|Argentina is the eighth largest country in
the world by land mass, but has a population of only 40
million people, about the same as the state of California.
From the air, much of Argentina is barren and uninhabited.
Over one-third of Argentineans live in the Buenos Aires
area, a massive urban landscape covering over a hundred
The Paris of South America
Many Travel guides warn prospective tourists that Buenos
Aires is the “Paris of South America”, and it's European
feel is undeniable.
Buenos Aires claims to be the wealthiest country in South
America, with a per capita income of about $5,000 per year.
The tomb of
Hero Jose San Martin
We found Buenos Aires to be like Paris in many respects.
Like the French (and many Americans), the people of
Argentina are somewhat nationalistic and proud of their
Buenos Aires is like Paris in many respects, although we
found Buenos Aires to have more in-common with Tijuana
Mexico or Mexico City. Buenos Aires is undeniably like Paris
in many ways:
- Great Wines – Both Paris and Buenos Aires
have great wines, but unlike Paris, the wines are
reasonable priced. Argentinean wines are wonderful and
inexpensive, a must with any meal. A bottle of Dom
Perignon actually costs more ($300) in Buenos Aires than
in New York City ($225).
- Wide Avenues – Like Paris, Buenos Aires has
Buenos Aires is a city of contrasts, with virtually no
middle class, and the very rich living adjacent to poverty.
A replica of a turn of the century
Buenos Aires home
There are civil protests in Buenos Aires every day, and
the Argentineans are very politically active.
A protest demonstration in Buenos Aires
A large police presence in Buenos Aires
to keeps tourist safe
Hotels in Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires is very expensive by South American
standards, and we advise using the major well-known hotel
chains like Hilton, Sheraton and Marriott. Expect to pay up
to $300 per might in a safe area of Buenos Aires.
The psyche of the Argentine People
Like residents on many large cities in America, the
people of Buenos Aires are polite, yet reserved. Their
nationalism and love of all things Argentinean is
omnipresent, and the people of Buenos Aires love their
nightlife, and most of the restaurants open at 8:00 PM and
close at sunrise, and local Buenos Aires natives can be see
all all-hours eating, drinking and talking.
The restaurants in Buenos Aires open at
8:00 PM and don't close until sunrise
The people of Buenos Aires like American things, but their
choices of Americana are quite interesting.
The Simpson's and Disco rule in Buenos
The Argentineans like some American things most notably
“The Simpson’s” TV show and American Disco. Disco is hot in
Buenos Aires, and the locals drink and dance-away the night
to the latest sounds of the Disco beat.
Simpson's re-runs are on the local television stations
constantly and the translations are true to the English
originals, and you can recognize Marge and Lisa even though
they are speaking Spanish.
Crime in Buenos Aires
Like big cities everywhere, petty crime is present in
Buenos Aires, and we may remember that in November of 2006,
first daughter Barbara Bush (sister of Jenna Bush)
while dining in the San Telmo neighborhood of Buenos Aires,
a pickpocket stealing her purse and cell phone right from
under the eyes of her secret service guards.
A typical street shopping area in
The CIA web site notes these safety recommendations for
American travelers in Buenos Aires:
"Street crime in the larger cities, especially
greater Buenos Aires, is a problem for residents and
visitors alike. Visitors to Buenos Aires and popular
tourist destinations should be alert to muggers,
pickpockets, scam artists, and purse-snatchers on the
street, at bus and train stations, and cruise ports.
Criminals usually work in groups and travelers should
assume they are armed.
A common scam is to spray mustard or a similar
substance on the tourist from a distance. A pickpocket
will then approach the tourist offering to help clean
the stain, and while doing so, he or an accomplice robs
Another common scam is for victims to be approached
by someone who distracts them, for example by unfolding
a map and asking for directions, while an accomplice
robs the victim. Several American visitors and
residents have been robbed of their watches and jewelry
while walking on the street.
Cruise ship passengers are a favorite target of
pickpockets and petty thieves. "
Touring in Buenos Aires
Most American tourists will take a standard half-day city
bus tour that covers the main historical sites, the La Boca
and Puerto Madero district, plus the main government
Argentina has erected a monument to commemorate the dead
Argentineans from their invasion of the Falkland Islands.
During the invasion and subsequent reclamation, Argentina
sustained over 700 men killed, while Britain lost only about
250 soldier and sailors.
The memorial to British-killed
Argentinean Falkland invaders
Ironically, the Argentineans build the Falkland memorial
right across the street from the San Martin clock tower, a
gift from Great Britain to celebrate Argentina's 100 year
anniversary of independence.
The Puerto Madero District of Buenos Aires
The Puerto Madero area is tourist safe area with lots of
police where Americans can stroll along the waterfront. The
locals make a big deal about Puerto Madero female street
names because Puerto Madero was built in-response to the
complaints from the Buenos Aires women about all the streets
of Buenos Aires having all-males names.
Puerto Madero has many great restaurants, specializing in
Italian seafood and steakhouses. We consider El Mirasol to
be best steak restaurant in Puerto Madero, but there are
many choices of fine dining options.
- Happenings - This is a South American chain
restaurant like the nearby Estillo Campo, but the steaks
are good and reasonably priced.
- El Mirasol - Considered the best steak places
(parrillas) on Puerto Madero, so make sure to get
reservations in advance.
- Las Nazarenas - Cheaper than El Mirasol, you
can get great steaks at very reasonable prices.
- Sorrento del Puerto - This restaurant has
modern Italian vittles.
- La Bisteca - Excellent, cheap beef, but slow
Insider Tip: If you don't plan to spend three
hours, ask your waiter for fast service. It's the custom in
Buenos Aires to spend at least three hours eating, so if you
want a fast bite, be sure to explain your need for urgency.
Otherwise, they will assume that you want to linger for
hours, nibbling on Tapas and drinking their fantastic
Great steaks are under $20 in Puerto
The meat is Offal
Restaurants in Buenos Aires serve-up all sorts of beef,
and you can go far beyond traditional steaks and enjoy
testicles and tripe (intestines) from sheep, lamb and goats.
But there are many other things to do in Buenos Aires
besides eating and drinking wine. Let's take a look at some
of the main tourist stops.
La Boca District (The mouth)
La Boca literally means "the mouth" of the river, and La
Boca was a past port for the city until the early 20th
century. The La Boca area claims fame as the birthplace of
the Tango dance, and they are very proud of their tradition
of drinking, whoring, debauchery. La Boca has a bohemian
Tango in La Boca
The people of La Boca even have fake street prostitutes
who dress in red and will pose for a photo with you for a
few pesos. The La Boca art market feature works by local
Questionable Art in La Boca Buenos Aires
The La Boca area has many colorful buildings and the
entire area is well-patrolled by police and it's safe,
except for the omnipresent threat from pickpockets.
Colorful buildings in La Boca
In sum, Buenos Aires is a great cultural and dining
experience and if you like Paris, you will likely find
Buenos Aires has a distinct European feel.