First Impressions of Buenos Aires (Argentina)

Eva Peron Building Buenos Aires

If you’ve been reading this blog lately you’ll have noticed I’ve been writing a lot of content about Buenos Aires at the moment. I’m currently into the last of 5 weeks in the city as I attempt to get a better grasp of the Spanish language before moving onto other destinations in Argentina and South America. These have been my first impressions of Buenos Aires so far;

Friendly local people

By big city standards the people of Buenos Aires are some of the friendliest and kind that I’ve ever come across. Little things like people holding doors open for you or saying their pleases and thank yous are all common place. In all honesty it’s one of the main reasons I decided to stay here for so long (even though the city is very expensive). The people are warm, friendly, and open.

Tango culture

Buenos Aires is the home of tango and the place where the dance was born back in the late 19th Century. Although the tango is now more of a tourist activity in the city, when you do see the locals dancing it is really lovely to see. One of my deep dark secrets is that back in day when I was a child (between the ages of 2 and 12) I used to be a Ballroom dancer, doing ‘Baby Ballroom’ competitions and lessons all over the UK. The basics of the Tango are therefore something which I know well (ish), although the Argentine tango is a slightly different variety to the Ballroom Tango.

If you want to get to the heart of tango culture in Buenos Aires I recommend taking a class or two to learn the dance first. I was fortunate to have been offered a free class through my foreign language school Expanish, however you’ll find many others dotted throughout the city particularly in the San Telmo area where most tourists are situated. ‘We Are Tango’, an intimate tango show I saw recently in Buenos Aires also offer a tango lesson at the end of each show inclusive in the price. You’ll find this is the case with many shows throughout the city.

If you feel after a few classes that you’re confident with the basics then I recommend taking a trip to a Milonga, a dancing event where locals go to dance the tango in Buenos Aires. For example, there is a free Milonga run weekly in La Glorieta starting at 7pm every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The Milonga is really where the heart of the Argentine tango lies.

Parades and Demonstrations

Living in Plaza Congresso during the entirety of my stay in BA has been an amazing and interesting experience. The first reason being that my hostel (Rock Hostel km0) has an incredible balcony view from the common room of the Congreso Palace, but the main reason has been the many (peaceful) demonstrations and marches that have taken place around and in the area. So far from what I’ve seen protests in Argentina seem to be more like a musical parade and party than they do anything else – which is very cool. Hundreds of people have been marching up the streets and into Plaza Congresso most days with drumming bands, floats, dancers, singers etc. Even if the firecrackers they use do sound like gun shots (making me jump out of bed during my afternoon siesta) it’s still been a worthwhile experience being based here! 😉

Cuisine in Buenos Aires

One of the highlights of my trip to Buenos Aires has definitely been the local cuisine. The city is filled with many atmospheric cafes, bars, and restaurants that it sometimes becomes hard to choose which one you should try next! One of my particular favourites in Buenos Aires (for steak) has been La Cholita situated on Rodriguez Pena 1165. I had one of the best steak dinners I’ve had there in a long time for only 72 ARS (£7.71 / $12.55 / €9.20). Another favourite has been the little Colombian take-out restaurant just around the corner from my hostel (also on Rodriguez Pena) called I Love Arepas. They honestly make the best arepas I’ve ever tasted and they’re only 22 ARS (£2.22 / $3.80 / €2.81) per bun!

Cultural and Historical Value

Galeria de los patrioticos latinamericanos buenos aires inside

Whilst Buenos Aires does have some stand out areas of architectural beauty (such as Recoleta Cemetery for example which blew me away), generally speaking it is not a stand out destination when it comes to general architectural aesthetics. That said, what I have found is that in learning the stories of its historical figures, its people, the tango culture, how it came to be, all of these things… It’s left me with a great appreciation for the city. I remember the first time I saw the face of Eva Peron looking down on me from Avenida 9 de Julio, not realising it was her face depicted in black across this big white building, and wondering what the significance was. Then I took a trip to the Galeria de los Patriotas Latinoamericanos and discovered more about Eva, the Peronist movement, and other major historical figures who shaped this great city. Now when I walk past it every morning to go to my language school I feel very much inspired as a woman in Buenos Aires.

– If you liked this article you may also be interested to read 5 free things to do in Buenos Aires (Argentina) which I also wrote recently.

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3 Responses to “First Impressions of Buenos Aires (Argentina)”

  1. Mark says:

    Those empanadas sound good!

  2. Roni Faida says:

    I love Buenos Aires. I was there during their summer so it was blazing hot but I didn’t mind. I loved walking around the city, seeing all the beauty around me. I liked the architecture, it’s so different than the States. I also loved riding the busses, did they still make that hissing sound?

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