Written by LenR on 07 Feb, 2010
One of the things that I most enjoyed in Buenos Aires was walking the streets observing the people and the buildings. I have some general interest in architecture so I was delighted to find that most areas of the city were a gold mine of…Read More
One of the things that I most enjoyed in Buenos Aires was walking the streets observing the people and the buildings. I have some general interest in architecture so I was delighted to find that most areas of the city were a gold mine of discoveries. In Retiro, I recommend these buildings for your interest.The Palacio San Martín (Arenales 761, Tel: 4819 8092) is a grand mansion just to the west of Plaza San Martín. Unfortunately I was unable to go inside but even from the street it is impressive. This was the home of the powerful Anchorenas family whose prestige dated to colonial times in Argentina. In 1936, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs took over the building. From the street, you'll be impressed by its enormous French gates, with their intricate grillwork. Inside you can see the large circular courtyard. The building is open periodically for free tours but not while I was in Buenos Aires.The construction of the Church of Nuestra Senora del Socorro (Lady of Help) went through several stages before becoming what it is today. By the late seventeenth century this area was one of summer estates and modest homes of fishermen. In one of these houses was a small Christ statue, before whom the villagers gathered to thank and ask for favours. So many graces were received that it began to be called the Lord of Miracles. In 1803, the statue was transferred to a chapel built by fishermen on the site of the current church. Later a church was built with one nave, thick walls and low ceiling. It opened in 1855, but in 1875 the vestry collapsed. Two additional naves were added as well as the transept and the dome. The towers were completed later and in 1896, the temple was dedicated. Today it remains a well used building and is the headquarters for a charitable trust.The Palacio Retiro is perhaps the most beautiful of the Beaux Arts mansions in Buenos Aires. It looks plucked from the Loire Valley. It was the home of the Paz family and was started in 1902 and took almost 12 years to build. Unfortunately, the patriarch who commissioned it died without seeing it finished. The family owned the La Prensa newspaper. The Palacio Retiro is now home to the Círculo Militar, an elite organization for retired military officers that bought the building in 1938. The Museo de las Armas, (Av. Santa Fe 702 Tel: 4311 1071) which sheds some light on the Islas Malvinas/Falkland Islands conflict from an Argentine perspective, is also in the building.One of Buenos Aires’ architectural icons is the stately Estrugamou Building at Esmeralda and Juncal. This classical French structure built in 1929 is very sought after by foreign investors. Architects Sauze and Huguier designed the building with four wings, each of which has one apartment per floor. The building faces three different streets and each side has a different facade. The Estrugamou offers top-rate architectural quality, constructed with materials brought over directly from France. I was told that the sale price, on average, starts at $3,000 US dollars per m2. Several apartments have recently sold for well over one million US dollars. Close
Written by LenR on 02 Jan, 2010
We noticed a lot of tango around when we visited Caminito, in the form of street performers, tango dancers and musicians, tango music drifting through the air from bars and restaurants, and tango souvenirs sold by the dozen in most of the shops, some of…Read More
We noticed a lot of tango around when we visited Caminito, in the form of street performers, tango dancers and musicians, tango music drifting through the air from bars and restaurants, and tango souvenirs sold by the dozen in most of the shops, some of them situated inside the actual conventillos. Tango music was born in Buenos Aires (or Uruguay) in around 1870. It is agreed that tango music first came out of the environment of immigrant-packed conventillo houses, where many different cultures and their respective types of music mixed in such close proximity. And so, as Caminito is representative of the old immigrant La Boca, it is also a representation of the genesis of tango music that occurred at the same time here in history. As you walk around you will be pestered to eat at one of the many restaurants no matter what the time of day. Most specialise in pizza and Argentine meat dishes and I don’t think the quality is great although the atmosphere can be good, particularly in the evening. One of the first was Banchero Pizza (Tel: 4301 1406) at Suarez 396. There are now several other branches in other parts of the city.Don Agustin Banchero arrived from Genoa to Buenos Aires in 1893, to try his luck in Argentina. He soon became one of the first people to sell Pizza in Buenos Aires, starting a little bakery with his son Juan in Calle Olivarria. Agustin’s son, soon took over the dough mantle from his father, and in 1932 opened the traditional Pizzeria Banchero here in La Boca. We tried an individual sized Pizza topped with lots of mozzarella, tomato sauce, tomatoes, slices of calabresa sausage and green olives. It came in at a reasonable 15 pesos, and was plenty for the two of us. Most groups of porteno friends like nothing better than a few large pizzas washed down with a few bottles of Quilmes beer. Quilmes is one of the sponsors of Boca Juniors soccer team, so that is also a very safe choice of beverage in La Boca. For soft drinks take Pepsi (also a sponsor) or mineral water.An alternative is Nonno Bachicha restaurant and bar (Tel: 4139 7832) on Magallanes Street. This has meats, seafood and homemade pasta and has a live show featuring a tango exhibition. There are also several restaurants in Caminito itself and these attract many tourists. We didn’t eat at any of these so cannot comment about the food but all seemed to feature tango dancers and musical groups.If you go to Caminito at the weekend, you will also be able to do a little souvenir shopping at the Feria de la Ribera arts and crafts market, which starts at the front of Caminito and goes around in front of the Riachuelo River. Here you will find handmade crochet scarves and shawls, traditional mate gourds and bombillas (the metal straws used for drinking mate), jewellery and lots of other interesting craft pieces, all at fairly reasonable, but tourist, prices. Close
La Boca is one of the oldest, most colourful, and most authentic neighbourhood in Buenos Aires. From an architectural point of view I was greatly impressed. The neighbourhood was settled and built by Italian immigrants that worked in the warehouses and meatpacking plants in the…Read More
La Boca is one of the oldest, most colourful, and most authentic neighbourhood in Buenos Aires. From an architectural point of view I was greatly impressed. The neighbourhood was settled and built by Italian immigrants that worked in the warehouses and meatpacking plants in the area. Today, La Boca is partly an artist colony, and mostly a working-class neighbourhood. The most famous street in La Boca is called Caminito (little path), and this is the center of tourist activity in the area. The street is commonly shown on postcards for its multi-coloured houses. These are a major visitor attraction and are quite distinctive and unique. The architecture brings the visitors but locals capitalise on this and many artists also show off their work in the houses along the street. Few tourists venture out of Caminito, because the rest of the neighbourhood is not considered safe by many locals and visitors.The Genoese proudly brought their unique identity to La Boca, and one of their old traditions was to paint the outside of their homes with the leftover paint from the shipyard – as nothing else was available or was affordable. However, they took things one step further in La Boca, and actually built the houses almost completely from materials found or discarded in the shipyard. This was because of the huge population explosion due to the immigration at the turn of the 20th century – there just were not enough homes for all of the people. The answer to this problem was conventillo (tenement / shared) housing. Conventillos were long houses with small rooms that opened out onto a central outdoor common patio. In La Boca the conventillos were hastily constructed from scrap corrugated metal and wood from old ships, and to spruce them up a little, the façades, doors and windows were then decorated in the famous bright colour combinations with the leftover paint from the port.By the late 1950s, most of the colourful, ragtag conventillo housing that had been spread throughout most of the barrio had been pulled down, being replaced by dull houses and blocks of flats. But some saw this as the very essence of La Boca being destroyed, and not everybody was going to sit back and watch that happen. Benito Quinquela Martin was the man to take action. He had become the most significant painter in Argentina, with his dramatic paintings of the port of La Boca, and had achieved worldwide recognition. But as La Boca was his inspiration, and had provided him with family, friends and shelter after having been orphaned at an early age, he felt he owed the barrio something in return.And so in 1959, Quinquela Martin and his artist friends created the street of Caminito, as a means of recreating the way old La Boca used to look. What they did was to rescue bits and pieces of the original immigrant conventillos that were being torn down and replaced, and used them to create a concentrated conventillo community around this small street, in what is essentially an uninhabited open-air art and history exhibit. It is sometimes called the world’s first outdoor pedestrian museum. Don’t miss it and don’t forget the camera. Close
La Boca is a neighbourhood which retains a strong European flavour, due to many of its early settlers being from the Italian city of Genoa. In fact the name has a strong association with the Genoese neighbourhood of Boccadasse, and some people believe that the…Read More
La Boca is a neighbourhood which retains a strong European flavour, due to many of its early settlers being from the Italian city of Genoa. In fact the name has a strong association with the Genoese neighbourhood of Boccadasse, and some people believe that the Buenos Aires barrio was indeed named after it. The conventional explanation, however, is that the neighbourhood sits at the mouth ("boca" in Spanish) of the Riachuelo. La Boca, or more correctly, the part around Caminito has become a very popular tourist precinct. Tourists come to see the brightly painted sheet-iron houses, to eat at the restaurants and watch tango performances, and to shop. The brightly painted shops and houses, strings of laundry, hanging birdcages and whimsical figures give the Caminito the look of a theme park but the modest lives of the people in the surrounding area are quite real.For us, there was an uncomfortable contrast between the hordes of tourists with their cameras and the souvenir shops that cater for them, and the humble nearby local shops, the boats lying half sunken in the river and the children and mothers begging for coins on the corners.Many of the tourist shops are in the buildings in, or close to, Caminito. They occupy the rooms that were once home to families and they spill out into the public areas where tango music first had its roots. The goods on sale are aimed squarely at the tourist. There are paintings and sketches by local artists, bright fabrics, gaudy miniature houses, imitation antiques, soccer balls and caps, t-shirts and the usual range of tacky souvenirs that some people must buy. But who does? The ‘spa craze’ has also reached here with some places offering massage and relaxation treatments.We found a different La Boca when we turned our back on Caminito and crossed the railway tracks. Here the local shops cater for the resident population. There is little colour here and no souvenirs, in fact there is a real sense of separateness not only from touristy Caminito but from the rest of Buenos Aires. There is no doubt that some residents don’t relish their status as a visitor attraction so I suggest you don’t wander too far from Caminito and keep your camera and jewellery out of sight. You get the feeling that things are pretty tough at the moment but then you realise that things have been tough here for a lot of people over many years. Close
In 1905, five Italian immigrants gathered in the Plaza Solís, located in the heart of the La Boca neighbourhood of Buenos Aires. They founded Boca Juniors soccer team, using the English language name, because British railway workers had originally introduced the sport into Argentina. One…Read More
In 1905, five Italian immigrants gathered in the Plaza Solís, located in the heart of the La Boca neighbourhood of Buenos Aires. They founded Boca Juniors soccer team, using the English language name, because British railway workers had originally introduced the sport into Argentina. One hundred and four years later two visiting Australians with no interest in soccer were in shops admiring the football souvenirs and wondering what to buy. Such is the power of this club and its marketing.Boca Juniors played in local leagues and the amateur second division until being promoted to the first division in 1913, when the division was expanded from six teams to 15. Boca were never relegated; they won six amateur championships (1919, 1920, 1923, 1924, 1926, and 1930). With the introduction of professional soccer in Argentina, Boca won the first title in 1931. And so was born a legend which just continues to grow in popularity.Today, no matter where you go in Buenos Aires, you will find shops selling Boca Juniors souvenirs and memorabilia. But to really get authentic gear you need to go to the La Boca neighbourhood. You can buy from the official shop in the stadium or from a dozen outlets outside. You can pretend you are part of the excitement of a game and can join the stars in photographs. It’s all good fun even if, like me, you only have a very slight interest in Argentine soccer.It was impossible to not learn something about the history of the gear while we were there. For instance we were told the original jersey colour was pink, which was quickly abandoned for thin black-and-white vertical stripes. The legend has it that in 1906 Boca played another team that used these colors, to decide who would get to keep them. Boca lost, and decided to adopt the colors of the flag of the first boat to subsequently sail into the port at La Boca. This was the 4146 ton freighter Drottning Sophia, sailing from Copenhagen. As the boat was from Sweden, yellow and blue were adopted as the new team colours. The first version had a yellow diagonal band, which was later changed to a horizontal stripe.We found that a couple of shops across the street from the museum entrance had the best selection of souvenirs at reasonable prices. There were jerseys, footballs, flags and just about everything else you could imagine. It was here that we first came into contact with the famous Boca mannequins which we would later see throughout the district. Close
Written by SeenThat on 01 Oct, 2007
Tango dancers compete with loud tango music emanating from the neighboring music shops for the travelers attention; short skirts and high heels represent the hopes for a better tip and nearby barbeque joints add an additional sense to our experience; Argentina's capital presents a dichotomy…Read More
Tango dancers compete with loud tango music emanating from the neighboring music shops for the travelers attention; short skirts and high heels represent the hopes for a better tip and nearby barbeque joints add an additional sense to our experience; Argentina's capital presents a dichotomy of attractions and dangers.ClimateDue to its closeness to the ocean, the local weather is unpleasant during the winter and the summer; both are accompanied by a high humidity that spoils any chance of enjoying the city.ScarsThe bank buildings in downtown show the signs of the riots that took place after the government confiscated the citizen's savings a few years ago. Pictures should be taken carefully there since the plainclothes policemen do not like that. Traveling AroundSubte - the subway - provides a fast, efficient and economical connection among the town main sights. It has a bit of history as well since it was the first South American subway, dating back to 1913. Much of its cars have not been replaced since then. The regular passengers' trains system has largely stopped functioning except for the short line to Tigre from Retiro; thus, the best way to travel overland using a public system is through the buses.Retiro Terminus, near the port's northern side, offers bus connections to all the provinces' capitals; from them you will be able to reach offside locations. As in the rest of the country, it is a good idea to check the prices among the different companies traveling to a given locations. Each company specializes in certain destinations and thus the prices vary wildly from one to another. Argentinean buses companies sell tickets in advance and cheaper return tickets: arrive to the terminus early and take your time while shopping around; Retiro is a pleasant place to visit with excellent coffee shops and local eateries.It is possible to continue from Buenos Aires to Montevideo by speedboat, by bus, or using a combination of the two, through Colonia del Sacramento. The last is recommended since it takes the traveler to a wonderful mixed Portuguese-Spaniard fort from the 18th century. Another option is to take the train to Tigre and from there cross the Uruguay River by boat to a port 85km north of Colonia del Sacramento.BooksIn Buenos Aires, it is easier finding English books than in other South American cities. However, most of these are new and sold at premium prices.ShoppingThe Palermo Quarter hosts the Jumbo Supermarket in its central park; with more than fifty paying stations and an endless shopping space it offers all the basic necessities a traveller would need. Galerias Pacifico (Cordoba corner Florida) is an amazing shopping mall within a neoclassical structure and attractive paintings on its dome's interior.Buenos Aires HighlightsLavalle and Florida Walking Streets: these two perpendicular streets host much of the cultural activity in downtown: the main cinemas, restaurants and souvenirs' shops are concentrated in this small area.Avenida Corrientes: Along the local Broadway, you will find the main theatres. Shakespeare, musicals and modernist plays are available all along the year.Colon Theatre: placed along the widest city avenue, this is an impressive structure offering guided tours to its grand interior daily between 11am and 3pm.Caminito: An old port quarter, this street has been transformed into a colorful museum in the heart of the Boca quarter.San Telmo Flea Market: the main tourist quarter has its own flea market, in Sunday's morning free tango shows can be appreciated among the stalls.Danish Church (Carlos Calvo 257): in San Telmo's heart there is a beautiful Lutheran Church constructed in 1931 with North-European blueprints.La Recoleta (Junin 1760): the most exclusive cemetery in town resembles a ghosts' city with sometime macabre memorials.Buenos Aires Downtown: the commercial centre resembles Shanghai's Bund; a truly European quarter in a foreign continent.Boca Juniors and River Plate Stadiums: Soccer fans are here in their own celestial dilemma; which stadium should they visit first?Probably millions of words have been written about the weird attraction of humans to phallic symbols. We would never know the reason of that for sure, but a consolation is offered in the pervert dimensions of that symbol in certain places, like the Obelisco in Buenos Aires, which at 63m is high enough to allow parachuting from its top.SafetyOne of the first things to catch my attention in Buenos Aires was its grocery and convenience stores. Despite my extensive trips in cities considered to be much more dangerous than Buenos Aires, I never spotted shops protected by solid iron bars all over their fronts. Instead of entering the shop, the customer tells the clerk his needs, hands out the money and then the clerk gives the merchandise across the bars. The locals' clear assessment of the dangerous environment is a powerful hint for the travelers visiting the city to take serious precautions.This humble warning is doubly important due to the city general layout. The wide avenues and European styled buildings of downtown Buenos Aires may lead the traveler to think he is in London or Paris. A careful inspection reveals the buildings display a long gone splendor and a macabre danger similar to the one existing in all other South American cities surrounds them.Lunfardo: The Proudest Spanish DialectThe Spanish dialect of Buenos Aires is faster than most others and uses a peculiar pronunciation of the "ll" and "y" (the last only while at the beginning or middle of a word) Spanish consonants. In Buenos Aires, both are pronounced as the English "sh." Moreover, the Spanish there is heavily spiced up with a local slang known as "Lunfardo," a Creole-like casserole created with the contribution of immigrants from a thousand places.Lunfardo words are seldom related to Spanish (and if they do, they are used with a completely different meaning); thus even a traveler with a good command of Spanish may have difficulties comprehending the locals. Argentineans are extremely proud and usually would feign misunderstanding of words pronounced according to international Spanish conventions. For example, Lavalle Street is a well known walking street in Buenos Aires downtown. Most Spanish speakers will pronounce it as "Laa-vaa-yae" while locals say "Laa-vaa-shae" with a strong emphasis on the "sh." If asking a local how to reach the street while pronouncing it with the international pronunciation, two things may happen. In the worst case, the "porteño" (as Buenos Aires residents refer to themselves) would claim misunderstanding - despite the spot being a central one. In the best case, the traveller would be asked for the spelling and then given the answer, only after having graduated a crash-course on the only correct pronunciation in the world. Telling them neither Spaniards nor Castilians pronounce it in such a way is not a good tactic for making local friends.Foreign LanguagesThe proud local culture creates an additional difficulty for the traveler. Despite living in a Multi-Polar Global Village, few Argentineans bother themselves studying foreign languages. Except for downtown hotels, English is practically useless. Usually, Italian, French and Portuguese speakers can understand enough Spanish - without formally studying it - to manage around; however, the opposite is not true and Spanish speakers cannot recognize the Latin roots used in those languages. Thus such a visit is recommended only for those who command some Spanish; those who don't should at least bring a good travelers dictionary.One way of dealing with the fast local pronunciation is structuring questions in such a way they would request a short and precise answer. Instead of asking "How do I reach the Obelisco?" try asking "Can I reach the Obelisco walking along this street?" Close
Written by Valerita on 02 Jul, 2007
Whether you are looking for leather items, books, clothes, souvenirs, or shoes, this city is a shopper’s heaven. You have a lot of options, depending on what you want to buy and especially on how much you want to spend. For really cheap…Read More
Whether you are looking for leather items, books, clothes, souvenirs, or shoes, this city is a shopper’s heaven. You have a lot of options, depending on what you want to buy and especially on how much you want to spend. For really cheap clothes, go to Once neighborhood. The exchange rate makes Buenos Aires a really cheap place for shopping, but this neighborhood is particularly cheap. Of course, the quality of the clothes isn’t the best, but you can still find good stuff, and it’s a 10-minute taxi ride from the center of the city. Shops are generally open Monday through Friday, and some of them are open on Saturdays until 2pm.Price-wise, a second option would be Santa Fe Street. There are a lot of shops there, prices are still OK and the quality of the clothes and other items is better. Most of the shops here are open Monday through Saturday until around 7pm. If you are looking for shopping centers, you also have interesting options. I have only been to Galerias Pacifico, located in Florida Street, which is a good place to buy stuff, but I have heard that Alto Palermo Shopping Center is much better. And last but not least, you have Florida Street, where lots of tourists go for leather items and souvenirs. Most of the shops here are open seven days a week, and you can also enjoy street performances, a real plus! We went there on our last day in town to spend our (at this time, really few) pesos left.My advice: wear comfortable shoes! You will end up exhausted after a day of shopping. Close
Written by Robert Raymond Ingledew on 17 Mar, 2007
The beauty of Palermo: Although Palermo is not the largest green space in Buenos Aires (the Parque de la Ciudad is far larger) it is the most beautiful area of the city. The most exclusive apartment buildings in Buenos Aires are along Avenida Libertador, facing…Read More
The beauty of Palermo: Although Palermo is not the largest green space in Buenos Aires (the Parque de la Ciudad is far larger) it is the most beautiful area of the city. The most exclusive apartment buildings in Buenos Aires are along Avenida Libertador, facing this huge green space, that is probably a mile and a half long, between Avenida del Libertador and the local metropolitan airport (Aeroparque). Here is a map of the complete area (marked in green): www.bue.gov.ar/recorridos/?menu_id=137&info=auto_contenido. There are many attractions in this area, starting by the Botanical Garden, an incredibly beautiful area located between avenues Cabildo and Las Heras. In a surface of some 20 acres, the Botanical garden has some 5,500 different classes of trees and plants and some 33 very nice sculptures and monuments. It was inaugurated in 1898, more than a century ago. It has a Roman garden (Century 1 A.D. vegetation), a French garden (Centuries 17 and 18 vegetation) and an Oriental garden. This is the website of the Botanical Garden: www.buenosaires.gov.ar/areas/med_ambiente/botanico/?menu_id=11360. The zoo is the most important one in all Argentina, and is just across the road from the Botanical Garden. It has 89 kinds of mammals, 49 kinds of reptiles and 175 kinds of birds, with a total population of 2,500 animals. It was inaugurated in 1875 by President Sarmiento. This is its official site: www.zoobuenosaires.com.ar/index_fla_on_popup.htm.
Beyond the zoo and just across avenue Figueroa Alcorta you will find the Planetarium, that offers fantastic virtual tours to the universe. I was amazed at the quality of the show, and the admission fee is very low. This is their site: www.planetario.gov.ar. Click on the yellow links in the center of this page. The Japanese garden is another place that you will thoroughly enjoy. Years ago, I have taken some beautiful films in this area. The Rose Garden (more than 12,000 rose plants), the lake, where you can rent a boat and do some rowing, the Palermo horse racing track (created in 1876), renown in the whole world, and the Argentine Polo field are other interesting places you can visit while you are in this area. To make it simple, polo is a sort of hockey game, but riding horses. The monument to Spaniards and the Persian Column complete the picture of Palermo, that also has a golf course and a number of clubs in the area. The Sociedad Rural (Farmers Society) is the most important exposition center in all Argentina. It is just facing the Plaza Italia subway station, in front of the Botanical Garden. If you have visited Buenos Aires and have not gone to Palermo, you do not have a complete picture of the city.
Costanera Norte: The Northern coastal avenue along the River Plate and beyond the local metropolitan airport. It is a very pleasant area, and there are many restaurants where you can enjoy a barbecue. Most of these restaurants are between an artificial lagoon and the River Plate.
River Plate Stadium. One of the two most important soccer clubs in Buenos Aires. Just beyond the "Costanera Norte".
Colon Theater. If you are fond of classical music or ballet, you cannot miss it. It is one of the most luxurious buildings in all Buenos Aires, located on the Nueve de Julio avenue. This is their website: www.teatrocolon.org.ar.
Nueve de Julio Avenue: 500 feet wide, it is the widest avenue in the whole world. Lavalle Street: Most of the movie theaters or cinemas are on this street, that also has many restaurants, including La Estancia. Corrientes Street: The street of the Theaters (Gran Rex, Opera, Metropolitan, and many others. Boca: The home of Boca Juniors and its stadium, it also has many pizzerias, the famous Caminito area, where you can take fantastic photos, and the Riachuelo. I suggest visiting this area in a city tour. San Telmo. Known for its restaurants and tango shows. Costanera Sur: The most important ecological reserve in the city of Buenos Aires, along the southern portion of the coastal avenue. Puerto Madero: Undoubtedly the most modern part of the city of Buenos Aires. Beautiful buildings, luxury hotels, excellent restaurants, all by the riverside. It is very near Retiro and behind the Sheraton hotel Have a glance at the photos, and I know you will want to go. Click here: www.corporacionpuertomadero.com.
Parque de la Costa. Very near Tigre, it is the end of the Tren de la Costa (Train of the Coast) that starts off at the Bartolomé Mitre railway station (Trains from Retiro station arrive here), or you con go on a 60 bus to get this train). It is one of the most complete mechanical attractions park in Buenos Aires. I understand it also has a casino. Have a look at their link: www.parquedelacosta.com.ar. There are many other places you can visit in Buenos Aires, but I have highlighted the most important ones. Enjoy your stay in Buenos Aires.
During the twenty years I lived in Buenos Aires I always enjoyed fishing in the Parana Delta during the warm season (October to April) I visited a number of fishing places along the Río Capitan (La Fusta, Paso del Toro) and along the Paraná de…Read More
During the twenty years I lived in Buenos Aires I always enjoyed fishing in the Parana Delta during the warm season (October to April) I visited a number of fishing places along the Río Capitan (La Fusta, Paso del Toro) and along the Paraná de las Palmas (Crovetto, Laura, Boca Toledo, Yacaré, amongst others). I seldom went further than that. Travel on a motorboat to the Parana de las Palmas can take anything between an hour and an hour and a half each way, depending on whether the river is low or high, since sea tides have an influence on the level of the River Plate. I have read of captures of dorados nearer the Parana Guazú and beyond (recreo Martinez), but personally was never able to fish a dorado here, although once I saw one jumping for food. Basically I fished bogas (a sort of small mouth bass), and fishing them was real fun. They start sucking the bait, and if you are too anxious to catch them you will not fish any. And they might even try to take the bait around a pillar of the pier, and if they succeed, you will loose the fish. Its mouth is very week, so you have to be very careful to take the fish out of the water gently. If the fish is large enough (over 4 pounds, because it has many spines) grilled with lemon juice it is delicious. But touring the Delta or Tigre just for the joy of touring it, is really worthwhile.
You can even have lunch on a catamaran, but I discourage using anything else than regular motorboat transportation service (Interisleña), because catamarans need more depth for navigating, and miss some of the most beautiful places. A round trip will cost less than 5 dollars and it is an enjoyable experience. You can get off practically anywhere, but will be expected either to pay an admission fee (maybe 1 or 2 dollars) or to eat a sandwich or drink something at the resort. There are also a number of hotels and resorts in this area. Some are expensive (Laura, 3 stars) and others (Boca Toledo, Yacaré) are not. There is not much walking around to do, so either you enjoy fishing, or just relax and get a nice suntan in your bathing suit. The round ticket is valid for returning on any motorboat, so you decide how long you stay.
The Parana delta is one of the largest in the world. Its surface is 14,000 square kilometers (three million and a half acres). It is 200 miles long and probably 30 miles wide, has a surface of and has hundreds of small islands connected by rivers, most of which are navigable on small motorboats. Mosquitoes could be a problem (not always) so take Off repellent, just in case. I have really enjoyed every single day in the Paraná Delta (also known as Tigre) and I am sure you will also. Trains from Retiro station (round trip costs only 70 cents of a dollar) run every 10 to 15 minutes to Tigre. Travel takes nearly one hour. But 60 also comes here from Plaza Constitución. Whether you travel on the train or on the bus, you will go through beautiful residential areas with lovely residences and parks (Olivos, La Lucila, Martinez, Acassuso). You will really enjoy the trip. You can get off at any station, walk around and return to the train (but you will have to buy another ticket). There is no need of buying a local tour for visiting this area. I certainly would buy the Buenos Aires city tour, because otherwise you would miss very interesting spots. But do that another day. Have a nice time in Buenos Aires.
Written by skeptic on 09 Oct, 2004
We finished up a week on Argentina's central coast with a stopover in Buenos Aires.
For us, it was the most convenient to drop off our rental car at the Ezeiza Airport and take a shuttle bus into the city. We had previously booked three nights…Read More
We finished up a week on Argentina's central coast with a stopover in Buenos Aires.
For us, it was the most convenient to drop off our rental car at the Ezeiza Airport and take a shuttle bus into the city. We had previously booked three nights at the Best Western Embassy, which turned out to be an optimum choice. The hotel's central location on Avenida Cordoba allowed easy access to shopping, dining, and the city's main sightseeing attractions.
The time was mid-December, and the close-by Galerias Pacifico had put up holiday decorations, and the merchants were promoting their Christmas merchandise. These last days of the Argentinian spring had Florida and Lavalle streets packed with shoppers, night clubbers, and tango dancers. Little was visible, on the surface, of Argentina's looming financial crisis, as the country prepared to default on its $132 billion foreign debt and plunge headlong into economic and civil chaos.
For the time being, the order of the day was to see the sights and sample the atmosphere.
The neighborhoods, barrios, of central Buenos Aires each afforded their own separate styles and tones of life.
La Recoleta, to the north, is decidedly uptown, with foreign embassies, spacious parks, and park-like estates. Eva Peron's tomb is there in the Recoleta Cemetery, and there is also a statue of her in a local park. When we visited the tomb, admirers had only recently left flowers, but the statue in the park showed signs of vandalism. After more than 50 years, this icon of the Argentinian populist movement continues to tug both ways at the hearts of the population. The neighborhood also features the historic Basilica del Pilar and an adjacent park that hosts a weekend craft fair.
Farthest to the south, and opposite La Recoleta in all ways possible, is the port district known as La Boca. A hundred years ago, immigrant dock workers from Italy used batches of leftover paint for their shacks, and the tradition has carried on. Today there is a thriving artist community, and tourists flock to sample the atmosphere, shop for art, test the local dining, and view the colorful patchwork paint schemes on the buildings.
I have seen the claim that La Boca is the home of the tango and also that the tango had its origins in San Telmo, just to the north. In any event, the tango lives in San Telmo, where professional dancers give exhibitions in the Plaza Dorrego. The plaza also hosts a thriving flea market and some excellent dining.
Avenida de Mayo runs from the Government Palace west to the Congreso (the Congress Building). The Government Palace is the Casa Rosada (Pink House), where Madonna sang, "Don't Cry for me, Argentina," in her Academy Award movie roll. In front is the Plaza de Mayo, a traditional site for protests and where police used force to disperse rioters following the economic collapse in December 2001.
Calle Florida and Calle Lavelle cross at right angles and are closed to all but foot traffic.
They are the shopping and dining centers of central Buenos Aires. The fabulous Galerias Pacifico shopping mall occupies the corner of Florida and Avenida Cordoba, and sets a standard impossible to match in the rest of the district. Dining along Calle Florida is anchored at the low end by one or more McDonald's restaurants, although we think we saw one of these being torched by rioters on TV after we returned home.
At the northern end of Calle Florida is the beautiful Plaza San Martin, where we rounded out our last day waiting for our evening flight home. The park's footpaths wind among a variety of exotic trees, and there are many places to relax and read on a late spring afternoon.
At the time of our visit, the Argentinean peso was pegged one-to-one to the U.S. dollar, and the two were supposedly interchangeable. However, it was obvious that Argentineans never wanted to give dollars in change, so it was a constant struggle for us to try to leave the country with a minimum of pesos. As it was, we wound up back in Texas with a ten-peso note that quickly sank out of sight and became a combination conversation piece and book marker.
For all their woes, the people of Buenos Aires, and Argentina in general, were darned friendly. Due to a significant shift in dialect, my Spanish was even less useful in Argentina than it is in Texas. However, Argentineans were helpful and eager to communicate in English whenever possible, which was often. It would be nice to think I will find another excuse in the future for going back.
More on Buenos Aires
The author of this Lonely Planet Web page provides some deeper insight into the history and culture of Buenos Aires.