Why Buenos Aires?
Tango. But of course!
Good news, lovers of all things Latino, Buenos Aires is at the end of a direct flight from Auckland. Twelve hours, done. It’s that easy.
Buenos Aires offers history and culture, time-worn colonial architecture and steak served with sauces as tasty as their tango dancers. There’s the coloured buildings of La Boca, the elaborate crypts of La Recolete Cemetary and more Sunday markets than you can wave your wads of Pesos at. And then there’s the food. From steaming empanadas to Alfajores (Argentinian Dulce de Leche sandwich biscuits) you’re in gourmet heaven.
Beautiful La Boca
Nothing quite reflects the vivid colours of Buenos Aires like La Boca. An old shanty-town on the outskirts of the city's more upmarket neighbourhoods, La Boca is – and has always been – a poor man’s district. Still, what it lacks in wealth it more than makes up for in vibrancy. Instantly recognisable due to its mix-matched jumble of coloured buildings, they stem from a time when poor migrant workers jollied up their dwellings with leftover paint taken (stolen, begged or borrowed) from the ships in which they fled.
Eat like a king at Cabaña Las Lilas
People make outrageous claims about this place. Like, that the steak is the best steak they have ever eaten. But then, when you consider every cut comes from the restaurant's award-winning ranch, perhaps it’s not so outrageous after all. Located by the river in Buenos Aires’ prestigious Puerto Madero district, Cabana Las Lilas is an upmarket establishment. The charcoal grill arguably delivers some of the tastiest steaks in Argentina. Ojo de bife and bife de lomo (rib eye and sirloin respectively) are to die for; your cutlery will slice through the meat like a hot knife through butter.
See all the best sights on foot
Book a guided walking tour and discover all of Buenos Aire's most handsome attributes on foot. All the hot spots from Recoleta to Plaza de Mayo, the startling Pink House, park monuments and war memorials. Boasting the highest concentration of theatres in the world, you’ll pass the best-looking architecture in South America. A city replete with culture, you’ll touch on historically turbulent subjects such as the Falklands War as well as the Porteños’ love affair with dogs. There are dogs, dog walkers and dog parks everywhere in this fine green city; canines are a status symbol. Tours usually conclude with a visit to La Recoleta Cemetery and the final resting place of Eva Peron.
Sunday morning markets
It’s Sunday morning in Buenos Aires, which means the majority of Porteños are just getting home. Thank the Latin gods for strong South American coffee because the San Telmo Sunday Fair starts at 10am. This is the very definition of chaotic. Spread across one of the oldest neighbourhoods, with cobbled lanes and cast iron balconies, it heaves with artisans and hundreds of market-goers all clambering for bargains and beef empanadas. From prints to plaques, and a man serving Dolce de Leche from a giant metal vat, it buzzes with people and bellows with chatter.
About that tango. The good news is, you certainly won’t leave without seeing some. Unexpectedly spilling into the street, the crowds will part like the Red Sea for an impromptu sampling of the dance. Late in the day, when the hoards depart and a subdued fatigue encompasses the dismantling market stalls – stick around – this is the time tango lessons will erupt, completely unannounced and out of nowhere, much to the delight and surprise of tourists. Classes are also readily available across the city, so shake your hips (or someone else's) and get to grips with the tango.
Buenos Aires is just the beginning...
Buenos Aires alone will enrapture you for days, but beyond the city there lies the rest of Argentina. Iguazu Falls is a must-see. Huge, thunderous and unforgettable, there are 275 waterfalls along 2.7km of the Iguazu River. Then there's Mendoza – Sitting in the foothills of the Andes, one of the main reasons people visit Mendoza is for the wine, with plenty of vineyards scattered around the countryside. It is a great place for activities such as hiking, horse riding, rafting and skiing in the winter months. Mendoza is also a regular stopover for mountain climbers on their way to Aconcagua.
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