Author: Minhtrang McCarthy
Date of Trip: February 2012
My 1st visit to Buenos Aires, Argentina starting on 1/29/12 through 2/13/12. We stayed a week in Buenos Aires to learn about the city, took a fabulous 9-day cruise on Costa Magica (to Brazil, etc…), then returned to Buenos Aires to fly back home to Washington DC. These are my notes and I made several videos of places that I have seen so it can be useful for others visiting
United Airlines have a direct 10 hours and 45 mins flight from IAD – no visa is required but $140 entry fee is required at the airport. It is good for 10 yrs and can be paid with credit card. There are ATM machines at the Buenos Aires Airport to withdraw ARS (1000ARS=234.83US$ on 1/29/12). Banelco charged 17.4 ARS fee per transaction but if you exchange at the Citibank ATM in the City with your Citibank ATM Card, there is no fee.
At the Airport, there were many options to go downtown. Local Taxis, Radio Taxis, Prepaid Taxis,… even a Public Bus #8 that charges only 2.5ARS but it would take 2 hours. Since this is our 1st time, my husband wanted to be safe so we took a prepaid taxi to downtown for 180ARS (or 43US$ cash with the return discounted – 150ARS if we call them to pick us up the day before). The taxi ride to downtown took 35 mins.
The Bus system in Buenos Aires is very convenient, cheap and very easy to use. Just make sure to exchange a roll of 25 one pesos coins at the Bank so you will have coins at all time with you because the conductor does not give change. You will have to tell him where you want to get off. He’ll push a button to calculate the fare, and you will have to drop the appropriate coins in a machine that will spit out a ticket.
To emerge in the Argentinian spirit, we chose to stay at Complejo Tango Boutique Hotel, a very charming place that has only a limited amount of rooms, each inspired by a famous Tango personality. They have a fabulous Tango Show Dinner with a free tango lesson before dinner. Its address is: Av. Belgrano 2608, C1096AAQ, Buenos Aires, Argentina (email: firstname.lastname@example.org). It’s very well located, convenient to buses, restaurants, good pizza place around the corner.
To find what City Bus we needed to take, I would go to this website:
I enter where I am, where I want to go, it’ll show me a map with the various options, bus numbers I can take, and where to catch it.
A very convenient bus we took almost everyday from close to our Hotel was the Bus # 64 for 1.20-1.25ARS each trip to visit the following neighborhoods: Belgrano (Chinatown or Barrio Chino-not that great), Once (P. Meserere), Centro (Calle Florida, Suipacha, pedestrian streets, Obelisk, main monuments/buildings like Casa Rosada, National Congress, Parliament, Theater Colon, City Cathedral), Palermo (hip rich area with the most greens & lakes, P. Italia, Zoo, Botanical & Japanese Garden), Boca (artists & musicians area for street tango shows).
Argentinian restaurants specialize in beef dishes, Empanadas and have delicious coffee. A real good, very reasonable restaurant with good service that we like is Los Lenos Tango Grill: Suipacha 435. Telefono: 4326-4269
All the Argentinians I’ve met have been very sweet and friendly. They would give me change, directions, all kinds of information with a smile, even tips on being careful like wearing my backpack in the front (instead of in the back), use small bills (taxi crooks can switch the 100ARS bill quickly then claim that it’s fake…) to guard me against vilains that I’ve not met (at least not yet!).
Just remember the basic rules of travelling: Don’t wear any jewelery, don’t flash your money around and have a good time. It’s really safe walking around! Buenos Aires has the same feel as Europe, except it’s a lot cheaper and ‘Tango’ abounds!
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