Buenos Aires is an eclectic mixture of European opulence and Latino passion. Located on South America’s western Atlantic coast, it’s an important port city and the capital city of the state of Argentina. To the enthusiastic traveler, Buenos Aires is a mecca of urban adventures. The city is divided into 48 distinct neighborhoods called barrios each with a mixture of different historical influences that beckon you to explore.
You could spend days, weeks, or even longer experiencing the food, nightlife, fascinating architecture, and museums. But you only have two days. With careful planning, it’s possible to get a good sampling of what this exciting city is all about. Let this 2-day itinerary to Buenos Aires help you get the most out of your whirlwind trip.
Getting to Buenos Aires
It’s easy to get to Buenos Aires from Europe, North and Central America, Australia, and other major cities in South America. Ezeiza International Airport is modern with multiple services is the main airport, and around a 40 minute ride away. Domestic flights and visitors from neighboring countries like Brazil and Chile use the smaller Aeroparque Jorge Newberry close to downtown Buenos Aires. Travelers can get a flight to Ezeiza from South American cities. From Mexico City, fly Aeromexico or on Copa Airlines from Panama City.
Visitors coming from North and Central America can catch a non-stop flight from Atlanta via Delta, and from Dallas or Miami with American Airlines. Canadians can fly AirCanada from Toronto via Santiago .From Europe, British Airways offers direct flights from Heathrow as do various airlines from several major European cities including Madrid, Paris, Rome, Barcelona, and Amsterdam. Air New Zealand has nonstop flights from Auckland, and from Australia, LATAM has connecting flights to Buenos Aires from Santiago.
Taxis, public buses, minibuses, coaches, and private cars are available at the airport. Once in Buenos Aires, the city has excellent public transport that goes to most major attractions. The streets are travel-friendly and easy to understand as Buenos Aires is laid out grid-style much like New York City.
Best Time to Visit Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires experiences tourism at any time of the year, just like its northern neighbours Brazil and Colombia. After all, the climate is subtropical and humid.
The summer season runs from March to May and heatwaves of 95 degrees F. (35 C) are common. Weather in the fall (March through May) is ideal and perfect for outdoor activities. Spring lasts from September to November.
The jacaranda trees bloom in October and November, a good time to go if you like natural beauty. If you like cooler weather, July and August have temperatures around 60 degrees F (15 C). The record low is 22.3F (-5.4 C). You’ll find the best travel deals from late April to early June.
Where to Stay in Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires is a city of many distinct neighborhoods. While it would be great to experience each of its barrios, that’s impossible to do in a short stay of two days. It’s best to book your hotel, hostel, or Airbnb in a centrally located barrio like one of the following.
Palermo Soho and Palermo Hollywood are sub-neighborhoods of the barrio Palermo. They’re both hip and lively parts of town with the best cafes, restaurants, boutique shops, and nightlife.
Retiro is an area that attracts people from a mixture of lifestyles. It’s an interesting barrio to wander around in if you like to peoplewatch. The city’s main train station is located here, so it’s quite busy with commuters. It borders expat-friendly Microcentro, and you’ll find some of Buenos Aires most luxurious shopping and dining here.
A good choice for tourists, San Telmo is near popular spots like Plaza de Mayo and La Boca. The atmosphere is colonial and bohemian with cobblestone streets and historic buildings. Good restaurants have been popping up here in recent years.
Paris-like Recoleta is home to the city’s grandest mansions and most luxurious hotels. You’ll find the National Museum of Fine Arts and the Recoleta Cultural Center here.
If you’re looking for a quieter, more residential atmosphere, rent an Airbnb in Villa Crespo. You’ll feel like a local yet it’s very close to hip Palermo.
Young, modern Puerto Madero has upscale hotels and apartments. This barrio borders San Telmo and is convenient to the Plaza de Mayo.
Day 1 in Buenos Aires
The majority of flights into Buenos Aires arrive in the mornings or early afternoons. You’ll likely be tired from your overnight flight. Check into your accommodations, settle in, and perhaps casually stroll the streets of Palermo Soho to admire the street art, explore the shops, and find a coffee shop or cafe for rejuvenation.
Plaza Serrano and Plaza Armenia are the two main squares, and you can find tempting cafes coffee shops on the streets that branch off. Two good suggestions are the 5-star Cafe Vive and the 4-star Cuervo Cafe. The Vive has amazing espressos and delicious muffins. Cuervo is known for its excellent cappuccinos and great outdoor seating. Connect to their Wi-Fi and check-in with friends and family. Beware, the cafe is closed on Mondays.
For something more substantial, try brunch or lunch at Le Pain Quotidien. Dishes range from European to healthy, and there are vegan and vegetarian options. For a relaxing afternoon, take a taxi to the Bosque de Palermo parks. This urban haven is loved by locals for its lakes, groves, and rose gardens. Visit the Buenos Aires Zoo, the city planetarium, and the world-famous Japanese gardens. Rent a peddle cart and ride the route along the lakeside or take a paddleboat out for a relaxing row.
In the early evening, take a taxi back to your accommodation, rest up, and get dressed. The coffee shops and cafes in Palermo Soho were fairly budget-friendly, so you can splurge and go shopping and dining in Retiro. Before dark, though, go for a stroll and take photos of some of Buenos Aires’ most fascinating architecture such the Palacio San Martín on Arenales street, the Kavanagh building, an Art Deco skyscraper on Florida Street overlooking Plaza San Martín, and the Torre Monumental Clock Tower at Plaza Fuerza.
For dinner, Kaffir Thai is a good choice. The restaurant has been recognized for its Thai food, a rarity in Buenos Aires. Both the setting and the food are extraordinary. Dine on foods featuring Thai flavors such as mango, coconut milk, and lime vinaigrette surrounded by décor like elephants and Buddha masks. After dinner, head back to Palermo Soho for a cocktail in relaxing surroundings at Rey de Copas. The bar and lounge are open Wednesdays through Saturdays and allows children up until 10 pm, so it won’t get too rowdy. You will save that for your last night in Buenos Aires.
Day 2 in Buenos Aires
Pack your camera and start your first full and last day in downtown on Corrientes Avenue with an early breakfast. You’ll be near Plaza de Mayo where you’ll spend the rest of the morning. Choose between El Gato Negro and La Giralda. Both are old school, non-fancy cafes. La Giralda is known for its hot chocolate and churros, and El Gato serves a variety of teas. Enjoy a leisurely breakfast and observe the locals who have been coming to these cafes every day for years.
After breakfast, take a self-guided tour of Plaza de Mayo, the place that’s famous for Argentine celebrations and protests. The Firanide de Mayo is at the center. It’s a gleaming white obelisk built to celebrate the first anniversary of Argentina’s independence from Spain. Don’t miss the rosy color of the Casa Rosada. If you are here on a weekend, book a free hour-long guided tour there online in advance.
The Cabildo is another must-see. It’s a mid-18th century town hall with a museum dedicated to the revolution of May 1810. Be sure to go to the second-floor balcony for views of Plaza de Mayo. Another inspiring building is the Catedral Metropolitana, or Cathedral in the Center. Completed in 1827, it’s the city’s main catholic church. The baroque details and rococo alter are breathtakingly impressive.
If possible, spare the time for the Teatro Colón 7 minutes by car from the plaza. It’s best to take a taxi to save time. The 7-story building occupies an entire city block and is the city’s primary performing arts venue for classical music, ballet, and opera. If you managed to get tickets for a performance, you can adjust this itinerary to attend. Otherwise, 50-minute backstage tours are given frequently. You’ll get to see the fabulous interior, the costume department, and the ballerinas’s dressing room.
There are dozens of fantastic eateries near Plaza de Mayo. For steaks, South American, and Argentine cuisine, La Vieja Pulperia is a good choice. Excellent wines are served, and the prices are reasonable.
Your best bet for the rest of this 2-day whirlwind is to go with specialty tours which, of course, you have booked in advance. You can find a variety of tours at reasonable prices that offer hotel pick-up and drop-off and amenities such as snacks, food, and drinks. For the rest of the day, why not get out of the city and see the area’s natural surroundings. A half-way tour will take you out for a boat ride to the Tigre Delta.
Enjoy a scenic coach ride out to the suburb of San Isidro with its mansions built by old Argentinian aristocrats. Take in the waterfront sights and see homes built on stilts over the swamplands, then ride by boat to the Tigre Delta and the waterway that spills from the Rio Paraná into the Rio de la Plata.
Remember the relaxing cocktails you had in the quiet Rey de Copas last night? That changes on your final night in Buenos Aires with an evening at La Ventana tango show. After all, Buenos Aires is the birthplace of the tango. Which as you probably know, is so popular now, you can dance Tango all over Europe.
On the coach ride over, you’ll pass through the historic neighborhood of San Telmo with its cobbled streets, giving you a chance to experience the flavor of one last unique barrio. Book the optional 3-course dinner with offerings of a selection of national and international dishes like plum-stuffed pork with honey mustard sauce. You’ll get a starter salad and finish with a delicious dessert like warm homemade traditional flan. After dinner, you’ll enjoy folk bands, live tango, singers, a live orchestra and a gaucho demonstration. Round-trip transport and select beverages are included in the price.
Having insurance while you are traveling outside your home country is very important. Make sure that you have one too, to keep you safe in your trips around the world.
If you complete this 2 days Buenos Aires itinerary. You will have seen a lot of memorable places and had plenty of fun. And you’ll be ready for a long nap on the flight back.
It’s a guest post from Mike Jensen addicted to both adventure and travel, so decided to combine the two to form TheAdventourist. There he shares his journey from one adrenaline rush to another, always exploring new places as he goes. You can find him sharing his travels on Facebook.
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