Hotels in Buenos Aires, Argentina
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Fall in love with Buenos Aires
Vibrant Buenos Aires stirs the senses. Argentina’s vast capital is South America’s most visited city, offering sights, sounds and tastes aplenty. Whether you want to experience frenzied football rivalries, dance the tango or devour parts of a cow you never knew existed in one of its carnivorous parrilla eateries, this melting pot metropolis can make it happen. First founded by Spanish conquistadors in 1536, this city of contrasts is self-assured, creative and sometimes crazy, although never dull. Porteños, as its residents are known, have endured plenty of political and economic turmoil, but their hometown retains an endless appeal.
Delve into downtown BA
Downtown, known locally as the Microcentro, is a handy place to book a hotel, especially for newcomers to Argentina because it’s well served by underground trains on the Subte network. Wedged in between Retiro bus station, the docks and Avenida 9 de Julio, which is the world’s widest avenue and home to an impressive obelisk plus the splendid Teatro Colón opera house, downtown Buenos Aires contains many attractions. Elegant Florida Street is a magnet for pedestrian-friendly shopping, featuring indoor malls like the popular Galerías Pacífico. Meanwhile, the regenerated riverside area of Puerto Madero boasts warehouses turned swanky restaurants, high-rise buildings, the striking Women’s Bridge and the Fortabat Art Collection museum, showcasing works by Klimt, Warhol, Brueghel the Younger and Turner.
Plaza de Mayo overflows with historic sites. This square at the heart of Argentine politics is overlooked by the president’s Casa Rosada office. From its balconies, famed former first lady Eva Perón once addressed the masses. Buenos Aires Metropolitan Cathedral is also on the square. Local priest Jorge Mario Bergoglio served as Archbishop of Buenos Aires there until 2013 when he became Pope Francis, the first pontiff from the Americas. Inside is the elaborate mausoleum of José de San Martin who spearheaded Argentina’s struggle for independence from Spain, which once ruled from the Cabildo. This whitewashed colonial building faces the Casa Rosada and today hosts a museum.
Boca or River?
Containing the world’s highest concentration of football teams, Buenos Aires is a hotbed of beautiful game rivalries. One question dominates the minds of most Porteños: Boca or River? Argentina’s best supported and most successful clubs, River Plate and Boca Juniors, were founded in the working class La Boca neighbourhood in the early 1900s. Established by Italian immigrants, Boca Juniors is reputedly the people’s club, while River Plate supposedly attracts a better-heeled crowd. You’ll soon forget Madrid’s comparatively tame El Clásico derby if you experience a clash between the two. These noisy, colourful and fiercely-contested matches, known as El Superclásico, are characterized by confetti, flags, fireworks, diehard fans chanting and vast stadiums that bounce when the spectators jump too enthusiastically. Fixtures take place at the Boca Juniors stadium, La Bombonera in La Boca south of downtown, or at River Plate’s El Monumental arena in the northern Núñez neighbourhood. If match tickets are scarce, visits to the clubs’ stadiums are still worthwhile. Each has an extensive museum detailing its history, and at La Bombonera you can see football legend Diego Maradona’s executive box.
Alternatively, there’s the Avellaneda derby, taking place just south of Buenos Aires. This rivalry is contested between Racing Club and Independiente. Widely considered to be Argentina’s second fiercest derby, these two clubs even fight for space in their neighbourhood’s streets because their huge stadiums are barely 200 metres apart.
Don’t miss charming Palermo and upmarket Recoleta. These northern neighbourhoods of Buenos Aires justify the city’s "Paris of South America" tag with their European-style architecture. Characterized by old world charm, grand hotels and exclusive shops, affluent Avenida Alvear in Recoleta could easily be mistaken for the best of Belle Époque Paris. Nearby, the beautiful Recoleta Cemetery resembles a city in itself. Carefully arranged in blocks, it is filled with the ornately decorated tombs of notable Argentines, including Eva Perón and past presidents. The National Museum of Fine Arts is another neighbourhood highlight, housing masterworks by Rubens, Rembrandt and Degas. Shopaholics can also enjoy the posh Patio Bullrich shopping centre.
Palermo is the largest neighbourhood or barrio in Buenos Aires, providing respite from the concrete jungle urban landscape with its green spaces around Palermo Woods. Highlights here include the tranquil Japanese Gardens and boating lakes. Other popular sub-districts include Palermo Hollywood for fantastic international restaurants, trendy Palermo Soho with its street art, cafes and bars, and Barrio Norte for the family-friendly Alto Palermo shopping centre.
Dancing and nightlife
When Porteños let their hair down in this city that never sleeps, dances old and new often feature. Fans of house music and electronica can sample slick nightclubs in Palermo and downtown. Often referred to locally as boliches, these popular nightspots open their doors fashionably late and attract leading international DJs, making them perfect for dancing until dawn.
No trip to Buenos Aires is complete without experiencing the tango. Argentina’s dancing gift to the world is a sensual strut traditionally led by the male dancer and characterized by the partners’ close embrace plus an accordion-heavy soundtrack. Places or events where the tango is danced are called milongas. Indoor and outdoor classes and events are held in salons, cafes and halls citywide, and visitors can enjoy street performances, particularly in the southern neighbourhoods. With its brightly-painted houses, the Caminito in La Boca is one popular backdrop for tango demonstrations. Bohemian San Telmo, the city’s oldest barrio, is another tango hotspot, especially on Sundays when an interesting antiques fair and flea market brings crowds to Plaza Dorrego, which is also lined with pleasant cafes and bars occupying restored period buildings.
Price rangefrom AU$16to AU$1,450
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