From the moment we arrived on the ferry until our flight to Santiago barely three days later, we crammed in as much of Buenos Aires as we could. It was the very opposite of slow, but it felt nice to be back in a city again. We managed to see friends, see the sites, stuff ourselves full of every variety of Dulce de Leche confection known to man and track down the best ice cream in the city. We were up and out of our apartment early every day and back super late, carrying sleeping kids from taxis to their beds. We loved the city and the people we met. Our only regret was that we could not stay longer.
Our Argentinean friend, Delfina, had given us an in-depth guide to her city. We combined her top tips with more from my friend Henley at Passported, so we were never short of options – just short of time to squeeze it all in.
Here’s a recap of our whirlwind stay in Buenos Aires:
- We were introduced to Oasis Collections by the team at Passported. Oasis is a relatively new company offering travellers a home away from home. It’s like a boutique hotel chain meets Airbnb. Whereas Airbnb accommodation can sometimes be a bit DIY, this is the opposite. They offer all the comforts and conveniences of staying in a hotel and their customer service is impressive. They offered to help book anything we needed, including our ferry tickets to Buenos Aires. They met us at the apartment, gave us a full walk-through and left us a city guide with loads of recommendations and tips. We stayed in an apartment in the pretty Recoleta neighbourhood and it was a perfect location, just blocks away from the famous Recoleta Cemetery and a short taxi ride to everything else we wanted to do. I cannot say enough good things about our stay with Oasis and I would definitely recommend them for families.
- Botanical Garden – after walking around the entire park to find the entrance, we finally made it inside. They are not the biggest or most impressive botanical gardens we’ve seen, but they offer a pleasant refuge in the middle of the busy city. It was nice to get away from the noisy streets and let the kids roam freely.
- Recoleta Cemetery — a fascinating cemetery in the middle of Buenos Aires with ornate mausoleums and statuary. Eva Perón is buried here along with other Argentinean dignitaries and their families. The kids where captivated and we spent lots of time answering their questions about death and burial.
- La Boca & Caminito – very touristy but charming, this colourful neighbourhood was home to European immigrants who painted their ramshackle houses in vibrant paint acquired from the nearby shipyards. We visited midweek so the streets were quiet.
- San Telmo neighbourhood – Everyone recommended we visit San Telmo for the antiques street market on Sundays, but sadly our stay was only midweek. One for the next visit!
- Japonese Gardens and surrounding parks. Like the botanical garden, these offer some greenery and peace within the city. We had a picnic in the adjacent park and a quick peruse of the small Japanese gardens.
TO EAT: We were invited to have dinner with friends both nights so we never dined out in Buenos Aires. But here is a selection of places for breakfast, lunch and ice cream (essential!).
- Oui Oui for breakfast/brunch — so good we ate here both mornings!
- Nanina bakery — recommended by Delfina — so pretty.
- Jauja ice cream – so delicious! I ordered the ‘dulce de leche’ ice cream and it was one of the best ice creams I’ve ever eaten. (We heard that Persicco is also good.)
- Faranelli for picnic lunch take-away – we picked up a tasty selection of lunch treats and ate in the park with friends. (This is a bit of an Argentinian Ottolenghi.)
- We arrived late on our first evening and Marlow had already fallen asleep, so we ordered empanadas to be delivered to our apartment. Costumbres Criollas was highly recommended to us, and the empanadas did not disappoint!
SOME THINGS TO NOTE:
- Taxis will only take a maximum of four passengers and they are strict about this policy. (We had to take two taxis everywhere we went.) Thankfully they are relatively inexpensive and we found them to be both knowledgeable and trustworthy.
- We found it tricky to get cash out at cash points (ATMs) and many places do not take credit cards. Thankfully we were able to exchange dollars with a friend, but there was a low point during our visit where we were out of money and couldn’t get cash or a taxi home. We heard this issue may improve with the new government (elected the Sunday before our visit), but at the time of our stay the currency market was still problematic.
- We were warned by many people to be extra cautious about our safety and to keep phones and cameras concealed if you take them out in public. For this reason I left my camera in the apartment and only brought my iPhone out for the occasional photo. That said, we never felt unsafe in the city and found people to be extremely warm and helpful.