June 1999 – Buenos Aires, Argentina
Well, let’s not say that if you’re coming all the way down here, you must have a good reason. We welcome you, even if you’ve just learned that Rio de Janeiro is not Argentina and Buenos Aires is not Brazil.
Who knows why, but here you are landing in Buenos Aires, Argentina. ‘Thanks for flying with us, blah, blah’, you get your luggage, go through customs, and… first shock.
You start walking out until you are stopped by hundreds or thousands (well, maybe just ten) big taxi drivers. As soon as they see ‘foreign-looking’ people they think: ‘YES!’. That’s all they think about you, so don’t worry.
They all start asking ‘taxi, seÃ±or?, taxi?’. You should practice a little
nice word: “NO”. Then say it twice, and the third time you
might get louder. It’s also recommended to just start just
walking; you might need this method many times.
Let’s say you survived the Taxi Jungle, what’s next???
You’re in Ezeiza International Airport, the official name is Ministro Pistarini, but who cares. That’s around 40km out of Buenos Aires city (BA).
You probably won’t want to hang around there. You’ll be right. Don’t hang around there.
If you’re hungry, wait until you get out from there; don’t think that airport prices are usual prices.
Best you can do is take a Manuel Tienda LeÃ³n bus from Ezeiza to downtown (every thirty minutes, $10, 45minutes).
You might take a taxi or remise. Around $40 to downtown. You can get cheaper going back to the airport.
There’s also a regular bus “83”. It takes around 3hrs, $1.25. I never took it. It’s your money, it’s your time (It’s your luggage, it’s your passport, it’s your wallet…it’s their knife). No, it’s not that bad here, but it’s always wise to leave your valuables safe.
What’s In Town?
Plaza de Mayo: The Main Square, this is the place where people go to ask the government for changes.
In 1810, people met in front of the Cabildo, where the independence was being decided. October 17, 1945 proletarians were clamoring for PerÃ³n’s freedom.
In 1982, three days after a populous manifestation against the military government, after getting the power on Malvinas it got again full of the same people applauding it.
In 1983, with democratic government again, people filled the Plaza de Mayo to support RaÃºl AlfonsÃn.
On May 11th, 1999, after the government took out money from Education to pay the IMF, 30,000 students from all the state universities and schools went there to protest to the government.
Casa Rosada: This is the pink Government House.
Cabildo: Government House in colonial times.
Catedral: Cathedral of Buenos Aires. San Martin’s tomb is there.
Manzana de las Luces: Historic place.
Recoleta: Very nice neighborhood with many pubs and restaurants.
Plaza Francia: Hand crafts and street artists, mainly on Sundays. Very nice park.
Cementerio de Recoleta: Argentine celebrities tombs are here. Sarmiento, Eva PerÃ³n …
Facultad de Derecho, Universidad de Buenos Aires: Law school (where I study).
Centro cultural Recoleta: Art expositions, theatre.
Tigre is a very nice place. Take the train from Retiro Train Station straight to Tigre (around 1hour, $1). You could also take the “Tren de la Costa”, from MaipÃº 2000, Olivos, by the President’s house. It’s a tourist train, but worth the money. You can get off at all the stations, walk around and then continue on with the same ticket.
Once there you can get to a CatamarÃ¡n and get a trip through the islands. Tigre is a very nice place to walk around by the river. You can also visit Parque de la Costa, the local entertainment park.
If you want to go camping very near BA, this is a nice place. Ask for Camping Las Tejas. You can rent a canoe, swim in the river, have a barbecue.
I’m sorry, my Italian friends, but I have to tell you something. Pizza and pasta are much better here than in Italy. Same thing with ice-creams. Also, Argentine beef is world-renowned.
Argentina received until 1930, more % of immigrants than any other country. You can hear that in the Italian accent of Argentine Spanish, and taste it in the food.
La Farola is a very good (quality & price) restaurant. There are many of them. The best Milanesa a la Napolitana can be found here. Usually 2 people can eat more than enough from one dish. Don’t forget to try pizzas and pasta.
Freddo, Chungo, Chilo, Colonial and Arnaldo are all ice-cream shops or “heladerÃas”.
You’ve never tried anything like this. Be careful: you might want to stay longer after trying treats like Dulce de Leche Granizado (Milk Jam with chocolate chips), SambayÃ³n, etc.
Ice-creams here are made with REAL FRUIT, REAL MILK and REAL CHOCOLATE. They do taste better here.
The first two shops are quite expensive, but you’ll find them all around. Chilo is in Martinez, also very good, and also quite expensive. Colonial, my favorite, is as good as the others, cheaper, and they deliver it to your home. You’ll be able to find lot’s of other really cheap heladerÃas, but, unfortunately not so good.
There are lot’s and lot’s of pubs and discos all over Buenos Aires.
A very nice place is Plaza Serrano, usually full of students, intellectuals and youngsters.
There are many pubs around this little park in the middle of Palermo Viejo. On weekends there is usually live music, often jazz, bossa-nova, etc. There are also small theatre groups, that play for tips. This is one of the best places to be in around Christmas and New Year’s Eve. I’ll tell you something about this later.
If you want to meet foreigners, you might try fashionable Irish pubs like The Kilkenny and The Shamrock.
Thanks for reading what I write.
If you want to, send me comments or corrections; I’m an “English as a second language” guy. TambiÃ©n voy a mandar informaciÃ³n en castellano, apenas tenga tiempo.
If you want more information about this area you can email the author or check out our South America Insiders page.
Travelling Argentina has always been an incredible experience. After devaluation it also became very affordable.
Around 3 argentine peso = US$1
Coins: 5, 10, 25, 50 cents and 1 Peso.
Bills: 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 Pesos.
There are ATMs all over and major credit cards are widely accepted.
Internet service highly available in cities and big towns.
I’ll be a lawyer soon and have been working with Internet industry. IÂ´ve traveled around America and Europe and I’m a sports, music and world culture enthusiastic. I always like learning some instruments, language and customs from the places I visit and people I meet.
Gimme a call
You’ll be coming? Contact me if you need further info or would like to get a walk around.
I’m the one with green t-shirt, last trip. Going back to La Habana, hitchhiking from Santiago de Cuba.