Things I did and loved in Buenos Aires:
- La Boca is a lively neighborhood (or barrio) with a heavy influence from Genoa, Italy, evidenced by the wild array of colors you’ll see splashed on every wall. I’d highly recommend spending a day just exploring every nook and cranny of this area.
- If you’re even just occasionally a knitter, visit the yarn district! Argentina is a huge producer of wool, and Buenos Aires has an entire district filled with shops that are floor to ceiling yarn! The district is in Villa Crespo on Av. Raúl Scalabrini Ortiz. For the equivalent of $16 I bought 6 large skeins of pure wool yarn. So much yarn. So cheap. Knitter’s paradise.
- La Recoleta Cemetery, renowned as being one of the world’s most beautiful cemeteries, houses thousands of elaborate vaults and monuments. A bit morbid, but like nothing you’ve ever seen.
- Book lovers must go to the theatre turned bookstore! Located in Barrio Norte (northern neighborhood), the 1920’s style Grand Splendid Theatre was renovated into an enormous, magnificent book store.
- Spend a day or two in El Tigre. For 3 pesos ($0.50) you can catch a train going an hour northeast to this cute little island town. It’s surrounded by rivers and canals, so hop a ride on a water taxi, go camping at one of the campgrounds, or just walk around.
Things to eat and drink:
- This is a health blog. And a healthy life includes everything in moderation. With that said, I would highly recommend you try dolce de leche while you’re here. This is the nutella of South America and more. AND MORE! It’s a caramel goodness gift from God.
- Argentina has a huge cattle industry, so you’ll need to try some Argentinian steak while you’re in town.
- Mate (or Yerba Mate) is a hot herbal South American tea that’s very common in Argentina. It’s drunk from a small gourd with a metal straw, and almost always is a social beverage. The drink is passed around, with everyone drinking from the same straw as a sign of friendship. So if a new friend offers you mate, break through that cultural stigma of not sharing drinks and give it a try!
Things to note:
- Counterfeit money is a real problem in Argentina, Buenos Aires especially. You’ll see many people on the streets offering currency exchange for extremely low rates. These are likely all counterfeits; exchange your money at the bank! You’re also very likely to get counterfeit bills back as change in taxis (argh, I fell for this one). Be sure to know what the Argentinian peso looks like, carefully inspect any big bills you receive, and do not accept anything other than the real deal.
- Like Spain, Argentina runs a bit behind the schedule you’re probably used to. Expect dinner to start around 9pm. And if you’re hitting the town, it’s bound to be nights-that-turn-into-mornings kind of evening.