Buenos Aires

From Rio, we traveled south to the land of tango for our final stop in South America: Buenos Aires, Argentina. When we had originally planned this adventure, Buenos Aires was not on our list. Mostly because our time window in South America was short, but when we realized we had a few more days than originally planned, it didn’t take long for B.A. to get added to the itinerary. And we are both happy it did!

Buenos Aires is a pretty unique city in South America. With a large portion of their population made up of European immigrants who arrived in the mid 1800s from countries like Italy, Spain and Ireland, it has a fairly Western European feel to it. The city is nicknamed “the Paris of the South”, and after walking the streets for a short time, you can quickly see why. The buildings reflect a very Parisian style of architecture with their own Argentine feel to it. The people are kind and friendly, and while they all speak Spanish, all of the population doesn’t necessarily look like what you would picture as Latino with darker skin and features. Similar to the U.S., there’s a variety of different ethnicities and races.

Because Buenos Aires was a later addition to our itinerary, we honestly had not done a huge amount of research on the city like we have for most of our other destinations. For this reason, we did not know exactly what to expect. I would say we were definitely pleasantly surprised by what we found though! We really enjoyed our time there.

Buenos Aires is a large and spread-out city made up of several different neighborhoods with their own style and stories. Our days were spent exploring these different areas and enjoying what each had to offer. It was a lot of walking and wandering, but it allowed us to really experience what made each neighborhood special.

The first areas that we spent time in were San Telmo and downtown. We really enjoyed our time here as we wandered through the maze of new and old architecture. We did a walking tour that took us down a picturesque avenue that runs between the Congress Building and La Casa Rosa (“The Pink House” aka the Presidential Mansion). We learned the stories of the origins of Buenos Aires as a small port village “founded” by the Spanish in the 1500s that later grew to be the huge metropolis that it is today. We saw statues of all kinds. And we learned some about the quirky Argentine comic cartoon culture. 

We heard stories about the famous Evita Peron and Peronism that still influences the culture today (Evita’s silhouette is on the side of one of the buildings below). We saw cathedrals and the mausoleum of Jose de San Martin, an Argentine military general who led the campaign for independence from Spain in Argentina, Peru, Chile and Ecuador in the early 1800s. And later in the week, we returned to the area to visit the San Telmo Sunday Antique Market that has taken place in Plaza Dorrengo since the 1970s. I love markets and this one was great!

The next day, we explored the area of Recoleta. In its origin, Recoleta was the area where the wealthy lived and separated themselves from the lower class individuals of B.A. Recoleta was filled with old mansions that are converted into hotels and shops nowadays. There are a ton of parks in the area including one with a giant metal flower called Floralis Generica that you often see in pictures of B.A. Aside from the parks, we visited Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes where they had works from Van Gogh, Monet and Pieter Paul Rubens as well as modern works from Latin American artists. 

Also while in the neighborhood, we walked around what has to be one of the most beautiful bookstores ever called El Ateneo Grand Splendid. It was inside of a remodeled theater and was gorgeous! The biggest attraction of the Recoleta area and one of the most visited places in Buenos Aires is the Recoleta Cemetery. All of the tombs are above-ground and quite extravagant. With the wealthy living in the area, this was also where they were buried. The cemetery has the grave of Eva Peron and many other Argentine-famous individuals. It was really interesting to walk around and explore.

After Recoleta, we spent a day in the Puerto Madero and La Boca neighborhoods. La Boca was probably one of our very favorites to see as it’s full of color and life on every corner. The Boca Juniors’ Futbol Stadium is here where the Buenos Aires soccer team plays. The houses and stores are colorful and full of music. It was so fun to walk the streets and see what this little area has to offer. 

From La Boca, we walked to the Ecological Reserve where you can escape the busy city and stroll through nature ending in an overlook of the La Plata River, the river that Buenos Aires sits on that feeds into the South Atlantic Ocean between Argentina and Uruguay. It was lovely as it’s always nice to get away to a quiet area in the midst of a big city. From there, we walked to the newest part of town: Puerto Madero that sits along the water and the port. It is filled with large new office buildings and delicious restaurants to enjoy. Here is also where the uniquely designed Women’s Bridge is that was built to honor women in Argentina.

The final area that we visited was Palermo. Palermo is known for its street art, and we loved seeing it! So many of the buildings have incredible murals on the outside that brighten up this area. Palermo is also where several of the city’s bigger parks are located. The Botanic Gardens, the Rose Gardens (which were sadly closed while we were there), and the Eco Parque are all here. We loved walking through the Botanic Gardens and seeing all of the local and international foliage throughout it. And we kind of stumbled upon the Eco Parque, which was a delightful surprise! It was formerly the city zoo but they are now updating it and have moved many of the animals out, but there are still quite a few there and it’s free to visit! Anyone who knows Perry knows that he loves animals and zoos so it was wonderful to find a free zoo that had elephants, camels, peacocks, giraffes, zebras, ostriches, capybaras and several other animals throughout it. There were also these strange little animals that roamed freely that reminded us of a cross between a deer and a rabbit- I called them “drabbits”, but we’re honestly still not sure what they are…if you know please help us solve the mystery of their name because I have a feeling drabbit isn’t it…although its a good one :) Aside from the surprise zoo, one of our favorite parts of Palermo was the delicious restaurants that were throughout it. We ate several good meals here :)

We also visited the MALBA Museum (The Latin American Arts Museum of Buenos Aires) while in Palermo, which was a delightful surprise. We loved seeing the interesting and interactive modern art section where you could go below a swimming pool or climb into the exhibit. They even had works by Frida Kahlo and other amazing Latino artists.

Buenos Aires is known around the world as the capital of tango so one thing that we had to do while we were there was to attend a professional tango show. The dancers and singers were amazing and so entertaining. The theater that it was in was beautiful, and the food with the show was quite delicious. We even had a 30 minute tango lesson by two of the dancers before the show so Perry and I are pretty much professionals now if you need us to teach you to tango.

As with any city, we made sure to eat some delicious food during our time there. Buenos Aires’ food scene is wonderful (and pretty cheap!) and we definitely enjoyed it. We loved visiting several of the local breweries. We had a delicious waffle breakfast one day. And our last night, we ate at La Cabera, an amazing parrilla (steakhouse) where we feasted on steak and sides that make my mouth water just thinking about it now!

As we sit on a plane to our next destination, I’m reflecting on the last month and our time in South America. I’m sad to leave this beautiful continent behind, but I am certain that we will be back again one day (soon I hope!). Peru, Brazil and Argentina are all so different, but they are all so wonderful and made our time here something we will never forget while leaving us wanting for more. 

I was looking at a map the other day while thinking about all the places we’ve been so far and all the places we will be visiting in the future. It’s crazy because the world is such a big place. Though we’ve already visited so many places, it’s not even a drop in the bucket of all there is to see and explore in this world. Everywhere is so different and unique and special. It’s all filled with beautiful and creative people that amaze me over and over again.

So for today I’m cherishing our time in South America and the places that I have seen there. I’m remembering the people and cultures that I’ve experienced around the world, and I’m looking forward to the ones to come. This world is an amazing place, and I never want to forget that. May we all take a moment to stop and be in awe of this big world and all that is in it.


Popular posts from this blog

“Welcome home.”


Masai Mara