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Buenos Aires, Argentina - First Impressions, Zoo Visit, La Recoleta Cemetery

Argentina travel blog by Mark Berman - Mar 2008 Jul 2008 Oct 2008 May 2012 Sep 2013 Oct 2015   » View Photoset (238 Photos)

Mark Berman, South America backpacker for over 11yrs!

First Impressions and La Boca

I arrived in Buenos Aires on my first trip not knowing what to expect apart from tango dancing and cheap steak. After getting a taxi to the
Argentina Photo - Characters upon roof in La Boca Buenos Aires.
Characters upon roof in La Boca Buenos Aires.
San Telmo district knowing there were some hostels there, I found a good one and booked in for 2 nights initially and extended it 2 more nights after a couple of days.

Tango in San Telmo

San Telmo is a good base to explore Buenos Aires. I immediately met some other travelers who invited me to go out and watch some tango dancing with them. It was a place where people were learning to dance with locals who already could dance in a relaxed atmosphere and people could watch.

Plenty to Do and See

Buenos Aires is a big and busy city but you can see a lot by walking, renting a bicycle or taking a bus or train, there is plenty to do and see!

La Boca

I went to La Boca and saw the painted houses and the puppet characters on the balconies which is great apart from all the tourist orientated shops and souveniers everywhere. There are only 1 or 2 streets that have the colored houses.

Dog Walkers

Around the city you will see dog walkers with often 8 - 10 dogs, that would explain why the footpaths have obstacles on them.

Has It All

It's a great place for shopping, studying Spanish and for leading a social life. There's plenty of statues, monuments and architecture to look at around the city especially along Calle Florida.

Daytrip to Uruguay

It's easy to catch the ferry across the Rio de la Plata to Uruguay for a daytrip for an escape from the bustle.

The Neighbourhoods

The great thing about Buenos Aires are the many very different neighborhoods. Recoleta is an upmarket area full of cafes, shops and art
Argentina Photo - Statue of an important man in a park in Buenos Aires.
Statue of an important man in a park in Buenos Aires.
galleries, while Palermo Viejo is perfect for walking amongst nature and having picnics. San Telmo where I have stayed on 2 occasions displays much traditional culture, while by the river the area of Puerto Madero has some great nightlife, clubs and restaurants.

On Sunday

On Sunday go to Plaza Dorrego
Argentina Photo - Animals with twisty stripy horns at Buenos Aires Zoo.
Animals with twisty stripy horns at Buenos Aires Zoo.
for an exciting fair with performers in the streets.

Plaza de Mayo

Eva Peron made her famous address to the workers in Plaza de Mayo in 1945 from the balcony of Casa Rosada.

Belgrano Museums

You can find several interesting museums in the Belgrano district, in fact there are several museums in all districts, you are never far from a museum here!

The Soccer Stadium

For a real taste of how much the Argentinians love their soccer, check out a game at La Bombonera Soccer Stadium in La Boca!

BA Will Grow On You!

Buenos Aires has many attractions and is a city that will grow on you over time. I didn't love it the first time but liked it more on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th occasions. I think understanding the layout of the city and how to get from one place to the next is half the battle.

Passing Through

In May 2010 I again came to Buenos Aires but only very briefly, from the airport I took a co-op taxivan to the bus terminal and spent 18hrs on a bus traveling north up to Salta, be very careful in the bus terminal to hold on to and keep and eye on your belongings.
Argentina Photo - The golden front facade of the Galerias Pacifico building in Buenos Aires at night.
The golden front facade of the Galerias Pacifico building in Buenos Aires at night.

Zoo, La Recoleta Cemetery, Botanical Gardens & Park

In May 2012 I spent 2-3 days again in Buenos Aires. I saw some new things I hadn't seen before and as well took another visit to La Boca. I enjoyed Buenos Aires more than ever this time, although the weather wasn't great.

Grave of Eva Paron

I visited the district of Recoleta and found the grave of Eva Paron at La Recoleta Cemetery. It's an amazingly
Argentina Photo - Big wooden door with low door knockers in case any little people arrive, Buenos Aires.
Big wooden door with low door knockers in case any little people arrive, Buenos Aires.
prestigious cemetery with many presidents, actors, writers, politicians, generals and military officers buried there. The grave of Eva Paron (with her family) is the most visited grave in all of South America, the family name is Familia Duarte.

Botanical Gardens

By subway train I made my way next to the Palermo district to see the botanical gardens Jardin Botanico Carlos Thays which are very nice with many trees, open spaces, statues and art (27 pieces), water features and cats roaming around. Gardens include those from Africa, Europe, France, Oceania, Asia, America, Roman and a butterfly garden. It opened in 1898.
Argentina Photo - Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948) monument in Buenos Aires park.
Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948) monument in Buenos Aires park.
Carlos Thays (1849-1934) was a French-Argentine landscape architect.

Buenos Aires Zoo

Across the road from the botanical gardens and Plaza Italia is Buenos Aires Zoo, the entry fee for adults is around $10USD. Buenos Aires Zoo is quite big, you can easily spend 2-3hrs wandering around seeing all of the animals that live here! Pink flamingos, brown bears, polar bears, lions, tigers and other cats, monkeys, tapir, llamas, bison, elephants, camels and so many more. There is also a reptile house with
Argentina Photo - Monument to Jose de San Martin at Botanical Gardens Carlos Thays in Palermo in Buenos Aires.
Monument to Jose de San Martin at Botanical Gardens Carlos Thays in Palermo in Buenos Aires.
some big snakes like pythons and boa's.

Many Parks

Buenos Aires has some lovely parks, the huge park called Parque Tres de Febrero is outstanding, a beautiful space to enjoy. Here you will find the Poets Garden full of monuments to famous poets such as William Shakespeare, Amado Nervo, Ruben Dario, Alfonso Reyes and many others. The park also has rose gardens, a Greek bridge, a lake and island, patio and pavilion.

La Boca Take 2

My visit to La Boca this time was very early in the morning, around 7am before all the tourists arrived. I enjoyed it more without people trying to sell me stuff all the time. There is a lot of art on the streets to take photos of, which I did. Take a look at my photos to see more.

Bus to Rosario

From Buenos Aires I travelled north / west
Argentina Photo - Map of the Buenos Aires underground train system.
Map of the Buenos Aires underground train system.
this time to Rosario which took 4hrs.

Thieves Attack Me

In September 2013 I spent 3 nights in the city and had 2 days of sightseeing. I stayed in a different part of town than I had before, about 1km from Plaza Congreso. My first day of sightseeing was actually cut short due to a problem with thieves.

At Plaza Congreso

While I was at Plaza Congreso which by the way is an absolutely amazing space full of art, artists painting pictures and is surrounded by fantastic buildings like the Congress Palace.

I Hurt My Arm in Brazil

So, let me tell you the story! I had arrived in Buenos Aires this time by plane from Sao Paulo in Brazil. I had hurt my arm while there
Argentina Photo - Arches and designs of a facade in Buenos Aires.
Arches and designs of a facade in Buenos Aires.
and had it in a cast. Well actually on the plane I took the cast off and was now using a sling. What happened to me next while walking around the plaza is an old trick usually done to tourists in Peru in places like Cusco and indeed it was 2 Peruvians trying this on me.

And Became An Easy Target

I was an easy target with one arm in a sling and the other holding an expensive camera. I was walking underneath a large tree, there were pigeons on the ground all around. Next thing a knew the pigeons went crazy flying everywhere and some stinky liquid came down all over me. Suddenly 2 Peruvians, a man and a woman were right there saying that the pigeons had pooped on me and that they could help clean me up. Suddenly without warning they
Argentina Photo - Friendly smiling puppet character in street in La Boca Buenos Aires.
Friendly smiling puppet character in street in La Boca Buenos Aires.
were cleaning me with tissues and water. The woman was behind me, the man worked on my legs and while he was he was pushing my wallet up and up and out of my pocket. Haha, luckily by the time he had my wallet half out of my front pocket he could see it was attached to a chain that was attached to my belt. I was holding my camera tightly during this of course, my other arm was useless.

Haha Adios Amigos

After realising they were not going to be getting anything from me they left very fast, each in a different direction. I knew what was going on during the process but it all happened so fast there was not much I could do. Whatever it was they threw on me absolutely stunk, it was like vinegar or something similar. I went
Argentina Photo - 3 women hold up fruit bowl, fountain in Recoleta in Buenos Aires.
3 women hold up fruit bowl, fountain in Recoleta in Buenos Aires.
back to my hotel after that for a shower and called it quits for the day. I went out that night for a meal and slept well.

A Miraculous Recovery

Overnight my arm made a miraculous recovery and I was now able to hold my camera with both hands again and not look like an easy target for thieves! I had a fantastic day of photography this time, walking for 7hrs and somewhere between 12-15kms around the city.

Statueland, Plazas and Street Art

I said to myself that I would not take so many photos of statues but that is very hard to do in Buenos Aires because there are 100's and 100's of them everywhere. I wanted mainly on this day to look for street art, architecture and interesting facades, that kind of thing. I wasn't disappointed. I found a ton of street art and many awesome murals. I saw some great plazas and parks including Plaza Lavalle, Plaza Libertad, Plaza San Martin, Plaza Fuerza Aerea, Plaza Roma, Plaza de Mayo (again) and the Plaza de la Constitucion. I had a great time and look forward to my next stop in good ole BA!

Most Recently

In October 2015 I was in Buenos Aires with my family. A great thing to do with kids is to take them to the zoo of course!

     

View all photos in the Buenos Aires Photoset


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My Hostel & Hotel Reviews for Buenos Aires, Argentina:

Plaza Hotel, Buenos Aires, Argentina - Large Photo
Plaza Hotel, Buenos Aires, Argentina (October 2015 - 3 nights) - The Plaza Hotel Buenos Aires is very posh and is located beside Plaza San Martin in the city center. I got a good deal at a little under $100USD per night which didn't include their fancy buffet breakfast, that is an extra $28USD per person or you pay more to have it included in your room rate. Free wifi however was included in the rate that I payed. Beautiful rooms and very comfortable with bath and shower, fridge, cable tv, cot for the baby, writing desk and a nice big bed. Plaza Hotel has a very professional atmosphere with doormen opening doors for you and everything else you could imagine. If you are feeling rich or actually are rich then this is a great hotel very close to amazing shops and not far from the underground train. Recommended.
Hotel Residencial, Buenos Aires, Argentina - Large Photo
Hotel Residencial, Buenos Aires, Argentina (September 2013 - 3 nights) - I enjoyed my 3 night stay here. Flashier than I would normally stay in. Was around $30USD per night. Big room, tv, private bathroom and wifi internet. About 20mins walk from Plaza Congreso. Recommended.
Sandanzas Cultural Hostel, Buenos Aires, Argentina - Large Photo
Sandanzas Cultural Hostel, Buenos Aires, Argentina (Jul 2008 - 2 nights) - I enjoyed my stay here for 2 nights, an easy going place to be with nice rooms, heaters and lots of bathrooms/toilets.
Ostinatto Hostel, Buenos Aires, Argentina - Large Photo
Ostinatto Hostel, Buenos Aires, Argentina (Mar 2008 - 4 nights, Oct 2008 - 6 nights, May 2012 - 2 nights) - This hostel is always nice, clean and with friendly and helpful staff and it is in a great location in the San Telmo district. They have bicycles that you can rent to ride around and explore the big city, a great kitchen and dining area with balconies overlooking the street which is a good social area as well, there is a TV and video area with beanbags and a couch downstairs. The hostel is kept clean by several ladies each day. In 2012 when I stayed here it wasn't that great due to the noise and echo throughout the place and people slamming doors. They need to do something about the echo!
Hostel Inn Tango City, Buenos Aires, Argentina - Large Photo
Hostel Inn Tango City, Buenos Aires, Argentina (Oct 2008 - 1 night) - This is a great hostel for young people with its bar and party atmosphere, go there with your friends or to meet lots of new people. I didn't really enjoy the noise in my 10 at least bed dorm and all the computers and WIFI were down when I was there so I left and stayed somewhere else.

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Buenos Aires, Argentina - First Impressions, Zoo Visit, La Recoleta Cemetery. A city packed with things to do and see, you need at least several days to really take advantage of all that Buenos Aires has to offer!

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