Argentinians are known in the Latin-American world to be the arrogant bastards of South America. But let me tell you: they have a damn good reason to be.
Argentinians are a beautiful and vivacious people who don’t mind sharing their love for Argentinian culture with any foreigner willing to listen. And unlike most of their culturally more “Latino” neighbors, young Argentinians prefer Italian food, wine, electronic music and rock ‘n’ roll.
So while you might be expecting a true Latin experience in Buenos Aires, what you’ll get is an unpretentious Paris without the price tag. Here are our 10 reasons to visit Buenos Aires.
1. Just like Europe without the Euro
Buenos Aires has all the features of a major city in Europe: great shopping, tons of culture and a pumping nightlife. But instead of the euro or (shoot me now) the pound, you have the peso. One dollar gets you a little more than 4 pesos. For the budget travelers that means you can rock out with your______ out.
I rarely shop when I travel. It’s an expensive habit that could potentially end with you at Western Union begging friends and family for money for your next meal. Buenos Aires is the exception. Shopping is in your face 24/7. To make it worse, retail items, especially clothes, are super cheap and super fly. Head to the Plaza Serrano in Palermo or Florida street in San Telmo.
3. People are Sexy
Argentinians are hot and they know it. If you plan on going to Buenos Aires, leave your dirty sneakers and over-worn t-shirts at home because the city is one big fashion runway. Porteños love to dress up in clothes that show off their bodies and express their individual sense of style. Nearly all the girls are model-thin with hair past their waists and the all guys seem to subscribe to the ‘GTL’ (gym, tan, laundry) principle.
4. Street Art
Graffiti in Buenos Aires is not an act of vandalism committed by society’s underbelly like it’s perceived in most major cities. In Buenos Aires, street art is a public art to be enjoyed. You will even find artists tagging buildings in the daytime. Check out our photo gallery from our tour with Graffiti Mundo. Definitely not to be missed if you are a street art aficionado.
5. Everything is Late
Dinner doesn’t start before 9pm and parties start after 12am (and go well into the next morning). Buenos Aires is the city where you don’t wake up to see the sunrise because you will more than likely still be partying when the sun is coming up. In yo’ face, New York! To party all night long to a a variety of music, head to Club Araoz in Palermo. For outdoor bars, walk down La Calle (Street) Chile in San Telmo.
6. Transportation is Cheap and Easy
Getting around Buenos Aires is as easy as the girls in the Red Light District of Amsterdam and as cheap as buying tortillas in Mexico. Streets are well signed, the subway or Subte costs less than 3 pesos and inexpensive taxis can be found on almost any street at anytime of the day or night.
7. Trendy Lodging
If there were ever a time you didn’t have to worry about having to take on the task of finding the most sanitary hostel, traveling to BA is one of them. Most travelers will be able to afford chic accommodations for a fraction of the price. We opted to stay in the San Telmo, the tango district, at the Moreno Hotel. It was centrally located, had a rooftop Jacuzzi, a free breakfast and was less than 100 dollars a night.
8. You Can Drink Tea Through a Metal Straw
Mate, pronounced Ma-tay, is a drink infused with herbs and the national drink of Argentina. It is served in a hollowed gourd and sipped through a metal straw. Although the drink is an acquired taste (it’s quite bitter), you will see everyone sipping it, including children. Even if you don’t like it (and you probably won’t), it just looks really cool.
9. You Can Take a Ferry to Uruguay
The small, picturesque town of Colonia del Sacramento, a UNESCO World heritage site founded by the Portuguese, is easily accessible from Buenos Aires. You can catch a ferry from Buenos Aires to Colonia for around 50 bucks for a trip that takes 1-3 hours (depending on how much you want to pay). While you’re there, rent a scooter and head to the historical district of Colonia for a little added culture to your trip.
10. Bob Marley
Despite BA’s tendency towards the swanky and sexy, there is a very large and present Bohemian culture. And nothing shouts ‘I am bohemian’ like a t-shirt with Bob Marley accessorized with a red, yellow and green wristband. Throughout Buenos Aires, you will find Bob’s image plastered on all kinds of merchandise – almost as much as you would in Jamaica. Check out Palermo Soho and Palermo Hollywood for some real bohemian culture and style.