This article originally appeared in Delta Air Lines’ 2012 Caribbean, Mexico and Latin America Travel Guide. It has been extracted from its original format. To read the full travel guide, visit the digital edition.
Buenos Aires, Argentina’s lively, cosmopolitan capital, has a well-deserved reputation for offering some of the best of everything in South America: best hotels, best nightlife, best shopping, best restaurants. Capital pleasures also include exploring the Belle Epoque buildings around the flowering Plaza de Mayo, touring the plush and gilded interiors of Teatro Colon and attending an opera performance in season (March through November), strolling through the open-air art fair along boldly colorful El Caminito—a pedestrian street in the La Boca neighborhood, and wandering about La Recoleta cemetery where hundreds of ornate mausoleums note the passing of the rich and famous. Make time for the museums, particularly the Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (MALBA), displaying one of the most impressive collections of Latin American art anywhere. And if you’re going to be in town on a weekend, then be sure to join the local families picnicking in Palermo Park. Meanwhile on Sunday, snare a ringside seat on Plaza Dorrego when the weekly San Telmo Antiques Fair is in full swing and tango dances perform on every corner.
San Telmo, one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods, is looked on as tango “head-quarters,” and you’ll find a bevy of milongas (tango clubs, many giving lessons). Tango shows come in all shapes and sizes: traditional Argentine tango at El Viejo Almacen, to the show palace elegance of tango at Esquina Carlos Gardel, to the Hollywood-style tango show at Senor Tango. Dining out in B.A. can be another tough decision, but you can’t go wrong with a parrilla (grill) where what’s on the menu is serious meat with a good red Argentine wine. Cabana Las Lilas is widely considered the best, but there are dozens of choices in all price ranges. Ditto considering where to stay. On the high-end, the Alvear Palace Hotel is the grande dame, while the new rage is boutique hotels in the trendy Palermo Viejo neighborhood such as Mine Hotel Boutique.
- Best time to go:
Ideal is fall (March-May) and spring (September-November). The most beautiful months are October and November when the jacaranda trees are ‘abloom
- Fun fact:
While Argentina’s steaks are world-famous, beef is a domestic staple: domestic consumption per capita in 2010 was 126 lbs. (surpassed worldwide only by neighboring Uruguay)
- Getting there:
Delta flies from Atlanta to Buenos Aires
- Entry documents:
Valid passport, valid for six months after entry. U.S. visitors pay reciprocity tax of $140 on arrival for a multiple-entry tourist visa, valid for 10 years; Canadians do not have a fee
- Must-try local food:
Empanadas, baked meat-filled turnovers, best made with light dough
- Best buys:
Leather accessories, woolen goods, silver work (from jewelry, to gaucho belt buckles, to antique silverwares)
- Information please:
Argentina Government Tourist Office— turismo.gov.ar