The Paris of South America
The Argentinian Buenos Aires expands over 202 km² and is with its 3 million inhabitants the 6th. largest city in whole South America. Moreover its home of the tango, incredible architecture and nightlife which makes it as well the cultural centre of Argentina.
Poorly we only had a little more than a week to discover the place which is compared to its size almost nothing. You can easily calculate a month to get an adequate impression of the city and even in half a year you wont discover everything.
We had a quiet safe impression of the city. At least during the day in the centre you have nothing to worry about. But even at night we haven't experienced any dangerous situations. Its probably not the best idea to wear your camera, smartphone or jewelry open but in general there is not too much to be afraid of. For sure that doesn't apply for all the districts but usually some strangers will inform you when you're about to go to a not that safe place.
Buenos Aires is compared to the rest of the South American cities we visited quiet an expensive place. In comparison to the salary of the inhabitants some prices are even ridiculous. A night in a dormitory in a Hostel can be easily up to 400 $AR (25€) not to mention a private room. A dinner for two in a restaurant will be around 500 $AR (31€) on average, the same as three days of groceries for a single person. Besides that the whole country is suffering from the inflation, which means that you can have quiet huge price differences for the same products even on the same day.
But as usual there are tons of ways to keep your budget low. By the huge amount of people you find as well many couch surfing opportunities, which saves already plenty of money on accommodation. The tap water is safe to drink so no reason to buy it, with food its a little more tricky. After some days we figured out that there is almost no difference between cooking on your own and eating out. Its actually quiet contrary, the city offers lots of street food and takeaways.
Cheap snacks are the Choripan, a piece of bread with a chorizo (sausage) and pickled vegetables or Empanadas which you can find pretty much everywhere on the continent. Common snacks like kebab, burgers and pizza are a little more expensive. Besides that you can find lots of different vegetarian restaurants, which are usually a little more expensive then their omnivore concurrence. To get around the city you can use the well developed public transportation system for 4 AR$ for a one way ticket. If you stay more than just some days you could consider to get a SUBE Card, which is available for 15 AR$ at almost every kiosco (the purchase price will be on the card to ride), to safe time instead of buying single tickets. Another really good opportunity is the free bike rental system in the centre. For the registration you only need your passport and a picture of you. On the same day you will receive your card with which you can pick up a bike on several stations and ride as along as you want without spending a single Peso.
Anyway, now after your basic needs are covered its time to explore the city and there is a plenty of things to do, even on a low budget. The city has lots of museums from art over history to anthropology, which are free to visit or at least on discount for students and seniors. You can easily spent several days in the city centre without getting bored. Have a walk along the Avenida Nuevo de Julio where you can see the Obelisco de Buenos Aires and enjoy a tasty pizza a caballo in one of the numerous pizzerias. Or just get lost in one of the plenty Jacaranda Tree covered alleys which are flowering in a bright purple during spring and early summer. You have the chance to see some great architecture like the Casa Rosada (the presidents palace), the Palacio de las Aguas or the Palacio de Municipal and way more.
Really worth to visit for architecture and street art are the districts of Belgrano and San Telmo where you can also find a really nice market for agricultural products and antiquities. Beside the market you could go to the San Telmo Street Fair which takes place every weekend. On the fair you will experience an amazing atmosphere with lots of musicians, artists, great food, handcrafted products and souvenirs for reasonable prices.
If you're seeking for some peace in this lively but sometimes also stressful place just grab a beer and chill in one of the several parks of the city. They're usually quiet huge and clean with lots of benches or areas to sit on. You can see the Porteños (the way the people of Buenos Aires call themselves) hanging around sharing their mate with their friends and family. Another good place to relax is the harbour - Puerto Madero. A walk along the corniche will take you from one to two hours and afterwards you can visit the Reserva Ecológica Costanera Sur, a huge botanical garden with a great view over Buenos Aires. Another great place to see for a day trip is the Tigre Delta. Its located ca. 45 minutes away from the centre of Buenos Aires and makes the impression of a small venice. It offers plenty of channels, museums, markets, restaurants and amazing nature to explore.
Buenos Aires is basically never sleeping, so even during the week you will find many places to spent unforgettable nights. If you're interested to learn how to dance tango you could have a look at one of the free courses which are offered in several bars and dancing studios of the city. Beside that you have a huge amount of clubs and bars with all kinds of music or themes in the city centre. During the warm months it is a really nice place to grab some drinks and roam around the streets or parks and see what the night brings. In summer you can find some really good and sometimes even free open air parties as well.
If you made it once to Buenos Aires, you should use the chance to visit Uruguay too. At the port you will find the two mayor ferry services Buquebus and Seacat Colonia to hop over to Uruguay. The ferry brings you directly to Colonia de Sacramento which is really worth visiting for a day. From there you can take a 2 hour bus ride to Montevideo , the capital of Uruguay.
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