Considering Antarctica? Or Patagonia? Or a South American cruise? Add a pre- or post-cruise/tour stay in Buenos Aires to experience this enticing city’s magnetic personality and cultural offerings. The gateway to the rest of the country, Buenos Aires is Argentina in microcosm. For those who won’t be in the country long, while en route to Antarctica or else where in South America, it’s the perfect place to experience the essence of Argentina. From its 47 barrios (neighborhoods), each with its own distinctive personality, to the fashionable Avenida Santa Fe shopping area to bustling downtown core of Plaza de Mayo, you’ll find character, cuisine and culture to spare. Here’s what we suggest fitting into your pre- or post-cruise stay. 

Downtown Core/Plaza de Mayo 

Photo by Susan Tuckey, Penguins2PolarBears

Start in the Belle Epoque-style, two-block-long Plaza de Mayo, established in the 16th century and still today a central gathering space and heart of the city. The mainly pedestrian-only area invites lingering and people-watching as you admire the colonial architecture, famous pink Presidential Palace - the Casa Rosada (you can take a tour of this Italianate-style building on Saturdays or visit the museum Wednesdays to Sundays), and popular Florida and Lavalle streets. Don’t miss wide Avenida de Mayo, known for its fine facades and domes and the famous Cafe Torton, considered the “heart of tango” (the National Tango Academy is right next door). 

History buffs will love the Cabildo, dating to 1610 and the epicenter of the May 1810 revolution against Spanish rule, as well as the National Museum of the Cabildo, with its old maps and photos of Buenos Aires. 


Photo by Susan Tuckey, Penguins2PolarBears

Visit the fashionable barrio of Recoleta, named for the area’s 18th-century Francisco convent. The area is best known for the Recoleta Cemetery, which houses many detailed and elaborate mausoleums of famous Argentines, including Eva Peron. Elsewhere in Recoleta, you’ll find public gardens, craft shops, the Museo de Arte Hispanoamericano Isaaz Fernandez Blanco (known particularly for its colonial silver and wood carving collections) and the National Library. 

Colourful Caminito 

Photo by Susan Tuckey, Penguins2PolarBears

If you have in your mind a particularly colorful image of Buenos Aires, head to La Boca, a perennial favorite of creative types. You’ll find artists working outside their studios and fanciful sculptures and art displayed on balconies and patios throughout the barrio. Don’t miss the Caminito Street Museum, a pedestrian-friendly area full of photogenic buildings painted in a variety of bright colours, free tango demonstrations and handmade crafts and sculptures on display and for sale. Artistically minded visitors will love the Museum of Decorative Arts of Quinquela Martin. 

San Telmo Sunday Fair 

If you’re in town over the weekend, don’t miss the San Telmo Sunday Fair held in its namesake barrio. This colorful district of narrow cobblestone streets and colonial-style architecture invites locals and visitors alike to this bustling antique fair. Stay and make a day of it as you explore the neighborhood’s cozy cafes, tango parlors and boutique shops. Love history? Pop into the National Historical Museum to see more than 50,000 artifacts and paintings by Candido Lopez. 

Iguassu Falls 

Photo by Susan Tuckey, Penguins2PolarBears

Take a quick flight into Brazil and arrange for a private transfer to Iguassu Falls.  Stay at Hotel das Cataratas - A Belmond Hotel, which is right in the park, giving you access to the falls before the tourist crowds arrive and long after they leave. 

Intrigued by a bonus stay in Buenos Aires? Let’s chat about how to add this to your Antarctica expedition, Patagonia experience or a South American cruise. 

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