Quick Guide of Things to Do in Buenos Aires
Before you make it to Ushuaia, the ‘Gateway to Antarctica’ you’ll likely travel through Buenos Aires, a lively and cosmopolitan city that is the main hub and capital of Argentina. Depending on your travel arrangements, you may have some time to spend in ‘BA’. We highly recommend it!
We asked our team about their recommendations for ‘must-sees’ in Buenos Aires since many of them have visited this vibrant city more than a few times. We recommend staying a few days in Buenos Aires before heading down to embark on your Antarctic cruise as this gives you some time to adjust to the time zone and frees you from the extra stress of making connections. Stay again on your way back for even more opportunities to explore! Here are some highlights that the Polar Latitudes team suggests during your time there.
See the Casa Rosada
A visit to Plaza de Mayo is a great jumping-off point for exploring Buenos Aires. Established in the 16th century, this plaza is filled with old colonial buildings. From here you can find the famous Casa Rosada, the presidential palace and an important landmark known as the spot where Eva Perón would speak to the throngs of people gathered outside.
Taste the Flavours of the City
Buenos Aires is referred to as the ‘Paris of South America’ and the European flare for delicious cuisine is prevalent. Visit a Parrilla (translation: ‘grill’ but refers to a steakhouse) to taste the amazing grass-fed beef that Argentina is known for. You’ll notice an abundance of Heladarías on many street corners – you don’t want to miss these popular gelato shops. Look for local favourites like dulce de leche and sambayón amongst the hundreds of flavors. For the ultimate eating-on-the-go adventure, grab an empanada or ‘choripan’ (a grilled chorizo sausage on a soft bun with chimichurri) from a street cart.
Wander the Antique Markets
In the charming neighbourhood of San Telmo, you can meander the Sunday Fair perusing goods like leather, crafts, and antiques. You’ll also find live music, street performers and tango demonstrations as well as an array of food to try. San Telmo is the oldest neighbourhood in Buenos Aires and was built more than 100 years ago. Here you’ll find The Plaza Dorrego, one of the oldest public squares in Buenos Aires, as well as many beautiful art deco buildings, charming cafés, and antique shops.
Explore the Recoleta Cemetery
It might sound eerie but there is something quietly beautiful about this famed cemetery. Sculptures, statues, grottoes, and interesting monuments await around every corner. Visit the resting place of some of Argentina’s most celebrated figures and wealthiest residents in the Recoleta Cemetery. Explore narrow passageways filled with over 5,000 vaults rich in unique design and religious iconography.
Admire Collections of Art
Buenos Aires has the most impressive collection of Latin American art on the continent. If you enjoy art then you’ll want to visit MALBA (Museo de Arte Latino Americano de Buenos Aires) to view their exhibits filled with avant-garde 19th- and 20th-century works. The Buenos Aires Museum of Modern Art is home to a collection of local art as well as permanent exhibits from an assortment of global artists including Salvador Dali and Pablo Picasso. There is plenty of art to discover in this city, including an array of museums both large and small and displays of public art.
See A Historic Opera House
Teatro Colón is a stunning opera house and world-class theatre located in the heart of the city. Rated as one of the ten best opera houses in the world, there is loads of history, fabulous architecture, and all of the great stars from the last two centuries have performed here. We highly recommend signing up for a guided visit or even better- buying a ticket to a live performance.
Grab a Book to Read
El Ateneo Grand Splendid is one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world. A lovely outing would be grabbing a coffee and spending some time wandering around the building to admire the incredible architecture and picking out a book to read.
Take in Nature at the Eco-Reserve
A visit to the protected area at Costanera Sur, located right in the city, is a wonderful excursion for birders and nature enthusiasts. Covering 350 hectares, it is the widest biodiversity you will find in Buenos Aires, and you can birdwatch 307 bird species as well as look for reptiles, turtles, and some marine mammals.
Stop and Smell the Flowers
Jardín Botánico (botanical garden) offers a beautiful area to walk, sit, relax, and learn about native species and their beautiful collection of roses. Established in 1898, these gardens hold over 5,000 flower species as well as an herb museum and horticultural school. Very close to it, enjoy a relaxing environment at Jardín Japonés as you fill your belly with a Japanese lunch better than anywhere else in the city.
It’s lucky that Buenos Aires is one of the fabulous places you will likely travel to on your way to (and from) the ship for your Antarctic adventure. Have further questions? We’d be happy to help! Contact us anytime to discuss your travel plans or book a trip.