We’ve heard mixed reviews about Buenos Aires – some have said it’s the best city they’ve ever been to whilst others have said its overrated. So with 4 days booked in the capital we were hoping that it wouldn’t be the latter.
As with most cities, we made sure to find a Free Walking Tour as they usually provide us with a good introduction to the city and often offer helpful tips to get us going. We chose BA Free Tour who were excellent. Our guide Victoria gave us a great insight into the history of the city and what life is like there today.
One of the biggest issues facing Argentinians is the 40% inflation rate over the past year which means that EVERYTHING has increased in price significantly. Because of the volatility of their national currency, the Argentinian Peso, most Argentinians will often keep their savings in the form of US Dollars, a much more stable currency. Unfortunately for the locals, in 2001 during their financial crisis, the government withdrew everyone’s US Dollars and refunded them the same amount in Argentinian Pesos. As you can imagine this caused mass outrage leading to thousands of people violently protesting outside the Pink House (parliament house) resulting in the president having to evacuate by helicopter. This led to him quickly resigning leaving the country with 5 presidents in a period of 10 days! Due to this protest, there is now a permanent gate bolted to the grounds outside parliament.
Now the city of Buenos Aires is probably one of the most well planned cities in the world. It is mapped out in a grid pattern with all blocks measuring 100 metres and also numbered in the same way eg. If you are looking for building number 650 it will be in the block 600-700. This makes it super easy to navigate. Public transport is also quite efficient with a very reliable metro system and a regular bus network. So what were some of our highlights?
According to most people, seeing a Tango Show is the number one thing to do when visiting Buenos Aires. Prices vary significantly depending on the show but usually range between USD$50-200 per person. This usually includes hotel pick-up, dinner and the tango show. We opted for a budget friendly option and bought tickets for about USD$70pp through the reputable discount tango reseller, Tango Tix. We went to Esquina Homero Manzi and were presented with a delicious 3 course meal and a 90 minute Tango show. A must for anyone visiting Buenos Aires.
This area is known for three things:
1. Being the home of the most famous Argentinian Football team , the ‘Boca Juniors’
2. Having the most colourful buildings in the city
3. Being the most dangerous part of the city
The last point made us nervous about coming here, especially after reading recent TripAdvisor reviews about recent gun-point muggings of tourists. But after a bit of umming and ahhing we decided to make a quick visit. We left all our valuables at the hotel except for the camera and took the bus there. We arrived at about 11am and were delighted to see school groups on excursion there which did put our minds at ease with the assumption that we were less likely to get mugged with kids around. The brightly painted buildings were certainly a site and the life-sized paper mache statues of well known figures like Evita and Pope Francis make for great tourist attractions. Of course there were the tango actors who dressed up and charged tourists for photos with them and plenty of tacky souvenir stores, but all in all it was definitely worth seeing.
This market is not like any other market. It was originally an antiques market but had now expanded to selling pretty much everything but food. It spans for around 10 blocks on the street named ‘Defensa’ which was literally on the doorstop of our hotel. It was packed full or tourists and locals and had a great variety of products at very reasonable prices. Definitely worth checking out if you’re here on a Sunday.
This is a a bit of a morbid tourist attraction. It is famous for housing the city’s rich and famous in some of the grandest mouseleums we have ever seen. Some were bigger than chapels! The most famous figure resting here is the country’s beloved ‘Evita’ who lies at plot 88. It is definitely worth visiting this place when its well lit.
After spending 2 weeks of eating way too much meat we had to eat something else and weirdly enough they had plenty of amazing Japanese restaurants.
So that wraps up our South American adventure. It’s been an absolute blast; we have learnt so much more about the world, met some incredible people and have visited some amazing sites.
Next up – Norway!
Til next time
Ann & Jason xo