One week itinerary in Buenos Aires

Tango dancers in Caminito (eltonpacheco.wordpress.com)
Puerto Madero

Casa Rosada

Known as the "Paris of South America", Buenos Aires is a unique and seducing city. 

In the past the city´s elite hired Parisian architects, sculptors and artists to design mansions which gave the city it´s beautiful architecture.

Baires, as it is generally called by locals, is mostly flat, what makes it easy to walk around. The public transports are not bad: the metro covers a big part of the city, the taxis are cheap and the buses are an interesting cultural means of transportation, with their different colors and old design.

The following itinerary will allow you to have a taste of the essential Buenos Aires. Surely, you´ll leave the city with a lot of great memories.

Day 1 - Downtown and Old City

Start your day with a visit to one of the most picturesque districts in Baires: La Boca. Take a taxi to get there or the bus number 64 (Belgrano/La Boca) from Plaza de Mayo and final stop in front of Caminito. La Boca started to grow when immigrants, mostly Italians, settled down there running away from the crisis in Europe in the beginning of the century XX. 

The area has an interesting architecture thanks to the newcomers, who used salvaged sheet metal and leftover paint from the ships to build their houses, creating a colored district. The buildings are still kept like that, as a cultural reminder.

The "must-sees" in La Boca and Caminito and La Bombonera. 

Caminito is an open air museum, with street sellers showing their pantings and tango dancers. It´s a very touristic place, but really interesting, and you shouldn´t miss if it is your first time in the city.

La Bombonera is the stadium of Boca Juniors, one of the most famous teams in the country. Diego Maradona, who played for the club for some years, is an idol there.

The club offers a fun visit through the stadium where you´ll be able to check the trophies, stands and the field.

If there´s a match available at the end of the day, you should try to watch it, and feel the "cauldron" that it becomes, thanks to the extreme proximity of the stands to the field. 

In the afternoon, take a cab to get to San Telmo, the neighboring district, known for being the birth place of tango. Stop for lunch in the surroundings of Plaza Dorrego, and If you´re lucky enough to be there on a Sunday, check the traditional market of antiquities there, it goes from the square all the way to Plaza de Mayo through Calle Defensa

On the Sunday, you´ll also be able to watch the street artists: tango dancers, musicians, comedians, live statues. 

If you walk all of Calle Defensa, you´ll end at Plaza de Mayo, the oldest area of Buenos Aires, where the famous Casa Rosada is located, the Governers´ Palace.

In the surroundings, also check the Cathedral, one of the oldest buildings in the city. 

At night head to Puerto Madero, once the abandoned and ugly port of the city, which was revitalized in the early 90´s and became the most exclusive area in Baires, with innumerous options of traditional restaurants and cafes. There, you´ll have the opportunity to taste a delicious "Assado" (barbecue), the most traditional Argentinian food.

Finish your day enjoying a stroll along the waterfront. 

Day 2 - Palermo

Palermo, the biggest district in the city, is also the lung of Buenos Aires, with many green areas. Take the metro to Plaza Italia to explore the Palermo Woods (Bosques de Palermo), the area where locals exercise.

You can start your day by riding a bike or renting a boat. The Bosque is also home to a beautiful rose field (Rosedal). 

Then, check the amazing Japanese Garden, just beside the Palermo Woods. Opened in 1967 during the visit of Prince Akihito and Princess Michiko of Japan, the Garden has a beautiful collection of traditional Japanese trees, flowers, carps and a tea house.

For lunch, head to Palermo Soho, more specifically Plaza Serrano. The square has lots of typical Argentinian and alternative bars, restaurants and cafés. It has also become an epicenter for nightlife and fun in the city. (Suggestion: I have been to Tazz Bar and enjoyed it a lot!)

In the afternoon, explore the surroundings, strolling through the narrow old streets of Palermo.

Enjoy the night going to a Milonga! Believe me, it will probably be your best night in the city. From Wednesday to Sunday, the house La Viruta Tango offers a fun collective tango class (according to your level!) and, afterwards, offers tango shows and bar. Amazing place!

Day 3 - Recoleta

In your third day, head to Recoleta to visit the Cementerio de la Recoleta (Recoleta´s Graveyard). Ok, it may seem weird visiting a cemetery, but this place is much more like a museum than anything else. All the tombs are sculptural works of art - some are even recognized as historical monuments. 

The top "attraction" of the cemetery is the tomb where one of the most recognized Argentinian figures is buried: Evita Perón. Ex-actress, she became the first lady and was loved and idolized for her social works, until her tragic death in 1952, at the age of 33, due to a cancer. 

In the cemetery, it is worth making an interesting guided tour, for free. 

Take a stroll along this elegant district, with its boulevards, Belle Époque constructions and leafy squares. 

In lunch time, head to El San Juanino, one of the best restaurants in the city which is known for its empanadas, a traditional Argentinian appetizer. 

In the afternoon, head to the modern Malba museum, with a fine permanent collection of Latin American articles as paintings, sculptures, photos and drawings.

At night, head to Hard Rock Café for some music.

Day 4 - Luján Zoo

One of the best memories I have from my trip to Buenos Aires is the Luján Zoo. 

The zoo is located in the surroundings of the city, about a 1 hour bus ride. Getting there is not difficult and you can do it without contracting a tour. Just take the metro to Plaza Italia, and from there, the bus number 57 to Luján. Ask the bus driver to stop in the zoo.

In this zoo, the visitors are able to touch the animals, ride a dromedary, hold a lion cub in the arms or feed a tiger! In other words, total interaction with the animals. 

Although being criticized, the zoo guarantees that all the animals are well treated and explain the reason for them being so kind: they are domesticated since they are born. The cats, for instance, are raised with dogs to behave like dogs. Wheter this is correct or not depends on each visitor. But the fact is that the zoo is really different and provokes a unique sensation.

Important tip: Buy a round trip ticket as you are going. That way, you´ll be able to pay everything with notes. If you try to pay for the return ticket when you´re coming back from the zoo, you´ll have to pay for it with coins. Believe me; having $10 pesos in coins is not so easy!

Day 5 - Shopping

Spend your 5th day walking in the city where you can look through the shops of Buenos Aires.

In Downtown, you can check the beautiful Galerias Pacífico - with many exclusive shops such as Armani and Victor Hugo - or Calle Florida, known for its shops selling leather articles. 

Palermo also offers lots of shopping activities. You can check the outlets around Palermo Soho (personal note: I really didn´t think they were great or had good prices) or Alto Palermo Shopping

An important tip is to be really careful with pickpockets in the region around Calle Florida. 

As it´s a day to spend money (just kidding), head to the Casino Flotante at night. 

Day 6 - Tigre

You may want to enjoy a day visiting Tigre, the most popular day trip from Buenos Aires. Take the train in Retiro station towards Mitre station. From there, take the touristic "Tren de la Costa" to Tigre.

The most interesting activity in Tigre is a boat tour through the beautiful Rio Tigre. The prices are variable according to the facilities in the boat and the number of passengers. During the tour, there´s a guide that explains about the houses on the shore and other interesting tips about the city.

For the ones with kids, it is worth also taking a look at Parque de la Costa. For sure will be a funny day!

Day 7 - Colonia (Uruguay)

Spend your last day making a day trip to Uruguay. 

Just one hour by fast ferry (Buquebus) from Buenos Aires, is the beautiful city of Colonia, a World Heritage Site.

The city is one of the most importants in Uruguay, for its historical and cultural preserved buildings, dating some centuries, which can show a little of how life were in Latin America by that time.

What you can miss

The terrible service of Sightseeing Bus

Visiting Centro Cultural Recoleta and National Museum of Belle Arts

Botanical Garden in Palermo

Must do!

Eating - and taking home - a box of "alfajor", the traditional Argentinian chocolate cake. The brand "Havana" is the top one!

Having a "dulce de leche" ice cream in Freddo

Going to a Milonga and learning how to dance tango!

Luján Zoo

Enjoying the night in Palermo Soho

Important tips

- Take care with pickpockets in calle Florida and around Retiro Station

- Prefer Radio Taxis to normal taxis. It is common tourists being robbed by false taxi drivers in Buenos Aires

- Always remind to take coins with you in case you want to take buses. It is the only way to pay the bus´tickets there. 

After one week enjoying Buenos Aires, you are able to discover other attractions in the surroundings, like Iguazu Falls, Punta del Este, Cordoba, Rosario, Patagonia, Mendoza or Santiago.

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