specially in avenues), so be sure to stick to the speed limit, even in routes outside the city. DO fasten your seat belt and have your lights turned on or you will be fined.
If driving outside the city, you should not only stick to the speed limit (which varies a lot depending on where you are), but have your identification and driving license with you, as it's possible that you get stopped by traffic control policemen. National routes are in a good state of manteinance, but be careful in province only routes as there may be unexpected and dangerous potholes in the pavement.
There is also the option to do private car tours. One (fun) option is to go for Buenos Aires Vintage Tours, which offers original Citroën 3CVs to do the tour. Check Buenos Aires Vintage for details on available tours.
Buenos Aires is not the most suitable city for cycling. Traffic is dangerous and hardly respectful toward bicycles; the biggest vehicle wins the right of way, and bikes are low on the totem pole. Still, some spots call out for two-wheeled exploration, such as Palermo’s parks and the Reserva Ecológica Costanera Sur; on weekends and some weekdays you can rent bikes at these places. It can be a very hectic experience, but by no means impossible if you have ridden a bike in traffic before. Here's some tips:
However recently a bicycling network has been developed and it's constantly expanding. Check the web site for the updated map: http://mejorenbici.buenosaires.gob.ar/
The Spanish in Buenos Aires is pronounced differently from elsewhere. "Calle" and "pollo" sound very different and the ll sound like English dj instead of Spanish y or h. The difference in pronunciation probably reflects the influence of Italian traders in the port in the 19th century--many of the words that Porteños pronounce differently from the rest of the Spanish-speaking world are pronounced identically to a Italian word for the same thing.
Much has been written on Spanish language in Buenos Aires. It was influenced by the many nationalities that immigrated here as well.
If you have studied Spanish, you will find these differences enormous. Also, vocabulary and some pronouns differ a lot from Iberian Spanish or other Latin American varieties of Spanish, so may be useful to get an Argentinian dictionary or take some lessons of Argentinian Spanish before getting there. Despite these differences, any person who is fluent in Spanish should have no difficulty navigating through conversations with Porteños or with any other Argentinians, although sometimes they tend to speak very fast and you may have to ask "hable despacio, por favor" ("speak slowly, please"). Anyway, most of "Porteños" (inhabitants of Buenos Aires City) speak a little English but it is very easy to find people who are very fluent, especially if you stay near the tourist areas.
Buenos Aires is a big city, so check the districts section for detailed listings.
If you are a fan of walking in green open spaces and parks in big cities like Buenos Aires, be sure not to miss a promenade in Palermo, a beautiful area in the northern part of the city. Here you will find not only open spaces to walk in but also a large lake where you can rent paddle boats and an huge flower garden that is free to enter! Although the Japanese and the botanical gardens and the surroundings are very nice, they are also very noisy as several major roads traverse the area. For a quiet, shady walk or jog head to the golf course north of the railway tracks.
Another great place to walk along and experience Argentine street life is El Puerto de Buenos Aires. Its ppersonality however is quite contrasting during the day and during the night.
La Boca has the Caminito pedestrian street with arts and crafts. There is also a river cruise you can take from there where you can see a huge picturesque metal structure across the river. You can try and catch a rowboat to Avellaneda on the other side of the water for 0.50 pesos, but you will have to try your luck as the rower may not allow you on citing that its dangerous. La Boca is famous for Tango and you can often catch glimpses of Tango dancers practicing in the streets. If you fancy having a picture taking with a tango dancer you can but expect to pay a small fee. In addition to tango, La Boca is famous for its football, and you can take a tour of the La Bombonera Stadium where the buildings are painted in bright colors.
The prices for almost everything in La Boca tend to be 2 to 3 times higher compared to the rest of the city. It's very touristy since it is an enjoyable place with some authentic Argentine sights. La Boca is probably best to be enjoyed during the day when the streets are crowded and there are other tourists around, it is generally advised to be avoided at night.
There is no Subte to La Boca, but many buses go there.
The Cementerio de la Recoleta: This is where all the rich families in Buenos Aires have their final resting places. Expect to see big ornate tombs. Be sure to visit the tomb of Eva Perón, the daughter of an aristocrat and beloved First Lady who, despite having the most visited tomb in the cemetery, is considered by many to be too close toward the people for eternal interment in Recoleta.
The Palermo Viejo district: This is a trendy neighborhood with charming cobblestone streets, bookstores, bars, and boutiques; definitely better than the touristic San Telmo area for a nightime excursion. The Palermo station, on D line, is the closest metro stop.
San Telmo: Best visited on Sundays when tourists and locals alike flood in to attend the weekly street fair and flea market. Be watchful for good deals, and bring in your own water, as it's quite expensive here. On Sunday nights, there is a tango performance in the lovely plaza, which is specifically for tourists. (Visit an underground tango club for the most amateur experience. If there is advertising, or disco ball, then it's not an amateur)
Argentina has a renowned football reputation and the sport is big throughout the whole country including of course, Buenos Aires. The capital is the home town of two of the most appreciated football teams in the world, Boca Juniors (which resides in Boca) and River Plate (which formerly resides in Boca, but now resides in River Plate). A game between these two legendary teams is called the "Super Clasico." This is by far the hottest ticket in the city and the most intense rivalry in the world, so it is often necessary to buy tickets well in advance. Also, the Argentine National Team is very, very popular. Tickets to their World Cup Qualifying matches can difficult to come by, involve waiting in very long lines, and should be ordered in advance for more convenience.
Argentinian fans are known for their passion and the songs (which are practically love songs) which they sing to their teams. Even if you are not a huge football fan, going to a game is definitely worth it just to take in the atmosphere and to observe the fans singing and cheering. While this is an experience you don't want to miss while visiting Buenos Aires, it can also be dangerous for tourists to go on their own depending on the stadium.
Tourists are often advised to go with large, organized groups with bilingual guides, in particular to a Boca Juniors game. This ensures that you can watch the game in peace and still have a great time. If you want to see a match on your own, the best choice is to see River Plate, in the rich northern suburb of Belgrano. Best to purchase a (more expensive, approx $100 pesos) Plateas (grandstand) ticket rather than being in the Populars (terraces, approx $60 pesos).
In the Plateas you can safely take your camera and enjoy the show. Don't worry about purchasing tickets in advance, often tickets go on sale only on match day, and as the stadiums are huge matches rarely sell out (except the above-mentioned Superclásico).
A trip to Buenos Aires is not complete without some sort of experience of the Tango, the national dance of Argentina. A good place to go and watch some authentic Tango is at the Confiteria Idéal Suipacha 384 (just off of Corrientes, near Calle Florida. However Tango is best experienced not in La Boca and on Calle Florida, but in the Milongas. A milonga is both a place where a Tango dance will take place, as well as a specific type of tango dance.
Milongas take place either during the day or late at night. "Matinée Milongas" usually start in the early afternoon and go until 8-10PM. They are popular with tourists who may struggle staying up until 5AM every night. Inside a milongas, you will find many locals who will be more than willing to show you how to dance. The night Milongas officially start at around 11, but don't fill up until around 1:30. They may go on until 5 or 6 in the morning. Some Milongas to note are: Salon Canning, El Beso and Porteno y Bailarin.
There are many milongas held in different parts of the city every day. There's a free distribution guide called TangoMap Guide which contains all the information of the milongas day by day, including times and location. This guide also informs about tango teachers and tango shops, so it's the best reference for any tango lover. It it edited by Caserón Porteño, a Tango Guest House in Buenos Aires (http://www.caseronporteno.com) that also gives free tango lessons every day for its guests.
You can start learning tango through the group lessons offered at many studios. Some popular schools are at the Centro Cultural Borges, on the very top floor. It can be very hard to find the actual place as there are some stairs you have to go up, and then you have to go through a museum. Ask the security officer where the "Escuela de Tango"  is. Take note that in the summer time the rooms can get very hot. The Centro is within the Galerias Pacifico, the American-style mall near Calle Florida on San Martin. The best way to learn, and the quickest, even if you do not have a partner, is with private lessons. You can find instructors who charge as little as US$40 per hour, all the way up to ones that will charge US$100 per hour. If you want to try the authentic style that the Argentines dance socially in the milongas, look up some of the milongueros who teach tango, like Alejandro Gee, Juan Manuel Suarez, Jorge Garcia, Jorge Kero. They will not only teach you traditional tango or milonga, but you can also find out a lot about the culture by hanging out with them. You can google them up for videos or in order to find them. Many of the more 'famous' instructors command a premium price. Be warned if you start taking tango lessons it will seduce and consume your life and you will then be force to make many pilgrimages back to Buenos Aires to dance.
Tango Lodge (http://www.tangolodge.com). You can check the complete schedule for the tango lessons at their websites.
Spend a night seeing what it is like to be a real gaucho. Live the life of an Argentine cowboy; ride horses, eat traditional gaucho foods, drink traditional gaucho wines, and dance like they used to do back in the day. A great way to get out of the city for a day and see another side of Argentine culture. Great for adults, kids, or anybody who ever wanted to be a cowboy when they were younger.
Buenos Aires hosts exhilarating skydiving activities within its clear blue skies. You can experience a 20 minute flight, followed by a 35 seconds freefall, and a slow descent of nearly 7 minutes to enjoy a breathtaking view. Discover a unique bird's-eye view of Buenos Aires and its expansive pampas as you dive through 3,000 meters (9,000 feet) of open air. There is no better place to feel the adrenaline of a Tandem Skydiving Jump.
Parrilla Tour Buenos Aires  leads walking tours around different neighborhoods several times a week. During the tour, participants stop and sample traditional foods at 4 restaurants, 3 parrillas (steakhouses) and an artisanal ice cream shop, as well as learn about the history and culture around Argentine cuisine. The stops chosen tend to be hole-in-the-wall, locals only, establishments not in guidebooks.
Argentina is renowned for its excellent selection of wine. The most popular being Mendoza which is rated amongst the worlds most popular regions due to its high altitude, volcanic soils and proximity to the Andes Mountains. The terrain seems to complement the European grape varietals with interesting notes not present when produced in other climates, this allows the Argentine wine to be positioned in a league of its own.
The best way to experience and understand the selection of Argentine varietals is a wine tasting, which is offered by quite a few companies and bars around the city.
Anuva Wines  is one of the best wine tastings in Buenos Aires. They offer you 5 different wines to taste, 5 different food pairing to go with those wines, a general chat about wine culture in Argentina, and much more.
Check Wine Tour Urbano  for information on wine tasting events. Usually they are organized in Recoleta or Palermo, and consist of several design and fashion stores along a street that open their doors to wineries who want to offer their wines. Very nice atmosphere, sometimes with jazz and classic live musicians playing in the streets.
Argentina is well known for having one of the best polo teams and players in the world. The largest tournament of the year takes place in December at the polo fields in Las Cañitas. Smaller tournaments and matches can also be seen here at other times of the year. For news on tournaments and where to buy tickets for polo matches, check Asociacion Argentina de Polo at http://www.aapolo.com/
Around Buenos Aires there are a few well-known polo programs. Best option is Argentina Polo Day , which runs professional polo games every day of the year as well as polo lessons for beginners and pros. Its full day program includes also a typical argentinean BBQ with unlimited wine and refreshment. The Polo Clinics includes also accommodation, they are very popular for its friendliness and professionalism. Transportation is provided, for the 45min drive from downtown to their polo ranch.
In recent years, Buenos Aires has become a popular destination for gay travelers. For international gay travelers, the "Paris of the South" has also become the gay capital of South America. Same sex marriage is legal in the country and you will find the people helpful and amiable. There are many gay oriented services to help you make the best of your stay. There are also many gay or transvestite hookers roaming the steets waiting for another gay lover to come.
If you are looking for accommodations you can start by visiting BA4U Apartments  which specializes in finding rentals for the gay friendly community. They can also direct you to tours and services their clients use like Day Clicker Photo Tours
The city of Buenos Aires and its suburban surroundings cover a tremendous expanse of land that cannot be easily and quickly walked, biked, or driven. That is what helicopter rides are for. You can discover Buenos Aires from a unique perspective: see the skyline of Puerto Madero's skyscrapers, the grid of concrete streets filled with taxis and colectivos or buses, the tourist attractions including the Obelisco, Casa Rosada, and Cementario Recoleta. Tour the skies above the human traffic on an exciting helicopter ride, a different way to explore the city.
You might not think of it as you walk around this big city of skyscrapers, but there is some very good golfing very close by. There are many trips to the golf courses that make it easy and relaxing for tourists to enjoy a day on the green. . Packages include any greens fees, equipment and a caddie who you can blame when you hook that shot into the woods!
Buenos Aires is home to one of the biggest Jewish communities in the world and the biggest in South America. There are many sights and activities specifically for Jewish people. There are museums, beautiful synagogues, monuments, barrios and history for all travelers to soak up and enjoy. Tours are given around the city to hit all the major Jewish landmarks. This is a great way to see a different side of Buenos Aires that most people wouldn't think about seeing.
Recently, more urban spas or day spas have flourished, some of them at large hotels such as the Alvear, Hilton, Hyatt among others. Furthermore, some green spas have opened shops and offer a great range of eco-friendly treatments.
Making medical procedures part of your overall vacation package is a growing trend, and since Buenos Aires is relatively affordable for Westerners, it is at the forefront. If you decide to go the medical vacation route, there are a number of firms that have established relationships with local medical clinics who can deliver a total package. Make sure you check out the credentials of the doctors and other healthcare professionals before making your decision; that said, Buenos Aires is home to plenty of well-trained doctors with excellent reputations.
Foreigners have been flocking to Buenos Aires to take advantage of the great deals. For those who come to Argentina, it is essential to know, for themselves and their children, that the country's education is considered one of the best in Latin America.
Buenos Aires is a great photography destination, offering a huge array of locations that provide something for everyone, whatever you like photographing, Buenos Aires has it all, an exciting street art scene, gritty culture, beautiful architecture, an intriguing and visually exciting food culture and inhabitants that generally, dont mind being photographed.
Brush up on your photography skills at the following events and collages:
Foto Ruta photography experiences - A great way to experience the real Buenos Aires and learn how to take more creative photos. This is a sociable photography experience that will get you exploring the city's lesser known and more genuine barrios
EAD - A photography school offering academic courses and workshops to help you hone your skills
Many people interested in learning Spanish choose Argentina as an inexpensive destination to accomplish this. You will hear Argentines refer to Spanish as Castellano more often than Español, which betrays the county's individuality when it comes to the language, though there is logic behind their use of Castellano. Spain has several languages. The dominant language is Castilian or Castellano, which is the primary dialect spoken in Spain, and the language of communication for all of Spanish-speaking Latin America. Spanish in Buenos Aires is Rioplatense Spanish. The Spanish of Argentina uses the verb form of voseo instead of tú. While the Spanish of Argentina is beautiful, it is slightly unusual sounding to the rest of Latin America. You might also pick up a little of the slang of Buenos Aires known as Lunfardo, and is influenced by several other languages.
There are several options for studying Spanish. You can attend one of several fine schools, study individually with a tutor, or there are social groups where people get together for the purpose of talking in each others languages to improve their skills.
There's one Spanish School that is specialized in the language for tango and addressed at tango lovers (even when they teach anyone interested in their lessons). It is called LyCBA and also has teachers who can attend to the place where the person is staying. For more information, see: http://www.tangospanish.com
Schools provide a very rigorous schedule, typically, of intense study. Be wise, if you have spent 3 weeks in classes and find yourself getting overwhelmed, a week off will help your brain catch up. There is the occasional student who has been in classes for 6 weeks who's brain is clearly suffering from overload.
The schools would rather keep you in class, so it's up to you to pace yourself.
You can expect, given their foreign press, a higher concentration of the younger backpacker crowd and a higher turnover of students. There has also been observed a high turnover of teachers and other difficulties.
This school, which offers both Spanish and English classes as well as a translation service, is known for its personalized approach to teaching by creating tailor made programmes for students. Using only qualified teachers who are all native speakers, the school also offers an activity programme and accommodation options.
The school is open all year round. Students can start any Monday.
Events take place almost nightly in bars and restaurants throughout the city.
Many very qualified teachers advertise on Craigslist , which is more known by foreigners on the Buenos Aires page than locals. Often these teachers have formal education in teaching language and prior or current experience in a school of language.
Employment is available for Spanish-speaking visitors in Buenos Aires. Many foreigners work as translators, or English teachers. There's also a recent trend for technology and recruiting companies hiring English-speaking or bilingual employees.
It is very common for foreigners to work in call centers. There are companies that provide customer care and technical support services to many big American and European companies like Microsoft, Verizon, Vodafone, Motorola and others. If you speak just a bit of Spanish, you can get this kind of job. It should be noted that wages in call centers are much less than in countries like the USA, far lower than the difference in the cost of living. In 2007, typical wages were 1/5 of the typical rate for the same work in the USA, while living costs were between 1/3 and 1/2. Many foreigners from "richer countries" find it very hard to survive in Buenos Aires for very long unless they have other funds.
If you wish to work, remember to obtain proper immigration status so as to be able to work legally. It is possible to convert your tourist visa into a work permit, but you need to bring with you a letter of good conduct for your country of residence and a birth certificate. Both documents has to have apostille and a certified translation to Spanish if they are not already in this language. You may find the latest requisites at "Dirección Nacional de Migraciones" . Some employers may still offer you work under less than formal terms, but be reminded that if you accept this sort of employment you may not receive the full benefits that are mandated by law and are actually 'helping' that employer break a good number of local laws. Also you could receive assistance form a good immigration advisor, who could get your legal residence approved in days and also find you a job. I recommend www.immigrationsupport.com.ar .
Shops at shopping malls and Supermarkets are usually open from 10:00 to 22:00 hrs, 7 days a week. Non-chain, small stores usually close around 20:00 and stay closed on Saturday afternoons and Sundays except on big avenues and touristic areas. All of the main avenues are full with kiosks and very small convenience stores that stay open 24 hours. You will find no less than 2 for each 100 meters you walk. In the Recoleta area, several bookstores and record stores close as late as 2:30AM daily.
The Argentinian currency is the Peso (Argentinian Peso; ARS). A 100 Pesos bill can be hard to break, so avoid changing round numbers so you get some change (e.g. when changing money change the amount that will give you 90 Pesos instead of 100 Pesos). Coins are rare and they are required for buses, so try not to spend them in stores.
Money can be exchanged at Banco de la Nación Argentina at the airport and at any of the cambios (changes) along Florida or Lavalle, but, if you have the time, shop around for the best rate at the zone known as "La city". This zone is the banking district of Buenos Aires, and numerous exchange places are located right near one another. This mean fierce competition and options to check the best rates. In addition to this, in this zone is possible not only to change US Dollars or Euros, but also some other major currencies from Latin America (such as Brazilian Reals, Mexican Pesos, Colombian Pesos, etc), Canadian Dollars, Asian (Japanese Yens, Chinese Renminbis, etc), and Europe (Swedish Kronas, Swiss Francs, etc). This can mean a saving of time and money by not having to convert 2 times. Take into consideration that wherever you go to an official money changer, you are always officially required to present your passport and copies are not acceptable.
Traveller's Checks are rarely used and may actually be difficult to exchange, but there is an American Express office at San Martin Plaza that will take American Express' Traveller's Checks. Banco Frances will cash them with proper identification, and are located all over B.A., including around tourist attractions such as El Obelesco.
Banks open from 10:00 to 15:00 and only on weekdays. Banelco or "Red Link" ATMs can be found around the city, but banks and ATMs are few and far between in residential neighborhoods like Palermo. Try major roads near metro stations. ATMs are the most convenient source of cash but should be used only in banks or ATMs that acted as the banks' branches. Just like in most cities, independent ATMs (not affliated with any bank) are considered less safe.
ATM limits and fees| Some ATMs strictly limit withdrawals on foreign cards. You may be able to get out only 300 Pesos per day, so plan to visit the ATM often or hunt around for a more relaxed limit. The Citibank multipurpose ATMs are currently the only ones allowing withdrawals over 300 Pesos per day (probably up to the limit of your card). Otherwise, look for ATMs in the Link network. Banco Patagonico has a limit of 600 Pesos. The Visa Plus network of ATM cards have a lower limit of 320 Pesos per withdrawal with U$5-6 fee. Fees vary wildly from nothing to US$5-6. Read the fine print!}} As of July 2011, all ATMs in the Link and Banelco networks are charging a 16 Pesos fee for withdrawals from American cards. As these are the only two ATM networks to be found in Buenos Aires, plan accordingly. Cash exchange rates for US Dollars are very competitive, and it may be advantageous to simply bring a large sum of US currency.
Fees for banking may be from both your bank and the Argentinian bank. Specific fee amounts depends on your bank and the ATM you use; most ATMs will charge foreign travellers around US$5-$7 per transaction, which will be added to your withdrawal amount. Sometimes the machines also dispense US Dollars for international bank cards that are members of the Cirrus and PLUS networks. Visitors from Brazil can find many Banco Itaú agencies all over the city.
Change is a problem in Buenos Aires as there is a seeming shortage of coins. The locals give two basic reasons for it. The first being that the metal is worth more than the value of the coin so people sell their coins to scrap metal merchants, or the other reason is that the bus system requires all trips to be paid for with coins so there is a shortage in a city of 13 million people. Whatever the reason, if you buy an item that costs 4 Pesos and 60 cents, almost always expect to pay with the correct amount of money. Some shopkeepers sometimes hope that the purchaser will simply say 'keep the change'. However, this is not the case if you use larger bills at bigger stores (such as a chain store like Carrefour) for purchases.
As of July 2011, credit cards are very widely accepted in the city center and Recoleta, and it is not an issue to use a card for a small purchase such as lunch (though there will be a fee for using a credit/debit card).
Credit cards are used less common in Argentina than in the USA or Europe. However, most of tourist-oriented businesses accept credit cards, although sometimes with additional handling fee to offset the fee that the merchants have to pay to the credit card networks.
Markets and fairs
Saturdays and Sundays are great days for the outdoor markets, especially in the summer.
While the primary consumption of Argentinians is beef, there are other options in this cosmopolitan city. Italian food is pervasive but in neighborhoods like Palermo, pizza joints are seeing heavy competition from sushi, fusion, and even vegetarian bistros. Just about everything can be delivered - including fantastic, gourmet helado (ice cream).
You will want to try asado (beef/steak barbecue) at a parrilla, restaurants specializing in roasted meats. There are expensive parrillas, and more simple and cost effective ones, In either case you will likely have some of the best "meat" you have ever tasted. The bife de lomo (tenderloin) is unbelievably tender.
As matter in fact. the first regular [| Refrigator ship] is the Steamers Le Frigorifique and Paraguay, that carried frozen mutton from Argentina to France.
Jugoso means rare (literally "juicy"), however the Argentine concept of rare is very different from that of someone from the States (perhaps its a tourist thing, but an American ordering rare is likely to get something between medium well and hockey puck). Argentines cook their meat all the way through, and they can only get away with this method because the meat is so tender that cooking it well does not necessarily mean it's shoe leather.
For Westerners, don't be afraid to order "azul" ("blue"), you will not get a blue steak, more like an American Medium Rare. If you like your meat "bloody", or practically "still walking" it might pay to learn words like "sangre" ("blood"), or to make statements like "me gusta la sangre" ("I like the blood"). Don't be afraid to spend two minutes stressing how rare you want your steak to your waiter- this is something no one talks about in guidebooks but every other American and Brit once you arrive will tell you the same thing, if you want it rare, you have to explain exactly how rare.
Only the most old school parrillas (grills) don't offer at least one or two pasta dishes and pizza is everywhere.
Parrilla Tour Buenos Aires  leads walking tours around different neighborhoods of classic parrillas. During the tour, participants stop and sample traditional foods at 4 restaurants, 3 parrillas (steakhouses) and an artisanal ice cream shop, as well as learn about the history and culture around Argentine cuisine. The stops chosen tend to be hole-in-the-wall, locals only, establishments not in guidebooks.
Italian and Spanish food are almost native here, as the cultural heritage heralds in great part from these two countries. Other popular meals are pizzas and empanadas (small pastries stuffed with a combination of cheese and meats). They are a popular home delivery or takeaway/takeout option.
Pizza is a strong tradition in Buenos Aires. It comes al molde (cooked in a pan, usually medium to thick crust), a la piedra (baked in a stone oven, usually thin to medium crust), and a la parilla (cooked on a parilla grill, very thin, crispy crust). Best places: "Los Inmortales", "Las Cuartetas", "Guerrín", ·El Cuartito", "Banchero's", "Kentucky", "La Mezzetta".
"El Cuartito" in Recoleta has a delicious "Fugazzeta rellena" pizza. This restaurant can be packed with families and friends even at midnight.
"La Mezzetta" also sells "Fugazzetta rellena" and is a very traditional place at which in Fridays you may finde a queu that starts outside the restaurant.
In "Guerrin", ask for a slice of pizza muzarella with a glass of Moscato.
One incredible and typical Argentinian kind of "cookie", is the alfajor, which consists of two round sweet biscuits joined together with a sweet jam, generally dulce de leche (milk jam, akin to caramel), covered with chocolate, meringue or something similarly sweet.
Do not expect service to be comparable to large cities in Europe or in the USA. Don't expect your waiter to take your drinks order when the menu is delivered and don't expect the menu to arrive very quickly. If you want service, attract the waiters' attention, s/he will never come over to take your empty plate etc, unless they want to close.
Patience is the key. Argentinians as so accustomed to the relaxed service that they don't bother to complain directly to the waiter, but only commented toward fellow Argentinans. Speak out to the waiters if you feel it is appropriate.
There are a lot of al paso (walk through) places to eat; you eat standing up or in high chairs at the bar. Meals vary from hot-dogs (panchos), beef sausages (chorizos, or its sandwich version choripán), pizzas, milanesas (breaded fried cutlets), etc. Don't forget to indulge in the perennially popular mashed squash - it is delicious and often comes with rice and makes a full meal in itself. It is perfect for vegetarians and vegans to fill up on.
You can go to a huge variety of small restaurants, with cheap and generous servings, most notably the ones owned by Spanish and Italian immigrants. There are also many places which offer foreign meals, mostly Japanese, Chinese, Thai, Arabic, Spanish, and Italian.
The most expensive and luxurious restaurants are found in the Puerto Madero zone, near downtown, heading to the River Plate.
But the nicer places in terms of decoration, food and personality are in Buenos_Aires/Palermo.
The main areas to go out are: Puerto Madero, close to the Casa Rosada. Safe during the day and night, due the obvious reason (Casa Rosada). At Recoleta area (close to the famous cemetery) there are also plenty of restaurants, bars and a cinema complex. This area used to be trendy but it is now mainly for tourists. Palermo SoHo and Palermo Hollywood are full of trendy stores, restaurants, and young and trendy bars. Palermo Las Cañitas is another nice area close to the Polo stadium. Also, San Telmo has a very bohemian, and very fun, nightlife scene. Buenos Aires has a popular cafe culture.
Buenos Aires has a great variety of clubs and discos that are open until late hours (6AM or 7AM) and bars that stay open 24 hours a day. Have in mind that at closing times the streets will be swarmed with people trying to get home, so it isn't easy to get a taxi and the public transportation will be very busy.
Young teens are used to staying out and by-passing the little security, so be cautious when engaging girls in provocative clothing. They might try to hit off with foreigners as part of a dare with their friends. The famous Palermo Barrios (SoHo, Hollywood, Las Cañitas or simply "PalVo") have many hip restaurants that turn into bars as it gets later.
Buenos Aires has a tradition of rock concerts going on all the time. Most of the time top international artist include several dates on their tour in Buenos Aires. Football stadiums are frequently used for the concerts.
You will be able to find a good selection of budget and mid range options as well as more luxurious and expensive hotels. Accommodation is scattered around the city; some places to look include:
There are hundred of apartments, ranging from economy to deluxe, and the prices are very good. As well as going through an agency keep an eye and an ear out for individuals who rent their upscale apartments by the day, week, or month. Many times these apartments are three times the size of a hotel at half the price.It is worth noting that there are many short-term rental agents in Buenos Aires (a online search will bring up most of them). However the availability calendars can be misleading, since that apartments are often advertised by multiple agents and the agents don't communicate with each other. Photos can also be misleading and street noise can ruin an otherwise beautiful apartment so do some research off and on the field before signing up. If you are flexible on the area it may be better to wait until you arrive before looking - it is also easier to negotiate discounts face-to-face.
There is an enormous number (more than 150) of hostels. In the more famous hostels, booking in advance might be necessary, but you'll always find a dorm bed if you need it. There are many budget hotels where you can get your own room for no more than 55 to 75 pesos ($15 or $20) per night. You will not find them advertised on the internet. They can be hard to find, but there are many. Walk down Avenida de Mayo near Café Tortoni. Start from Avenida 9 de Julio (the giant, wide one) and make your way towards the Plaza de Mayo. Look on the small side streets plus or minus two blocks and you will find many of these places.
NB: Unlike most South American cities, the better Buenos Aires hostels will be fully booked at weekends. You can always find something, but if you want a specific hostel, book in advance.
The Regal Pacific Hotel Beautiful 5 star boutique hotel, fantastic location. 25 de Mayo 764, Buenos Aires 1002 ABP, Argentina. http://www.regal-pacific.com/bs
The InterContinental is on Piedras and Moreno streets, close to the San Telmo and Montserrat areas. Other international-class hotels are the Alvear Palace Hotel (said to be the most luxurious hotel in South America) in Recoleta, the Hilton in Puerto Madero, the Marriott-Plaza, the Sheraton in Retiro, and the Park Hyatt Buenos Aires - Palacio Duhau in Recoleta.
There are also many suites-only hotels like the Broadway Suites which are very close to the Obelisk. The stylish and Bohemian Palermo Soho and Palermo Viejo neighborhoods are home to some of the trendiest small boutique hotels in Buenos Aires. These hotels offer the amenities of their larger international chain counterparts, plus a more personal style of service, often at a fraction of the cost.
Many people travel in Buenos Aires without incident, but as with any large city crime is an issue for tourists and residents alike. Conduct yourself intelligently as you would in any large city.
The most frequent incidents of crime involve distraction theft, bag snatching, and armed robberies in the street, in taxis and in restaurants. Distraction thefts commonly occur in public areas such as internet cafes, train stations, and bus stations. You should keep a close eye on your personal possessions and bags at all times. In some public spaces you will find that chairs with webbing and clips to clip to your bag or purse to the chair. An aid in avoiding problems is, dress to blend in and avoid carrying lots of items. It safer to travel just the bare necessities in your front pocket.
While using public transportation or walking around common sense should be used (as in every big city).
In a common scam one person sprays something on the victim like hand cream mustard or the like. Another person tries to help the victim. There can be several people at once working in coordination. The object is to distract you from your belongings and, in the chaos, steal from you. Avoiding confrontation is their object so do the same. Ignore their 'help', just focus on your belongings and extracting yourself from the scene.
Another common occurrence is the slitting of handbags in crowded places. Be particularly attentive in popular tourist areas, such as San Telmo. You should avoid carrying large amounts of cash or wearing ostentatious jewelery.
The dangers of hailing a taxi has received lots of press but is not common. Petty crime continues (like taking indirect routes or incorrect changes during payment). Taxicabs that loiter in front of popular tourist destinations like the National Museum are looking for tourists, and some of these drivers are less honest than others. Do things like the locals would be a good choice, like stopping a cab a block or two away on a typical city street.
If a woman (or even a man) apparently normally calls you on the street to see an "apresentación" and earn massage girls for free, without commitment, the first time, do not pay attention and leave! In fact, they are agents of brothels. Once taken "inside", they do not let you out, physically preventing you, until they disburse a large sum of money. This type of scam is relatively common in the center, especially in Corrientes Avenue, Florida Street, and Lavalle Avenue.
Counterfeit money is frequent, especially from a regular exchanger of currencies from people of various lifestyles (like taxi drivers), so be on the lookout for counterfeit bank notes being given with your change. Some counterfeit notes are very well done and may even have what appears to be a watermark. Get to know the notes and exactly what they look and feel like, also identify the water marks and serial numbers. When exiting a taxi, hold up your notes to the light to check them before final exit, or better yet, use exact change in taxis.
Be careful of counterfeit money. There have been occasions where genuine bills have been exchanged for counterfeit ones. Counterfeit bills are mostly fifties, given as changes. Hundreds are frequently given back to tourists by deceiving exchangers claiming that counterfeit bills were given to them, after they have switched the bill given to them with a fake one. Using exact or almost exact changes will pretty much solve most of this kind of problems.
Don't accept torn or damaged bills, as they are difficult to use.
Characteristics of good currency can be found at the Argentine Central Bank web site .
Ezeiza International Airport
As any large airports in many countries, there are records of airport staff stealing from the passengers.
In July of 2007, Argentina's TV network "Canal 13" conducted an investigation revealing that several security operators at the airport are stealing valuable objects such as iPods, digital cameras, cellular phones, sun glasses, jewelry, laptops, and other valueables while scanning the luggages of passengers.
According to the special report, security operators at the airport are supposed to check each luggage before putting it into the plane; however, some operators take advantage of the scanner machine to detect valuable objects and steal them. The report states that this event occurs every day. The stolen items include anything from electronic devices to perfumes and works of art or even expensive clothes (such as football jerseys or leather coats).
Travelers and residents are strongly encouraged to place high-value items in your carry-on luggage to prevent any incidents. However, since these carry-on luggages will be scanned too before being carried into the plane, their insides are also at risk of being stolen. With the staff or accomplice distracting the passengers (usually when the staff is searching for any metal or other item on the passenger), while another staff or accomplice steal the items. Another extra accomplice from outside the airport will usually pick up the items later.
Wrapping your baggage and carry-on luggage when leaving and arriving is an idea, since for only around US$16,50. you can discourage robbers from opening (and probably breaking) it,. However for checked-in baggage, it can not be used for passengers exiting and entering the U.S.A., since the T.S.A. demanded that all checked-in baggage to be easily accessible. While wrapping a carry-on luggage will pretty much also denied you of quick access to the carry-on luggage.
Before and after check-in, It would be better to carry only 1 carry-on item and place all of your items (including tickets, wallets, handphones,, any metal such like a beltbuckle, and so on) securely inside and not easily accessiblle, requiring the entire carry-on item to be stolen and only 1 item to be watched upon. Travelling in groups will also allow you to divide the task of minding your belongings, one person or more can guard the belongings, while another one is being scanned by the metal detector.
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