It’s been five years since I spent memorable 3 months in the beautiful city of Buenos Aires. When I was young, I remember listening to a song by a Polish singer called “Buenos Aires.” I always thought that Argentina was at the end of the world and that I can only dream of traveling there. But dreams do come true if we only put our mind to it. As I was graduating from University, I decided to find an internship in a Spanish speaking country to gain international working experience and “mejorar mi Espanol”. Living in the U.S. made it so much easier to travel to South America, so it wasn’t a hard decision to check out the city called “Paris of South America.”
Every day after work I would walk around with a travel guide in my hand and explore the city, get lost and find hidden gems away from main streets. Over the past years I was asked multiple times about BsAs recommendations. I compiled a list of things I’ve done, places I’ve visited, restaurants I ate, and more. Since it’s been a few years, I updated my recommendations based on conversations with a friend who lives there, and a friend who recently visited.
Hope you find it helpful!
Buenos Aires has 5 main areas that you need to visit: Palermo, Recoleta, Plaza San Martin & Retiro, Plaza de Mayo and Microcentro, San Telmo & La Boca.
Palermo – Neighborhood of neighborhoods
Botanic Garden – one of my favorite places!
MALBA (latinamerican art museum) – worth checking out
Restaurant: I loved Las Cholas , it’s in a lively area with bars and other restaurants so you can hop around.
Recoleta – My favorite neighborhood (I recommend staying here)
Explore the neighborhood by walking around
Cementerio de la Recoleta is a MUST go
There is a huge lawn by the Cemetery where people hang out; also known for cultural events and a flea market on the weekends
Plaza de Mayo and Micrcentro – The city center
Casa Rosada, as in Argentine White House, is open to the public on weekends (free)
Option: take a hop on hop off bus if you’re limited on time; the bus starts on Avenida de Mayo
Avenida de Julio – the widest street in the world
Obelisk – an icon of BsAs located on Avenida de Julio
Puerto Madero – the most modern part of BsAs; see Puente de la Mujer designed by the famous Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava; restaurants in this area are overpriced, so I don’t recommend eating there but it might be tempting…you’ll see!
San Telmo – Older part of the city
Very traditional, tango dancers on the street etc.
Sunday market from 10am-4pm – you can find anything you can think of! Starts from Plaza de Mayo
Go to El Desnivel, best steak in the world! It’s a hole in the wall but the food is seriously amazing (approved by all my friends whom I sent there)
La Boca – known for
La Bombonera – Boca Juniors stadium
The famous Caminito – colorful artists’ street
I don’t recommend eating there – very touristy and not known for good restaurants
The poorest area of BsAs – watch out for pickpockets!
Other useful info:
Nightlife – Terrazas del Este love, love, love that place. It’s a bit outside BsAs but a great vibe.
Easter Weekend was a perfect time to go to Cape Town because we had full 5 days off of work. Or we thought it would be perfect…ticket prices from Johannesburg skyrocketed and it was almost impossible to find accommodation. People from across South Africa and the rest of the world flooded CT because of holidays and Two Oceans Marathon, a popular running event taking place once a year around this time. The moody weather didn’t help either cancelling out trip to Robben Island the first day, not mentioning the rain which spoiled a few other plans along the way.
But enough about the negatives. The city is so beautiful that nothing could have possibly ruined our experience. I’ve heard so many amazing things about Cape Town that it made it hard to go there without high expectations. Yet, I was still surprised and amazed…the beaches, white sand, blue water, the mountains, the food, the cosmopolitan vibe, the waterfront, the people…I can go on and on. You get the idea. I fell in love with the city.
I compiled a list of must see & do things that I recommend for those who are traveling to Cape Town:
Beaches: Camps Bay & Clifton 2nd (the last one is perfect for when it’s windy)
Cape Point – most Southern Tip of Africa
Cape of Good Hope – where two Oceans meet
Boulder’s Beach – swim with the penguins
Robben Island – where Mandela was held (ex prisoners guide you through the Island)
Hike the Lion’s Head!! Or if you’re lazy take the cable car to Table Mountain
Winelands: Franschhoek & Stellenbosch – for wine lovers
V&A Waterfront – stunning and lively harbour (read “touristy”) with shopping, restaurants and bars
Sea Point – take a walk along the ocean
Biscuit Mill – really fun, fresh food market where you can buy homemade and handmade products (only Sundays)
South Africa has, hands down, some of the best food I’ve ever tried. And it’s not about their traditional cuisine but literally everything from salads, sandwiches, steaks (duh!), duck and even pizza! Here are some places I highly recommend:
The Potluck & The Test Kitchen (book way in advance)
Over the past few weeks my life has been overtaken by reading, doing group projects, polishing my CV and attending a ton of networking and career events. I though I couldn’t let this craziness overpower me too early in the process, so I decided to go on a quick weekend trip to Valencia. I’ve heard a lot of wonderful things about Valencia but I didn’t research much before. I went with the flow. The city is located in the middle of the east coast and is the third largest city in Spain. That of course was a great opportunity to catch the last summer rays of sun on one of the city beaches, which we did as the weather was gorgeous. In the evening, before embarking on a long night of dancing till the early hours, we wandered around through the maze of narrow, romantic streets of the old town. It wouldn’t be a proper trip if I didn’t try paella which I mentioned in my last post. I found a restaurant which seemed to be a great choice according to the reviews. Despite the charm and the atmosphere of the place, the food was not as good as expected and left me a bit disappointed. Oh well…believe it or not, after eating out so much I am convinced that Spanish cuisine is just ok…shocker!
The next day a group of us went to the City of Arts and Sciences which blew me away. It is an architectural complex designed by world renowned Spanish architects – Santiago Calatrava and Felix Candela. The complex is made up of 7 modern buildings which host a planetarium, oceanarium, a museum of science, an opera house and an art gallery. What is interesting is that some of the structures, which are located by the Turia river, are designed in a way to resemble an eye of knowledge, a skeleton of fish, and a water lily. The rest of the day was spent in oceanarium, which is in fact the biggest oceanarium in Europe, and sightseeing the city center. I highly recommend this city to anyone who wants to check out Spain. You cannot miss Valencia!
El Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía (Museum of Arts) and L’Hemisfèric (Planetarium)L’Oceanogràfic