Why Is Buenos Aires Worth Visiting?
Buenos Aires is worth visiting for so many reasons:
- Firstly, it’s the capital and is the hub for all other travel throughout the country. So to get to Iguazu Falls or Patagonia, you have to start here.
- It’s referred to as the ‘Paris of South America’ and mixed European charm with South American passion.
- Whilst the country is in a huge recession, the ‘blue dollar’ exchange rate means tourists can exchange American dollars at a much better rate and enjoy a cheaper trip
These are just some of the reasons why I love visiting Buenos Aires. For the rest of the list that includes world-class steak and wine, passionate football games and vibrant nightlife, keep scrolling.
12 Great Reasons To Visit Buenos Aires
1. Buenos Aires Is Known As The 'Paris Of South America'
Buenos Aires is often compared to a European capital, and for good reason.
The city’s stunning architecture, wide boulevards, and charming neighbourhoods feel strikingly similar to the ambiance of Europe, making it feel like a distant cousin of Paris or Barcelona. Strolling through the streets of Buenos Aires, you’ll encounter neoclassical facades, grand plazas, and ornate buildings that transport you to another continent while retaining its South American flair.
A free walking tour is always the best way to see a new city. Buenos Aires Free Walks offer 2–3-hour walking tours for the best parts of the city such as the city centre and Recoleta. You can also pay for walking tours of La Boca and San Telmo.
2. The Blue Rate Will Make Your Money Go Further
Argentina has been facing high inflation for many years, with rates reaching over 40% in recent years.
This has been caused by a combination of factors, such as a weak currency, high government spending, and a lack of confidence in the country’s economic policies. Due to the constant inflation, strict currency controls and economic turmoil, an illegal currency system has evolved known as the ‘blue rate’.
This is where many Argentinians turn to the black market to purchase US dollars at a higher rate. They do this because the US dollar is more likely to keep its value compared to the Argentinian peso.
This creates an interesting dynamic for travellers because we can also take advantage of this ‘blue rate’.
All you need to do is bring lots of cash to Argentina. Preferably crisp notes of $100. You will be able to exchange these on the street for almost double the rate and get more pesos for your money.
Recent traveller posts suggest that as of November 2022 it was around 160 pesos to the dollar on the blue rate.
There’s no need to worry either. Whilst this is illegal, its commonplace among the locals as they use it all the time too.
Argentina travel prices are some of the lowest in the world now. Here are some tips to make the most of it:
- Bring lots of cash
- Take cash out at ATM’s in dollars instead of pesos
- Ask to pay in dollars rather than pesos. Most bars, restaurants and tour operators will accept US dollars cash at a much better rate of exchange
- Avoid situations where you have to pay the official exchange rate instead of the blue rate
Visiting Buenos Aires is one of the highlights of a trip to Argentina. But there’s so much more to see in this incredible country. To see how to combine Buenos Aires into a one-month itinerary that covers the entire country, head to the post below:
3. Watch The Best Tango Dancers In The World
No trip to Buenos Aires would be complete without experiencing the sensuous rhythms of the tango.
La Ventana, one of the city’s premier tango venues, promises an unforgettable evening filled with passionate dance performances and soul-stirring music. The show is different to others in the capital as it includes folk music along with tango. They also offer excellent service, and you will be well taken care of.
Don’t miss the chance to immerse yourself in the world of tango and witness the moves that have become synonymous with Argentina.
Or if you are interested in learning, La Vitura in Palermo is the best place to try.
This is one of Buenos Aires’ most renowned milongas (tango dance venues). This establishment attracts top talent from the local tango scene. However, for those who are new to tango, they offer classes tailored to six different levels of experience. So, if you’re a tango newcomer, there’s no need to feel self-conscious.
If you are thinking of planning a long stay in Argentina and South America, then seeing an extended backpacking itinerary is essential to help you plan your trip. Check out the post below to help you plan your next trip:
4. Top Quality Hostels
For budget-conscious travellers, Buenos Aires offers a range of excellent hostels. Milhouse Hostel, with its friendly atmosphere and central location, consistently ranks among the best. Whether you’re a solo traveller looking to make new friends or simply seeking a comfortable and affordable place to stay, Buenos Aires has you covered.
Milhouse is also famous across Argentina and South America and known as being one of the best party hostels on the continent. This hostel can host hundreds of guests and they are always organising events to keep the huge crowd of backpackers entertained.
They host in-house DJs, tonnes of themed party nights and get you discount on selected nightclub events in BA.
However, some of the best nights will be on drinking on the rooftop as the staff work away on the classic Argentinian barbeque, whilst bringing round jugs of wine to keep your cup refilled. Then at the late hours of the morning, finally heading out to a club to carry on until the early hours of the morning.
Milhouse is one of my favourite party hostels in South America. For a full list of the others, check out the post below:
5. Unreal Steakhouses
Argentina is renowned for serving some of the finest steaks in the world, and Buenos Aires is no exception.
For an authentic Argentine steakhouse experience, head to Don Julio, where succulent cuts of meat are cooked to perfection. Savouring a mouthwatering steak in Buenos Aires is a culinary adventure you won’t soon forget.
6. World Class Wine
Wine enthusiasts will find Buenos Aires to be a paradise for their taste buds, offering a chance to savour some of the finest vintages from across the country.
There are two regions that produce high quality wine, Mendoza and Cafayate. Look out for Trapiche wines which come from Mendoza and Piattelli wines which come from Cafayate.
Make sure you explore the city’s wine bars and indulge in exquisite Argentine wines, particularly Malbec. Here are some of my favourites:
- Pain et Vin: A cozy wine bar with an extensive selection of Argentine wines and delectable cheese and charcuterie platters.
- Bar du Marché: Known for its rustic charm and a menu that pairs exquisite wines with French-inspired cuisine, offering an authentic and upscale wine and dine experience.
- Wine O’Clock: A trendy and vibrant wine bar that caters to both novice and seasoned wine enthusiasts.
Mendoza is the perfect place to visit for wine lovers. For more information on Mendoza including 8 great reasons why you should visit, head to the post below:
7. The Colourful 'La Boca' Neighbourhood
La Boca is famous for its vibrant, colourful buildings that line the streets.
This is the place where tango was born as a result of the bohemian and artistic culture of the immigrants. The neighbourhood’s houses, known as “conventillos,” are painted in an array of bold colours, creating a visually striking and Instagram-worthy backdrop.
The most famous street for this colourful architecture is Caminito, a pedestrianized street lined with brightly painted buildings, art displays, and tango performances.
Buenos Aires Free Walks offer a 2 hour walking tour for $10, or you can visit yourself.
8. Atmospheric Football Matches
This may not be for everyone, but if you love soccer (or as it’s properly named in the UK – football), then going to a match in Buenos Aires is a must.
Whilst in La Boca, you can visit the iconic La Bombonera stadium to witness the famous stadium of Boca Juniors. For those looking to experience the passion of Argentine football, certain matches are must-sees.
The Superclásico, pitting Boca Juniors against River Plate, is perhaps the most famous and intense rivalry in the world of soccer. The atmosphere in the stadium during this match is electric, making it an unforgettable experience for any fan.
The league typically begins in August and runs through to May.
9. The Trendy Neighbourhoods - Recoleta and Palermo
One of the best things to do in Buenos Aires is spend leisurely afternoons in Buenos Aires’ trendy neighbourhoods of Recoleta and Palermo.
Recoleta is known for its elegant architecture and the famous Recoleta Cemetery, the final resting place of Eva Perón. Whereas Palermo offers a hip atmosphere with stylish boutiques, lush parks, and a thriving food scene.
My favourite thing to do is check out all the cafes during the day. Here are some of my favourites:
- La Biela: Located in the heart of Recoleta, La Biela is a historic cafe known for its outdoor terrace and traditional Argentine coffee. It’s an ideal spot for people-watching and enjoying classic Argentine snacks.
- Lattente Palermo: Lattente is a cozy and welcoming cafe known for its excellent coffee and homemade pastries.
Also, the bars in Palermo are perfect for a night out:
- Bar 878: Bar 878 is an intimate and stylish speakeasy-style bar that specializes in craft cocktails. It’s known for its extensive cocktail menu, knowledgeable bartenders, and a cozy ambiance.
- Sky Bar at Home Hotel: Home Hotel’s Sky Bar offers a chic rooftop experience in Palermo Hollywood. With comfortable seating, a pool, and panoramic views of the city, it’s an ideal place to enjoy cocktails and unwind while taking in the cityscape.
- Frank’s Bar: Frank’s Bar is a hidden gem, often requiring a secret password to enter, giving it an authentic speakeasy feel. Once inside, you’ll discover a cozy and sophisticated atmosphere with jazz music and a diverse cocktail menu.
See how you can do all the amazing things Buenos Aires has to offer with these expertly curated 3, 5 and 7 day itineraries:
10. Quick Getaways To The Beautiful Iguazu Falls
Buenos Aires serves as an excellent gateway to some of Argentina’s natural wonders, including the awe-inspiring Iguazu Falls. A short flight from the city will transport you to this UNESCO World Heritage site, where you can witness the sheer power and beauty of one of the world’s most remarkable waterfalls.
The 2-hour flight to Iguazu Falls means it can easily be visited in one or two days as a brief escape from the city.
These breath-taking falls are made up of 275 individual cascades, which stretch over 2 miles and create a stunning natural barrier between Argentina and Brazil.
The most famous part of the falls is known as ‘The Devil’s Throat’, a U-shaped waterfall that is over 82 meters high and 150 meters wide. This massive waterfall is the largest and most powerful of the falls and is a must-see for any visitors.
Visitors can also take boat tours to get a different perspective of the falls. There are ones that go right under the Devil’s Throat waterfall, or others that navigate the lower Iguazu river and enjoy the waterfall from a distance.
11. Snack On Empanadas And Alfajores
Alongside a good steak and a bottle of wine, there are two other food items you need to try whilst in Buenos Aires: empanadas and alfajores.
Empanadas are savoury pastries filled with beef, pork or chicken mixed in a sweet, slightly spicy sauce. They’re more of a snack than a main meal but my god they are addictive and you can end up eating 3 or 4 at a time.
Alfajores are traditional Argentinean desserts. They can only be described as a ‘sandwich cookie’ withsweet filling in the middle such as dulce de leche.
Dulce de leche is a traditional sweet spread or sauce, which is popular in many Latin American countries. It is made by simmering milk and sugar together, turning it into a gooey golden treat.
You will find dulce de leche mixed with almost any other desert such as cakes, cookies, ice cream and it’s one of the most delicious sweet treats I have ever experienced. I was hooked on it during my time in Buenos Aires and regularly found myself in bakeries purchasing donuts with dulce de leche filling.
There are several bakeries where you can try these delightful treats. Here are two of the best:
- Vasalissa Chocolatier: Vasalissa Chocolatier is a renowned bakery known for its artisanal alfajores. These alfajores are crafted with high-quality ingredients, including rich dulce de leche and premium chocolate.
- Havanna: Havanna is an iconic Argentine brand that has been producing alfajores for decades. With multiple locations throughout Buenos Aires, you can easily find their cafes and indulge in their classic and chocolate-dipped alfajores
If you want to combine a trip to Chile alongside Argentina, then there are several ways to do this with a simple border crossing. The three itineraries in the post below can help you cross the borders a 3 different points in Argentina to see Chile:
12. The Gateway To Patagonia
For adventurers seeking to explore the untamed natural beauty of Patagonia, Buenos Aires serves as the ideal gateway. From the city, you can book flights to various Patagonian destinations, including Ushuaia, El Calafate, and Bariloche.
Bariloche, the lake district region of Patagonia, is only a 2-hour flight away. Here you can go skiing, hike in the Andes or kayak among the lakes surrounding the town.
El Calafate and El Chaltén are a 3 hour flight. El Chalten is considered the trekking capital of Argentine Patagonia, as it offers access to some of the most spectacular mountain landscapes in the region, including treks into Parque Nacional Los Glaciares to see the Fitz Roy mountain range and the Huemul Glacier.
Patagonia has so many great hikes. To see a full list of some of the best single-day hikes in South America, head to the post below:
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