A Nomad’s Guide to Buenos Aires
"I am completely enamored with the city of Buenos Aires. Is there a word for loving something, finding it beautiful and completely unique, just for being what it is?" - Joy Jones
Oh, Buenos Aires. You ignited the wild child within me to resurface after a few months of working night shift in Asia and feeling a bit down. Something lifted from my heavy shoulders when I arrived in the city and I found myself dancing my way down sidewalks, sipping delicious Malbec until the sun came up, and really enjoying my first taste of South America. Of course, I still worked hard as a digital nomad, but I found a lot of energy for so much more in Buenos Aires.
I arrived in Buenos Aires after a long flight from Malaysia… probably one of the oddest and best travel days I have experienced so far even though I spent an unknown number of hours stuck on airplanes. Does anyone else plan ahead for long flights to complete projects and check a bunch of items off your to-do list, only to spend the entire time watching the most random movies and TV shows instead? Good, it is not just me. This was probably an early indication of how the rest of my month would be going.
I will say that working "normal hours" again led to numerous benefits. My body began to naturally wake up with the rising sun each day and I quickly committed myself to the gym with my best friend and personal trainer, Connor. The rooftop of my apartment building not only had a pool, but wifi as well, so I got to tan while I worked. Plus, I was the most social that I had been in a while, finally working the same time zone as many of my peers.
However, BA caught me up in a lot of traps too. The increase in socializing meant that my business suffered significantly. I'll admit, the amount of delicious Argentinian wine I consumed was a tad ridiculous. I also found myself spending a lot of money. In case you didn't know, Buenos Aires is a pretty expensive place, so plan ahead for that!
Spending the holidays in a foreign country also had it's downside, as I missed out on family gatherings and traditions. We attempted to make the most of it by celebrating the season as a group, sharing recipes (as best we could) and exchanging gifts. We enjoyed new traditions on Christmas Day by celebrating in the sunny weather at a local park and local drums to finish off the night. And a lot of mulled wine.
Buenos Aires was a beautiful place for me to dive into the culture - the food, the music, the dancing. It is easy to explore via public transportation, taxis, or Uber. Plus, there is so much to do and see and taste.
Without further adieu, here is my guide to some of the local must dos:
Neighborhoods to Visit
Palermo Soho - Palermo was the perfect place to live the most we stayed in BA. There is access to the main subway, plenty of mini markets, and is near some gorgeous public parks. I enjoyed living in a neighborhood that was so full of coffee shops, restaurants, and boutiques. On the weekends, the small square in the center of Palermo is full of local arts and crafts, which I really enjoyed. It is a bit more modern, trendy, and full of hipster-vibes. It was definitely a cool place to be.
San Telmo - San Telmo is mostly known for its famous market on Sunday. The market was started long ago when the worker class citizens of BA began to sell the abandoned items that were left behind from the upper class that had originally populated the area. The market tradition continued as vendors still sell antiques and local artifacts, with the new addition of local artists and more. This area is also home to the National History Museum and numerous galleries.
La Boca - La Boca is one of my favorite places to visit within the city and is famous for its colorful buildings. This neighborhood is also well-known for the football stadium, La Bombonera, and is the birth place of Tango. Stroll down the colorful pavement along the water, awe at the work of local artists, and maybe catch a quick Tango performance with your empanada lunch. Just don't forget to take your camera, as you do not want to miss the opportunity to snap shots of the bright neighborhood.
Things to Do
Explore the Delta el Tigre - This cute town located just outside the city area opens up to many waterways. It is a popular place to escape to on the weekends, as the weather is a bit cooler. You can book a boat tour to see the beautiful and unique homes that surround the area and are only accessible by water. We were lucky enough to visit the home of a dear couple, Ines and Julian, enjoy their cooking, and explore the waterways via canoes.
Bike Tour - One of my favorite days I spent in BA was on a bike tour with the fabulous team at Biking Buenos Aires. It is a fun way to see the city, as you and your crew take over the streets and set off to explore. The tour guides are fun and full of knowledge on the local history, the best places to eat, and they might even share a Fernet and Coke with you (famous cocktail in Argentina). If you want a fun way to learn more about the city, this is the best way to do it.
Tango - Whether you enjoy a Tango Dinner show at a place like Piazzolla Tango or take a class at Tango Argentino, I urge you to enjoy the local culture that is the Tango. Quick history: Tango dancing was actually started in the working class areas of Argentina. Men would migrate to the area from and work to bring their families to the country. During this time, there were very few women in the area and the men would play a game of trying to trip each other to impress to local prostitutes. This tripping game is what eventually became the inspiration for Tango dancing.
La Bomba de Tiempo - This was one of my favorite experiences in Buenos Aires! If you are into great music, tribal drums, and want to dance around to some fabulous performers - this is the place to be. After the show, we joined the crowd of drummers and dancers through the streets, having the greatest time.
Other sites to see:
- La Recoleta Cemetery - Check out these giant crypts and mausoleums that range in design and age.
- El Ateneo Grand Splendid - This bookstore was originally a theater and has been voted one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world
- Parks near Palermo - There is a giant park, botanical garden, and Japanese garden all located next to each other.
Where to eat?
Artemisia Cocina Natural - I walked in to this restaurant and instantly knew I was in love. The front counter was covered in freshly baked breads, the giant windows offered the perfect lighting, and the place felt homey. The menu did not disappoint! Their diverse options offer everything from salads, sandwiches, hot meals, etc.
Juice Up - Juice Up was a favorite for me to stop and grab lunch to go or stock pile on juices. They sell almond milk, detox kits, and groceries such as homemade granola. They have delicious salads, breakfast items, and tons of other great food that just make you feel great!
For you meat eaters out there… I cannot say that I have been to any of the restaurants listed below, but they were highly rated from my friends who were enjoying all of the steak that Buenos Aires has to offer. Here are their top picks:
- Don Julio - This is a pretty famous restaurant and may be hard to get reservations for, so plan ahead.
- Proper Restaurant - I was told that to be a true pro, you have to request the off menu bone-in Ribeye.
- La Carnicería - This modern steakhouse is a less-touristy option for some parrilla.
Also, you HAVE to try empanadas at some point. They are pretty much everywhere, so don't stress too much about where to go.
Where to drink?
Terrazas Del Este - Ready to live like a local and dance until the sun comes up? I'm not kidding you. It is pretty standard to leave the dance club at 6 or 7 am! This club was one of our favorites because it was near an airport, with large patios outdoors, and great views of the sunrise in the morning. I suggest attempting the overnighter at least once.
Suspiria Resplendoris - This speakeasy-style bar is the perfect location to try out some fancy conversations in a cool location. Every cocktail we ordered at this bar were absolutely delicious. Pre-warning, they are also very strong. Enjoy!
Rosebar - If you are more into the typical night club scene, this might be the place for you to get your dance on. The prices aren't too outrageous and the music is a blend of local and international tracks. It seemed to be a pretty popular place.
Plaza Serrano - This square in Palermo is surrounded by bars and you can pretty much venture down any side street to find more. It is a cool area of town if you want to explore different artisan beers, bars with live music, and be surrounded by street art.
Nomad Life - Work & Stay Fit
Staying in Palermo, there were numerous options for yoga studios, cross fit clubs, gyms, etc. However, the majority of our group chose to grab a month membership at Always Gym. The gym had great equipment for those of us who were doing our own thing, but many of my friends boasted about the crossfit classes that were included with the gym membership. I did not get the chance to go to many yoga classes this month, as I was teaching a lot more than usual, but there seemed to be plenty of yoga options.
If you are looking for a co-working space during your stay, La Maquinita or Area Tres are both decent options. La Maquinita offered several call rooms options and a cool layout, but it was not open 24-hours and the internet was not great. Area Tres allows 24/7 access and a cool set up, but it can get to be a bit noisy. I really enjoyed working out of coffee shops in the area. Some of my favorites include:
- Felix Felicis & Co - Harry Potter themed coffee shop? Count me in!
- Libros del Pasaje - this coffee shop is tucked away in the back of an adorable bookstore
- Full City Coffee House - Love the roast here and would buy it for home brews
Buenos Aires is a great place for a vacation or a long-term stay. It offers a great combination of location, wonderful food, diverse culture, rich history, and great wine. Plus, the access to coffee shops and cool areas to live makes it the perfect location for many digital nomads.
While you are in Argentina, I would definitely suggest finding your way over to the Sierra Mountains near Cordoba or the wine country of Mendoza. Both areas offer splendid views and their own adventures, such as mountain biking, horseback riding, and wine tours.
I'm definitely planning on making a trip back to Argentina one day to visit Patagonia, and hope to make another stop in Buenos Aires.
Have you been to BA? What was your favorite experience? Do you have any questions about planning a trip or things to do? Comment below and I would love to help!
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