I have mixed emotions about Buenos Aires. On one hand, I
love it. It is a big, vibrant city. The architecture is gorgeous and
the people are extremely fashionable. The shopping is endless
and sleek, hip restaurants exist around every corner. What’s not
to love?

     For me, the dilemma arises out of the fact that there is very
little to indicate this is the capital of a South American city at first
glance. As Jarrod and I walked around the first few days we got
very little sense of the Spanish culture. It was more like being in a
large U.S. or European city with a bit more grime and pollution. It
made me wonder, besides being one of the last places where the
U.S. dollar is still strong in relation to the local currency, why
people would travel all the way to Buenos Aires for a vacation.

     Luckily we had more than just a day or two to find out. Three
of our friends from San Francisco met up with us for four days in
Buenos Aires. We arrived a few days early to rent an apartment
and get settled before their arrival (i.e. deep clean our clothes in
a proper washing machine). This extended time allowed us to dig
a little deeper and uncover some legitimate, unique and deserving
reasons to visit Buenos Aires. They are:

The café culture of Buenos Aires -It is not to be missed.
Porteños (people who live in Buenos Aires) take cafés to the next
level. First, there are more cafés than you can imagine, and all
different types. Second, the cafés are like second homes to
Plazo de Mayo in Buenos Aires
people here. It is not unusual to see a couple camped out at a table for four hours, ordering the occasional drink
but there more for good conversation and pleasant scenery. We never got the feeling that we were overstaying
our welcome at one of these cafés, and often we had to track down the waitress for our bill—she was that lax
about having us kick back at her table long after our last drink was consumed.  I could enjoy a good solid three
days doing nothing other than roaming from café to café. I’d start in the morning with a cup of Argentina’s
exquisitely good coffee. Think of it as a mix between an American cup of joe and a latte, always served piping
hot. A perfect café for this is Bar Britanico or El Hipopotamo, both located in the San Telmo neighborhood. Both
cafés are more than 100 years old, as the creaky wooden floors and bar can attest to. And everyone comes here.
Enjoying the company of our friends at one of Buenos Aires'
many sidewalk cafés
Erin introducing Lisa, Lisa and Katie to the quickest cure for
jetlag on their first day in Argentina
It is a great place to witness firsthand the diversity of people that call Buenos Aires home. As the morning gives
way to noon I might switch cafés to enjoy one of Argentina’s well-loved beers such as Quilmes. If you are lucky
enough to get one served ice cold (we found few beverages in South America are served as cold as we prefer)
there is no better place to enjoy it than at one of Buenos Aires’ numerous sidewalk cafes. Sitting outside,
warmed by the sun, enjoying the fashionistas parading by or watching a game of impromptu football on the
sidewalk…good fun. As evening approaches you have no choice but to begin sampling some of Argentina’s
delightful wines. The choice of venues for wine consumption is endless, but we recommend the rooftop cafés in
the neighborhood of Palermo. It is filled with boutiques, restaurants and bars, similar to New York’s Soho. Grab
a seat overlooking Plaza Dorrego, the heart of the neighborhood, and a glass of (insert wine name here) and
tip your glass to the porteños that keep this many cafés alive and thriving.
Going to a Boca Juniors game in Bombonera Stadium (see journal entry “Football Frenzy”)
Recoleta Cemetery-It’s not normal to include a cemetery as something that makes a city worth visiting, but
Recoleta cemetery is unique enough that it is a legitimate must-see when in Buenos Aires. First, it is huge. You
can easily get turned around and lose your sense of direction. Kind of spooky in a cemetery, but also kind of fun.
We went in the middle of a bright, sunny
day and in a group of five so the spooky
factor was dialed way down low. However,
peeking into the giant crypts and
mausoleums and seeing the coffins
covered in cobwebs is something else.
Some of the “buildings” that house these
coffins are hundreds of years old. The
window panes are shattered and the
wrought iron gates are kept closed by
ancient, rusted padlocks. Sticking my head
in between a few of these gates I noticed
that each had a small spiral staircase
leading below ground. Whole families are
laid to rest below these crypts in the
“cellar” area underneath the building that
is visible from the cemetery paths. And the
buildings range from very classical and
traditional—resembling the architecture of
Catholic churches—to extremely
contemporary, akin to many modern art
One of the many "streets" inside Buenos Aires' Recoleta Cemetery.
museums built today. Only Argentina’s elite
are buried here—presidents, military
leaders, important figures in Argentina’s
independence movement, etc. And, of
course, the much adored Eva Peron.

     In conclusion, although Buenos Aires
may be more European than South
American, it is a city that increases in
attractiveness and allure the longer you
stay. Hints of individuality and unique
history are there for those who search,
while scores of fantastic restaurants, clubs,
shopping and cafés exist for those simply
content with enjoying the fruits of a big city.
Casa Rosada is the historic presidential palace located in Buenos Aires'
Plaza de Mayo. From this balcony Eva Peron addressed her followers.
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Buenos Aires
Tango Show in Buenos Aires