Danni in Caminito

12 Buenos Aires Travel Tips You Need to Know Before Visiting

Are you planning on traveling to Buenos Aires? Well, you won’t want to miss out on these Buenos Aires travel tips. Coming from locals, we’re here to make sure you have a safe, fun, and epic trip!

There are a lot of things to know before traveling to Argentina, and these Buenos Aires travel tips will help you have an even more incredible trip than you were already going to have.

There is a Huge European Influence

Architecture in Buenos Aires

Did you know that most Argentinians actually have European ancestors? Since the beginning of the 20th century, all the way until after World War II there has been a massive influx of Italians, Spaniards, and Germans to Argentina, which has made a large impact on the culture, architecture, food, and even the way they talk!

Buenos Aires is actually known as “the Paris of South America”, and you automatically feel like you’ve been teleported there once you get a glimpse of their architecture!

You’ll also probably notice a lot of people with light hair, light skin, and even light eyes, a stark contrast from most of the other Latin American countries.

Not only will you see European traits in the people and the architecture, but you’ll also see it in the food. There is a large Italian influence in Argentinian cuisine, and you can find a lot of handmade pastas, pizza, and other Italian specialties as a part of most menus. One of our Buenos Aires travel tips is to pop into one of the pasta shops!

They Speak a Very Different Type of Spanish

If you speak Spanish as a second language, then prepare to be confused.

Argentinians have a very particular way of speaking – fast, with a lot of slang, and with an unusual accent. The basic rule of thumb though, is that any “y” or “ll” sound is actually pronounced as “sh” so rather than “yo me voy a la playa” it will sound like “sho me voy a la plasha”.

Not only do Argentinians have a lot of slang and a unique pronunciation, but they also speak in a similar tone to Italians, which is a bit sing-songy. While it may be hard to follow along at first, it’s truly an endearing accent, and fun to learn.

Even though Argentinian Spanish is pretty different, one of our Buenos Aires travel tips is definitely still to pick up some of the basics! Try using Duolingo or another language app so that you can communicate better with some of the locals that may not speak English.

They Have the Best Steak in the World

Steak in argentina

Not only do Argentinians have some great homemade pasta, but they actually have the number one steak in the entire world!

This is because there is actually a massive region in Argentina called “Las Pampas” where 35-40,000 cows roam free. Due to a natural diet and plenty of exercise, the beef is pretty much as good as it gets.

Argentinians pride themselves on their meat, and it is a very big part of their diet.

A must-do while in Argentina is trying a traditional Argentinian “asado” which is a special type of barbecue, and a really unique experience to have if you are visiting as a tourist.

You’ll also want to make sure to check out one of the incredible steakhouses! Don Julio, an iconic restaurant in the capital, was actually rated the number two steakhouse in the world.

But want to know one of our favorite Buenos Aires travel tips? There are actually some steakhouses with equally great meat for a fraction of the price!

Service is Different

Restaurant in Argentina

If you’re coming from North America, expect a very different type of service in Argentina.

You see, Argentinians are very relaxed, and they really like to enjoy their meals, and the time they spend in restaurants.

For this reason, service may seem a bit “slower” than some are used to. The main difference though, is that the server will never bring the check to the table without you asking.

There is actually a special thing they like to call “sobre mesa” which is an entire time dedicated to hanging out at the table and chatting, even after finishing the meal, or maybe even after paying for the check. Sobre Mesas can be 20 minutes, or can last even two hours! So if you’re planning on dining out with locals.

Another thing to note is that hot drinks are oftentimes served with the meal. We really only noticed this after many times eating out for breakfast, and receiving our coffee with our food.

Our little Buenos Aires travel tips for these though? Communication is everything. In a rush? Let the server know. Want your coffee first? Simply tell them as you are ordering.

They Start & Finish Late

Restaurant in the city center, Buenos Aires

Argentinians are pretty similar to the Spanish when it comes to timing. They don’t wake up too early, and they stay up pretty late, especially on the weekends.

Dinner time is typically anywhere from 9-11, and many restaurants won’t even open for dinner until 8:00 or sometimes later!

Not only do they eat late, but Argentinians party till late, and when we say late, we mean until 6 AM. If you like to party, then follow our Buenos Aires travel tips for nightlife:

1. Eat a light dinner.
2. Have some drinks at smaller bars or Speakeasy bars from 12-2
3. Head to a designated night club around 2-3:00
4. Use an Uber for getting home

It’s Where Tango Originated

Tango in Buenos Aires

Tango is the official dance of Argentina, and where it actually originated. One of the most popular things to do in Buenos Aires is to experience tango, and you can do so by attending one of the big shows in the center, or you can see one of the smaller, free, shows in Caminito, which is part of the La Boca neighbrohood.

Other places where you can find iconic shows are in San Telmo, in the southeast side of the city, or in the city center itself (nearby the obelisc).

Football is a Religion…

Football graffiti, Buenos Aires

Okay, it’s not really a “religion”, but football (soccer) is as serious as it gets in Argentina. If you saw any footage of what Buenos Aires (or any fans) looked like during the World Cup, that’s just a tiny glimpse of the football passion in this country.

Going to a football match is a very special experience in Argentina, and the most popular teams are in Buenos Aires.

💡 Fun Fact: Only the home fans can attend the games! So make sure to not wear any apparel for the visiting team (even if it’s another Buenos Aires team).

…And Messi is God

It’s clear why Messi is popular – he is one of the best players in the entire world. But until you get to Buenos Aires, you will never understand the level of love the locals have for him.

Everywhere you look there are murals, pictures, souvenirs, and handmade gifts with Messi on them. It was actually the first thing my family noticed when they visited!
You Can’t Drink in Stadiums…

Remember we mentioned that the fans are pretty passionate? Well, they are actually so passionate that all alcohol has been banned from the stadiums! As an American, this was quite a shock to the system when I was ready to go buy myself a beer.

If you want to have a drink, remember to do it before the game.

…But You Can Drink on the Streets

Drinking in Argentina

Even though you can’t drink in stadiums, funnily enough there isn’t any issue drinking on the streets in Argentina. If we’re going to get technical, it’s not really allowed. But it’s so normalized that it’s not anything a cop would stop you for.

Let me tell you, it is so refreshing to be able to stop by a convenience store, grab a beer, and just have it on the way to the bar you’re heading to, or to grab a bottle of wine and be able to drink it in the park with your friends.

Mate is the main beverage, and It’s for everyone to share

Mate beverage

Ever heard of mate (pronounced mah-tay)? We wouldn’t be surprised if you haven’t. It’s a drink that it really only popular in Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Brazil.

It is an infusion, similar to tea, but it’s prepared in a very unique way. The weed, called “yerba”, comes in a large bag. You use a metal straw and a container (what is actually called the “mate”), and this can be made out of wood, metal, plastic, glass or even a small pumpkin.

The Yerba is sucked through the straw, while continuously adding more hot water after every few sips. This is more than just a drink, but rather an Argentinian experience.

Mate is shared in groups, and used for social gatherings. But what is even more unique is that you can ask any Argentinian anywhere for a sip, and they’ll include you!

Buenos Aires Travel Tips for Drinking Mate:

• Find a group of locals hanging out
• Nicely ask in Spanish if you could try
• If someone offers you a sip, don’t say thank you – that means you don’t want any. Simply grab the mate and smile
• When you finish pass the mate to another person in the group

Argentinians are Super Affectionate

Argentinians are extremely friendly, and they treat their friends like family. Affection is very real in Argentina, and it’s very common to see PDA on the streets, lots of hugs, and kisses for both sexes.

To greet or to say goodbye, people give each other a kiss on the cheek, which is always on the left. (Make sure not to go to the right, or you may accidentally kiss on the lips!). For hand waving, or even a hug, because everyone kisses each other on the cheek for every occasion in Argentina, and hugs are plentiful.

I was even in for some culture shock myself when I found the trainer at our gym giving a kiss to every single person before leaving the class.

The Best Place to Stay is Not the Center

Palermo, Buenos Aires

While most cities people look to stay in the center of the city that they’re visiting, this is quite different in Buenos Aires.

This is one of our top Buenos Aires travel tips, as choosing the right place to stay in the city is key!

Buenos Aires is massive, and there are a lot of neighborhoods. The “Microcenter” is technically the center of a lot of the top tourist attractions. However, this is not the area that you want to stay.

The Microcenter is a bit more dangerous than other areas, and is not where you’ll want to eat out or go out for drinks.

The best neighborhood to stay in Buenos Aires is Palermo, which is the most tourist-friendly area of the city. Full of incredible bars and restaurants, it’s where digital nomads and travelers flock to for the safest and most enjoyable stay in the city.

You Can Absolutely Have a Safe Stay in Buenos Aires

San Martin Square, Buenos Aires

One of the top concerns for travelers going to Buenos Aires or South America in general is around safety.

In a big city like Buenos Aires with such a sad economical situation, it’s no wonder that extra measures to stay safe should be taken. That being said, we are very comfortable living in Buenos Aires, and you just need to play it smart.

Buenos Aires Travel Tips for a Safe Stay

The most important Buenos Aires travel tips are keeping yourself safe. Here are a few things you can do to stay safe in the city:

Refrain from wearing flashy jewelry.
• Invest in a bag that is hard to unzip.
• Hold your belongings close to you.
Carry only the cash you need with you.
• Walk confidently.
• Use private transportation at night.
Stay in groups if you can.

Argentina Has Several Exchange Rates

Argentinian pesos

Argentina is a very unique country when it comes to currency exchange. While most countries have an official exchange, Argentina has a variety of them.

Exchanges can change drastically day by day, and prices in stores can also double or triple overnight. Everything is very uncertain, which is why you need to play it safe when exchanging your money. The different exchanges are explained better in this “Blue Dollar Guide”.

One of our top Buenos Aires travel tips is to bring cash with you. This way you can exchange with a local who can give you a better rate than the bank will.

We hope you enjoyed our Buenos Aires travel tips, and are ready to enjoy an incredible stay in this vibrant city!

Join us on a group trip

Come join us on our Buenos Aires group trip this October, where we’ll show you the best of the city with local guides, and a fun group to experience it with!

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