Buenos Aires is one of not only the great cities of the Latin world but one of the great cities of the world. It has a wealth of fine colonial architecture and a vibrant and wide-ranging culture. It is inexpensive as capital cities go and relatively safe for a Latin American capital. In short, it would be a crime to visit South America and not visit Buenos Aires.
The city centre is divided into districts. To the north is Recoleta where the upper class lives. There you can masses of dogs being walked, the labyrinthine necropolis where Eva Peron is buried and the excellent Museo Nacional de Belles Artes which houses a good collection of European, Colonial and Indigenous art. In complete contrast is La Boca, the working class area and home to the famous Boca Juniors football team. The houses are colourfully painted and there’s a weekend market with live street shows.
Buenos Aires is tango central and in Buenos Aires it is the San Telmo area which tangos the hardest. Its cobbled streets and aging mansions once attracted bohemians, now it sadly attracts boutiques; but, nevertheless, every Sunday Plaza Dorrego comes alive for an antique market and street tango shows.
Through the heart of the city runs the world's widest road – Julio de 9 – which connects much of the city from the airport in the south to Recoleta in the north. In the middle is the iconic Obelisco. A kilometer to the north is Plaza San Martin which is the colonial heart of the city. Here is Catedral Metropolitana that from the outside looks more like a Roman senate building than a church. And a block away is Casa Rosada, the pink presidential palace.
The colonial treasures stretch on throughout the city. I'm only providing a taster. If you get bored of grand old buildings there is the Reserva Ecologica Costanera to the east. An extensive area of marsh lands with a good selection of flora and fauna and some great views across the Rio Parana, the giant river that separates Argentina from its tiny neighbour Uruguay. The Reserva has many fine walking trails and is perfectly safe during the day.
There are also several parks and gardens to enjoy in Buenos Aires including Jardin Zoologico (a small zoo), Jardin Japones in Palmero and the extensive Parque 3 de Febrero. These parks are in the Palmero and Recoleta areas which also have Buenos Aires’ trendiest bars and boutique fashion shops. Due to the weak Argentine peso shopping in Buenos Aires can result in some real bargains.
Finally there's the nightlife. Every night there is something going on. There is an extensive events calendar of concerts, shows, out-door events, talks, bands and DJ parties. It is, however, Sunday morning at 1am that the city reaches weekly euphoria in bars, salsa clubs and DJ spots throughout the city. This is a city that truly knows how to party.
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