It took some time for me to figure out what I wanted to say about Buenos Aires. For so many years I had conjured up images in my mind of what Buenos Aires would look like and the reality is, it was none of those. That’s the problem with preconceived notions and expectations, sometimes it can lead us to disappointment. I will say that we are happy to have seen Buenos Aires but would we return? Probably not. Why? Aside from feeling unsafe, we thought the city was dirty, and everything everywhere was covered with graffiti and not the kind of “artsy” street art graffiti that we love. Also, on my first day in the city I was kind of yelled at and rudely waved out of a restaurant that was apparently closed but looked open (people were inside eating and the door was open), so that didn’t leave me feeling warm and fuzzy. There’s always good things though and that’s why I’m glad we came!
The apartment we rented was in a great location (Micro Centro) and we could walk pretty much anywhere that a tourist would want to visit. Buenos Aires is not a safe city to just roam around so you need to know where you’re going and how you’re going to get there. I definitely wouldn’t walk around at night unless you are on a VERY busy street. Our host Christian was amazing and extremely helpful with directions. He suggested what we should see and provided us with anything that would help us be more comfortable. He truly was one of the nicest people we’ve met so far in Argentina.
The architecture in this city is fantastic and we could imagine what it would have been like long ago. I loved the purple trees that were flowering throughout the city and thought they added such nice colour to an otherwise grey backdrop.
Buenos Aires is massive so there are many different neighbourhoods to visit and each one is different. We started with Micro Centro since that was the area we were staying in. Here we saw the Plaza de Mayo which has the famous Casa Rosada. Many protests take place here and it so happened that there were a few protests happening while we were in the city – the protests created a traffic nightmare and we even saw fires being lit as we left the city on our last day…crazy!
Also close to our apartment was Avenida 9 de Julio. Sometimes it took 3 or 4 walk signs to make it all the way across. It’s the largest avenue in the world and it’s the equivalent of one city block in width. It had 7 lanes in each direction along with two side streets and a huge meridian down the center where the busses run.
We visited the neighbourhood of Recoleta which is one of the more upscale areas in Buenos Aires. It was a nice area with a great outdoor market and quite a few beautiful parks.
One thing that was different to see was the Recoleta Cemetery. It looked like a small city. It’s kind of morbid but it is a tourist attraction here, mainly because of the opulent mausoleums and because this is where Eva Peron is laid to rest. Eva Peron was the First Lady and a human rights activist in the 40’s and 50’s, and she is still highly regarded in Argentina.
Also in this area we found a place to eat in the middle of the day that was open – good old Hard Rock Café. Most places are closed for a few hours in the afternoon so plan ahead for food!
Our favourite neighbourhood was San Telmo with its narrow cobblestone streets..There was a street market that ran all the way from Plaza de Mayo in Micro Centro to San Telmo, it made the walk there interesting.
In San Telmo we saw a cute couple dancing Tango and an old fashioned string puppet show. Fun to watch the street entertainment sometimes.
We had lunch at El Federal, one of the oldest pubs in the area. The ambiance was great and so was the food!
We considered walking to La Boca from San Telmo and quickly changed our minds – not safe. In fact we skipped La Boca all-together because of the unfavourable reviews and various muggings. There are some coloured houses to see there and we’ve seen our share of those in a few other places so we figured we could give it a miss this time around.
One evening, we went to see the National Milonga Tango. It was fun and many people were dancing Tango in the street. There were 3 different stages set up with entertainers singing Tango songs and various Tango dancers. We were fortunate to be there to catch that.
There’s some interesting things to see in Buenos Aires and I’m sure we barely scratched the surface but it was enough time here for us. We were anxious to board our ship for our 2 week cruise around Cape Horn to Valparaiso, Chile.
Where we stayed: Airbnb in Micro Centro 👍