Buenos Aires is the most visited city in South America, so it seems almost criminal not to include a stop-over in the city whilst on an Argentina ski
vacation. A stay in Buenos Aires might just be for one night whilst you await a flight, but if you’ve got the time, try to stay for a few days to explore this vibrant city.
Buenos Aires is massive. The greater area of Buenos Aires has a population of about 13 million people, with the city itself housing just under 3 million porteños (people of the port, the name for the locals).
Parts of central Buenos Aires are graced with gorgeous European style architecture (with a mix of Parisian and Spanish style buildings), delightful parks, and upmarket glamorous locals strutting the streets. Not far away it might be a little unkempt, and even a further afield are down-trodden areas and extensive poverty. It’s the phenomenal diversity that makes it such a fascinating city.
Where is Buenos Aires?
Buenos Aires is located on the east coast of Argentina near the Atlantic Ocean.
Ezeiza Airport is the international gateway, receiving flights from North America, Europe and Australasia. The Ezeiza Airport is about 35km south of the city centro. Most domestic flights land at the Aeroparque Jorge Newbery, which is very close to the centre of the city.
There are shuttle transfers between the two airports and from the international airport into the city, but if you’re in a hurry it’s easier to use a taxi or remise (pay up front for a taxi at one of the booths or you might get ripped off!).
If you’re catching a bus, the massive Retiro bus station is about 1km north of the city centre.
Hotels in Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires has lots of great barrios (neighbourhoods), yet if you’re only staying for a few days you’ll probably want a Buenos Aires hotel in the thick of it so you can pack in as much as possible. Many of these centro areas are close to the Jorge Newbery airport (the domestic airport) which is only about 6-7km away.
Retiro (Plaza San Martin) is a downtown historical neighbourhood that has an eclectic mix of upscale European flair and a bit of down and dirty.
The plaza itself is situated at the start of Calle Florida, a very popular pedestrian street, and there are lots of other sightseeing activities within easy walking distance. This is a great place to do a DIY walking tour because there are lots of gorgeous mansions and important buildings. This area is also within easy walking distance of the Puerto Madero, the port area with many trendy water-front restaurants.
For the Buenos Aires hotel listings
, the northern part of this area is referred to as “Retiro” whereas the southern zone is categorised as “Microcentro”.
The Elevage Hotel
(Maipu 960) is a 4 star hotel that is very well located close to Puerto Madero, and only 4 blocks from Libertador Avenue, and 100 metres from Florida Street. Many of the hotel rooms have old-style English décor with dark wood panels and furnishings, which gives the hotel some flair. The Powderhounds have stayed here and could recommend this as an upscale hotel at a very good price.
Gran Orly Hotel
is another well located hotel in this barrio. Gran Orly is an affordable hotel that is simple yet comfortable. The Powderhounds have stayed here and it does the trick for travellers who want to get out and about to explore.
Recoleta is the most exclusive barrio of Buenos Aires (along with Palermo), and akin to the upscale parts of Paris. The tree-lined streets meander past chic cafes, cosmopolitan boutiques, and art galleries. Much of the Buenos Aires accommodation in this area is 5 star or very luxurious. The famous Recoleta cemetery is situated here, and the neighbourhood is located adjacent to Retiro so it’s still reasonably convenient to walk to many of the other Buenos Aires attractions.
Buenos Aires Grand Hotel
is the place to stay if you want to be pampered. This very plush and stylish hotel features facilities such as a pool, fitness centre, and day spa.
provides budget accommodation in this upscale area. You can stay in a dorm room, or there are double/twin rooms, some with private bathroom.
Buenos Aires Attractions
Buenos Aires is the capital of tango so it seems compulsory to either take in a tango class or a tango dinner show to watch the pros at work. You’re also highly likely to get a great feel for Argentinian patriotism.
The Cementerio de la Recoleta (Recoleta Cemetery) is a popular tourist attraction (albeit a little weird and creepy!). The cobble stone laneways of the ritzy cemetery have an abundance of crypts that house the remains of the former rich and famous of Buenos Aires such as Evita.
Most Buenos Aires hotels provide a tourist map so that you can undertake a DIY walking tour. Florida Street is a typical drawcard, not just to appreciate the European architecture, but for the diverse shopping which ranges from market style shops to upscale designer stores in historical arcades. Street performance is common which invariably includes some tango singers and dancers.
The restaurant and café culture is also an important feature of Buenos Aires. Dine at a traditional parrilla, an old-style café on one of the boulevards, or stake out gourmet cuisine at one of the trendy restaurants on the promenade of Puerto Madero. The bustling nightlife is also a highlight of this very interesting metropolis.