Buenos Aires at the turn of the century was one the most sought after destinations in the world. As time has passed the Paris of the South has begun to deteriorate significantly. The current city doesn’t compare to what Buenos Aires was years ago but there is still enough charm left in the city to leave you in awe. There are the major tourist attractions like the Presidential Palace, the building of Congress, and perhaps some Tango, but these interest every traveler. What about the things that most travelers don’t see? There is nothing like stepping out of the ordinary and actually getting to know the real Buenos Aires, the real Argentina.
I was able to live in Buenos Aires for just over three months and get to know the real people of Argentina. All of the people don’t have fair skin and speak with the famous Buenos Aires accent, they aren’t all trying to hustle the common tourist, and they surely don’t dance tango. The next time you are in Buenos Aires consider seeing these tourist attractions that are off the beaten path.
Read these indie travel tips for Buenos Aires
El Tigre is the name of the city where you can access the Parana River Delta roughly an hour away from Buenos Aires. This is the modern day water world where everyone travels via boat. The city of Tigre is an actual island. Tigre is actually a popular place for tourists but the way you want to see Tigre is off the beaten path. Most tourists take the major water taxis that carry about 30 people and only drive through the major waterways. What you should do is book a reservations with a smaller tour operator that will not only take you across the massive Parana River, but inside some of the smallest waterways in the area that are just a few feet deep.
The Delta is made up of over 7 different regions (states) where the main rules are to stay in regions 1 or 2. The Delta region is notoriously known for criminals that have gone into hiding to escape local authorities. The deeper you go inside the Delta the more dangerous it can get. If you take a major water taxi you will only see the front of region 1. A smaller operator will take you as deep as region 3 if they are very familiar with the area. You may also have the opportunity to ski and do other water activities that you wouldn’t normally be able to do with a the water taxis. Getting a ride inside even region two will make you realize how the other half lives in Argentina Many houses are hand made out of wood with some residents just moving into a house in the area that has been abandoned. This is the Argentina that they don’t normally show you.
A Polo match in Argentina is the complete opposite of the Delta. This is where the upper crust of Argentine society spend part of their time. In order to see a Polo Match you want to head to the campo (the country) to a suburb called San Isidro. This is one of the richest areas in Buenos Aires and they are very big on Polo. If you are lucky enough you may actually be able to play a game with the locals!
El Ateneo is an absolute must when you travel to Argentina. When I was researching the things to do in Buenos Aires I didn’t see any mention of El Ateneo. Its a very unique place inside the barrio of Recoleta, one of the nicest areas of the city. Currently a book store, it has been converted from an old theater with the stage converted into a cafe. The pictures you can take inside are extremely unique and you should sit down and have what most people in Buenos Aires do everyday, have a nice cafe con leche.
Architecture is very big in Buenos Aires and most travel guides will tell you to just admire all of the architecture without giving you any direction. The single most beautiful building in the city is the water department, El Sanitario. While there isn’t much to see inside of the building, the exterior is absolutely gorgeous. The design and the intricacies on the walls will truly astound you. You can find the building by walking north from the famous Teatro Colon. Just ask a few locals where “El Sanitario” is and they will point you in the right direction.
While most people come to Buenos Aires to experience the hustle and bustle of a cosmopolitan city, an Estancia is one of the places where you can sit back and get away from it all. An Estancia is an old fashioned Ranch where much of Argentina’s culture comes from. This is where you can learn about the history and even the economy of Argentina. You can also learn the reason why beef is one of Argentina’s obsessions by experiencing a classic Asado (BBQ). If you didn’t know Argentina is the 2nd highest consumer of meat in the world. Once at an Estancia you can expect your typical ranch activities; horse back riding, fishing, and a gaucho show (unique to Argentina).
This is where the people of Buenos Aires come to relax, get some exercise, and even spend the day. The park is lined with 2 artificial lakes and an exceptional rose garden. On the weekends the entire park comes alive with different types of sporting and music events. The park also hosts a Japanese garden, the Galileo Planetarium, the Buenos Aires Zoo, and a Hippodrome where you can watch the horse races.
Marcello Arrambide is a round the world traveler that has been living overseas most of his life. he has lived in over 7 countries and visited over 45 countries. You can find out more about Marcello at his website: Wandering Trader’s Travels.