Japanese Garden in Buenos Aires | Excursions in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Every great city needs a little green; it needs lungs to purify the air and to allow us to relax. Buenos Aires has various places where we can go to disconnect, including the Tres de Febrero Park with its plazas, the Bosques de Palermo (Palermo Woods), los Lagos de Palermo (Palermo Lakes), the Planetarium and the Japanese Garden.

+ THE JAPANESE GARDEN: HARMONY AND BEAUTY
In 1967, to pay homage to the prince and princess (now Emperor and Empress) of Japan when they visited Buenos Aires, the Argentine-Japanese community transformed part of Tres de Febrero Park into a Japanese garden, turning it into a unique place, different from the rest of Buenos Aires. To the species that already existed in the park they added others native to Japan.

This site is an image of the culture, the architectural style and the landscapes of Japan. To visit it is to be transported to Japan: it is an immense garden with different trees and oriental plants, a greenhouse where you can buy the famous bonsais, a cultural center, a library and a large lake in the middle. You can also enjoy delicious Japanese cuisine in the restaurant-and those adventurous enough can even eat with chopsticks.

To walk through the park is to accept an invitation to relax, to distance oneself from the chaotic rhythm of the city. All is harmonious; nothing is out of place. This harmony exists because of the different elements that make up a Japanese garden: the water of its great lake, the fish that inhabit it, the bridges, rocks and typical vegetation.

The Cultural and Environmental Complex of the Japanese Garden has been declared a “Work of National Historical and Artistic Interest,” is administrated by the Argentine-Japanese Cultural Foundation, and is maintained with the funds it collects from entrance fees. The Foundation receives no external subsidies, and the entrance fee is inexpensive.

+ THE LEGEND OF THE CARP OR KOI
Numerous koi fish inhabit the central lake and visitors can buy small bags of fish food to feed them. The first koi were brought from Japan in 1967, in time for the inauguration of the park. These fish are colorful and lovely and it is great fun to throw food to them and watch them snap it up.

This species was chosen because of a legend: “In the Yellow River was a door and only the fish that could swim against the current and reach it would be converted into a Dragon. Several kinds of fish tried but only the koi succeeded in reaching the door.” From that time on, the carp is a symbol of fortitude and courage.

+ THE MEANING OF THE BRIDGES
The bridges of the Japanese are another distinctive feature. From the bridges, you can watch and feed the koi.

The bridges symbolize the passage from one world to another. Each one has a meaning: the zig-zag bridge is the bridge of decisions and the red curved bridge, the most beautiful, the one that goes to the island, represents the union of the human and the divine worlds. This island is the “Island of the Gods.” It is in the center of the park and offers the best view.

+ THE CULTURAL CENTER
Besides being able to stroll through a lovely park, you can also visit the Cultural Center. There you will find many activities that will help you understand the traditions of the Japanese people: origami, literature, bonsai, dance, recreational gymnastics, painting, and magna and anime festivals.

+ VISITING HOURS, ENTRANCE FEE AND HOW TO GET THERE
The Japanese Garden is located on Avenues Figueroa Alcorta and Casares, in Palermo. You can get there by bus: (10, 15, 37, 59, 60, 67, 93, 95, 102, 108, 118, 128, 130, 141, 160, and 180); if you take the subway or metro (Line D, Scalabrini Ortiz Station), it will leave you eight blocks away.
Entrance fees are 16 pesos (around $4.00 US) for adults. Seniors, retirees and children under 12 do not pay fees. The park is open every day from 10 AM to 6 PM.

+ WHERE TO STAY IN PALERMO
You have various options, depending upon your budget. If you prefer privacy, the best option is to rent an apartment. If you want direct contact with tourists, and want to share experiences as well as save money, your best choice is the Hostel in Palermo. A less economical option is a Bed & Breakfast.

+ MORE PICTURES OF THE JAPANESE GARDEN IN BUENOS AIRES

Source: Buenos Aires Hostels + www.ba-h.com.ar, the principal reference for Hostels in Buenos Aires. The portal was created in 1999 and has an ample selection of Hostels, Apartments, Bed & Breakfasts and University Residences in the principal Buenos Aires’ neighborhoods: Palermo, Recoleta, Barrio Norte, Belgrano, San Telmo, La Boca, etc.

March 30, 2012 at 2:25 pm 2 comments

Buenos Aires, a Gay Friendly city, Argentina

Buenos Aires has become the gay Mecca of South America leaving Rio de Janeiro in a second place.

It is the destiny chosen for different reasons by thousands of homosexual tourists from all over the world.

Buenos Aires is a European style city (similar to Paris and Milan) that offers a great variety of gastronomic, cultural and social events during the day and at night.

+ Why Buenos Aires?
One of the main attractions for tourists is that “Buenos Aires doesn´t sleep”: its restaurants, theatres, pubs, bars and discos are open till late at night, till dawn or they are open 24/7.

In this city there are different gay friendly places where to have fun.

People in Buenos Aires are “open minded”, they do not show a disapproving attitude if they see two men or women holding hands or kissing in the street, they simply accept it.

+ Same-sex Marriage in Argentina
Acceptance of different sexual orientations was consented by the Civil Union Law passed in December 2002 in the City of Buenos Aires. It was the first step towards the amendment of the Civil Code. Since 2010 same- sex people are allowed to marry.

Thus Argentina has become the first country in Latin America to exercise this right.

+ Gay Pride Parade in Buenos Aires
Every year, on the first Saturday of November, the traditional Gay Pride Parade takes place in Buenos Aires to celebrate the creation of the first gay group in our country in 1967. Gay people express themselves in the streets, they dance and enjoy being together, they also take advantage to claim the authorities for different rights such as the “Gender Identity Law”.

+ Women and Men
Tourists feel attraction for women and men in Buenos Aires. Their physical aspect, clothes, elegance, nice disposition, good humour and tolerance make them irresistible.

+ Are there any gay neighborhoods in Buenos Aires?
We cannot say there are gay neighborhoods in Buenos Aires, but we can say that the “gay movement” is found mostly in Recoleta, Palermo, San Telmo and Barrio Norte because these neighborhoods concentrate most of the tourist attractions, malls, restaurants, fashionable discos and gay friendly accommodation.

In Recoleta you may visit the tomb of Evita Perón, the arts and crafts fair of Plaza Francia, the Hard Rock Café of Buenos Aires at the Buenos Aires Design Centre and the MALBA ( Latin American Museum of Art of Buenos Aires).

In Palermo you may buy clothes designed by young people, unique and original objects of art, you can enjoy good coffee at a table on the sidewalk, have a drink at a pub or go to a disco.

In San Telmo, a bohemian colonial style neighborhood you can watch tango performances in the street, find antiques and collectibles at the San Telmo Fair and have coffee under the sun in Plaza Dorrego.

+ Gay Friendly accommodation in Buenos Aires
The city offers accommodation for every budget, from exclusive hotels of the Axel Hotels chain to the Hostels Gay Friendly en Buenos Aires at convenient rates.

+ Advice
– A visit to the disco Amerika where gays, transvestites, swingers and heterosexuals meet is a must. (1040 Gascón St., Almagro).
– Before going dancing hang out in a bar in Palermo or Recoleta.
– Go for a walk in Buenos Aires, use public transportation as it is cheaper and distances are short.
– Go dancing at night or attend an underground theatre performance.
– If you want to save money, instead of going to the traditional shopping centers go to the outlets on Córdoba Avenue.
– Enjoy the great variety of restaurants that this city offers.
– Bring your camera and take plenty of pictures.
– Get a map of Palermo, San Telmo or Recoleta for free at different business premises.
– Buy designer clothes and shoes.
– As in any other important city watch your belongings and look out for pickpockets. Don´t be afraid, be cautious.

• Source: Buenos Aires Hostels + www.ba-h.com.ar the principal reference for Hostels in Buenos Aires. The website was created in 1999 and offers an ample selection of hostels, apartments, bed and breakfasts, and university residences in the principal Buenos Aires neighborhoods: Palermo, Recoleta, Barrio Norte, Belgrano, San Telmo, La Boca, etc.

December 2, 2011 at 7:30 pm Leave a comment

10 Places to visit in Buenos Aires in the Spring

In Buenos Aires, starting at the end of August, the days become more pleasant. Mornings are still cool, but the temperature begins to rise around midday and cools off again at night.

This is the best time of year to engage in diverse activities since it is not cold like in winter nor too hot like in summer (which is humid with temperatures up to 35 or 40º centigrade).

Buenos Aires is a city with a lot to offer, both during the day and at night. In this article, we will recommend ten activities to be done in springtime Buenos Aires.

1- 1- Enjoy the green parks
Without doubt, one of the lungs of Buenos Aires is the Palermo Woods (as the Tres de Febrero Park is known) with its different varieties of trees, rose gardens and three lakes. Here you can sit on the grass and soak up some sun, eat something (pack a classic picnic), walk around the lakes, run, ride a bike, exercise, or take a boat ride on the lake.
+ Address: Ave. Libertador and Ave. Sarmiento – Palermo.

2- Visit the Japanese Garden (Jardín Japonés)
The Japanese Garden is part of the Tres de Febrero Park. The entrance fee is not expensive. It is a great garden with different oriental plants and trees, a greenhouse where you can buy the famous bonsais, a cultural center, a library, and, in the center, a large lake. The harmony and attention to detail in every corner will relax you. You can walk, feed the beautiful carp in the lake, take an origami class, sit down to an oriental tea or buy some crafts.
It is a place full of symbolisms: the stones, the water, the bridges and the fish (they represent strength and courage)

+ Address: Figueroa Alcorta Ave. and Casares Ave. – Palermo. + Every day from 10 to 18 hours.

3- A cup of coffee in the sunshine
When the days are beautiful, an afternoon in a Buenos Aires’ bar is highly recommended. Seated at a table on the sidewalk in the spring sunshine, you can have a cup of coffee with a delicious piece of cake or a fruit drink and toast (if you are watching your waistline) while you watch the people go by-or you can enjoy a sidewalk show or just read a book.

When choosing a place, you should consider Plaza Serrano in Palermo (J.L. Borges and Honduras), Plaza Dorrego in San Telmo (Defensa and Humberto 1º) or Puerto Madero.

4- Open Air Markets for All Taste
If you want to visit markets, you have lots of options in Buenos Aires:

- Artisan Markets offer artistic creativity in original works of art. You will find interesting objects in Plaza Francia in Recoleta (Ave. Pueyrredón and Ave. Del Libertador, weekends and holidays from 11 AM to 8 PM), Paseo Humberto 1º in San Telmo (Humberto 1º and Defensa, Saturdays, Sundays and holidays), Parque Centenario in Caballito (Ave. Díaz Vélez 4800, Saturdays, Sundays and holidays from 10 AM to 10 PM).

- Antique Markets, are the ideal places to marvel at objects from the past or find a childhood toy, a magazine you thought you had lost in time, the impossible-to-find coin or the bijou that will give you a retro look. No doubt that the best of the antique markets is the San Telmo Market with more than 250 stands in the street as well as commercial shops. You can find it at Humberto 1º and Defensa on Sundays from 10 AM to 5 PM.

- Book Markets offer new and used books at reasonable prices. You can also exchange books and magazines. The shop owners are experts and specialize in finding for their clients books that are unique or difficult to locate. You could also visit the markets in Plaza Italia in Palermo (Ave. Santa Fe and Uriarte, Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays, 10 AM to 10 PM) and Parque Rivadavia (Rivadavia and Beauchef, from Tuesdays to Sundays.

5- Zoos of Buenos Aires
Visiting the Buenos Aires’ Zoo is a good option when the climate is right.

It’s a good time to come into contact with nature, breathe pure air and enjoy the children enjoying the animals.

You can find the Buenos Aires Zoo in Palermo and the Temaiken Zoo in Escobar. You could also go to La Plata to visit that city’s zoo.

6- Do you know about the Ecological Reserve?
On Buenos Aires’ south coastline you will find the Ecological Reserve, another of the city’s lungs, with a great variety of trees, herbs, plants and shrubs typical of the delta and the shoreline of the Río de la Plata. Its lagoons are inhabited by birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians.
La entrada a la Reserva Ecológica Costanera Sur es libre y gratuita.

+ Address: 1150 Tristán Achával Rodríguez Ave. + April to October 8 AM to 6 PM and November to March 8 AM to 7 PM.

7- Outlets: Find a Bargain
Who doesn’t like to buy designer goods without spending a lot of money? We suggest you go to the outlets on Córdoba Avenue as well as the ones on Aguirre Street, where you will find well-known brands of clothes and shoes at great prices; you will also find sale articles and discontinued items at large discounts.

Soak up some sun, walk, save money and forget about being shut up in a shopping mall.

+ Address: Córdoba Ave. from 4400 to 4800, Palermo. Aguirre St. from 600 to 900, Palermo. From Monday to Sunday, 10 AM to 8 PM.


8- Tigre and Delta de Paraná Excursions

A green oasis is only an hour’s distance from the big city.

It’s an occasion to take a boat trip, perhaps visit the Tigre Art Museum, buy something at the Fruit Port (it offers plants, clothing, furniture, decorative objects and artisan and craft objects as well as fruit and vegetables).
+ If you are interested in taking this tour click here.

9- Buenos Aires on a bike?
Are you brave enough to travel around the city on a bike? Buenos Aires has bike paths and “ciclovías” or bike lanes from Monday to Friday, from 7 AM to 9 PM, the left lanes of the avenues Belgrano, Corrientes, Rivadavia, Independencia and Juan Bautista Alberdi).

Even though the people of Buenos Aires are not used to sharing the streets with cyclists, these lanes have signs and are protected so that car and bus drivers will respect them (in an attempt to make Buenos Aires a more ecologically friendly city).

10- Caminito, in La Boca
Caminito is considered to be the first pedestrian open air museum in the world. This one hundred meter street is full of different street entertainers: tango singers and dancers, artisans and “Fileteadores” . You can visit the conventillos (immigrant housing), now open to the public as museums that show what life was like for the first immigrants to the Boca.

+ Address between Magallanes and Lamadrid, La Boca.

Recommendations:

- Take your camera with fully charged batteries and replacements.
– Don’t forget your mp3 or Ipod. Music can be great company when you are walking.
– Wear comfortable shoes.
– Bring sunglasses.
– Use sunscreen, especially if you’ll be out and about for several hours.
-Take good care of your valuables (purse, camera, laptop, Ipad).
– Watch where you walk. Unfortunately, in Buenos Aires not all dog owners are considerate about disposing of what their pets leave behind.
– Take insect repellant if you go to the Ecological Reserve.
– To save money, ask about specials in the bars and restaurants you visit.

Source: Buenos Aires Hostels + www.ba-h.com.ar the principal reference for Hostels in Buenos Aires. The website was created in 1999 and offers an ample selection of hostels, apartments, bed and breakfasts, and university residences in the principal Buenos Aires neighborhoods: Palermo, Recoleta, Barrio Norte, Belgrano, San Telmo, La Boca, etc.

October 6, 2011 at 7:59 pm Leave a comment

The Buenos Aires Zoo | Palermo, Argentina

A good place to visit in Buenos Aires is the Buenos Aires Zoo, located in the Palermo neighborhood.
The Zoo is over 120 years old and has always been home to a great diversity of animals. In the last few years, besides being a source of entertainment, the Zoo also carries out research, conservation and educational projects.
Thanks to its leafy trees, the park is one of the city’s green lungs. Here we can take a break from asphalt and cement. Palermo is always bustling and busy, but as soon as we enter the Zoo we feel we are breathing  fresher air, more pure than the air outside.

+ Days, Hours, Schedules
The Zoo is open from Tuesdays to Sundays, from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM (ticket offices close at 5:00 PM).
Tickets are reasonably priced. For children under 12, retired people and people with disabilities, entrance is free. The rest of the public has the choice between two passports: the best buy passport costs 27 pesos (less than $7.00 dollars). It includes a boat trip, aquarium, subtropical forest, and snake house. The general passport costs 18 pesos (a little more than $4.00 dollars), but it does not include the attractions.

+ The Animals, the Superstars
Zoo managers have replaced bars and cages for more comfortable spaces where the animals enjoy greater freedom of movement. For example, trenches now separate the lions and bears from the public and glass and acrylic separate the monkeys and tigers. Some animals (ducks, geese, and peacocks, for example) are allowed to roam freely.


Thanks to these changes, it is easier to appreciate the animals and take pictures without ugly bars to block our view.
As we walk around the Zoo, we will find all sorts of species (the park has around 2500 specimens).
Lions are in a special place because they are among the public’s favorite animals. We can see them in the underbrush, enjoying each other’s company.

The elephants, like the lions, have been freed from cages, and are also favorites. A security moat separates them from the public. They walk around and eat under the delighted eyes of children and grownups trying to snap their pictures.


Children love the monkeys. The Buenos Aires Zoo has a large variety of species and many examples of each (cai monkeys, spider monkeys, mandrils and orangutans, to name a few). The chimpanzees are very amusing and friendly, and often entertain people with their antics.


Giraffes have their own space. They often reach heights of 6 meters (20 feet) and are in direct contact with the public. You can put food directly into their mouths.


One of the most beautiful animals is the polar bear; he swims in his icy water pool that duplicates his natural habitat.


The highest cage belongs to the condor. His wingspan can reach 3 meters (10 feet) and he can live to be 50 years old.
The Zoo has a space dedicated to reptiles. You can see different serpents, vipers, lizards and turtles (including gigantic ones).


The aquarium has a great variety of fish and sharks as well as a sea lion show.


In the Subtropical Forest you will find parrots, toucans, lots of other birds and terrifying spiders.

+ How to Get There
The zoo is in front of Plaza Italia, on Sarmiento and Las Heras Avenues, located in an area with a lot of different transportation options. You can get to the Zoo by:
– Bus:  10, 12, 15, 21, 29, 34, 39, 41, 57, 59, 60, 64, 67, 68, 93, 95, 111, 118, 128, 141, 152, 160, 161, 188 and 194
– Metro (Subway):  Plaza Italia Station (D Line and its combinations)
– Train: Palermo Station-Metropolitan Railroad General (Gral.) San Martín

+ Recommendations
The park is huge and there are very many animals. That’s why we recommend:
• Bring your photo or video camera with lots of free space as well as an extra battery
• It will take you several hours to see everything so be aware of opening and closing times
• On weekday mornings schoolchildren often go on guided visits and on weekends the Zoo may be packed. If you want to avoid crowds, avoid these days and times.
• It’s good to stop and eat, at a fastfood restaurant within the park  (where food and drinks are more expensive than on the outside) or with your own pre-packed picnic lunch that you can carry in you backpack.
• You can feed the animals, but only with the food that is specially prepared for them and which is sold in the park. Do not give them any other food (no crackers, bread, or peanuts).

+ Where to Stay
You have several options, depending on your budget. If you prefer total privacy, your best option is to rent an apartment. If you prefer to be in contact with other tourists, share experiences and save money, you are best off in a Hostel in Palermo. A less economical option is to stay at a Bed and Breakfast. Here you can find all these options in Lodging in Buenos Aires.

+ More pictures of The Buenos Aires Zoo

Source: Buenos Aires Hostels + www.ba-h.com.ar the principal reference for Hostels in Buenos Aires. The website was created in 1999 and offers an ample selection of hostels, apartments, bed and breakfasts, and university residences in the principal Buenos Aires neighborhoods: Palermo, Recoleta, Barrio Norte, Belgrano, San Telmo, La Boca, etc.

July 16, 2011 at 5:37 pm Leave a comment

Caminito, La Boca, Buenos Aires | Photos and Info

This traditional porteño neighborhood of La Boca owes its name to the fact that it is the mouth (la boca) del Riachuelo (“Little River”). It owes its present appearance to the hundreds of nineteenth century Italian immigrants who arrived, mostly from Genoa. The bustling Buenos Aires port attracted them like a magnet.

The conventillos
Since they had no place to live, the immigrants built “conventillos,” rustic dwellings shared by several families. Since they used whatever paint was left over after painting their boats, the sheet metal houses with their small doors and windows, combined many different colors, making La Boca one of Buenos Aires’ most picturesque neighborhoods.

The “Caminito”
The Caminito, the ” little street”, pays homage to the tango Caminito, composed by Juan de Dios Filiberto. It is one of the many attractions of La Boca and a trademark of the city.


Considered the first pedestrian open air museum in the world, this 328 foot long street is host to different street artists whose work we admire. Walking along Caminito, we can enjoy singers and tango dancers, see and acquire artisan crafts, and admire murals and ceramics made by the “fileteadores” (“fillet” artists), painters who employ a special technique to create an ornamental art known for its stylized forms and intense colors.


As we walk along the streets of La Boca, we find replicas of the old conventillos. On their balconies are images of well-known Argentine figures-Carlos Gardel, the tango singer, Evita and Maradona as well as clothes hung out to dry just as though the dwellings were still inhabited. Many of these conventillos have been converted into small museums that show us the lifesyle of those first  immigrants.


La Boca is one of the not-to-be-missed places on the visitors’ agenda and crowded with local and foreign tourists, tempted by the opportunity to buy typical Argentine souvenirs and eat at the inexpensive restaurants and pizzerias.

How to Get There
You can take the 20, 25, 29, 33 , 46, 53,62, or 152 buses.

Lodging
If you are looking for a place to stay, you can find it in Hostels in La Boca.

Recommendations
– Bring your camera with plenty of space on the memory card and a well-charged battery.
– Buy some souvenirs.
– Be careful of your belongings. As with any big city, you have to watch out for pickpockets. Don’t be afraid; be careful.
– Have a cup of coffee or a meal in one of the typical restaurants.
– Leave something for the street artists if you enjoyed their performance.
– Visit a conventillo or a museum.

More photos of Caminito

Source: Buenos Aires Hostels + www.ba-h.com.ar  the principal reference for Hostels in Buenos Aires. The website was created in 1999 and offers an ample selection of hostels, apartments, bed and breakfasts, and university residences in the principal Buenos Aires neighborhoods: Palermo, Recoleta, Barrio Norte, Belgrano, San Telmo, La Boca, etc.

June 21, 2011 at 7:36 pm 2 comments

10 advantages of choosing a Hostel

Staying at a Hostel is an advantage in many ways:

1- Rates
Hostels are cheaper than Hotels or Bed & Breakfasts. You will save money and you will be able to afford a longer stay, excursions, outings or visits to other towns.

2- Making new friends
Hostels have certain areas that can be shared by guests from all over the world. You will listen to stories and anecdotes, meet people with broad travel experience, you will play pool and table football, watch movies, go
dancing or go on excursions with them.

3- Activities at the Hostels and outings
Hostels usually organize different activities such as parties, tango lessons, Playstation tournaments, ping-pong or pool games. Sometimes you will enjoy a traditional argentine barbecue.
They will offer you a variety of entertainments. There are many options: you may go dancing, watch a football game at Boca Juniors Stadium, go sightseeing, see a tango show, visit a ranch, go on different excursions and enjoy alternative tourism and package tours.

4-Services
The number and quality of services offered by hostels is increasing due to the competition among Hostels. The rate usually includes: breakfast, internet access (very often Wi-Fi), lockers, luggage storage, room service and the use of a fully equipped kitchen for guests.

5-Hospitality
Hostels are well known for the hospitality offered by the young people in the staff who have acquired previous “hostel experience” and have traveled around the world. They know exactly what you need.

6-Timetable
If you are respectful of other guests and you do not make any annoying noise, you are free to stay in the shared areas or enter and leave the premises at any time.

7-A variety of rooms
You may ask for a single or double room or for a room for three, four, six or eight guests. These rooms may have private or shared bathrooms. There are different possibilities to suit your budget.

8-Cultural diversity
You will practice and improve your Spanish, English, Portuguese, Italian or German with guests of different nationalities while staying at the hostel or going out together.

9-Welcome presents, promotions, discounts
On your arrival you will probably be welcomed with a drink and after a certain number of days at the hostel you may get a free day stay.
You may also get discounts at bars, discos, theaters and cinemas.

10-Location
There are Hostels in the main neighborhoods of Buenos Aires with easy access to the points of interest. Here you can see a map of Hostels in Buenos Aires.

Source: Buenos Aires Hostels + www.ba-h.com.ar the principal reference for Hostels in Buenos Aires. The website was created in 1999 and offers an ample selection of hostels, apartments, bed and breakfasts, and university residences in the principal Buenos Aires neighborhoods: Palermo, Recoleta, Barrio Norte, Belgrano, San Telmo, La Boca, etc.

June 2, 2011 at 8:27 pm Leave a comment

Downtown Buenos Aires (Centro) | Buenos Aires Neighborhoods, Argentina

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The center of Buenos Aires, also known as Downtown, is not one neighborhood but rather an area made up of the San Nicolás, Balvanera and Montserrat neighborhoods.
The sum of these three neighborhoods adds up to a rich diversity of space, contrasting architectural styles, historic places and cultural, gastronomical and commercial experiences.
The principal avenues of the city are found in this area, and these avenues offer a great variety of tourist attractions.

+ La Plaza de Mayo and its historic buildings

The Plaza de Mayo is the scene of the most important political events of our history. It has always been a space for political demonstrations and a meeting place for citizens who want to be heard.
In the center of the Plaza is the first historic momunent of the city of Buenos Aires, the Pirámide de Mayo, created to conmemorate the 1810 Revolución de Mayo (the beginning of Argentine independence).

Pirámide de Mayo

Plaza de Mayo

Surrounding the Plaza are the most important buildings of our country: la Casa Rosada (the Pink House, also known as Government House), the Metropolitan Cathedral, the Cabildo, the National Bank and the building that houses the government offices of the city of Buenos Aires.
Why pink? In 1873, President Sarmiento gave an order to paint the The Pink House using a mixture of lime and blood from the slaughter houses (a paint mixture often used at the time). Standing guard in the doorway are two soldiers of the Regiment of Mounted Grenadiers of General San Martín.

La Casa Rosada - The Pink House

On the other side of the Plaza is the Cabildo, which used to be twice as big but had to be reduced to make way for the Avenue de Mayo and Diagonal Sur. On May 25, 1810, the citizens of Buenos Aires established a “Governing Body” to replace the King of Spain and Viceroy Cisneros. We suggest a guided tour of the Cabildo, the scene of many historical events.

El Cabildo

On one side of the Plaza you will find the Catedral Metropolitana, the oldest Catholic church in Buenos Aires, the resting place of the Father of the Country, Don José de San Martín.

Catedral Metropolitana

The oldest subway of the city (and of Latin America) the A line begins in Plaza de Mayo. It still has the original wooden cars, now restored to their original condition.

+ The Avenida de Mayo – From the Government House to Congress
The first avenue of the city of Buenos Aires is born in Plaza de Mayo. This is the Avenida de Mayo, and it has many attractive features. The Avenida de Mayo unites Government House to Congress.
We recommend that you walk from one end to the other so as to enjoy the architectural gems that you will find on each block.

Avenida de Mayo

You should definitely plan to stop at the Café Tortoni, the city’s most famous café and the oldest in the country. Sit down at one of its marble-topped tables and enjoy a rich cup of coffee or hot chocolate. You may be sitting at the same table as one of its illustrious visitors -Hillary Clinton, King Juan Carlos Borbón, Carlos Gardel, Joan Serrat, Ernesto Sábato or Jorge Luis Borges. The Café offers tango shows and houses the Academia Nacional de Tango on its top floor.

El Café Tortoni

As you continue your journey towards Congress, you will see the Teatro Avenida, the 36 Billares Bar, and the Palacio Barolo, inspired by Dante Alighieri’s “The Divine Comedy” ; its architectural beauty, full of hidden symbols, is well worth a picture. The Palacio Barolo has a passageway that connects it to other businesses.

El Palacio Barolo

At your journey’s end, you will arrive at the Plaza de los Dos Congresos where you will find the 0 kilometer marker, where the national highways begin. In front of the Plaza is the Palace of the Congress of the Nation, a beautiful building that houses the Legislative Branch of the government, full of magnificent chambers and the most complete library in the country.

+ The 9 de Julio Avenue – The widest avenue in the world
The Avenida de Mayo is crossed by the 9 de Julio Avenue, famous for being the widest in the world and for its central plazoleta where you will find the city’s most famous monument, the Obelisco, erected in the place where the Argentine flag flew for the first time and constructed to conmemorate the fourth centenary of the founding of Buenos Aires.

The Obelisco is 67,5 meters high and weighs 170 tons. Corrientes Avenue crosses the Plazoleta also. Taking a picture of the Obelisco is indispensible for all visitors who come to Buenos Aires.

The Obelisco

+ Corrientes Avenue – Lots of Activity Here
This extensive avenue is born at the River Plate (at Avenida Eduardo Madero) and goes all the way to the Chacarita Cemetery.

A few meters from Corrientes Avenue and Madero, you will find Luna Park Stadium, the cradle of the most important boxing matches and musicals.
In the trajectory from Alem to the Obelisco you will find the Opera, Gran Rex and Maipo theaters as well as a large number of independent theaters.

Gran Rex Theater

This part of the city never sleeps. It is the most active in the city and its marquees illuminate everything. Its streets are ideal places for walking, day or night.
On the other side of the 9 de Julio, on Corrientes Avenue, there are more theaters, including the Complejo La Plaza which offers different theatricals and musicals.

You will also find many bookstores along these blocks. Specialized bookstores offer new books as well as limited editions and rare books in good condition.

Specialized bookstores in Avenida Corrientes

Corrientes is rich in traditional pizzerías. Las Cuartetas offers excellent pizza; its decor is original, but not at all elegant -in fact, it is rather ordinary.

Las Cuartetas, la mejor pizza de Buenos Aires

If you are exploring the Center, you must visit the Colón Theater, re-opened in 2010 after a thorough restoration. The Colón is one of the best theaters in the world, renowned for its architectural beauty and its perfect acoustics.

Colón Theater

As you continue along Corrientes, you will come to the area known as the Abasto, with its rich tango tradition. Carlos Gardel lived here and the Abasto has a museum in his memory. You might see a live tango demonstration or spectacle in the streets of the Abasto.
You can shop in Abasto Shopping, a shopping center that used to be a fruit and vegetable market. It still conserves its spectacular exterior structure. Inside are around 250 shops offering different brands and a variety of articles.

Abasto Shopping

+ Florida Street – The most important pedestrian street
Florida is the most pedestrian, commercial and lively street in Buenos Aires. Nearly a million people (workers and tourists) walk up and down Florida every day. It is located in the Microcenter, the business district, and the best time to visit is around 3:00 PM.
Here you will find all sorts of shops: the great stores like Falabella, exchange houses, shoe stores, leather goods stores, computer stores, souvenir shops, clothing boutiques, and eateries. Besides, you can watch spectacles “a la gorra” when you visit Florida (music, tango dancers, magicians and fakirs, living statues, as well as art and diverse objects for sale on the street).

Pedestrian Florida

Galleries, department stores, businesses

Street shows on Calle Florida

In the intersection of Florida Street and Córdoba Avenue, you will find the beautiful Pacific Galleries, an elegant commericial center of designer brands such as Tiffany, Polo, Ralph Lauren, Christian Dior, Tommy Hilfiger and Lacoste. The central coupola is of exquisite beauty and was declared a National Historical Monument because of its undeniable artistic value and its striking murals.

Galerías Pacífico

Murals in Galerías Pacífico

On Florida Street and the streets that intersect it, you will also find the central offices of all the city banks, exchange houses and financial companies.
Florida Street ends in the Plaza San Martín, a beautiful green space of 5 hectares, declared a Historic Place in 1942.

Plaza San Martín

+ Where to Stay in the Center of Buenos Aires (Downtown)
The options ae diverse, according to your preferences and to your budget. We can recommend Hostels, apartments or Bed & Breakfasts in downtown Buenos Aires: http://www.ba-h.com.ar/lodgingbuenosaries.htm.

+ Recommendations
– Bring your camera. Charge your battery and make sure you have space on your memory card.
-You need comfortable shoes to walk in.
– Don’t forget sunscreen if you come in the summer (November, December, January).
– Buy some Argentine shoes or leather products but engage in comparative shopping first.
-Get a map of the City. Many stores offer them for free.
– Watch your things. As in every city, you have to be on the lookout for pickpockets. Don’t be afraid-be prudent.
– If you stop to watch a street show, don’t be distracted. Keep an eye on your valuables because when you are distracted, the “punguistas” -the experts in stealing without your realizing it- will take advantage of you.
– Have a cup of coffee in the Tortoni.
– Have a pizza in Las Cuartetas.
– You can save money by buying a sandwich and a soft drink in the snack shops along the way.
– If you visit the Plaza de Mayo or the Congress when a political demonstration is taking place, don’t be afraid. The police are always nearby.
– On Florida Street you will hear people shouting, “Cambio, Cambio” which means “Exchange.” These people, known as “little trees”, offer to exchange your dollars or euros for Argentine pesos. Never exchange with them. Go to an exchange house in a safe area.

• Source: Buenos Aires Hostels + www.ba-h.com.ar is the principal reference in Buenos Aires. Created in 1999, it offers an ample selection of Hostels, Apartments, Bed & Breakfasts and University Residences in the principal neighborhoods of Buenos Aires: Palermo, Recoleta, Barrio Norte, Belgrano, San Telmo, La Boca, etc.

September 16, 2010 at 2:20 pm Leave a comment

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Buenos Aires Hostels

Hostels, Bed and Breakfast, temporary rent apartments, accommodation in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Http://www.ba-h.com.ar

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