Visit Buenos Aires: The Ultimate Buenos Aires City Guide

If you’re planning a trip to Buenos Aires, then this is the post for you!

This article is full of all the logistical information you need.

Airport transfers, local dining etiquette, public transportation and more, read this post through to the end to find out everything you need to know to visit Buenos Aires.

Quick note: This post contains affiliate links to products & services. Sol Salute may receive a commission for purchases made through these links, at no extra cost to you.

A Local’s Complete Guide to Visit Buenos Aires

Last updated to ensure up-to-date information: April 2021

Well, an almost local. I’ve lived in this ciudad de la furia for more than a decade, for most of my adult life.

We have a love/hate relationship with each other, the kind most passionate people, uh, I mean cities, can often illicit.

In this post I’ve written out all of the vital information I always give to my friends, and their friends and friends of friends (and on it goes) when they plan to visit Buenos Aires. 

First & Foremost, Forget about “Paris of South America”

First off, I apologize if I’m offending any porteños reading this. But Buenos Aires is absolutely nothing like Paris.

It’s true that Buenos Aires is far more European than the rest of its neighbors in South America, and the locals take great pride in this.

French, Spanish, and mainly Italian immigrants flooded Buenos Aires at the beginning of the 20th Century and there is no denying the impact all of this had on the local culture.

But Buenos Aires is not Paris.

And that’s not a bad thing!

Buenos Aires is vibrant, lively, and also a little grungy.

It’s a hodgepodge.

Right next to a building that would fit right in Paris you’ll find a rundown abandoned 1990’s office building.

This is what I love and hate about this city. But isn’t that contradiction in feelings perfect for a city full of contrasts?

So my advice to anyone planning a visit to Buenos Aires, let go of any expectations and you’ll be open to love Buenos Aires exactly for what it is. 

Check out my Buenos Aires Resources:

Speak the Language: Argentine Spanish

Like most of South America, Spanish is the mother tongue here. But unlike most of South America, locals of Buenos Aires speak with a unique accent and vocabulary to the rest of the continent.

Castellano Rioplatense, or River Plate Spanish, or even more simply Argentine Spanish, refers to the Spanish spoken around the Rio de la Plata (River Plate) here in Buenos Aires.

Read More | Lunfardo: Everything You Need to Know About Argentine Slang

The “ll” and “y” is pronounced with a “sh” sound. Calle becomes cashe, pollo sounds like posho. Buenos Aires is also home to its own slang, called Lunfardo.

If you’re interested in Spanish and want to sound like a local check out Che, Boludo, it’s a fantastic resource.

You can also brush up on your Argentine Spanish by watching these excellent Argentine movies.

A woman walks down a cobblestone street in front of a yellow building

How to get into Buenos Aires from Ezeiza International Airport

Argentina’s international airport is located 22 kilometers outside town but feels much further.

If you read something about a reciprocity fee required for citizens of the US, Canada or Australia, FEAR NOT.

This is no longer a requirement and you won’t have to pay any reciprocity fee to enter Argentina.

How to get into town from here?

Manuel Tienda Leon

Manuel Tienda Leon is a trusty classic. You can get your ticket for their bus from their booth located just after you exit customs. They have two stops: their station in Puerto Madero and the Aeroparque airport.

It currently costs $490-580 pesos, confirm current prices online. 

They also offer a Remis service (private transfer) for $1990 pesos if you’d prefer a taxi.

Remis/Taxis

  • What is a Remis? | Private town cars. Similar to taxis but always with a set rate, like UBER before UBER existed and without the handy app.
  • Remis | For a taxi, book one of the remis services you’ll see just as you leave customs. After customs but before you’re out in the public area there’s a tiny room with booths offering taxi services. Prices differ on what area of the city you’re going to. You can pay with a credit card.
  • Taxi Ezeiza | After you leave customs and pass the remis desks, there is a large desk for Taxi Ezeiza. Prices will be set depending on where you’re going, and average around $1140 pesos at the moment. They also accept credit cards.
  • Important | Do not hail a taxi outside the airport. They will charge you whatever they feel you’ll pay. It is safest to arrange for a taxi/remis at one of the booths inside.

Book an Airport Transfer

While you can get a taxi or remis at the airport upon arrival, sometimes there are waits if a lot of flights have arrived at the same time.

If you want to avoid a wait or just feel more comfortable knowing the set price ahead of time, you can reserve your airport transfer before your trip.

You’ll have someone waiting for you with your name on a paper-like in the movies!

Click here to reserve an airport transfer for your arrival.

UBER From Ezeiza

While it’s possible to take UBER from Ezeiza, I don’t recommend it for tourists and first time visitors. I recently took UBER home from a recent flight (in June 2019), mainly to test it out.

Since UBER still isn’t fully legal in Argentina, the drivers can’t pick you up outside the terminal. My pick up location appeared as one of the parking lots, but when I got there I couldn’t find my driver. Eventually he called me and helped me find him and everything was fine.

However, if you’ve never been here and you don’t speak Spanish it will be stressful to find your driver. You also won’t have WiFi once you go outside, making it hard to communicate with your driver.

For a smooth arrival, take one of the many transfer options detailed above.

A mural of a woman in a white bandana and yellow shirt with her hand in a fist by a sun

How to get into Buenos Aires from Aeroparque Airport

Aeroparque is the smaller airport reserved mainly for domestic travel.

Aeroparque is in Palermo on the Costanera Norte (on the river).

Transportation is much cheaper than from Ezeiza, you’re already in town!

The Aeroparque Taxi Line

Until very recently, the taxis in Aeroparque have operated a bit like a mafia. You could easily have had a great experience with no drama, or you could just as easily have been sitting in a taxi with a rigged meter and not known.

To put it honestly, they weren’t an honest crowd. Thankfully, the local government has stepped in to regulate the AEP taxi situation.

There is a new, organized system for getting your taxi from Aeroparque. Each ride will have a set price depending on your destination.

To reserve your taxi and find out your price, input your destination’s exact address into one of the computers inside the terminal. It will print out a ticket for you to take to the line and present to your taxi driver.

At the end of the ride you can pay by cash or credit card. For more information and to see photos of the computers (totems), etc, read this article (in Spanish).

Private Transfer from Aeroparque

You can also reserve a private driver if you’d rather not deal with anything upon arrival.

Click here to arrange your airport transfer and have your driver waiting for you outside baggage claim.

People cross the street in San Telmo in front of taxis and buses
San Telmo on a busy Sunday afternoon

Best time of year to Visit Buenos Aires

Here’s a quick breakdown of the seasons in Buenos Aires. It will tell you everything you need to know, but if you’re traveling across Argentina (Patagonia? Iguazu?), then you need to also read my guide on the best time to visit Argentina as it can vary by region.

Spring & Fall

Like in most places, spring and fall offer the best weather. Spring (mid-September through November) is ideal, and November is the best month to visit Buenos Aires(in my personal opinion).

The purple jacaranda flowers begin to bloom throughout the city, lining the streets and parks with tones of lavender. Fall is another great time to visit, with mild weather in March and April.

A 6 lane avenue with no cars weaves between jacaranda trees in bloom
Spring in Buenos Aires is the most beautiful!

Summer & Christmas in Buenos Aires

Summer (December-February)  is a BEAST in Buenos Aires. It is hot as hades and humid as hell, very similar to Houston in July. Visiting Buenos Aires during the holidays?

Christmas Eve Buenos Aires is the big holiday, not the 25th. Argentines get together for family dinners and shoot off fireworks at midnight. Find a terrace to enjoy the show.

Read my complete guide to Christmas in Buenos Aires for more information if you’ll be visiting in December.

New Year’s Eve may sound tempting, but beware that NYE is a family-centered holiday here, just like Christmas Eve. Don’t expect a massive Times Square-style party in the streets.

Locals will be counting down the clock with their families. In January the city empties when the locals leave to spend their summer vacations in Mar del Plata, Punta del Este or Miami.

Winter

Winter (June-August) is dreary in Buenos Aires. While the weather never drops to insufferable lows, it is a wet, humid cold. And what fun is the cold without any Christmas cheer?

When you’re cold in Europe or NYC, at least you have the contagious holiday cheer to keep you going! But if you can only visit in Winter, fear not, it’s not insufferable.

Dining Hours & Norms in Buenos Aires

The daily schedule in Buenos Aires runs a few hours later than the average American’s daily routine.

  • Mornings are sleepy with light breakfasts of pastry, toast, and coffee.
  • Lunch is available from noon until around 3.
  • Dinners are late. Restaurants open at 8 but most don’t fill up until around 10 pm. But don’t worry if you’re hungry early, I go out to eat at 8 pm all the time, ain’t no shame in my game.
  • Hungry? Try one of these traditional Argentine desserts when in Buenos Aires.
  • Happy Hours, when offered, are usually between 7-9pm, sometimes starting earlier but not usually ending any later than 9.
  • Boliches (dance clubs/discos) don’t start to get wild until after 2 or 3 am. But I have no further tips for that, I’m far past that life stage haha.

Hungry? Read This Next | A Guide to Eating Steak in Argentina (+ the Best Steakhouses)

Tipping in Buenos Aires

Tipping is the norm in Buenos Aires, around 10% is acceptable. You can definitely leave more if you feel the service was spectacular, but don’t feel like you need to follow US standards.

If you’re tipping on a credit card, you’ll have to ask them to add it to the bill when you give them the card. You cannot add the tip afterward like you can in the US.

But only do this if you really don’t have the cash on hand. Cash tips are clearly the only way to ensure the server ends up with his or her tip.

What’s a “cubierto” and why is it on my dinner bill?

You also may see a charge called “cubierto” on your bill at the end of a meal. What’s cubierto? It’s an obnoxious fee that technically should include a glass of water and bread.

It’s a thing of the past and a lot of new restaurants no longer charge cubierto, (which translates to “cover charge”).  But for those that do, most include nothing at all, bread if you’re lucky.

Cubierto does not count as your tip.

The cubierto fee goes to the restaurant, not the server.

Argentine pesos spread out on a table

Money Issues and Currency of Argentina

The official Argentine currency is the peso. To check the day’s exchange rate click here (with the way it fluctuates I’d prefer not to put any set rate in print).

Dollar Blue

In true volatile Argentine fashion (updated June 2020), the dollar blue is back. The dollar blue is the black market exchange rate for the US dollar in Argentina.

It first reared it’s ugly head during Cristina Kirchner’s presidency. It disappeared for the four years Mauricio Macri was president but Cristina’s party is back in power and with it, the monetary policies that brought about the dolar blue.

Should you use the dolar blue? If you’re going to be exchanging a large sum of money, it might be in your interest to exchange in a cueva (cave, or unofficial exchange house that uses this exchange rate) to get the most bang for your buck. Ask your hotel or Airbnb host if they know one to recommend (I’m sorry, I do not).

If you’re not going to be exchanging much money, it may not be worth the hassle or safety concerns. This is a personal decision, so when in doubt, just use the ATMs (and receive the official exchange rate).

Do I need to bring pesos with me?

Short answer? No, you do not. And even if you want to, you’ll be hard pressed to find banks abroad with pesos available to sell to you.

You can use a credit card when you arrive at the airport to pay for your taxi into the city. Once in the city, stick to the ATM’s or legitimate exchange houses there.

High ATM Fees

Now that I’ve recommended that you use ATM’s, I feel obliged to let you know that ATM fees here can be astronomical. When I use my foreign debit card to take out cash, the ATM charges me the equivalent of $10 US.

LINK ATM’s tend to have cheaper fees, so look for the LINK stickers on bank windows for cheaper rates (compared to the higher rates of Banelco).

If you have a bank that refunds your ATM fees, bring it! My Fidelity debit card refunds me these fees immediately. If you don’t, take out as much as you can at a time to avoid repeat transactions and multiple fees.

Read Next | The Best Tango Shows in Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires Currency Exchange

If you’re planning on avoiding ATM’s by exchanging money, here are some helpful tips on currency exchange in Buenos Aires.

Arbolitos

You will also hear cries of “cambio cambio cambio cambio” as you walk down Florida street downtown. These people are referred to as arbolitosor “little trees,” in reference to their green “leaves” of dollars.

I don’t recommend exchanging money with them. It’s always possible you’ll be slipped a few fake bills (or all fakes).

Bring Large, Clean Bills

If you’re dead set on exchanging money in Buenos Aires, bring large bills. Exchange houses in Argentina prefer hundreds but will also accept fifty dollar bills. Do not bring five, ten or twenty dollar bills, they won’t take them.

Make sure the bills are impeccable (no tears, marks or writing).

It’s best to get these straight from a bank teller at home before leaving so they can personally give you the best quality bills.

Where to stay: Buenos Aires Neighborhood Guide

Buenos Aires is a huge, sprawling city, so where you stay can really have a huge impact on your trip. Here’s a quick breakdown of the main neighborhoods in Buenos Aires.

This post includes an overview of all my favorite neighborhoods, but if you want a more in depth guide on the hotels and Airbnbs in each one read my guide on where to stay in Buenos Aires. It’ll help you book the best accommmodation possible!

Neighborhoods in The Heart of the Action

Stay in one of these neighborhoods if you like to be in the middle of everything and close to main attractions, shops, and restaurants.

Palermo Soho & Palermo Hollywood

Stay here if being close to the best restaurants and nightlife is what you’re after.

Palermo Soho & Hollywood are the go-to neighborhoods for most expats and tourists for where to stay and live in Buenos Aires.

Soho and Hollywood are two sub-barrios within the enormous umbrella neighborhood that is Palermo.

They border each other, separated by Avenida Juan B Justo.

They’re both full of sidewalk cafes, bars, restaurants of all types and offer the best nightlife in the city. They’re hip and beautiful. Enjoy the Palermo street art and picturesque streets covered with canopies from the trees lining the streets.

Recoleta

Stay here if you booked your ticket with your heart set on seeing the infamous “Paris of the South.”

Recoleta is full of beautiful mansions, luxury hotels, and stunning architecture.

You may see Barrio Norte also appear as an option. Barrio Norte is technically part of Recoleta but consists more of large apartment towers rather than historic mansions (and it is intersected by commercial Avenida Santa Fe).

For that old-school Recoleta vibe, try to find a place near Plaza Francia.

An old cafe street corner and a cobblestone street
San Telmo

San Telmo

Stay here if you appreciate a bit of history. Try to stay on or near Defensa or Balcarce streets (the streets closest to Avenida 9 de Julio can be less agreeable after dark).

San Telmo lies towards the south of downtown, sitting between Plaza de Mayo and La Boca further to the south.

This was my first home in Buenos Aires and will always hold a special place in my heart.

With cobblestoned streets and historic buildings, it has a certain charm. However, don’t come with any illusions of grandeur. Many of these old buildings are crumbling and decaying.

However, I think this creates its own sort of unpolished beauty. San Telmo is full of historic cafes, bars, and parillas. San Telmo is also home to one of the best markets in Buenos Aires.

It’s centrally located to plenty of tourist attractions to make your daily explorations easy.

Red brick warehouses next to the water
Puerto Madero

Puerto Madero

Crossing Avenida Paseo Colon from San Telmo, you’ll find Buenos Aires’ youngest neighborhood. It feels polished and modern, with new luxury apartment towers lining the docks.

It can feel a bit isolated from the rest of the city as it isn’t very easily connected with public transportation and you can only get in and out via certain streets.

Stay here if you prefer things clean and modern. However, I find it a bit sterile. I don’t personally recommend staying here but definitely come for a stroll.

Neighborhoods to Live Like A Local

Here are neighborhoods that are bit off the tourist path where you can feel like a local.

Villa Crespo

Villa Crespo borders Palermo, separated by Avenida Cordoba. Despite being home to some great restaurants and bars of its own, Villa Crespo is much quieter than its popular neighbor.

The neighborhood is also home to some of the city’s best street art, outlet shopping (if that’s your thing) and its own futbol team (Atlanta).

Stay here if you want to stay within walking distance of Palermo’s nightlife but enjoy a more residential feel.

Colegiales

Moving northwards past Palermo Hollywood you’ll find Colegiales. Colegiales is a residential neighborhood with smaller houses and apartment buildings.

It’s getting more lively with new restaurants opening up every year but it’s still full of young families and cute homes. You’ll require taxis or public transportation to get to the heart of things, but it’s not far.

Stay here if you like to live like a local when you travel.

Belgrano

Belgrano

Even further north, after Colegiales, you’ll find a behemoth of a neighborhood, Belgrano. Belgrano is enormous, just like Palermo. Avenida Cabildo is its commercial center, full of shops and chain restaurants.

Closer towards Libertador Avenue you’ll find Chinatown and large apartment buildings near Barrancas de Belgrano.

Or stay near Plaza Castelli to experience the posh Belgrano R area, with historic old homes and tree-lined cobblestoned avenues.

Subte line D on Cabildo will have you in Palermo, Recoleta or downtown in a flash. If you stay near Plaza Castelli the train at Belgrano R Station will have you in Palermo in 5 minutes or downtown in 20.

Stay here if you’re looking a quiet, residential feel that’s family friendly.

Almagro

While in Belgrano you can live like a quiet, relaxed local, in Almagro you’re in the middle of it all.

This is a bustling commercial neighborhood and is a more middle-class barrio in comparison to Recoleta’s very upper class demographic.

To continue the needless Recoleta comparisons, it’s also less easy on the eyes. Almagro is grungy and busy. It’s not the Paris of the South, it’s pure Buenos Aires, you’ll love it or you’ll hate it.

Random fact: Almagro is home to Pope Francis’ favorite football team!

Stay here if you want to live like a local but not lose the big city hustle and bustle.

Cars drive by a street corner with a carlos gardel mural painted on the upper floors
Almagro

Buenos Aires Hotel Recommendations

Luxury Hotels in Buenos Aires

Hyatt Palacio Duhau | Want to feel like a princess in her palace? This is the place. Palacio Duhau is located on one of the fanciest streets in Recoleta, amidst luxury hotels, mansions, and designer boutiques. It’s only a few blocks away from the Recoleta Cemetery and Avenida 9 de Julio, making the location priceless. Check rates here.

Four Seasons | You know you’re always going to receive the best service imaginable in a Four Seasons. It also doesn’t hurt that the 4 Seasons is home to two of the best restaurants in Buenos Aires. Order a charcuterie plate and a sirloin in Elena and you’ll think you’ve gone straight to heaven. The hip lobby bar, Pony Line, makes a mean burger and great cocktails. Check rates here.

Boutique Hotels In Buenos Aires

Home Hotel | In Palermo Hollywood, Home Hotel is a great small hotel. It has a gorgeous green interior patio, pool and a spa to use a refuge from the city streets. In Hollywood, it’s smack in the middle of the city’s best restaurants and bars. Check rates here.

Be Jardin by Coppola | Did you know that Francis Ford Coppola owns boutique hotels? His property in Palermo Soho is a beautiful old home, his old home in fact. It’s an oasis to escape the city streets, with a beautiful pool and patio (perfect to sip on a glass of Malbec to end the day. Check rates here.

L’Adresse Hôtel Boutique | Prefer historic San Telmo? Hotel Babel is a modern and chic boutique hotel in the heart of the colonial, cobblestoned neighborhood. You’ll be near the weekly market, La Boca, Plaza de Mayo, and Puerto Madero. Check rates here.

 

Buenos aires Hostels & Backpackers

Milhouse Hostel Avenue | A friend of mine stayed in Milhouse and had a great experience. It’s on Avenida de Mayo, walking distance to San Telmo, Plaza de Mayo, and 9 de Julio.

You have access to the kitchen and grills on the roof to prepare your own food.

The rooms have lockers to secure your belongings. There’s a common area to socialize and the rooms were comfortable to relax in. Check rates here.

Art Factory Palermo | Art Factory is one of the coolest hostels in the city! The walls are covered in murals and graffiti artwork.

This hostel really represents the creative side of Buenos Aires. This one is in Palermo, they also have one in San Telmo and one in Soho. Check rates here.

City buses on a busy avenue

Buenos Aires Public Transportation

SUBE Transportation Card

The SUBE is the travel card you’ll need if you want to take any form of public transportation. Buses don’t accept cash, and subway stations no longer sell tickets.

If you want a SUBE, check this map here for an official selling point. Under the Provincia drop down, select CABA, and then under Localidad, select your neighborhood of choice.

The easiest way to purchase your SUBE card is at Subte ticket windows. They cost 50 pesos each and they will sell you only one per person.

Kioskos (convenience stores) that have the SUBE logo in the window also sell them sometimes. Load money onto your SUBE card in kioskos or in the subway stations.

How to Navigate Buenos Aires

The city government has their own answer to Google Maps called “Como Llego.” Visit the website here to map out your route, or download the free app from the iTunes store here.

It offers public transportation options as well as walking and biking directions. This app is a great resource, I use it over Google Maps 10 times out of 10.

For a list of the best apps (navigation, ridesharing and otherwise), read my post about the best apps to download in Buenos Aires.

A man waits to cross the street as a city bus drives by

Los Colectivos: City Buses

In Buenos Aires, the bus is king. There is absolutely nowhere that a colectivo (bus) won’t take you. There are so many it can be very intimidating to try.

If you’re brave, start with the 152. The 152 line will take you anywhere a tourist could possibly want to go.

Starting at its terminal in La Boca, it passes through San Telmo, snakes behind the Casa Rosada on it’s way to Plaza San Martin in Retiro where it hangs a left up Avenida Santa Fe.

It crawls northwards along Santa Fe, crossing 9 de Julio into Recoleta, then into Palermo, and continuing northwards to Belgrano and the northern suburbs.

How to use the bus in Buenos Aires

To take the bus, tell the driver where you’re going (the price depends on distance traveled), then pay by placing your SUBE card on the little machine.

Respect the line, porteños aren’t messing around, they respect the order of the line when boarding the bus.

The elderly, pregnant women, and children have priority to a seat, so don’t pretend to not see them unless you want a tongue lashing from everyone on the bus, including the driver.

El Subte: The Underground

The subte (short for subterraneo, or the underground) lines in Buenos Aires are in the shape of your hand. The lines all originate downtown (or in your palm) and branch out, never to meet again.

The government has ramped up construction on the H line (the yellow line above) in recent years, which has made connecting lines a bit easier.

Trains

The train station you’ll most likely visit is Estacion Mitre in Retiro. There are three lines that leave this station.

The Tigre Line takes you to, you guessed it, TIGRE (to visit the river delta). The station has been recently remodeled and is in impeccable condition. It is worth a visit whether or not you plan to take the train.

Ridesharing & UBER in Buenos Aires

Uber in Buenos Aires is technically an illegal operation. This doesn’t keep their driver’s off the street, however, and I use UBER all the time here.

Why? I’ve had countless negative interactions with taxi drivers here trying to rip me off and I am tired of it. But that is neither here nor there, should you take UBER in Argentina?

Safety of UBER in Argentina

Taxis here are still no fan of UBER (are taxi drivers anyway friends with them?). If you take UBER here, then sit in the front seat with the driver. Don’t take Uber from the airport where official taxis will retaliate.

Also, expect longer wait times (averaging around 10 minutes) and don’t be surprised if your drivers repeatedly cancel your trip. They accept cash payments here (because Argentine credit cards won’t work in the app).

I’ve been told by one driver that since they prefer cash to credit cards, that he sometimes cancels rides when he sees an obviously foreign-looking name (since foreign tourists, and people like me, tend to always use credit cards).

UBER Alternatives in Buenos Aires

If you want to avoid these hassles, there are a few great (read: legal) alternatives. Download these apps ahead of your trip to make things easier.

  1. Cabify: I love Cabify. It’s basically UBER but more above board. Use my code ERINM7 for credit towards your first ride with them.
  2. BA Taxi is an UBER-like app made by the city government for the official yellow taxis. You can order a taxi as you would with UBER or Lyft and pay with a credit card. You can download their iOS app here or in the Google Play store here.
  3. EasyTaxi is another great app for hailing taxis from your phone.

A colorful street corner in the dark at night

Is Buenos Aires Safe?

Just like you would in any large city, exercise caution. But don’t stress, overall Buenos Aires is a safe city.

You don’t need to worry about violent crimes or kidnappings or anything of the sort. However, you do need to be careful with your belongings as there is a lot of petty theft.

Your pockets or purses can be picked on a busy subway so keep your valuables in a closed bag in front of you.

The most common occurrence is the motochorro (moto-thief), where someone on a moto will just grab your bag or phone while they speed past you. If you’re concerned about pick pockets, consider a great anti theft backpack.

One thing is certain, if anyone demands your belongings, don’t argue with them. Hand it over. An iPhone or a camera is never worth risking your life for.

Also, keep in mind that while certain neighborhoods (La Boca for example) have bad reputations, you should be equally aware everywhere you go. Thieves follow the money and that is usually in the nicer neighborhoods.

READ MORE: Is Buenos Aires safe for tourists? My complete guide on how to stay safe in Argentina.

Enjoy your time in Buenos Aires!

If you’re planning your trip and have any questions at all, ask away in the comments! I want everyone who visits to have a great experience so don’t hesitate.

Looking for unique things to do in Buenos Aires?

Consider one of these 8 best Buenos Aires day trips or visit on of the best Buenos Aires estancias.

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81 thoughts on “Visit Buenos Aires: The Ultimate Buenos Aires City Guide”

  1. Wow! That sounds so amazing! I hope one day to visit Buenos Aires, thanks to your inspiring article! I love how colorful is this place! Your pictures are amazing! Thank you for providing all this helpful information about Buenos Aires! ❤

    Reply
  2. It’s been a while since I read a blog post with so many interesting and useful informations. Unfortunately I still don’t have plan to visit only big desire. But my friend is leaving in 3 weeks, I will share this with him. 🙂

    Reply
  3. I have never been to Buenuos Aires, but I would def refer to this guide as you have everything covered. I have stayed in Airbnb in South America and enjoyed them. I would much rather hang out with the locals to get a feel for the places I am staying.

    Reply
  4. I really want to visit Buenos Aires. I didn’t realise it was so colourful and vibrant. I would love to check out Palmero and the tango shows. Thanks for the bit on safety too, I know it has a reputation as a city!

    Reply
  5. Loved this post! It was incredibly comprehensive and appreciate your humorous writing style. Buenos Aires is somewhere we’re considering for an extended visit in a year or so, and while we’re learning Spanish, the unique dialect has been intimidating. Thanks for providing resources and for breaking down the ins and outs of the city so fully. And also for suggesting an Uber alternative that isn’t terrible.
    It’s funny, I’ve heard the city referred to as the NY of Latin America. It always seems people are trying to promote places by ascribing some poorly-fitting comparison.

    Reply
    • Thanks so much! It’s a very unique accent and they have so many words that don’t exist anywhere else! Sometimes it’s just best to jump in, immersion is the best way! You’ll pick it up faster than you’d expect once you’re here. That’s funny you’ve heard it referred to as the NY of Latin America, they LOVE NY so much. I don’t get it, they even have a bar that recently opened that is designed to make you feel like you’re in the NY Subway system…I’ll never understand why they look outwards so much when they have such a vibrant culture of their own.

      Reply
  6. Hi! I’m heading to Buenos Aires for the first time this month. I will be flying in from Santiago. Since I am American will I need to pay the entry fee? You mean toon it falling by the waist side. What do you mean by that? Also, any additional advice for a female solo traveler?
    Thanks!!

    Reply
    • Hi Anna!! I’m sorry, I hadn’t even thought about how that saying might not be very clear! I’ll edit the post to make it clearer, But good news, you do NOT have to pay any entrance/reciprocity fee when you arrive in Argentina. When Obama came to Argentina on a state visit with President Macri they made changes and no longer charge the reciprocity fee.As for tips for a solo female traveler, I’d follow the same precautions you’d follow in any large city. Be careful for pickpockets and keep yourself aware of your surroundings always. Don’t be flashy with your smartphone on the sidewalks etc and taxis are plentiful, if you feel nervous walking alone you can always take a taxi. But overall, enjoy yourself!

      Reply
  7. I just found your website and I think it’s great! I’m from Argentina and I think you did a very good and complete job explaining everything. It really flatters me (as a local) to know you chose here to stay. I mean, we usually complain about everything (you probably know this already hahaha) We, as locals, would always prefer living in North America or Europe instead.I got carried away sorry. I’m from San Martin by the way!

    Reply
    • Thanks so much! I’m glad to have a local’s approval! I’m very used to hearing people ask why I’m here when I could be in the US! hahah complaining is a national hobby! Nice to meet you!

      Reply
  8. How many days do I need to spend in Buenos Aires to experience and see the best there is to see? I plan to go to Iguazu for 2-3 days and then fly south for a cruise around Patagonia, 4-5 days, then flying to Santiago de Chile for 2-3 days. Thank you,

    Reply
    • Hi Diana, I’d spend at least 4-5 days in Buenos Aires to see the highlights without being too rushed. It’s a very large city! I’d add a few days if you’d like to do some day trips to the delta in Tigre, a “dia de campo” day on an Estancia ranch, or to Colonia in Uruguay. Your itinerary sounds amazing, you’re going to have such a good trip!

      Reply
  9. Thank you for the easy to read information about Buenos Aires! I will be making my first trip to the area December 2nd and have booked an apartment in Monserrat for the 1st week. I don’t know how long I will be in BA, since I am going to take things day by day and have 2-4 months to explore Argentina, Uruguay and Chile. Since salsa dancing is a passion of mine ( Cuban style), I wanted to ask you if you know of any places to dance that might have a Cuban band? Also, since it will probably be hot when I arrive, do you know of any great rooftop bars or restaurants? Muchas Gracias, Miguel

    Reply
    • You’re so welcome, I’m glad to hear it was helpful! Amazing that you have so much time to explore the region, you’ll be glad you do. To answer your questions, I’m not a dancer so I can’t offer any personal recommendations but I did find this link (in Spanish) with a list of bars that offer Salsa. It’s from 2016 though, so I could double check with the bars’ websites and Facebook pages to make sure the information is still accurate as things can change often. http://www.salsasocial.com.ar/12-lugares-para-conocer-la-salsa-en-buenos-aires/And yes, it will be HOT when you get here. A couple great bars with terraces are the Sky Bar (in Hotel Pulitzer) and the Roof Bar at the Hotel Alvear Palace (this is pricey for here, but likely much cheaper than something of similar quality on the States or Europe).
      I hope you have a great trip!

      Reply
  10. Thank you Erin! I did find the salsasocial website and will use that to check out dance places. And will certainly have a drink at both of the outdoor bars you have suggested. Here is another question – if you had plenty of time and a budget of about $100 a day, where would you travel to in South America? I am 70 years young, but still dancing, hiking and am a major walker. I love cities with great architecture, but also love the beach – my rough plan is to take a short trip to Uruguay after a week in BA, then back to BA and get down to Patagonia somehow, then do the Chilean coast, maybe all the up to Peru by bus. I would love to hear your idea of a great trip, world traveler that you are. Gracias y que tenga buen dia! Miguel

    Reply
  11. One more question Erin. It concerns politics and you may not want to address this on your blog, but I figure that since you are a world traveler, politics may be of interest to you and you probably have opinions. Like most people in the U.S., I am appalled and embarrassed by the words and actions of our current president and the people in the government who support him. What has your experience been, as an American living in Argentina, during the past couple of years of this disaster? Also, how is it going with the new Argentine administration? Gracias, Miguel

    Reply
  12. Hi Erin, thank you for you’re fantastic write up. It’s refreshing to hear candor and frankness about a place and its neighbourhoods, very insightful. I’m coming to stay for 3 months to BA in October, it’s not going to be a holiday as such but a place where I can make art and learn and be inspired by places. I’m looking for apartments to tent and also ideally a small artist studio so I can get messy. I’m struggling to find any websites for short term rentals and art studios and am having to resort to Airbnb which is obviously. Ore pricey. So I’m thinking to book a place for a month (found a couple of places with 2 beds in SAN Telmo and Colegiales that look cool) but then I’m thinking of looking for cheaper places – a live/work studio ideally when I’m here. Do you have a recommendations on where I could find listings for studios to rent or apartment sublets? Many thanks for your time Erin! Heidi

    Reply
    • Buen dia Heidi!! You’ve picked a great city to come to as an artist, it’s a very creative place! There’s a group on Facebook called “Buenos Aires Expat Hub” that has a lot of helpful information, and they have another group dedicated to real estate, maybe someone there will have something for you: https://www.facebook.com/groups/BuenosAiresExpatHub.RealEstate/I have a post similar to this one but for tips and things to know about living in BA that will hopefully be published by the end of this week and maybe it will be helpful for you as well! Keep an eye out 🙂
      Also, a random tip, there’s an event in San Isidro called Puertas Abiertas every year (around end of Oct or beginning Nov) where artists open their workshops and show their art, it’s a really cool event!!

      Reply
  13. Hi Erin, thanks for the fantastic write up! It’s a very helpful guide for a tourist like me.
    I’m going to be visiting BA on 23rd December until the 27th….we will be two couples travelling. Do you have any recommendations or what activities we could do on Christmas Eve (24th) and Christmas Day (25th)? Which area should we base ourselves?

    Any advice would be much appreciated.

    Many Thanks

    Reply
    • Hi Gwyn, I’m so happy to hear it’s been helpful for you!Christmas in Buenos Aires is a little complicated since everyone will be with their families. The biggest celebrations are on the 24th at night, families get together and there are firework shows (professional and by families, like the 4th of July in the US) at midnight on Christmas Eve. I recommend reserving a dinner in Puerto Madero to see a good fireworks show. Do it in advance as it’ll book up but not yet, I don’t think the menus are available yet. I know the Alvear Icon hotel in Puerto Madero has a rooftop bar that is said to have incredible views (Crystal Bar), if they have anything special that night I would book with them for that view.
      Christmas Day will be sleepy, everything will be closed and streets deserted. Maybe it would be a good night for a tango show and dinner! And a day to walk the streets and admire the street art or relax in the Bosques de Palermo Parks 🙂

      Reply
  14. Hi there! Thanks so much for such an informative post! You have definitely helped me narrow down where I would like to stay. It looks like I will be in BA for 4 days in mid February and I am wondering if you have any recommendations for companies to book day trips with. A ranch trip would be cool as well as from what I am reading Tigre? Do you have any recommendations?
    Cheers!

    Reply
    • Hi Heather!! I’m happy to help, for your time in BA check out my three day itinerary for some ideas: https://www.solsalute.com/3-days-in-buenos-aires-itinerary/A couple great estancias are La Porteña and El Ombu (the second costing twice as much as the first) and I believe both offer transfers from the city as an extra. We just went on the Bandoneon Abordo tour in Tigre with my parents and it was a great experience. The owner/guide includes a 20 minute tango concert on the boat in the delta, a very unique experience.

      Reply
  15. Hello Erin!I loved reading your article and wished I had read it sooner! I worked in Buenos Aires for the Youth Olympics in October and loved it so much I am heading back early March to stay with friends! I was wondering if you had any suggestions for things to do for a girls night or affordable activities to do during the day? I also was wondering if you knew anything about the ferries to Uraguay? If they are worth the price or if it is best to stay in Argentina.
    Cheers,
    Bailey

    Reply
    • Hi Bailey!Thanks so much, I’m happy to hear it’s helpful 🙂
      I think the ferry to Colonia definitely worth the day trip, it’s a beautiful little town (compared the three companies prices).
      For a girls night you could go to an opera at the Teatro Colon, or organize a private wine tasting, or a drum show at La Bomba del Tiempo…so many things to choose from!

      Reply
  16. Thank you Erin. I appreciate all of the information. My husband and I will be traveling to Buenos Aires on March 1 for a wedding. I have some questions for you. We booked a room at the Fierro boutique hotel. Do you know anything about this hotel? I read that the ATMs in the sixty often run out of cash. Have you experienced this? Any recommendations for non-touristy restaurants, breweries, cafes near our hotel? I heard that the San Telmo Sunday market is a good market to visit? Any thoughts? Any other market recommendations? Thank you?

    Reply
    • Hi Leslie!
      I don’t know that hotel personally but I’ve heard very good things and I’m sure you’ll have a lovely experience. And it does happen regarding the ATM’s but it’s not as common and not something you should worry too much about, you’ll find an ATM with cash with no problem.
      My favorite market is the Mataderos Market, I have a post about how to get there and what to do, it’s great!

      Reply
  17. Hello,

    Thanks for the great site! My wife and I have been to Buenos Aires 5 + years ago. I would like to know if you could tell me how to arrange a private taxi that will not scam me as your beginning article stated. Last time was fine, but better safe than sorry.

    Also, I was trying to book at Estancia, but the ones I found on internet do not take credit cards. We wanted to horseback ride and also flyfish. So, somewhere around the Traful River at foothills of Andes.

    That would be great and many thanks for any help.

    Thanks,

    Bill

    Reply
    • Hi Bill!
      Unfortunately, I’m not familiar with that area but please let me know how it goes because I’d love to take my father fly-fishing here, he loves it.
      In regards to the taxis, the taxi booths outside customs in EZE are reliable and safe. Don’t get one from the street, same goes for AEP. Or you could reserve a driver ahead of time, I have links for these in this article.
      I hope you have a great trip!

      Reply
  18. While I usually rent an Airbnb, i have to say that I have delightful memories at the hotel BE JARDIN BY COPPOLA – i mean it’s just the perfect house in the perfect neighborhood !
    Thanks for the great article 🙂

    Reply
    • Hi Natalie! Great question. I would say no, I have tried to call a Cabify to pick me up from Aeroparque and one driver after another just canceled on me. I couldn’t manage to get one to come to get me, I believe it’s because they’re scared of the AEP taxi line, they can be a bit mafioso.
      From Ezeiza, I’m not sure but I wouldn’t count on it. You may get lucky if a Cabify driver is dropping someone off just when you call for one, and they’re willing to take the risk so they have a fare for the return drive. So I think it may be possible, but may not be reliable.
      Note the wifi in EZE is strong inside but peters out when you go outside to look for the car, you won’t have wifi when on the sidewalk trying to communicate with your driver.

      Reply
  19. Hello!

    Great blog! I have a question on the language barriers for English speakers. I understand that very litte English is spoken even in a large city like BA. Is this correct?

    Reply
    • Hello Ray, thanks for reading! In Buenos Aires you’ll be able to get by, as well in touristy areas around the country. In smaller towns there won’t be as much English but everyone is very kind and willing to help!

      Reply
  20. This is an incredibly useful, well-researched guide, Erin! BA has been on my wish-list for eons—I can’t wait to visit once I’m based in Australia again (the newish budget flights from the East Coast are such a luxury). Thanks for sharing your insight!

    Reply
  21. The long line to get through passport control at EZE international airport in Buenos Aires, taking over two hours, was a very negative experience for our visit to Buenos Aires in March 2019. It’s sad how poor customer service can taint a visit to a city as nice as Buenos Aires, but we enjoyed the cruise from there to other parts of Argentina, Uruguay, the Falklands, and Chile, without any other travel hassles. I just don’t recommend that anyone fly into the EZE international airport.

    Reply
    • I’m sorry to hear you had such bad luck at the airport. Sometimes, as at any airport, if multiple international flights land at the same time, immigration can take longer than normal. (2 hours at EZE is extreme, however, and not the norm). But I’m glad to hear you enjoyed your time in Argentina!

      Reply
  22. Thanks for your amazing information. I too am a Texan and heading to BA this week for a couple of weeks. We have been before and love it there, so now just going to relax, and enjoy the city…Thanks again..

    Reply
  23. Hi Erin, thanks for the info! Would paying in USD (cash) be acceptable in Buenos Aires? I was thinking for shopping, at the restaurants, and the taxis. Thanks in advance! – Dee

    Reply
    • Everyone will accept USD, but be careful that you’re being offered a good exchange rate and not being taken advantage of (especially in taxis!). I would use pesos for those smaller purchases and try to get a good deal on big purchases in USD.

      Reply
  24. Hi Erin,

    Thanks for the right up!

    Any advice for trying to catch a 5:45AM flight out of EZE and staying in Palermo? Would likely need to leave BA by 3:30AM.

    Would an Uber be the best bet at that time? The stress of negotiating with a taxi driver tends to make me anxious!

    Are rideshare’s also wary of heading to the airport for a drop off?

    Reply
  25. Hi Erin, heading to BA for the first 2 weeks of February. Any recommendations for hotel pool and day passes or other suggestions for escaping the heat. We are planning to stay in an Airbnb but nothing with a pool. thanks

    Reply
  26. Hi Erin, I will be traveling to BA next month, and I am a solo traveler. I understand that Argentina is a very social country…so, will I get strange looks from waiters/other patrons if I eat out in restaurants alone? – Megan

    Reply
  27. HOLA1 Soy una vieja de 83 anos Argentina y acostumbrada a viajar, un pequeno consejo que les doy es que cuando vayan a Buenos Aires traten de mezclarse con la gente, llevando una ropa modesta y sencilla cosa de no llamar la atencion, no vistiendo a lo americano con una lujosa camara colgada del pecho y lleno de alhajas diciendole al mundo estoy lleno de dolares, please…..traten de pasar desapercibidos, igual ellos se dan cuenta que son extranjeros, pero es mas seguro, con el dinero siempre en una bolsitta agarrado del canzoncillo o la bombacha y foto copia de todos los documentos con uno mismo, tambien recetas de medicas bien claras escritas por el dr. de aqui de USA que asi no tendran ningn problema., y diviertanse mucho que es uno de los paises mas hermoso del mundo. Celia Paradiso

    Reply
    • Muchisimas gracias Celia, muy buenos consejos!!

      For English speaking readers: Celia’s advice is to dress modestly in Buenos Aires, don’t be flashy with your camera and valuables. Carry photocopies of your documents and prescriptions. And to have fun because this is one of the most beautiful countries in the world!! (I agree with Celia!)

      Reply

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