Updated post: 17/11/18 | November 2018
Argentina’s capital is a sprawling city made up of neighbourhoods, or barrios, each of which has its own identity. It is very easy to get overwhelmed when planning a visit. To make the most of your time there, it’s good to have an idea of what you would like to do before arrival. In no particular order, here are my top 5 things to do in Buenos Aires
1. Search for Eva Perón in La Recoleta Cemetery
Eva Perón may be La Recoleta Cemetery’s most famous resident, but the list of its other occupants reads like a Who’s Who of Argentinian history. From presidents to poets, athletes to academics, explore its mausoleums and memorials to get a fascinating insight into the country’s past. Housing over 6,400 statues, sarcophagi, coffins and crypts over four city blocks, La Recoleta Cemetery is an eerily beautiful place.
2. Go underground into Buenos Aires’s past at El Zanjón
San Telmo is what most people visualise when you mention Buenos Aires. The cobbled streets, the markets, the tango dancers in its main square. But don’t miss the opportunity to visit El Zanjón, a 19th-century mansion, which is a time-machine into San Telmo’s past.
3. Explore La Boca on a walking tour
The historic barrio of La Boca is number three in my top 5 things to do in Buenos Aires. Here, the tourist action is centred on El Caminito with its brightly coloured buildings, live tango and flashy art galleries. But as I found out on a walking tour, there is more to this historic Buenos Aires barrio than its Instagrammable streets. Take its street art, for example, epitomising its radical politics. Or its dogs dressed as footballers from the nearby Boca Juniors (yes … really!).
4. Check out Palermo’s street art
Thanks to its abundance of abandoned buildings and blank walls, creating perfect blank canvases, and the liberal attitude of the city’s authorities, Buenos Aires attracts local and international street artists.
Although you can see street art throughout the city, for a great collection in a compact area head to Palermo Soho. Although you can easily mooch around by yourself, the walking tour by Free Walks Buenos Aires is recommended also. And don’t forget to check out the neighbourhood’s many bars and restaurants whilst you are there.
5. Be at one with nature at Puerto Madero’s Ecological Reserve
Located in Puerto Madero, Buenos Aires’s newest neighbourhood, the Ecological Reserve is a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. Walk or cycle along one of its trails leading to the waterfront promenade with its views over the Rio de la Plata. For the twitchers amongst you, there are reportedly more than 300 bird species that are fellow visitors. And if you’re lucky, you might also spot a river turtle or iguana.
How to do it
- Buenos Aires is well served by a Metro system (Subte), buses and taxis. For further information on navigating the city’s transport system, check out my post Getting around Buenos Aires.
- I stayed at the charming and exceptionally friendly Duque Boutique Hotel in trendy Palermo Soho. Highly recommended.