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Buenos Aires.

Top Buenos Aires Attractions

The first time you visit Buenos Aires, or any new destination, the question asked isn’t usually what attractions should be scene but what attraction to see first, what to expect, how to get there, and how much time is needed. We’ve provided tips, advice, and other information about the top tourist attractions in Buenos Aires to help with your itinerary planning.

Recoleta Cemetery Recoleta Cemetery
El Caminito El Caminito
Tango Tango
Casa Rosada Casa Rosada

Recoleta Cemetery

 Hours Open daily, from 7am-6pm

Buenos Aires’ wealthy and elite are buried in the opulent Recoleta Cemetery. By no means is this a typical cemetery. More attraction than it is a final resting place, Recoleta is filled with grandiosity, where beautiful statues and marble sarcophagi stand side by side the tombs of historical and well-known individuals. As odd as it may sound, it is Buenos Aires’ number one tourist attraction, and a stroll through its grounds will make you understand why. One of the most famous burial sites is that of Evita Peron. Although she wasn’t of aristocratic blood, it was the fact that she dedicated her life helping the poor and not the wealthy that angered the elite when she was buried in the cemetery. A map of the cemetery will make hunting her tomb down more easy, but on most days, you can follow the throngs of tourists doing the same thing. Another tomb of interest is that of Rufina Gambeceres, a young woman who was mistakenly pronounced dead and was, in fact, buried alive. Her tomb and statue is an achingly beautiful and touching site.

 

El Caminito

Whenever you see pictures of brightly colored houses on postcards and photographs of Buenos Aires, you’re looking at what has become one of the symbols of the city - La Boca. It is a blue-collar and rough area, but its main tourist attraction, El Caminito (the little walk), brings countless tourists with their cameras in tow. During the mid-19th century, La Boca was home to Spanish and Italian immigrants who settled along the River Riachuelo. After painting the barges along the river, the immigrants would splash any leftover paint on the metallic sides of their houses, giving the area the look it is known for today. El Caminito is the area’s most famous street, and it is filled with craft fairs, restaurants, sidewalk cafes and tango dancers (the street is named after a well-known tango song). It is important to note that you should not wander off El Caminito, as Boca can be dangerous in certain areas. Don’t stray from the river front or the tourist areas, especially if you’re carrying expensive equipment and/or visible jewelry. The only other site worth noting outside El Caminito is La Bombonera stadium, where the beloved Boca Juniors soccer team play.

 

Tango

What would a visit to Buenos Aires be without seeing one of its greatest cultural contributions? Once seen as a dance of the older generation, the tango is making a strong comeback in Argentina and is still considered one of the most important aspects of Porteño culture. When considering where to appreciate the tango, there are many options. You can go to a tango show that includes dinner and drinks (very touristy) or you can go to a milonga - a tango hall where locals practice their craft and novices attempt to do so (more authentic). Listings for tango shows are everywhere, and be advised that some are very expensive - even by US dollar standards. Many cafes, such as the famous Cafe Tortoni, offer smaller shows for a lot less money. If you want free tango, head to the San Telmo Sunday fair, where local dancers entertain tourists and locals for what they hope is a gratuity. If you want a truly authentic experience, take some classes. The National Academy of Tango (above Cafe Tortoni) and several other dance schools offer lessons for next to nothing. You’ll be better off learning at least the basics if you’re daring enough to head to a local milonga.

Because of the vast number of shows, clubs, milongas and classes available, your best bet would be to consult the best (free) sources on the tango in Buenos Aires: el tangauta and BA Tango. www.tangodata.com.ar has the best information on the city’s milongas and classes.

 

Mothers of Plaza de Mayo and Casa Rosada

Although not exactly a tourist attraction, the protest of the Mothers of the Disappeared is an event not to be missed. During the 1970’s Dirty War, 30,000 innocent Argentines ‘disappeared’ at the hands of the military government. Although it is widely believed that they were all tortured and murdered, their remains, till this day, remain unknown. Worse, families of the disappeared have never been told of their loved ones’ whereabouts or what happened to them, despite numerous attempts. On Thursday, April 14, 1973, 14 mothers whose children disappeared marched in front of the presidential palace, Casa Rosada, in the Plaza de Mayo. The government ignored their pleas, affirming that their children simply moved to study abroad or left the country. Undeterred, the mothers continued to protest, wearing their symbolic white handkerchief. Little by little, their numbers grew and till today, they march every single Thursday, rain or shine, at 3:30 pm at the very same spot on Plaza de Mayo.

The backdrop to these protests is the famous Casa Rosada, or the ‘pink house.’ It is Argentina’s equivalent to the United States’ White House and equally as attractive. It is quite a feeling to see the balcony where Evita Peron once stood and addressed the people of Buenos Aires (and decades later Madonna, when she portrayed the famous first lady). Peron memorabilia can be seen at the Museo de la Casa Rosada, open Monday-Friday from 10am to 6pm, and Sundays, from 2pm-6pm. Tours are available on Sundays at 3pm and 4:30 pm.

 


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