Buenos Aires

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Obelisk

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.
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Lively streets of Palermo
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.
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Cementario de la Recoleta
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
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Plaza Mayor – view from Casa Rosada

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!

 

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Puente de la Mujer in Puero Madero

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)
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Caminito in La Boca

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!
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Tango in La Boca 

Other useful info:

  • Nightlife –  Terrazas del Este love, love, love that place. It’s a bit outside BsAs but a great vibe.
  • Check out the BsAs Graffiti Tour
  • For free walking tours click HERE
  • If you’re planning to explore other parts of Argentina, I definitely recommend: Iguazu Waterfalls, Wine tours in Mendoza, Patagonia, and Salta
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Flea Market in Recoleta
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Cape Town 

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View on Camps Bay Beach

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.
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Sunset at Clifton 2nd Beach
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On the top of Lion’s Head Mountain

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)
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Camps Bay Beach
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Boulder’s Beach & The Penguins
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Cape of Good Hope

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)
  • Charango – Peruvian
  • HQ, Hussar Grill – Steak
  • Chef’s Warehouse, Savoy Cabbage – Contemporary
  • Willoughby & Co – Sushi
  • La Boheme – Wine Bar & Bistro

Fun bars:

  • Union Bar
  • Aces & Spades
  • Village Idiot
  • La Perla
  • Caprice (on Sunday)
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One of the wineries in Stellenboch
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Haute Cabriere Winery