Argentina has a renowned football reputation and the sport is big throughout the whole country including of course, Buenos Aires. The capital is the home town of two of the most appreciated football teams in the world, Boca Juniors (which resides in Boca) and River Plate (which formerly resides in Boca, but now resides in River Plate). A game between these two legendary teams is called the "Super Clasico." This is by far the hottest ticket in the city and one of the most intense rivalries in the world, and it is often necessary to buy tickets well in advance. Also, the Argentine National Team is very, very popular. Tickets to their World Cup Qualifying matches can difficult to come by, involve waiting in very long lines, and should be ordered in advance for more convenience.
Argentinian fans are known for their passion and the songs (which are practically love songs) which they sing to their teams. Even if you are not a huge football fan, going to a game is definitely worth it just to take in the atmosphere and to observe the fans singing and cheering. While this is an experience you don't want to miss while visiting Buenos Aires, it can also be dangerous for tourists to go on their own depending on the stadium.
Tourists are often advised to go with large, organized groups with bilingual guides, in particular to a Boca Juniors game. This ensures that you can watch the game in peace and still have a great time. If you want to see a match on your own, the best choice is to see River Plate, in the rich northern suburb of Belgrano. Best to purchase a (more expensive, approx $100 pesos) Plateas (grandstand) ticket rather than being in the Populars (terraces, approx $60 pesos).
In the Plateas you can safely take your camera and enjoy the show. Don't worry about purchasing tickets in advance, often tickets go on sale only on match day, and as the stadiums are huge matches rarely sell out (except the above-mentioned Superclassico).
A trip to Buenos Aires is not complete without some sort of experience of the Tango, the national dance of Argentina. A good place to go and watch some authentic Tango is at the Confiteria Idéal Suipacha 384 (just off of Corrientes, near Calle Florida). However Tango is best experienced not in La Boca and on Calle Florida, but in the Milongas. A milonga is both a place where a Tango dance will take place, as well as a specific type of tango dance.
Milongas take place either during the day or late at night. "Matinée Milongas" usually start in the early afternoon and go until 8-10PM. They are popular with tourists who may struggle staying up until 5AM every night. Inside a milongas, you will find many locals who will be more than willing to show you how to dance. The night Milongas officially start at around 11, but don't fill up until around 1:30. They may go on until 5 or 6 in the morning. Some Milongas to note are: Salon Canning, El Beso and Porteno y Bailarin.
There are many milongas held in different parts of the city every day. There's a free distribution guide called TangoMap Guide which contains all the information of the milongas day by day, including times and location. This guide also informs about tango teachers and tango shops, so it's the best reference for any tango lover. It is edited by Caserón Porteño, a Tango Guest House in Buenos Aires (http://www.caseronporteno.com) that also gives free tango lessons every day for its guests.
You can start learning tango through the group lessons offered at many studios. Some popular schools are at the Centro Cultural Borges, on the very top floor. It can be very hard to find the actual place as there are some stairs you have to go up, and then you have to go through a museum. Ask the security officer where the "Escuela de Tango" is. Take note that in the summer time the rooms can get very hot. The Centro is within the Galerias Pacifico, the American-style mall near Calle Florida on San Martin. The best way to learn, and the quickest, even if you do not have a partner, is with private lessons. You can find instructors who charge as little as US $40 per hour, all the way up to ones that will charge US $100 per hour. If you want to try the authentic style that the Argentines dance socially in the milongas, look up some of the milongueros who teach tango, like Alejandro Gee, Juan Manuel Suarez, Jorge Garcia, Jorge Kero. They will not only teach you traditional tango or milonga, but you can also find out a lot about the culture by hanging out with them. You can google them up for videos or in order to find them. Many of the more 'famous' instructors command a premium price. Be warned if you start taking tango lessons it will seduce and consume your life and you will then be force to make many pilgrimages back to Buenos Aires to dance.
If you prefer to start taking lessons in reduced groups and have personal attention, there are two tango oriented hotels with professional tango teachers who offer group tango lessons every day (free for their guests). One option is Caserón Porteño (http://www.caseronporteno.com) and the other one
Tango Lodge (http://www.tangolodge.com). You can check the complete schedule for the tango lessons at their websites.
Spend a night seeing what it is like to be a real gaucho. Live the life of an Argentine cowboy; ride horses, eat traditional gaucho foods, drink traditional gaucho wines, and dance like they used to do back in the day. A great way to get out of the city for a day and see another side of Argentine culture. Great for adults, kids, or anybody who ever wanted to be a cowboy when they were younger.
Buenos Aires hosts exhilarating skydiving activities within its clear blue skies. You can experience a 20 minute flight, followed by a 35 seconds freefall, and a slow descent of nearly 7 minutes to enjoy a breathtaking view. Discover a unique bird's-eye view of Buenos Aires and its expansive pampas as you dive through 3,000 meters (9,000 feet) of open air. There is no better place to feel the adrenaline of a Tandem Skydiving Jump.
Parrilla Tour Buenos Aires leads walking tours around different neighborhoods several times a week. During the tour, participants stop and sample traditional foods at 4 restaurants, 3 parrillas (steakhouses) and an artisanal ice cream shop, as well as learn about the history and culture around Argentine cuisine. The stops chosen tend to be hole-in-the-wall, locals only, establishments not in guidebooks.
Argentina is renowned for its excellent selection of wine. The most popular being Mendoza which is rated among the worlds most popular regions due to its high altitude, volcanic soils and proximity to the Andes Mountains. The terrain seems to complement the European grape varietals with interesting notes not present when produced in other climates, this allows the Argentine wine to be positioned in a league of its own.
The best way to experience and understand the selection of Argentine varietals is a wine tasting, which is offered by quite a few companies and bars around the city.
Anuva Wines is one of the best wine tastings in Buenos Aires. They offer you 5 different wines to taste, 5 different food pairing to go with those wines, a general chat about wine culture in Argentina, and much more.
Check Wine Tour Urbano for information on wine tasting events. Usually they are organized in Recoleta or Palermo, and consist of several design and fashion stores along a street that open their doors to wineries who want to offer their wines. Very nice atmosphere, sometimes with jazz and classic live musicians playing in the streets.
Argentina is well known for having one of the best polo teams and players in the world. The largest tournament of the year takes place in December at the polo fields in Las Cañitas. Smaller tournaments and matches can also be seen here at other times of the year. For news on tournaments and where to buy tickets for polo matches, check Asociacion Argentina de Polo at http://www.aapolo.com/
Around Buenos Aires there are plenty of Polo schools. Most Polo courses run for a week and include accommodation on site. A popular option for a day-trip is Polo Elite, who operate polo lessons for beginners as well as guided trips to polo matches. They provide transportation for the 45min drive from downtown to their school.
Another option is Argentina Polo Day which runs professional polo games every day of the year, as well as polo lessons for beginners and pros. Its full day program includes also a typical Argentinean BBQ with unlimited wine and refreshment. The Polo Clinics includes also accommodation. Transportation is provided, for the 45 minutes drive from downtown to their polo ranch.
Puesto Viejo Polo Days is another option. These full day experiences collect participants from the city and take them to a luxury polo estancia in the countryside. They offers transport, snacks, Argentine lunch with wine, lesson, mini match, use of hotel infinity pool, and an opportunity to watch a full polo match.
In recent years, Buenos Aires has become a popular destination for gay travelers. For international gay travelers, the "Paris of the South" has also become the gay capital of South America. Same sex marriage is legal in the country and you will find the people helpful and amiable. There are many gay oriented services to help you make the best of your stay. There are also many gay or transsexual sexual workers roaming the streets waiting for a lover to come.
If you are looking for accommodations you can start by visiting BA4U Apartments which specializes in finding rentals for the gay friendly community. They can also direct you to tours and services their clients use like Day Clicker Photo Tours
and Pink Point Buenos Aires tourist services. While you are visiting you might also want to stop in to see Chef Mun at the popular closed door restaurant Casa Mun .
The city of Buenos Aires and its suburban surroundings cover a tremendous expanse of land that cannot be easily and quickly walked, biked, or driven. That is what helicopter rides are for. You can discover Buenos Aires from a unique perspective: see the skyline of Puerto Madero's skyscrapers, the grid of concrete streets filled with taxis and colectivos or buses, the tourist attractions including the Obelisco, Casa Rosada, and Cementario Recoleta. Tour the skies above the human traffic on an exciting helicopter ride, a different way to explore the city.
You might not think of it as you walk around this big city of skyscrapers, but there is some very good golfing very close by. There are many trips to the golf courses that make it easy and relaxing for tourists to enjoy a day on the green. . Packages include any greens fees, equipment and a caddie who you can blame when you hook that shot into the woods!
Buenos Aires is home to one of the biggest Jewish communities in the world and the biggest in South America. There are many sights and activities specifically for Jewish people. There are museums, beautiful synagogues, monuments, barrios and history for all travelers to soak up and enjoy. Tours are given around the city to hit all the major Jewish landmarks. This is a great way to see a different side of Buenos Aires that most people wouldn't think about seeing.
Recently, more urban spas or day spas have flourished, some of them at large hotels such as the Alvear, Hilton, Hyatt among others. Furthermore, some green spas have opened shops and offer a great range of eco-friendly treatments.
Making medical procedures part of your overall vacation package is a growing trend, and since Buenos Aires is relatively affordable for Westerners, it is at the forefront. If you decide to go the medical vacation route, there are a number of firms that have established relationships with local medical clinics who can deliver a total package. Make sure you check out the credentials of the doctors and other healthcare professionals before making your decision; that said, Buenos Aires is home to plenty of well-trained doctors with excellent reputations.
Rosario Vera Penaloza
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