WORDS LARA DUNSTON & TERRY CARTER
PHOTOS TERRY CARTER
RIO DE JANERIO
Fresh from a lengthy meeting with its bank manager, Buenos
Aires is offering the sensory experience of a European capital
but at a third of the price and with treble the passion. Who could
have thought that bouncing back from bankruptcy could be so
Buenos Aires often gets lazily labelled the ‘Paris of the South’, yet BA is very whip-lashed from genre hopping, great restaurants popping up like mushrooms,
much its own city. While you sometimes need to check Paris for a pulse, it’s and red wines as smooth as a baby’s bottom. If you can’t have a good time here
hard to get Porteños (BA residents) to have a good lie down. When they do, it’s you need to see a shrink.
probably because they’re visiting their shrink – there’s one for every 30 Porteños. Despite its frenetic nature, BA is a perfect place to chill. There are fascinating bar-
And while Porteños may be party people, they’re also Latin America’s most rios (’hoods) to discover, museums to explore, and parks to kick back in where
complex people. It’s this complexity that makes BA an endlessly fascinating city. locals share their love of maté (the national herbal tea) while the paseo de perros
Spanish explorer Pedro de Mendoza christened it ‘Ciudad de Nuestra Señora (dog walkers) wrangle a dozen pampered pooches. Lingering over a smooth café
Santa María del Buen Ayre’ or City of Our Lady Saint Mary of the Fair Winds in cortardo (thank the Italians for the great coffee) and churros (sugary fried dough
1536, but it wasn’t until immigration laws passed in 1867 that the city began to see pastries from Spain) in an atmospheric café is obligatory. A visit to San Telmo to
waves of immigrants hit its shores: Spanish, English, Italian, French, Irish, browse the markets, sip a beer in the sun, and witness the rebirth of live tango
Japanese, Polish, Ukrainian, Syrians and Lebanese, and in more recent decades, music – complete with upright pianos dragged onto the street – is a ﬁne way to
Chinese, Koreans, and Latin Americans. Each culture has left its marks, from the spend a day. If you want to keep the pace slow, take an afternoon siesta because
Italian and French architectural ﬂourishes around the city, to the Italian-inﬂuenced a night out in BA ends with sunrise. To be fair, you won’t be seen dead dining
local slang lunfardo, the language of tango, to the prevalence of sushi bars on before 9pm so you can ﬁt in a decent disco nap before heading out for a brilliant
every street. steak, unquestionably the best in the world. A few bars and couple of clubs later
Once known for their predisposition to nostalgia and melancholia – and who could your head hits the pillow as the sun hits the horizon. While Porteños take it in their
blame them with such a brutal history, decades of violent military dictatorships, stride, visitors fade after a few nights of BA hedonism. Porteños have a lust for life
and periods of abject poverty – Porteños now have a renewed sense of optimism that’s contagious. Conversations about football, politics or philosophy are treated
and vitality and BA is experiencing a cultural renaissance. There’s an energetic with equal passion, as is talk of food, wine and art. Porteños have perfected the art
arts scene, an inventive fashion industry, a music scene that will leave you of living. Just make sure you get some sleep before you get here.
MY BA HOTEL
FAENA HOTEL + UNIVERSE BUENOS AIRES HAS SOME OF THE WORLD’S MOST LUXURIOUS FIVE
Located in leafy residential Belgrano, My BA Hotel is the kind of low-key boutique
BA’s hippest hotel is an adventure in design. As you’d expect from a creative STARS – THE FOUR SEASONS, PARK HYATT PALACIO DUHAU, AND ALVEAR
hotel where you quickly feel at home. Housing a friendly café which locals like to
collaboration between Philippe Starck and ﬂamboyant BA fashion entrepreneur PALACE IN RECOLETA TO NAME A FEW – AND A SEEMINGLY ENDLESS
drop in to on their way home, the elegant 1940s building, furnished with gorgeous
Alan Faena, the hotel is wonderfully theatrical. There’s a dramatically lit entrance, ARRAY OF BACKPACKER DIGS IN THE DOWNTOWN AND SAN TELMO.
art deco ﬁnds, has elegant open spaces where you’ll enjoy lingering over cocktails
French-inspired cabaret, library bar, an extraordinary all-white restaurant, and a WHERE THE CITY EXCELS, HOWEVER, IS IN ITS STYLISH BOUTIQUE
before heading out. While the stylish rooms are super comfortable, you won’t
stunning rooftop swimming pool. The location lets it down, however, and while SLEEPS. BA IS DIRT-CHEAP FOR TRAVELLERS AND NOWHERE IS A BETTER
want to stay in for long with Belgrano’s markets, cafés, parks, and Chinatown
Puerto Madero is set to become a vibrant cultural precinct at Faena’s initiative, for BARGAIN TO BE HAD THAN IN A MID-RANGE HOTEL, WHERE THE RATE
close by. Rooms start at $140.
now, apart from a few eateries and bars and the striking Santiago Calatrava- WILL BE CLOSER TO A BUDGET PLACE IN EUROPE AND THE QUALITY
WWW.NEWAGE-HOTELS.COM ZABALA 1925, BELGRANO PH: 4787-5765
designed bridge, there’s little to do. Hotel and design junkies will still want to stay, MORE AKIN TO A TOP END. THEY’RE ALSO LOCATED IN BA’S MOST
so our advice is: book one night, don’t leave the hotel, and explore BA after you ENGAGING BARRIOS, SAN TELMO, MONTSERRAT AND PALERMO VIEJO.
check in to one of our other suggested sleeps. Doubles starting at $400 include ALTERNATIVELY, YOU CAN RENT AN APARTMENT. BA IS A LONG-HAUL
access to the spa and hammam. DESTINATION BY ANYBODY’S MEASURE AND AN INCREASING NUMBER
When local girl Patricia O’Shea and her English husband DJ-music producer Tom
WWW.FAENAHOTELANDUNIVERSE.COM MARTHA SALOTTI 445, OF TRAVELLERS ARE CHOOSING TO KICK BACK IN THE CITY FOR A WEEK,
Rixton moved to Buenos Aires from the UK, they wanted to establish funky digs
PUERTO MADERO PH: 4010-9000 TWO, OR EVEN A MONTH OR MORE, SO MUCH SO THAT GETTING YOUR
where visiting family and friends could stay. So they created Home. While the ret-
OWN PLACE HAS ALMOST BECOME DE RIGUEUR.
ro wallpaper, groovy vintage furniture and shagpile rugs might remind you of your
childhood home, as you’d expect from a music producer the spacious rooms
come with a quality sound system, CD library, ﬂat screen TV, Wi-Fi, and iPod con-
nection. Friday nights see neighbours dropping in for delicious tapas, Argentine
wine and the DJ. Doubles from $115.
WWW.HOMEBUENOSAIRES.COM HONDURAS 5860, PALERMO VIEJO PH: 4778-1008
Playfully fusing old-world charm and contemporary cool in a completely original way,
The Cocker is one of the most surprising hotels we’ve discovered. Our favourite
room has elegant French windows, high ceilings and polished wooden ﬂoorboards
yet centre-stage is the most innovative and funkiest ‘four-poster’ bed invented – the
two-storey white cube has a sleek bathroom above its ‘canopy’! With private sun
decks, terraces and balconies, a tranquil rooftop garden, and a library with grand
piano and ﬁreplace, The Cocker is a perfect urban escape. Doubles from $80.
WWW.THECOCKER.COM (WEB BOOKINGS ONLY) AVE JUAN DE GARAY 458, SAN TELMO
Quirky Youkali is BA’s most unique sleep with an idiosyncratic style. Its German expat
Latin American literature-loving owner Gerd Tepass named the intimate hotel after
Living like locals is the aim of many travellers to BA these days. Tango or Spanish
the tango ‘Youkali’ composed by Kurt Weill whose ‘Youkali’ was a place of fantasy.
lessons have become mandatory and the chance to hang out here long enough
Gerd’s Youkali is equally dreamy. In a 19th century building in increasingly hip
to put both to use on a regular basis is appealing. Apartment rental agencies are
Monserrat – an architectural gem of a barrio – the spacious, light-ﬁlled, high-ceilinged
popping up everywhere but our favourites are ‘Living Like Locals’ and ‘Living in
rooms feature polished wooden ﬂoors and mismatched pieces of whimsical furniture.
Buenos Aires’. Both have fabulous properties all over BA, from small studios with
Picture Nanna’s faux baroque bedroom setting, a retro 1950s sideboard and a
spectacular views and sun terraces to spacious light-ﬁlled lofts. Most come with
disco-ball. The rooms change colour like glaciers, thanks to a combination of lighting,
mod cons, from DVD players to espresso makers. While weekly rates start at
silver-blue hues of the walls, and the sun’s movement. Downstairs, in the icy white
$350, you can rent the same apartment for $650 a month, amounting to as little
minimalist bar-restaurant, dine on delicious modern German cuisine and sip on
as $21 a night!
sublime cocktails (try the Pisco-based Peruvian Lips) as you listen to the resident DJ.
Hotel services include massages and Spanish lessons! Rooms start at $70.
WWW.YOUKALI.COM.AR ESTADOS UNIDOS 1393, MONTSERRAT PH: 4381-6064
EATING IN BA? IT’S ALL ABOUT THE BEEF. WHAT YOU’VE HEARD ABOUT THE LOMO (BEEF) IN ARGENTINA IS TRUE. THOSE BIG HAPPY COWS SPEND THEIR BRASSERIE PETANQUE
LIVES WANDERING AROUND THE PAMPAS GRAZING ON LONG FRESH GRASS. IT’S GOTTA BE GOOD FOR THEM. AND IT IS – THE MEAT IS LEAN AND DELI- While there is some highly fancied French fare on offer in BA, we always ﬁnd it hard
CIOUS. A MEAL AT A PARRILLA (GRILL) IS OBLIGATORY, AS IS WASHING DOWN THAT HUNK OF MEAT WITH A BRILLIANT LOCAL MALBEC WINE. WE LIED, to go past this authentic Parisian-style brasserie in San Telmo. It could be the warm,
THOUGH, THERE IS MORE TO EATING IN BA THAN BEEF. THERE ARE EXCELLENT ITALIAN, FRENCH AND ASIAN RESTAURANTS, ESPECIALLY JAPANESE, AND unpretentious and buzzy atmosphere, the easygoing elegance of the place, or the
THE SUSHI HELPS OFFSET THE INEVITABLE BLOAT FROM THE STEAKFEST. TRY THE LOCAL SNACK, EMPANADAS (BAKED PASTRIES STUFFED WITH MEAT great service, but it’s most likely the combination of excellent Argentine beef and
OR CHEESE), SOLD AT NEIGHBOURHOOD EMPANADERIAS, PARILLAS AND CASUAL EATERIES – PERFECT IF YOU’RE HAVING A FEW BREWS. BA’S DRINKING French technique – evident in the superb steak tartare – that keeps the punters
SCENE IS A BLAST WITH EVERYTHING FROM ALL-DAY CORNER CAFÉ-BARS WHERE EVERYONE SHARES LONGNECK BEERS TO HIP LOUNGE BARS THAT coming back.
DON’T GET HAPPENING UNTIL AFTER MIDNIGHT. DON’T SAY WE DIDN’T WARN YOU. WWW.BRASSERIEPETANQUE.COM DEFENSA 596, SAN TELMO PH: 4342-7930
LA BRIGADA GRAN BAR DANZON
San Telmo is full of parrillas, but La Brigada reigns supreme. In a classic old space ﬁlled This glam bar and restaurant attracts an unusual combination of arty young
with football memorabilia and photos of local celebrities (some of whom will probably groovers and loose-tied and tired after-work revellers. Even more odd for a late
be chowing down while you’re there), La Brigada is rightfully renowned for its meats night city like BA, the place ﬁlls quickly after its 7pm opening. And we admit we
and excellent wines. Culinary adventurers and Anthony Bourdain wannabees should can be counted among the regulars who get there early to study the chalkboard
demand the amazing sweetmeats. If you see a bloke beaming a shiny set of whites at for new wines by the glass and hours later are still watching the friendly waiters
you – yes, the one with non-ironic mullet and handlebar moustache – that will be own- mix wicked cocktails. It’s just as well they serve great food – creative fusion
er Hugo who’ll be pleased you’ve ordered the house speciality. Book ahead. cuisine – otherwise we’d all have trouble negotiating the stairs on the way out.
ESTADOS UNIDOS 465, SAN TELMO PH: 4361-5557 WWW.GRANBARDANZON.COM.AR LIBERTAD 1161, RETIRO PH: 4811-1108
BAR PLAZA DORREGO BAR URIARTE
Ideally placed for some bar hopping on the Las Cañitas strip, super-cool Kandi
In colonial San Telmo, opposite Plaza A stylish lunch stop by day during a Pal-
should be your ﬁrst stop. Arrive around 11pm and settle into one of the caramel
Dorrego, this antique café-bar is one of ermo Soho shopping excursion, at night
leather seats up front if you want to people-watch. If you’re feeling social, take a
the city’s most characterful – picture this spacious contemporary eatery is one
position at the bar and order a cocktail, the local drink of choice. The food is good
rickety wooden tables, faded tango pic- of the barrio’s sexiest spots for dinner and
if you’re happy to eat late with the local hipsters.
tures, and mirrors on the wall. Low-key drinks. You can prop up the bar and work
BÁEZ 340, LAS CAÑITAS PH: 4772-2453
on weekdays when you can sip a café your way through the wines by the glass,
cortado at a window table while you meet friends in the funky lounge area and
watch the tango dancers strut their stuff have some snacks, or hit the high-ceilinged
SOUL CAFÉ & SUPERSOUL on the square opposite, weekends see restaurant for some Italian classics. On a
After taking in the scene at Kandi, stumble down to these seventies-inspired soul sis- this place get packed with post-market sunny day grab a table in the courtyard.
ters for some excellent cocktails. These retro bars feature hanging dice lamps (Soul shoppers. Wait for a pavement table to WWW.BARURIARTE.COM.AR URIARTE 1572,
Café) and comfy booths (Supersoul) and get crowded late. If you get here early, pull be close to the action. PALERMO VIEJO (PALERMO SOHO)
up a barstool, order a drink, and practice your Spanish on the friendly bar staff. DEFENSA 1098, SAN TELMO PH: 4361-0141 PH: 4834-6004
Báez 252, Las Cañitas Ph: 4776-3905
ØLSEN EL FEDERAL MUNDO BIZARRO
This slice of Nordic cool ﬁts in well with the hipsters that inhabit Palermo Hollywood Another of San Telmo’s atmospheric old café-bars – this one has been around This local institution manages to pull off a ﬁre-truck-red retro look that takes its in-
and Sunday brunch here (going well into the evening) is the best time to see BA’s since 1864 – El Federal has a fantastic wooden interior with a long decorative spiration from a 1950s American diner crossed with a grungy 1980s goth bar. The
too-cool crowd unwind. While nobody comes here for the service, it’s the variety of bar. While it’s great for lunch or a coffee during the day – the vibe is very laidback place doesn’t get happening until after midnight, but arrive a bit earlier if you want
vodkas and Scandi cuisine that keep the place humming like a swarm of bees. We – the place really buzzes at night when locals come for the house red and pica- to score a comfy velvet booth. The DJ is excellent but the kitsch television shows
just wish they’d move it to the mountains for winter; the ﬁreplace is killer. das – big breadboards of antipasto-like snacks. and old movies projected on the wall will also keep you entertained.
GORRITI 5870, PALERMO VIEJO (PALERMO HOLLYWOOD) PH: 4776-7677 CNR PERU & CARLOS CALVO, SAN TELMO PH: 4300-4313 SERRANO 1222, PALERMO VIEJO PH: 4773-1967
BUENOS AIRES IS LIKE A GOOD LOCAL PUB. LAIDBACK BY DAY, THE PLACE BUZZES AT NIGHT, THERE’S A LIVELY PROGRAM OF ENTERTAINMENT, THE
PEOPLE ARE FRIENDLY, AND YOU CAN ALWAYS FIND SOMEONE KEEN TO HAVE A CHAT. DURING THE DAY, BA TAKES IT EASY. COMPARED TO OTHER BIG
CITIES AROUND THE GLOBE, OFFICE WORKERS START LATE AND LEAVE EARLY; THE ONLY TIME YOU SEE THEM RUSH IS WHEN THEY’RE GOING TO LUNCH
MELLOW OUT AT MALBA
OR HEADING HOME. ON WEEKENDS, PORTEÑOS LEISURELY STROLL SAN TELMO’S COBBLESTONE STREETS, BROWSE RECOLETA’S BUSY MARKETS, AND
This is one world-class modern art museum and it’s worth spending a few hours
LAZE ABOUT IN PALERMO’S PARKS DRINKING MATÉ WITH THEIR FRIENDS. AT NIGHT, THE CITY IS JUMPING. CROWDS CHATTER OUTSIDE CONCERT HALLS
here. It has a top-notch collection of vibrant Latin American art, including a
AND THEATRES AS THEY WAIT TO SEE PERFORMANCES. TICKETS FOR SHOWS ARE ALWAYS SOLD OUT, VENUES ALWAYS PACKED. DANCE CLUBS OPEN AT
fabulous Frida Kahlo, some playful installations and cool conceptual art, along
MIDNIGHT, ARE CRAMMED SOON AFTER, AND VIBRATE WITH CLUBBERS DANCING UNTIL DAWN. AND THEN THE NEXT DAY IT ALL STARTS OVER AGAIN.
with excellent temporary exhibitions, such as the brilliant David LaChapelle show
this year. Add to that, the museum is housed in a stunner of a building, it has a
buzzy café, an art-house cinema, and there’s a super gift shop with a great
selection of Argentine design products, DVDs, and gorgeous coffee table books
STROLL SAN TELMO on art and photography.
Relaxed weekdays when students share WWW.MALBA.ORG.AR AVE PRESIDENTE FIGUEROA ALCORTA 3415, PALERMO PH: 4808-6500
beers at pavement tables, San Telmo
come alive on weekends when the main
drag, calle Defensa, ﬂoods with an ocean
of people. Beginning near the down-
SHOP & BAR-HOP PALERMO VIEJO
town, hippies line the street selling hand-
Fashionistas, foodies and ﬁlm types
icrafts and handmade jewellery, all the
love funky Palermo Viejo and its barrios-
way down to Plaza Dorrego where an
within-a-barrio, Palermo Soho and Pal-
antique market takes over for the week-
ermo Hollywood. In the area around
end. Pianos are pulled onto the pave-
Plaza Serrano, Soho’s streets are home
ment and tango orchestras perform.
to cool boutiques, restaurants and ca-
Sunday night, when the bric-a-brac is
fés, and an edgy fashion market on
packed away, a tango milonga (social
weekends. On the other side of the
dance) takes place on the square.
tracks (a railway line runs between bar-
rios), the streets of Hollywood (named
after the media, ﬁlm and animation
companies in the ’hood) are lined with
TRY SOME TANGO hip design shops, eateries and bars. It’s
Nothing screams Buenos Aires more wide leafy streets feature wonderful co-
than the sultry dance of tango and ev- lonial architecture, making for a pleas-
eryone wants a taste of it when they get ant afternoon’s wander as much as for a
here, whether it’s watching a slick din- fun night’s bar hopping.
ner show or taking tango lessons. Avoid
TAKE A WALK IN A PARK the over-priced tourist shows and have
BA’s bosques are beautiful green bundles some fun watching the relaxed bur-
of activity so make sure you take a walk in lesque-style acts at Los 36 Billares,
a park. Palermo’s 3 de Febrero is the complete with an old-skool MC! This is
most popular and Porteños treat it like a where working class Porteños go for a
playground. They jog, bike, walk dogs, good time and huge steaks. If you fancy
roller-blade, skateboard, play roller tangling your legs with a stranger’s, try
hockey, take aerobics and tai chi classes, the tango classes at faded old dance
workout with personal trainers, juggle, hall Conﬁteria Ideal. A milonga (social
strum guitars, picnic with friends, or dance) follows lessons and this can be
simply take a stroll. Whatever they do, entertaining in itself.
they always do it with a thermos of maté WWW.LOS36BILLARES.COM.AR AVENIDA
under their arms. How do they do that? DE MAYO 1265 PH: 4381-5696; WWW.CON-
CNR AVS DEL LIBERTADOR & DE LA INFANTA FITERIAIDEAL.COM SUIPACHA 384, MICRO-
ISABEL, PALERMO CENTRO PH: 4601 8234
GET TEARY AT A PEÑA COASTING THE CLUBS
A night out at a peña, a traditional folk- BA has a pumping dance club scene.
loric music club, is a must. Tango is tame What else would you expect from the
by comparison – the peña is where emo- city that gave birth to Hernán Catta-
tions really run high! Depending on the neo, once resident DJ at BA’s legend-
performer – from indigenous Northern ary Pacha? While there are clubs scat-
Argentine pipe bands to classical folk tered all over the city, BA’s best and
guitarists – you can expect anything from biggest – Pacha, Mint, Caix, and Jet –
spontaneous exuberant folk dancing to are on the Costanera Norte (North
sentimental teary-eyed sing-alongs. La Coast), a ten-minute taxi ride from Pal-
Peña del Colorado is unquestionably ermo Viejo. This is where the big-name
BA’s best. Staff and patrons are warm DJs spin. While clubs open around
and friendly, the program is varied, and midnight, Porteños don’t line up until at
the musicians brilliant. Book a table least 2am and rarely leave before 7am.
close to the band, try some maté if you Our tip? Sunglasses.
haven’t already, and order the empana- W W W. S U R FA C E B O O K I N G S . C O M . A R ,
das, the tastiest we’ve ever had. WWW.BUENOSALIENS.COM, WWW.PACH-
W W W. L A P E N I A D E L C O L O R A D O . C O M ABUENOSAIRES.COM, WWW.MINT-ARGEN-
GÜEMES 3657, PALERMO PH: 4822-1038 TINA.COM.AR
SURVIVE A SUPERCLÁSICO
To ask whether Porteños are passionate
about football (soccer) is the equivalent
of enquiring about the Pope’s religious
denomination. Everybody supports a
local team so choose one now. The two
frontrunners are Argentina’s most
famous team, Club Atlético Boca
Juniors (the working-class heroes) and
River Plate, known as los millonarios
(the millionaires). A match between
them at Boca Juniors’ La Bombonera
(the Chocolate Box) stadium is as
exhilarating as it is frightening – go with
a tour company such as Tangol if you
want to witness the most exciting local
derby in the world, the Superclásico –
and live to tell the story.
WWW.BOCAJUNIORS.COM.AR LA BOM-
BONERA, ESTADIO ALBERTO J ARMANDO
BRANDSEN 805 PH: 4362-2260; WWW.TAN-
GOL.COM TANGOL, FLORIDA 971, MICRO-
CENTRO, PH: 4312-7276
LOCAL HERO: AGUSTIN MONTIEL
BUENOS AIRES-BORN AGUSTIN MONTIEL IS AN ILLUSTRATOR WHO TRAINED
IN VISUAL ARTS IN BA AND PLASTIC ARTS IN PARIS. A FAN OF COMIC BOOKS
AND ARCHITECTURE, HE’S TYPICAL OF MANY CREATIVE PORTEÑOS TRYING
TO GET AHEAD: AGUSTIN IS A GLOBETROTTER – JOB IN PARIS, SUMMERS
SURFING PORTUGAL AND SPAIN, WINTERS SNOWBOARDING THE ALPS.
CURRENTLY WORKING AS A VIDEO GAMES ANIMATOR, HE LIVES ON THE
SLOPES OF MONTMARTRE, RETURNING TO BUENOS AIRES EVERY CHANCE
HE GETS. AGUSTIN HAS A LIST OF THINGS HE LOVES TO DO EACH TIME HE
RETURNS TO BA.
‘FERIA DE MATADEROS’ SLAUGHTERHOUSE MARKET ‘OUR HORSES’ ART WEEKS HIT THE STREETS GO SHOPPING COMICS, BOOKS, MUSIC – AVENIDA CORRIENTES
Each weekend in outer-BA barrio Mataderos (Slaughterhouses), the ‘Feria de Mat- Many BA festivals are centred on tradi- Artists, art lovers, and art buyers de- I walk from Congreso along Avenida de GALERIA 5ta AVENIDA I always stock up on comics, books, and music when I return to BA. Avenida Cor-
adores’ (Slaughterhouse Market) is a lively celebration of gaucho culture. Locals tional culture. Our favourite, ‘Nuestros scend on BA for a week mid-May for its Mayo to Plaza San Martin. The architec- People like Paris for shopping but I prefer rientes is lined with bookshops and record stores. I love this street – I walk the
do the chacarera and chamamé folk dances (no tango here!), chow down on trad Caballos’ (‘Our Horses’), held in March, contemporary art fair, arteBA. Hundreds ture is incredible. On Avenida de Mayo, Buenos Aires. My favourite place to shop whole length of it. There are fantastic second-hand stores between calle Junin
dishes like locro (northern Argentine stew) and choripanes (sausage sandwiches), is focused on everything horsey. Porte- of art galleries, institutions, and dealers there’s amazing Palacio Barolo, a hom- for clothes is Galeria 5ta Avenida. It’s full and Uruguay. You’ll ﬁnd me there buying Charly Garcia and Astor Piazolla.
buy traditional crafts (get your poncho here), and cheer on the gauchos in the ños love their ponies (think about it: participate, and the city is abuzz with all age to Dante’s Divine Comedy. The of lots of little shops selling second hand
sortija, the art of spearing a ring dangling from a ribbon while wildly galloping on a polo, horse-racing, gauchos…) and things arty. A similar event, ‘La Semana guided tour takes you to Hell, Purgatory clothes. You can get great retro gear,
horse! Bravo! there are plenty here, along with im- de Arte en Buenos Aires’ (Art Week) is and Heaven! Plaza San Martin is beauti- cool jackets especially, and there are a
WWW.FERIADEMATADEROS.COM.AR, MATADEROS (TAXI: $10) pressive riding demos and races, stalls held September and embraces all media ful – met my French girlfriend there – few shops selling vinyl records. DRINK BEER – BULLER
selling gaucho gear, ponchos, leather, forms with concerts and performances. with great views of the modernist Ka- W W W. G A L E R I A 5 TA AV E N I D A . C O M . A R I like going for beers in the bars in Retiro. You have everything from typical English
and products from the pampas, such as WWW.ARTEBA.COM, vanagh Building, once Latin America’s AVENIDA SANTA FE 1270, RETIRO and Irish pubs to artier bars like Dada, but my favourite is Buller. It’s a microbrew-
INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF INDEPENDENT FILM delicious smoked cheeses and meats. WWW.LASEMANADELARTE.COM.AR highest tower. PH: 4811-1108 ery and their beers are amazing – they do a tasty one with honey but I like their
Argentina has a rich ﬁlm history and produces some of Latin America’s most inter- WWW.NUESTROSCABALLOS.COM.AR WWW.PBAROLO.COM.AR dark dry stout. This is the place for beer connoisseurs.
esting ﬁlms. See the latest indie ﬂicks from Argentina and Latin America, along AV DE MAYO 1370, CONGRESO WWW.BULLERPUB.COM PARAGUAY 428, RETIRO PH: 4313-0287
with foreign ﬁlms, at the Festival Internacional de Cine Independiente each April. CREAMFIELDS
Most movies are screened in the cinemas at the excellent Abasto shopping mall. Join over 60,000 sweaty dance music
WWW.BAFICI.GOV.AR lovers celebrating the start of summer at
SHOOT POOL – LOS 36 BILLARES
this excellent electronic music festival,
This is where ordinary Argentines come to watch tango but I come here to shoot
one of the biggest and best, featuring
pool with my friends. Downstairs you’ll ﬁnd a basement full of billiard tables, and
some of the world’s greatest DJs. An
old guys playing dominoes and chess. I love the atmosphere here.
offshoot of the original Creamﬁelds, held
WWW.LOS36BILLARES.COM.AR AVENIDA DE MAYO 1265, CONGRESO PH: 4381-5696
in Liverpool (UK) in August, this one is
held in November – and we like it more!
READ WATCH LISTEN
COLLECTED FICTIONS NEUVA REINAS (2002) SANTA MILONGA
BY JORGE LUIS BORGES BY FABIÁN BIELINKSY BY DANIEL MELINGO
Argentina’s most revered writer and one This hilarious award winning ﬂick by star With booze-soaked vocals and a Tom
of the world’s great 20th century writ- director Bielinsky may have you hiding Waits-like delivery and observations,
ers, Borges was versatile and proliﬁc. your pesos away in a money belt tucked former punk/rocker Daniel Melingo holds
He wrote poetry, ﬁction and non-ﬁction, down your pants, but it’s a must-see. up a middle ﬁnger to tango and then
much of it after he went blind. While a lot Bielinksy’s bustling BA swarms with makes love to it, in a career twist that
of his writing was set outside his home- swindlers and pickpockets, but it’s an makes sense. Check out the video
town of Buenos Aires, his most memo- accurate portrayal of some of the city’s Narigón for a peek into Melingo’s world.
rable stuff is arguably about his beloved grittier (many would argue more inter- WWW.MYSPACE.COM/MELINGO
BA, such as the poem ‘Fervor de Bue- esting) urban pockets.
nos Aires’. Look for the translation by BAJOFONDO TANGO CLUB
Norman Thomas di Giovanni. SUR 1987 BY FERNANDO SOLANAS BY BAJOFONDO TANGO CLUB
Canne’s 1988 Best Director award went While we could have listed some local
BUENOS AIRES: CITIES OF THE to Solanas for his moody masterpiece rock (or rock nacional, as it’s called), it’s
IMAGINATION BY JASON WILSON (ED) Sur (South). Set around La Boca’s not half as interesting as what’s happeing
This wonderful anthology is like a travel deserted docks and San Telmo’s back in tango. Along with the overhyped Paris-
guide written by poets, philosophers streets, it follows the homecoming of a based Gotan Project, Bajofondo Tango
and novelists. Wilson has structured the political prisoner just released from Club are pioneers in tango eletronica,
book geographically, so you can read the jail, at the end of Argentina’s military whose deﬁnition is actually wider than
evocative ways in which different writers dictatorship in 1983. Dark, with a those two essentials, including elements
have captured a particular barrio and its melancholic tango soundtrack, Sur of drum n’ bass, trip-hop and chill-out.
people, mood, sights, sounds, and smells captures the nostalgia of the period, WWW.BAJOFONDOTANGOCLUB.COM
before you visit the neighbourhood. very different to today’s optimism. THE FACTS TRANSPORTATION
WWW.BAJOFONDOTANGOCLUB.COM LOCATION Although there’s an excellent Subte (subway system) very few travellers on short
Buenos Aires is Argentina’s capital and and its largest city and port. It is located stays use it as taxis are extremely cheap, especially if shared.
on the southern shore of the Rio de la Plata (also known as the River Plate), on the
southeastern coast of South America. VISAS
Australians require a valid passport, but no visa for stays of up to three months provid-
WHEN TO GO ing the visit is for tourist purposes only.
Spring and Autumn are low seasons in BA and the best times to visit – March to
May and September to November. Although January and February will offer balmy SAFETY
summer nights, the weather can become extremely hot and many locals vacate While crime rates are no higher in Buenos Aires than other big global cities, be
the city for the beach resorts during these months. aware of organised groups of pickpockets, especially in crowded places and public
squares – they often strike while unwitting travellers are watching tango shows. Be
CURRENCY extra careful at ATMs (BA has a gun problem) and always try and use the cash
The Argentine peso (ARS), which is divided into 100 centavos. machines in banks, such as those at Citibank and HSBC on Florida, which give US$
1.00 AUD =approx 2.60ARS and Pesos. Use ATMs, leave the travellers cheques at home, and avoid money
exchanges (especially at the airport) where counterfeit currency is prevalent.
COST OF ITEMS AUD
Taxi across town $6 Lara Dunston and Terry Carter are a travel writer-photographer team who’ve
Cup of coffee $0.70 written guidebooks and articles for Lonely Planet, Lifestyle+Travel, The
Bottle of decent wine $ Independent and National Geographic Traveler. They recently spent a few months
in Buenos Aires and are currently shopping for an apartment there. Read more
about BA on their blog Grantourismo.WWW.CHARLESANDMARIE.COM/GT