Difference between revisions of "Buenos Aires"
Revision as of 16:47, 29 December 2011
Buenos Aires (official name Autonomous City of Buenos Aires, also called Capital Federal) is the capital of the Argentine Republic. The name means fair winds 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". 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 of Buenos Aires has 48 districts called barrios. The most important and visited are:
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. 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 million 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 has also one of the largest homosexual communities in Latin America and there is a liberal attitude towards gay society. Under federal law, same sex marriages are legally recognized and performed in Argentina. Following the economic recovery, in recent years there has been an increase in gay-friendly 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.
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.
Most domestic flights use Aeroparque Jorge Newbery airport, a short distance from downtown BA. Flight information for both airports, in English and Spanish, is available at 5480-6111 or www.aa2000.com.ar.
Flights from Buenos Aires and the rest of Argentina are usually more expensive for foreigners. This can pose a problem for short-term travelers who do not have time to take a bus to places like Iguazu Falls, Bariloche, Ushuaia, etc. These tourists 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.
Several nationalities  must pay a reciprocity fee on arrival at the EZE international airport.
Almost all international flights arrive at BA’s Ezeiza air-port, about 35km south of the center. Ezeiza is a modern airport with good services such as ATMs, restaurants and duty-free shops.
International and some domestic flights use the Ezeiza International Airport (referred to as Aeropuerto Internacional Ministro Pistarini), located in the suburban area named Gran Buenos Aires, about 30-45 minutes from downtown by highway. Planes fly to most countries in South America, the United States, and Europe. Non-stop service to the U.S. is available from Atlanta (DL), Dallas (AA), Miami (AA, LA and AR), Houston (Continental),New York (AA) and Washington, D.C. (United).
Some flights from Aerolíneas Argentinas to Ushuaia leave from Ezeiza during peak season, so check 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.
Qantas  flies thrice weekly to Sydney non-stop while there is also a useful Aerolínas Argentinas flight direct to Sydney, with a stop in Auckland and a twice-weekly Malaysian Airlines flight to Kuala Lumpur via Cape Town. Qatar Airways flights daily to Doha (Qatar) vía Sao Paulo. Direct flights to Europe are available with British Airways (to London Heathrow) , Lufthansa  (to Frankfurt), Iberia  (to Madrid), Air France  (to Paris Roissy), Alitalia (to Rome Fiumicino), KLM (to Amsterdam, thrice a week) and Aerolíneas Argentinas  (to Madrid, Barcelona and Rome Fiumicino). Also Air Canada flies from Toronto via Santiago. There are flights from Ezeiza to most latin american cities like México DF, Havanna, Panamá City, Caracas, Bogotá, Lima, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Cochabamba, Santiago de Chile, a dozen of Brazilian destinations, Montevideo and Asunción. Most of the regional flights departure Buenos Aires City Airport-Aeroparque (AEP).
From the airport there are the usual taxis, private cars (remises), buses and minibuses.
Trips on coaches such as Manuel Tienda León  from EZE to Retiro cost 60 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 5 pesos. Manuel Tienda León also offers transfers between EZE and Aeroparque. Tickets can be purchased from their booth just outside of customs. If you miss it in customs (european/australian/american travellers are probably more used to such services being located outside of 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.
Private Driving services to and from the airport are more expensive but trustworthy. Some offer English speaking drivers.
Prepaid taxis (remises) from EZE to downtown cost about 150 pesos. 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.
Hailing a curbside taxi is not recommended for tourists, but if you do, you should select a taxi that is dropping someone off. It will cost approximately 30% less than a remis. Your cabbie will tell you a fixed price beforehand, if not, you should ask the price before leaving the pickup area. You should have some familiarity with Buenos Aires and speak Spanish fairly well as you cabbie will likely not speak English.
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 2 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.
If you are returning to Ezeiza from downtown, be sure to ride the 8 bus that says "AEROPUERTO" 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 4576-5300 extension 107/122 (Information: 4576-1111). Most domestic flights use the smaller Jorge Newbery Airport (referred to as Aeroparque), 20 min away from the downtown area by car. You can take a taxi (25 pesos) or bus from there.
Trains connect Buenos Aires’ center to its suburbs and nearby provinces. They’re best for commuters and not that useful for tourists, however. There are national railways, but they are scarce. 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.
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.
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; www.metropolitano.com.ar) 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 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 modern and the roads not so much; 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 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 (be careful with your belongings at this station) to Tigre frequently. Boat services to Nueva Palmira also connect to Colonia del Sacramento by bus.
There is also a service from Montevideo-Carmelo-Tigre-Buenos Aires . It costs around 36 pesos($10) one way for the whole shebang. 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.
By freighter from Europe
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 the all the port. 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 BA 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, called the "Subte") network 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. There are electronic resources to find bus routes : ComoViajo (website), miTinerario (iPhone App).
Finding your way around is easy. Most of the city grid is divided into equal squares with block numbers in the hundreds. 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. Be aware that 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 pretty hard to get lost 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, the roller-coaster-seems-to-have-some-pieces-missing kind of way.) Make sure to take the "radio taxi", as some taxis do no turn on the meter and will ask for an unreasonable fare.
These days safety of traveling by taxi has improved considerably. 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 arguments over the fare later. It is suggested to use small bills with taxis, as with many large cities, some B.A. taxi drivers give back counterfeit money back as change.
The principal means of public transportation within the city are the buses (colectivos). They have a cheap maximum fixed price as long as you are moving inside the city borders (1.25 pesos). Tickets must be bought on the bus through a machine that accepts coins only. There is a prepaid Oyster-like proximity card (named SUBE) that you can manage to get that works with every city bus or metro.
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 toll-free 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" 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're using the SUBE proximity card, just tell the driver the price or your destination and show him your card, and ONLY AFTER he 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. Do not use the card before the driver selects your destination since he may grumpily say "NO TODAVIA" (NOT YET!). Just wait for the display to show the price of the journey. Please note that no ticket is delivered when paying by SUBE card.
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 in the U.S. ... it's the door to the inside of the machine to change the paper and whatnot. Don't turn it!
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 lower standards of comfort, and many of them don't run after 11PM.
By metro (subway or underground)
The city has a metro 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 also very cheap (1.10 pesos for any combination). 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 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 secure 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. control. 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 , .
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 very bad, 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 you are truly adventurous (and have a bit of a death-wish), 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...get out there and put those legs to work! 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 chaotic. Stoplights, signs, traffic laws--for many porteño drivers, are just suggestions. 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. The best advice? Take the bus! Otherwise, best of luck to you. Argentina has one of the highest motor vehicle accident mortality rates in the world. 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 recovery fee is a rip off. 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 id 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 holes 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 a great 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:
-In Buenos Aires, traffic is really good at anticipating the green light: some cars/buses start going when it's still red.
-Indicators seem to be used randomly, don't be surprised if a car suddenly cuts into you without indicating first
-On one way streets, stick to the left lane to avoid the buses which go really fast and stop all the time as well as the taxis that go at a snail's pace and stop or change direction suddenly to pick up a fare.
However, in the last months a bicing network has been developed and it's constantly expanding. Check the web site for the updated map: http://mejorenbici.buenosaires.gob.ar/
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 surroundiings 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 in a safe area (during the day only folks--shady characters emerge here at night) is El Puerto de Buenos Aires.
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 but its touristy for a reason as 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 "low class" 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 overpriced 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 authentic experience. If there is advertising, or disco ball, then it's inauthentic.)
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 and 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 one of the most intense rivalries in the world, and 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 a 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 Superclassico).
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 Porteňo 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, even if you do not have a partner, is with private lessons. You can find instructors who charge as little as 50 pesos per hour, all the way up to ones that will charge 368 pesos ($100) per hour. 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.
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.
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. For news on tournaments and where to buy tickets for polo matches, check Asociacion Argentina de Polo at .
Around Buenos Aires there are plenty of Polo schools. Most Polo courses run for a week and include accommodation on site. A popular option for a day-trip is Polo Elite , who operate polo lessons for beginners as well as guided trips to polo matches. They provide transportation for the 45min drive from downtown to their school. Cost for a lesson, including snacks and transportation, is $100 US.
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.
As with any other metropolis, Buenos Aires has plenty of city tours from walking tours, bus tours, bike tours to thematic tours such as political and tango tours. Buenos Aires is friendly destination and tourist will feel secure and free to wander around aimlessly absorbing all the city has to offer. If you are looking for a more in depth or structured way of seeing the city a guided tour is a good way to do this. Most of the tour operators are professional and bilingual and will explain the history as well as the architecture of of the city.
There are number of great tours some of which are free some are paid. A few examples below:
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!
MP3 walking tours/audioguides
Travelers have the option to discover the most interesting neighborhoods of Buenos Aires with their MP3 players as their guides. Downloadable MP3 Walking Tours of Buenos Aires are available to download even prior to the trip. These MP3 tours usually include a map and are a perfect option to walk around interesting places at your own pace.
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.
Just outside the city is a great place called Lujan. It is famous for its incredible (although controversial) zoo and its world famous cathedral. Other than that, it is just a great place to go for a day if you want a break from the city. There are tours all the time that can help you get there and show you where to go once you arrive.
Another great place on the outskirts of the city is El Tigre. El Tigre has a quaint amusement park, a great crafts fair on the weekends, a multi-storied casino, and a beautiful river to walk along. A popular choice is to take a boat ride through the Paraná Delta, ideal on a sunny day. There are many tours that go to Tigre, and it's a great place to get out of the city for a day and get some fresh air. The most popular day to go is Sunday, but there are things to do all week long.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. A 100 peso bill can be hard to break-- 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). Coins are rare and 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 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.), Canada, Asia (Japanese yens, Chinese renminbi, etc.) and Europe (Swedish krona, Swiss francs, etc.). This can mean a saving of time and money by not having to convert 2 times. Take into consideration that wherever the place you change money, you are always 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. Banco Frances will cash them with proper id, 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. Just like in most cities, independent ATMs (such as those in gas stations, bars, or convenience stores) are considered unsafe.
ATM limits and fees| Some ATMs strictly limit withdrawals on foreign cards. You may be able to get out only 300 pesos per transaction or 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 transaction (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 peso 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 Argentine 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 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 and all that metal ends up in China, 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 Ar$4.60, almost always expect to pay with the correct amount of money. Some shop keepers are said to take advantage of this and hope that the purchaser will simply say 'keep the change'. However, using larger bills at chain stores (such as Carrefour) for purchases will not be an issue. 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.
Counterfeit money is frequent, especially from 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.
Markets and Fairs
There are many artisans' fairs, most notably the weekend Recoleta fair located in the Francia park, near Recoleta cemetery (which is an excellent place for photography) and on Sundays the San Telmo market. In every fair you will find some excellent hand made products as well as some sneaked in industrialized products disguised as "hand made".
Saturdays and Sundays are great days for the outdoor markets, especially in the summer. The Feria Recoleta (in Plaza Francia) is an assortment of all sorts of artisan products, from jewelry to shawls; and Plaza Serrano in Palermo viejo comes alive in the afternoon with more artisan's handiwork and freelance clothes designers. Another nearby Plaza (in Palermo viejo) between Malabia, Armenia, Costa Rica and Nicaragua streets has stalls with items for sale. Plaza Dorrego in San Telmo offers tango and antique products. Defensa street on Sunday from Chile to San Juan comes to life with live performers and vendors. The crowds are thick, so keep an eye on your possessions.
The Último Taller at Jorge L. Borges 1975 (between Soler and Nicaragua streets) sells funky candles and street address plates and markers; there are charming cats, and photos can be etched onto these plates as well. The shop is open Monday to Saturday 10AM-9PM;
In Buenos Aires, as in the rest of the country, beef is king, but 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).
Vegan food is available at these restaurants:
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", "Banchero's", "Kentucky".
"El Cuartito" in Recoleta has a delicious Fugazzeta pizza. This restaurant can be packed with families and friends even at midnight.
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.
Service: do not expect service to be comparable to large cities in Europe or in the USA. Service in Buenos Aires can be slow at best and horrific at worst. Don't expect your waiter to take your drinks order when the menu is delivered and don't expect the menu to arrive quickly. If you want ice in your drink, expect the drink to arrive several minutes before the ice does. 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 bad service that they don't bother to complain directly to the waiter/waitress but moan amongst themselves. Speak out 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. 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.
Clubs & nightlife
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 careful when engaging girls in provocative clothing. They might be as young as fourteen and try to hit off with tourists 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 a 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 BA (a google search will bring up most of them). However the availability calendars can be misleading as apartments are often advertised with 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 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 BA 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. WWW.REGAL-PACIFIC.COM
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 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 extra care should be taken, since recently there has been a surge in crime. Neighborhoods like Martinez or San Isidro, where, only a few years ago, crime was unheard of, have been target of theft and mugging.
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, and 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.
Avoid withdrawing money from an ATM at night.
There are some areas where the police doesn't do anything in case of a robbery. This is the case of the area surrounding Abasto Shopping (where violence and murders happened in broad daylight), parts of Once and Constitución.
The US, Canadian and English travel advisories say that kidnappings continue to occur. Victims are grabbed off the street based on their appearance and vulnerability. They are made to withdraw as much money as possible from ATM machines, the victim is usually quickly released unharmed. There have been some foreign victims.
The dangers of hailing a taxi has received lots of press but is no longer common. Since 2005 the government cracked down on illegal taxis very successfully. Petty crime continues (like taking indirect routes or, less comonly, changing money for counterfeits). Taxicabs that loiter in front of popular tourist destinations like the National Museum are looking for tourists. Stay away from them. Your chance of falling prey to a scam increases in these situations, like having your money exchanged for fake currency. Stopping a cab a block or two away on a typical city street where others locals would do the same is good choice.
If a woman (and even men) apparently normal call you on the street to see a "apresentación" and earn massage girls for free, without commitment, the first time, do not pay attention and get off! In fact they are agents of brothels. Once taken to "inside" do not let you out, physically preventing you, until they disburse a large sum of money. This type of scam is common enough in the center, especially in Corrientes Avenue, Florida Street and Lavalle Avenue.
The water in Buenos Aires, unlike in many Latin American cities, is potable. There are many stray animals in the city. They usually do not cause harm but be careful not to touch them as they may harbor parasites and you may not be aware of their temperament
Be careful of counterfeit money. There have been occasions where unscrupulous vendors or taxicab drivers have exchanged good bills for bad ones. Counterfeit bills are mostly fifties, given as change from a taxicab driver or merchant. Hundreds are frequently given back to tourists by the vendor/taxicab driver claiming that a fake bill was given, after they have switched the bill given to them with a fake one. 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 at http://www.bcra.gov.ar/.
Ezeiza International Airport
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 and laptops while scanning the checked luggage of passengers. According to the special report, security operators at the airport are supposed to check each bag 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. Wrapping your baggage when leaving and arriving is a great idea since for only US$16,50 you dismiss robbers from opening (and probably breaking) it.
The Spanish in Buenos Aires is pronounced differently from elsewhere. "Calle" and "pollo" sound very different and the ll sound like English sh 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 differs 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. 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.
Credit cards are less common in Argentina than in the US or Europe. However, most of tourist-oriented businesses accept credit cards, although sometimes with additional handling fee.