Part 4. Buenos Aires, Argentina

BArgentina 7From Puerto Madero we took the Subte (subway) towards Palermo. One single trip on the subte cost AR$ 5 and to buy the SUBE card cost AR$ 30 plus whatever you charged. With this card the subte costs AR$ 4.5 and the bus costs AR$ 3.5. The card can be used up until AR$ -10 if you don’t recharge it. Taxis are also convenient and run on taximeter as well. It usually starts at AR$16 but it can get more expensive at night. We booked through Airbnb for 3 nights and it cost around AR$ 900. We stayed at an amazing traditional Argentinian house which was fully restored by Daniel. The house looked very creepy from outside but inside was very cozy and our room was very spacious, clean and the bathroom was nice as well. The common areas were great as well. The kitchen was fully equipped, we got a space on the fridge and there were some cooking ingredients that were for public use. On the rooftop Daniel had built a great terrace with an indoor living room. TV and many books about travel were available as well. Daniel gave us handy information for touring around Buenos Aires. Even though Argentina doesn’t count with an stable economy, it is pretty safe for tourist to go around. Except for La Boca area which I read very disturbing stories about tourist being robbed and assaulted.

On our first night we visited Palermo SOHO and Palermo Hollywood which is the nightlife area with many pubs and restaurants. The next day we took a bus towards Recoleta. Starting at Plaza Francia and then walking all the way to the Jardin Japones which was the only park that charge entrance for AR$ 100. Then we took a bus towards downtown where the famous obelisk is. Then we walked around until Plaza de Mayo where you can find The Pink House. And then we walked even further towards Plaza Miserere. We tried some asado at La Choza de Gascon for dinner which we had to wait for an hour in line. We had Asado de tira for two and it cost AR$ 188. We found that most nice restaurants will charge a AR$ 25 service fee per person for utensils. Not included the tip of course. Waiters were always calling us “chicos” meaning guys which my husband found it a very informal way to call customers. But Argentinians have a very peculiar way of talking, Very informal and passionate. Almost like Italians.

The next day we went to La Boca, El Caminito. What I recommend is to take the bus (we took # 29) and then just walk around the main area where all the tourists are and not further. And then just take the bus back at the same place where you got off. This place is extremely touristic. With colorful painted houses, tango dancers in every corner and all stores meant for souvenirs and restaurants. Football also being one of Argentinian’s symbol, Diego Maradona is depicted everywhere and his famous number 10. Beside El Caminito, football fans also visit La Bombonera. After that we headed towards Plaza San Telmo for the famous Sunday Antique Fair and then we walked down Defensa Street where stands after stands with handcrafted goods were lined up. The Antique Fair had lots and lots of products for sale and the Handcraft street was huge and seemed like it was never ending. Also it was so crowded that we couldn’t even move and it felt like we were just being dragged by the flow of people. It reached all the way until Plaza de Mayo. The area around Puerto Madero is very chic. Full of people strolling down during the weekends, fancy restaurants and cafes.

The next day we had a late start and headed to Retiro Terminal. We storaged our backpacks for around AR$ 140. The price differs according to the size of your luggage. What I noticed is that in these south american cities there aren’t as many people begging on the streets as you would see in, for example Peru. But I did encounter some at the bus terminals. People might approach you to ask for money to buy their bus tickets.

There are a couple of signature Argentinian dishes. Of course there is Asado which I have already mention several times in the previous posts. There is also empanadas which are oven-made rather than deep fried. And as I mentioned before as well, Argentinians have a very sweet tooth and they can offer a wide range of pastries and chocolates. We saw many bakeries along the roads. Their popular medialunas and facturas are delicious. Pasta is also a big part of their diet. Most Argentinians are Italian descendants and you can feel a strong Italian presence and influence here compared to other South American countries. There is also LomitoMilanesa, Pancho and Choripan that are very common quick meals and you can find them almost everywhere you go. Some of their most representative beverages are of course Mate, mate cocido and pink pomelo (grapefruit). Havana coffee is like the Argentinian version of Starbucks. And of course being Argentinian they put dulce de leche in their drinks and sell very fancy alfajores. At McDonald’s they offer Dulce de Leche Sundaes, Facturas and Dulce de Leche Hotcakes on McBreakfast. Also McDonald’s in Argentina is the only country besides Israel to serve Kosher food. The burgers are barbecued charcoal rather than fried. At Starbucks Dulce de Leche Latte and Dulce de Leche Frappuchino are also offered. No kidding they really love their Dulce de Leche!!! (made by slowly heating sweetened milk, literally meaning “candy made of milk”)

We took NSA bus back to Asuncion at 6:30pm for 500,000Gs and arrived in Asuncion at noon the next day. They served food and beverages for dinner and breakfast. We stopped at the border in Clorinda to do the immigration papers and then continued towards Asuncion Bus Terminal.

After USA, Argentina is also considered to be the largest country of immigrants mostly Europeans. Italian percentage coming first then Spanish and also home to many Arab descendants. Tango with European and African influences is one of Argentina’s cultural symbol. Argentinians are also known for being over the average obsessed with 80’s rock music. Argentina’s Patagonia is also a popular touristic destination. Bariloche, the largest ski center in Latin America also considered the Switzerland of Latin America. Mendoza famous of their wineries. Perito Moreno Glaciers in Calafate, Valdes Peninsula in Puerto Madryn and Tierra de fuego Ushuaia located way on the south of the continent are also popular places to go. Safe travels!

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