Buenos Aires is not the prettiest city in the world but it’s my favourite. Maybe it was that electrifying feeling I got from just roaming on the streets or the amazing people I met there.
Anyway I planned only to stay for 4 days but ended up staying there for 3 weeks instead. I just didn’t want to leave.
There are two airports in Buenos Aires. One within the city area called AEP or Jorge Newbery and another 22km away called EZE or Ezeiza. When I flew to El Calafate from Buenos Aires and back it was very handy to fly to the one nearer to the city.
Get a steak everyday. Best steak I ever had was in Argentina and it’s one steak + one big glass of red wine for 10 USD. I’m not talking about the Asado (that’s more like bbq or something). Get the bife de chorizo (that’s the sirloin). Asado is also good. Also good is the choripan. It’s basically a pork sausage sandwich. Really sinful hey, you’re not there all the time. So go nuts. At the San telmo market there were ladies who were going around selling lemon tarts and cheesecakes. I had one of the best lemon tarts I ever had on that street. I think it was something like 2usd?
One particular place I really liked was this. Recommended by a friend’s friend. A real local’s haunt.
They have a very nice steak that’s done in a special way. With sauce. I forgot the name but here’s a photo of it.
In the 70s, the government stole all the money from its citizens through the banks. Which is why now nobody keeps any of their money there. They prefer to keep their savings in the form of USD, which is a lot more stable than their own pesos. Hence, there is a “blue market”, mainly in Florida street where people approach you and say cambio cambio (meaning, change, change). When I was there in September 2014 the exchange on the streets was 14 pesos to 1 USD whereas the ones offered by official banks were 8 pesos to 1 USD. You can also pay in some restaurants using USD too. The rate is not as good as that on the streets but still way better than the banks.
This is where you change your money.
Don’t change with this pudgy guy in a flashy white suit (sometimes he wears an entirely red one too. Yeah I know it’s completely ridiculous). I don’t like his vibes. Always use your vibes.
I have a go-to guy! He’s about 1.82m, 26 years old, cleancut looking, friendly, quite cute and slim built. He wears a white long sleeved shirt and hangs out near Macdonalds, somewhere in the middle of Florida street. He’s actually the frontman of two older guys dressed like SWAT guys – thick black vests, shaved heads. You won’t see them until you approach this friendly guy I mentioned earlier. I like them. Good rates, and no funny business. Pounds was 22 pesos to 1 USD. Try to check the street rate before you go with the hotel.
Famous book shop which used to be an opera house. It looks better in photos though. I was underwhelmed. But still worth checking out. It’s right there anyway.
famous and quite close to you. Nice for a cake but skip the tango show! It’s so touristy and fake. The real tango is in…
Possibly the coolest place I have ever been. Warehouse converted into a huge milonga (where locals dance tango).
I even still remember the address!
Medrana y Sarmiento (may-drah-na ee sar-mee-and-to)
If you only go to one place in Buenos Aires, make sure this is the one. It’s cool even if you don’t dance tango. Locals come in tshirts and jeans. Nothing flashy. They just come here to dance. That’s the real magic of tango.
Nice hippy area with tons of cool cafes. Also very cool second hand market. There’s this awesome looking guy with white hair who sells like a million chairs. Friendly chap even though he looks too cool to care. You can ask him for a photo.
Amazing Sunday market where I found really cool stuff! This is where I spent 200 pesos on 1 peso. I even got this really cool coin but gave it away to a friend. Would love to get another one of these. Like maybe 10-20 USD each depending on the effort but for the amount of skill involved I’d say it costs practically next to nothing. Especially when it’s one of a kind. This guy actually sawed the spaces out of the words on a COIN.
There’s a copycat (Youngish. Like in his 20s) next to him but the guy who does a spectacular job is a middle aged guy. About 44 years old, 1.75m, slim built. Quiet.
Even if you miss the Sunday market, it’s still a really cool place to hang out in with a lot of street art and bands usually come in 8 members or more. They’re so into it!
A new friend I made there took me to decipher all the sauces he always wanted to buy. Quite interesting. It’s surprisingly big! I had a good 生煎包 (a Chinese fried bun) there.
Pretty colourful area. Safe within the touristy site. Just don’t go beyond the touristy area. Don’t be worried. I went everywhere alone! And there were a lot of nice policemen watching your back and warning you if you went too far away.
You can also get the alpacas that TOM has copied from Argentina. The original ones are Paez and they’re the most comfortable pairs of shoes ever. I have two. Great for travelling too.
Get the hotel to order one for you. And if you’re on the streets, try to only get Radio Taxis. You will see the sign on the cab.
So here’s what happened to some friends I made in Calafate. They were moving between hostels and when they were on a street they suddenly felt some smelly water (green, like mustard) spilled on them. Two other tourists nearby offered to help and when they were wiping the liquid off they said oh it’s on your Tshirt it’s on your backpack! And once they took off their backpacks, a third guy appeared from nowhere and slipped away with their stuff. My friends were lucky and noticed it before he went very far. He yelled at him and the scoundrel just dropped them on the floor and walked away. As if nothing happened. So did the “tourists”. I heard of another case during my first week there and even when it happened to me and my friend – we were just walking down a normal street. It wasn’t a touristy area at all. I completely forgot about it until I heard the guy who was helping us get rid of the liquid say “backpack, backpack”. So yeah. No backpacks.
A SPECIAL TIP
If you’re really, really lucky and you’re flying from the Iguazu Falls to Buenos Aires, opt for a window seat. Your pilot might just decide to take you for a spin above the falls. The whole plane erupted. In cheers, that is. There were also two eruptions because after the first frenzy he decided to show the other side of the plane the falls too!