Buenos Aires in 1 day
Before starting our hiking adventures in the humbling surroundings of Patagonia in the south of Argentina and Chile, visiting Buenos Aires was an inescapable must. As always our planning was nice and tight, so we’d have to get through the most important stuff in one day.
This vibrant city counting over 13 million residents is the one we flew into from Amsterdam and was a good starting point to get adjusted to the Latin American way. We landed at about 7am on a Sunday morning, which turned out to be ideal, as everything takes a much slower pace. No traffic jams, so instead of more than an hour to get to NH Buenos Aires Latino hotel, Hernando from Suntransfers got us there in less than 30 minutes, including giving us some useful pointers of what we should really get to see while we were there. As it was only about 8.15 at that time, there was no way we could check-in yet (unless we wanted to pay 23 USD extra), so we decided to freshen up a little in the bathroom, change into some lighter clothes (it would get to 33°C that day) and hit the town.
The lesser side of getting into Buenos Aires early on a Sunday morning? Not a lot of stores open yet. And getting some cash would turn out to be the most challenging task of the day. Plenty of banks all around the city, but none of them was open. ATMs yes, but getting the cash out – again, not easy. Eventually we got lucky at HSBC, but the limit to extract is set to 4.000 ARS (about 100 EUR). Knowing you pay 329 ARS cost on that amount, it’s an expensive ordeal. Do you need cash? For most spendings you’re able to pay by card, but of course there’s souvenirs and some smaller shops where that’s less of a given. And giving tips with credit card is possible, but then you have to add it upfront (and not after, like in the US).
I must say I can appreciate Buenos Aires, even though I’m not a city person. There’s quite some green areas incorporated into the concrete. Below I’ve set out the route we followed, which is ideal to see the main venues and get some good picture material. As it’s hot, we needed about 7 hours to cover the 20km, including a few stops to get hydrated. If you prefer a light lunch, La Panera Rosa is recommended – more in particular the Iberic baguette is just enough to get the energy levels back. And the location along the Rio Darsena Sur is pretty scenic as well.
Although it’s a big and touristic city, certainly not everyone knows (some) English, not even in the bars and restaurants close to the Plaza 25 de Mayo. So I would advise you to get your Spanish back on the rails or getting familiar with the typical vocabulary. The people are generally very friendly, that’s for sure. And they’ll try to help you with the English they know, but it’s just a lot easier if you can throw some Spanish in there. What also struck me was the fact that the merchants didn’t throw themselves at you to get some sales in. Not even at the market, which was really fun to stroll around at, both in San Telmo (open Sundays) as in el Parque Centenario (open Saturdays and Sundays).
Thanks to Hernando’s tips, we stopped by at the Cemetery (Cementerio de la Recoleta). May sound odd, but it’s really something different. Each grave is actually covered by a construction, decorated in different styles. Visiting this during the later part of the day brings a certain atmosphere which is surprisingly calming.
We finished the day with some tender and tasteful Argentinean meat at Villegas, located at the other side of the Rio Darsena Sur – which is a great area to visit by the way. We were even offered a cocktail of the house, to toast to the start of this amazing holiday. Salud!
These are the 2 routes we took on our one day visit: