My sister recently visited me in Buenos Aires. She was here for eight days, arriving on a Saturday morning and leaving the following Saturday night–meaning she took one full week off from work. We managed to pack a whole lot of sightseeing, touring, and eating into that time! I figured I’d share the things we enjoyed, the things we would pass on, and the things we would have done with more time, so you can plan one perfect week in Argentina.

Argentina is the world’s eighth largest country, so you can’t do it all in a week, but here’s what you can do. (With lots of photos!)

She arrived Saturday morning. We spent Monday evening to Wendesday evening in Puerto Iguazu and all day Friday in Tigre. The rest of the time was in Buenos Aires. Here’s where we visited in Buenos Aires.

Places to Visit

Cementerio de la Recoleta

One of my favorite spots in the city, the Recoleta Cemetery houses hundreds and hundreds of crypts, all seemingly designed and decorated to outdo their neighbors. It is a city unto itself, where you can weave through rows and rows of tombs and admire the statues, plaques, and stray cats that inhabit the area. One of the major draws is the crypt that houses Eva Perón, the beloved first lady of Argentina from the early 1950s. Hers is hard to find–look for the crypt of la familia Duarte or use the legend near the entrance.

Statues and crypts in the Cementerio de la Recoleta.

If you visit on Saturday or Sunday, there is an outdoor market just outside the cemetery walls. It is mostly full of crafts, jewelry, and clothing, and is a great place if you are looking for souvenirs.

Plaza Italia

The area near Plaza Italia, in Palermo, is home to a number of attractions. We visited the Jardín Botánico, which was a beautiful a tranquil garden. Highly recommended–especially if you are a cat lover. There are a huge number of them, all very friendly, roaming the garden. Be prepared for one to hop in your lap if you sit down on one of the park benches lining the paths. There are also some neat buildings and statutes dotting the garden.

Petting los gatos at the Jardín Botánico.

Unfortunately, our tour of the Plaza Italia area was cut short when we were robbed. Don’t let this deter you, though! Just be aware of your surroundings… and don’t carry your things in an easily-opened side bag, like I did.

Had the day gone as planned, we would have visited the Jardín Japonés (Japanese Garden) and the Museo Evita, which are both in the same general area. I have heard good things about the crepes at the cafe at the Evita Museum, which would be a good stop for lunch after checking out Evita’s shoe and dress collection, along with other memorabilia, at the museum.

La Boca

La Boca is one of the oldest barrios in the city, located near the mouth of the river. The barrio‘s mixed reputation of being both kitschy and dangerous keeps many visitors away. I, however, love walking along the river and the Caminito street, admiring the brightly colored buildings, and checking out the crafts and trinkets being sold in the shops and on the streets.

Megan in Boca.

The blue-and-yellow stadium for the Boca Juniors Futból Club is a few blocks away from Caminito. There are performers dancing tango in the streets and an all-around rather colorful vibe. That being said, you don’t need to spend more than an hour here because it’s very small, and try not to venture too far away from the tourist streets.

Boca streets.

Puerto Madero

Buenos Aires’ major port area has been undergoing major construction and gentrification, with loft-style and high-rise apartments springing up all over the place. There are nice restaurants along the river walk and the striking Puente de la Mujer bridge.

Puerto Madero and La Puente de la Mujer (on the far right).

We only spent an hour or so in Puerto Madero, grabbing a bite to eat and snapping some photos of the sunset. I don’t think it is a major draw, unless you go to the Ecological Preserve, which we did not get around to.

The Reserva Ecológica sounds pretty incredible. It is a marshy area that was originally built on top of a landfill, and is now filled with lots of plants and wildlife. As we were in Puerto Madero on the day of the full moon, we talked about taking one of their monthly full moon tours, but it didn’t fit our schedule. If you are an outdoorsy person, I imagine that it would me much more enjoyable to check out the Ecological Reserve than walk around the more urban Puerto Madero.

Plaza de Mayo + Casa Rosada

I had been wanting to visit the Plaza de Mayo since my second year in college, when I learned about the Madres de la Plaza de Mayo in one of my classes. Las madres still march around the Plaza in the name of social justice every Thursday afternoon, around 3:30.

Just behind the Plaza is Casa Rosada, the Argentine presidential palace. The building stands out, both because of its size and pink color. We only walked around the gates, as the government was setting up stands and stages for one of Argentina’s holidays. There are free tours of Casa Rosada on Saturdays and Sundays.

Casa Rosada, lit up at night. The scaffolding was there to set up for the weekend’s government festivities.

Futbol Game

Futbol is part of the soul of Argentina, and going to a game is quite a unique experience. There are 20 futbol teams across Argentina in the Primera División, and many are in Buenos Aires. We wanted to go to a Boca Juniors game, but unruly fans at the previous game caused the stadium to ban fans from the game we wanted to attend.

So we checked the schedule and say that another team in the capital–All Boys–had a home game during my sister’s trip. Just because we’d never heard of our new favorite team didn’t make the game any less memorable! We sat right in the first row. Make sure you’re wearing the colors of the home team, as when it comes to Argentine futbol, it is better to be on the side of the majority. Tickets ran us about $20 each.

Club Athlético All Boys game and insignia.

The songs and chants thundered from the home and away sections all game. In the end, the bad guys won 4-0! After the game ended, police escorted the away fans from the stadium, and the rest of the crowd wasn’t allowed to leave for a full twenty minutes to ensure San Lorenzo and All Boys fans didn’t clash in the streets.

We felts safe before, during, and after the game, but consider your risk tolerance.

The schedule runs August to May, so if you are here over a weekend during that time, you should have multiple options for games in the city.

Places to Eat and Drink

Las Cabras

Their chorizo (sizzling grilled sausage) is to die for–my sister and I ordered it, along with a couple glasses of wine, three times while she was here. It helps that the parilla restaurant is only half a block from my Palermo Hollywood apartment! It gets really crowded at night, but is a great place to grab a snack at around 4 or 5.

Antares Gastropub

Beer lovers, rejoice! Antares, located in the Las Cañitas neighborhood, is one of the few breweries in the city. They have a vast menu of beers brewed in-house, most of which are delicious. Order the beer sampler, which comes with a shotglass full of each of their beers–my favorites are the Scotch and the Barley wine. The menu full of mostly pub food is all reasonably priced, and happy hour runs from 7-9 with buy-one-get-one-free beers.

Beer sampler at Antares.

Jobs Bar

Buenos Aires is known for the nightlife, with residents and tourists alike partying until 7am at the clubs that seemingly exist on every block.

With the huge number of bars and clubs, there are some unique ones like Jobs Bar at Arenales 2932 halfway between Palermo and downtown.

For a $5 cover charge, you get a free drink plus chicken nuggets or nachos and entry into the playground of a five year old’s imagination. The multi-level bar has pool tables, ping pong tables, darts, and archery at very low prices.

Yes, a bar that serves alcohol lets people shoot bows and arrows for $2.5 per six arrows.

A bulls eye even gets a free drink! This unique bar is worth a visit.

Part 2 will discuss our trips to Iguazu Falls and Tigre.

 

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