A Backpacker’s Guide to Buenos Aires

The city of Buenos Aires successfully weaves together an atmosphere of modern cosmopolitanism and historic cultural charm and character. This city of approximately 15 million inhabitants has a certain vibrancy to it that oozes from its every its every pore. Experiencing the cultural value of this city will take a couple days worth of exploration and discovery Head out to one of the many pedestrian avenues and indulge in one of the famous Argentinean steaks while listening to some lively music, or head out and learn the proper way to dance the Tango. This city of romance and mystic is awake at all hours and will not disappoint your sense of adventurous engagement. Moreover, each district of this metropolitan city exudes a completely distinctive character. From the shopping districts of Calle Florida and San Telmo to the colourful La Boca District to the historically rich La Telmo, Buenos Aires offers something to intrigue the desires of just about any visitor.

Avenida 9 de Julio

Avenida 9 de Julio

Things to do in Buenos Aires

  • Tour by Bicycle: Buenos Aires is a very large city.  However, nearly all of the major attractions in the city are somewhat nearby.  It is possible to get around by taxi or by public transportation, but doing it by bicycle is a great way to experience the city as well.  Check out the major districts of Buenos Aires such as La Boca, San Telmo, Palermo and Puerto Madero all via two wheels and man power.
  • Futbol: One of the greatest rivalries in football anywhere in the world exists in Buenos Aires.  When the two biggest clubs, River Plate a Boca Juniors, face off it is a great sports environment.  Regardless, checking out a game at the famous La Boca stadium should definitely be in your plans if the timing is right.
  • Tango: Many people make the mistake of calling the Tango an Argentinean dance.  The reality is that it is a Buenos Aires dance, and there is no better place in the world to learn the dance or just sit back and watch a show over a nice meal.  There are tango shows available on nearly every street varying in price from around 40US$ all the way to about 400US$.
  • Cathedral Metropolitana: This is the current home of the independence leader Jose de San Martin.  Otherwise a fairly typical South American cathedral, it is definitely worth visiting to get a sense for the pride Argentinians have in their founding father.
  • San Telmo Markets: On Sunday in San Telmo’s Plaza Dorrego there is a great antiques market which is definitely worth a visit.  You can also visit the Mercado San Telmo which is a colourful old fruit and veggie market.



Cementerio de la Recoleta


  • Cementerio de la Recoleta:  This is the final resting place of Eva Peron as well as just about anyone else of fame in the history of Buenos Aires.  This cemetery is not only rich in history, but also in incredible statues, tombs and graves ranging from Gothic to romantic and subtle to extravagant.
  • Day Trip to Colonia or Montevideo: Just across the Rio Plata river sits Uruguay, and it is completely possible to visit one of the great Uruguayan cities on a day trip from Buenos Aires.  A number of boats depart for both the capital of Montevideo and the quaint colonial town of Colonia del Sacramento daily.  I personally recommend Colonia if you’re looking for a day trip as Montevideo deserves and requires a little more exploration.
  • Wine Tasting: Although the best of the countries wines come from outside of Buenos Aires, this is still a hub for wines.  There are no shortage of wine bars in Buenos Aires and even have some options that wont destroy the bank account.  Check out Anuva Wines which offers a variety of good ones.


Where to Eat in Buenos Aires

Puerto Madero

Puerto Madero

My absolute favourite place to eat in Buenos Aires was in Puerto Madero.  You’ll find a wide variety of different restaurants in the area with the staple, of course, being the famous Argentinean asados.  One of the best ones for those on a budget is Siga la Vaca which will cost about 15US$ for an all-you-can-eat buffet. If you are in La Boca around lunch time there are also a lot of places to eat while being entertained.  However, eating in La Boca isn’t great on the budget.  On top of the 10US$ you’ll likely pay for dinner you’ll often also be hounded for tips by the variety of street performers.

Where to Stay in Buenos Aires

Finding a hostel in Buenos Aires is not difficult.  The majority of them are situated in San Telmo, however there are other spread out in other parts of the city as well.  Do not stay in La Boca because although it is colourful during the day, it can be quite dangerous at night.  Personally, I have stayed at the HI Tango City Inn due to the great staff and comfortable rooms.  Upon first entry you’ll feel like you’ve entered a dungeon, but you’ll warm up to the atmosphere.  There is also a great bar in the basement.  I have also stayed at the Milhouse Hostel which is very nice, but don’t expect to get much sleep as the hostel encourages the party to stay within its walls.  I’ve been recommended the HI Obelisco Suites as well by a number of travelers who have all given it great reviews.


Relevant Articles

Buenos Aires: You Could be Beautiful

Buenos Aires: An Evening in Time Elapse

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