In 2005, British newspaper The Sunday Times acclaimed Buenos Aires as the ‘coolest city on earth’. The atmosphere, the ever-present past and the way life takes place in the streets were the most important reasons for this. Buenos Aires is often referred to as the ‘Paris of the south’. This is because of the great European influence throughout the centuries. It is also the birthplace of the tango. You can sense the mishmash of cultures. Everywhere.
Thanks to the usually soft climate, daily life here takes place outside, in the streets, especially in the small alleys with little bars and shops. As a tourist, you can simply sit down on a bench somewhere and watch the women do their shopping, while couples in love will only have eyes for each other and the men will have a chat in the park, often with lively hand gestures.
All this takes place against a décor of rich and exuberant architecture, where the many authentic buildings allow you to sense the atmospere of the past. There are many modern influences as well. This is Buenos Aires, typically Argentinian, but also with a European touch. This is the land of Máxima, but also of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo (locally called Las Madres de Plaza de Mayo) and of course Eva ‘Evita’ Perón.
The Argentinian capital lies on the estuary of the Rio de la Plata river. Despite its awkward location in an area with a lot of water, the city’s architecture is amazing. Almost all roads are built symmetrically, as are the barrios (districts). Still, each barrio has its own distinctive features and there are no less than 47 of them.
After the arrival of the Spanish in the sixteenth century, Buenos Aires remained relatively small for about two hundred years. The Spaniards gave preference to other supply ports, like Lima in Peru. It wasn’t until the 19th century that the city started to blossom. The Europeans arrived in numbers again, this time to build a life here.
The depression that hit Argentina in 2001 was world news. The country is slowly recovering from this and tourism is gradually picking up. The Palermo barrio has city parks with many playing fields and dozens of small bars, outdoor cafés and little shops. The barrios of La Boca (where many artists live) and San Telmo are well-known for their typically South American architecture and atmosphere, with a modern lick of paint…
Relax in Palermo Park
Palermo Park is een oase in de drukke stad. Ideaal voor een wandeling of gewoon even van de rust genieten.Beatrice Murch
If you want to escape the city, you can rent a boat in Palermo Park. Especially during the weekend, this is the park where joggers, cyclists and hikers come together. The layout of the park is beautiful and it is an ideal spot for a picnic or a romantic stroll. Beware: at night, this is a place where prostitutes hang out.
See historical forensic research
The Museo de la Policia Federal is worth a visit if you have a couple of hours to spare. This museum is one of the strangest, most intriguing in the world. It was founded in 1899, by one doctor Julian Beazley, who did research into all sorts of crimes during the reign of president Roca. His tools and appliances are on display here for all to see. Pay attention to the many photographs that often tell the story behind the crime. It’s almost like ‘camp’ seeing it like this, in an old, dusty building.
Attend a football match
Argentinians are crazy about football. To attend a football match is quite the experience. You can purchase tickets for the professional league on line. Boca Juniors is the most popular club of this city, but in fact, every match here is something worth seeing.
Boca Juniors is the club where Maradona played for years and became a famous football player. In the middle of the La Boca barrio lies the football stadium of Boca Juniors. Tourists can get a tour around the stadium; walk past the numerous football trophies and admire their success. The whole stadium breathes the legend Maradona. Besides the statue of the football player, there are many paintings of Maradona on the walls. And of course, he has his own seating, for life..
Witness the changing of the guards
The presidential palace, Casa Rosada, is heavily guarded by the so-called ‘Granaderos de San Martin’. Every day there is the changing of the guards. It starts at 7 am and takes place every two hours. The last changing of the guards is at 9 pm.
Get lost in colorful Calminito
Calle Calminito in the Barrio de la Boca is one of the most extraordinary streets in Buenos Aires. Here (and in the surrounding streets) are houses painted in bright colors. Residents really go out of their way to make their homes an eye-catcher. Roam the streets and get lost in the countless colors of Calminito.
Cook the Argentine cuisine
If you like the Argentine cuisine, you may take up some cooking courses. There are courses that last a couple of days; you will be taught how to make empanadas, how to grill meat, or learn to prepare complete dishes. You can even arrange a package deal with an overnight stay, so you will have the opportunity to really get busy preparing food.
Experience El Teatro Colón
This theater is one of the most prominent opera houses in the world. It is also the place for the famous tango. You can get a tour or visit a concert. The latter will require reservations in advance.
Enjoy a steak at the famous La Cabaña Las Lilas
This restaurant is the place-to-be if you want to discover the national specialty. The grill restaurant first opened in 1905 and is now housed in a converted warehouse in Puerto Madero, near the harbor. The bulls are raised on a hormone-free diet of grains, so the meat is very low on fat. It is an obligatory course for anybody who loves good food.
See the march of The Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo
De Dwaze Moeders komen nog steeds geregeld bijeen op de Plaza de Mayo.Beatrice Murch
The Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo is an association of Argentine mothers whose children have disappeared during the military dictatorship in the 1980s. For decades they have been gathering at the Plaza de Mayo, asking for attention for their missing sons. They still march every Thursday. Their call for justice has become world famous.
Go kayaking around Buenos Aires
The mouth of the river, just outside the city, is ideal for a trip in a kayak. The Parana River is particularly suitable for this. You will also see an entirely different way of living here. The local population inhabits the many islands and the river serves as a lifeline. Although the area has suffered under human activity, it is still an oasis of green.
Walk with a local guide
A city like Buenos Aires has countless attractions which are not included in travel guides. Specifically where popular bars and restaurants are concerned. A local guide is the way to go, also if you wish to have more background information on the many sights worth seeing. You will be able to ask all your questions and it is recommended to get a guide at the start of your visit, so you may quickly feel at home.
Learn to play polo at an authentic school
Polo is a popular sport in Argentina. One of the most famous schools is La Martina Polo Ranch. Tourists are welcome to visit. You can visit the stables, help to take care of the horses and learn to play polo. Besides the rules of the game, you will learn more about the horses and the relationship between the jockey and its horse. An important insight which will help you defeat your opponent…
Contrary to what many people think, Buenos Aires does not have a very warm climate. The seasons are the opposite of European seasons. So winter in Europe means summer in Buenos Aires.
This is why January is the warmest month, with an average temperature of 25°C. The atmosphere is muggy in this period so many local people spend their holidays elsewhere.
In winter, which is July, the temperature drops to 10 or 12 degrees. It doesn’t get very cold here.