Not many people go to Buenos Aires only for three days, but in my case I didn’t have an option. My trip to Buenos Aires was accidental, or maybe I can say an unexpected short holiday. I am Brazilian, my boyfriend is American, our original plans was to spend a week in Brazil with my family, he was finally going to meet the parents.
I didn’t know Americans needed a visa to go to Brazil (naïve mistake). Once we got to the passport control in Guarulhos Airport in Sao Paulo, they wanted to deport my boyfriend back to London, where we came from. I started crying desperately, I couldn’t believe that after 14 hour trip I was going to have to go back to London without even seeing my parents.
When they saw me crying, they tried to help. I don’t think I will ever forget her name, Ida who worked for Air France (the airline we used) talked to one of the immigration officers, and asked if they could make an exception and let us go to Buenos Aires and try to get a visa at the Brazilian Embassy there, and then come back to Brazil.
Thank God the immigration officer opened an exception and allowed us to go to Argentina. So while my boyfriend was inside the airport, I frantically dashed around the airport to buy our tickets. It was a very stressful experience, I had to get out to the shopping area with two huge suitcases, buy tickets, check in, and pass by security all in two hours. The only reason why I managed to do it was because people realized how desperate I was and tried to help me out letting me go first in the queue. Ida, the girl from Air France, helped me a lot on that too, she stayed with me most of the time to help things go quicker.
It all happened on a Saturday night, we got to Buenos Aires after midnight, and as we weren’t expecting the trip we didn’t have anything planned and still had to find a hotel to sleep that night. We had no idea how much things cost, so we just took a list of hotels at the airport and started calling the cheapest hotels we could find. We ended up staying in a really cheap hotel, that I don’t even remember the name. Next morning, we woke up super early, and after doing some research online, we realized that things are actually super cheap in Buenos Aires, so we used Mr & Mrs Smith to find a nice hotel to stay for the next two days.
We stayed in a hotel called Hotel Pulitzer, a very nice hotel with very friendly staff. It was Sunday, the Brazilian Embassy was obviously closed, so we tried to forget about everything that happened the day before and as we were in Buenos Aires, we decided to make the best of it. Buenos Aires is huge, and has a lot to offer, two days is just enough to see the principal tourist attractions, and that’s what we did.
Buenos Aires is a beautiful place, it looks very European. And even though we went there in September the weather was amazing, sunshine every day and very warm. I definitely want to go back and spend at least a full week there.
We walked from one tourist attraction to the other, and I found that this was the best way to see everything, and to see what the locals do. Walking around Buenos Aires we saw live tango performances in the middle of the street. It was quite nice.
First thing we did, was to go to a Café to have breakfast. We searched for a café on Google Maps and found this place called Café Tortoni (Avenida de Mayo 825, Buenos Aires City). On our way to the café we were approached by a teenage boy who tried rob us, he didn’t have a gun or anything but it was a bit scary.
The Café Tornoni is the oldest coffee shop in the whole country. The place has an amazing history, and it is visited at all times by intellectuals, politicians, and artists. We ordered what the Argentinians were eating which was some mini croissants, coffee and orange juice. It was delicious. The décor of the place is extraordinary, there are a lot of paintings on the wall, the building itself looks so historic. The waiters dressed formally; the place reminded me a bit of Parisian restaurants. The only issue is that the waiters don’t speak English well, luckily I can speak Portuguese and they could understand me a bit.
Plaza de Mayo
After breakfast we walked to the Plaza de Mayo. It was the first monument built in Buenos Aires (25th of May of 1811) commemorating the revolution of 1810. There is the place where many political protests have taken place.
Casa Rosada (Balcarce 50)
Not far from the Plaza de Mayo we have the Casa Rosada which is the presidential palace. Beautiful building, it was built in 1580 and after many renovations and with the cooperation of an Italian architect the facade was reconstructed and given an Italian French look. During the presidency of Domingo Faustino Sarmiento, the building was painted pink, based on the idea of combining the colours of the two political sectors at the time -red for the federals and white for the unitaries-, and the resulting colour was pink. The Granaderos, an elite army group with colourful uniforms, guard the building, they are very friendly, and they don’t mind you standing very close to them to take pictures.
San Telmo Market – Sunday Only
An antique market, San Telmo market is one of the most popular destinations in Buenos Aires for both tourists and locals alike. The market is huge but you don’t really notice as it is surrounded by some of the oldest and most beautiful buildings in the city. This is one of the main bohemian and artistic areas of Buenos Aires, surrounded by open-air cafes, antique shops, market stalls and much more. We also saw some street artists as well, people singing and dancing tango in the middle of the street.
It sounds weird to have a cemetery as a stop of sightseeing; however La Recoleta is one for the city’s main tourist attractions. A number of Argentinian stars, and past presidents including Eva Peron are buried there. The cemetery is huge, in order to find the grave of anyone famous it is necessary to buy a map, otherwise it is impossible to find anything. The graves are very impressive, decorated with stone angels, and status of the virgin, definitely worth visiting.
One of Buenos Aires most famous monument, is located on the widest street in the world, the Avenida 9 de Julio, the traffic is horrible and it takes some time to cross the street but it is definitely worth it, a very impressive building.
Steak House – Cabaña Las Lilas (Avenida Alicia Moreau de Justo 516)
As a South American I was obviously looking forward to eating some steak in Argentina, when talking about meat and football there is this competition between Brazilians and Argentinians to see who the best is. Wandering around Buenos Aires we found this steak house called Cabaña Las Lilas, this is the place where the locals eat, so they didn’t speak much English there. Argentinians know their meat; we ordered Picaña Summus / Summus Rumpsteak and Bife de Chorizo / Rump Steak. It was so delicious, so much flavour, Rump Steak was better though.
Tango Show – El Querandi
My boyfriend and I really like tango, so we were very excited about watching a live tango performance in Buenos Aires. Tickets for tango shows are quite expensive, so we looked into many options, and decided to go for a cheaper one, called the El Querandi. We had dinner there while watching the show, food wasn’t good and I was a bit disappointed with the performance, there was more singing than dancing, and the dancers were OK, but they didn’t have that passion tango requires, or maybe my expectations were just too high.
Even though we had to spend some time running around to apply to my Boyfriend’s visa, these three days in Argentina were still very nice, we managed to have a great time. Definitely want to go back.