Shopping in Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires offers some of the most sophisticated shopping in Latin America. The quality can be excellent, especially with leather items. Maté sets (Argentina's national drink) make good presents, as do silver jewellery, wines and the odd tin of dulce de leche (sweet, sticky caramelised milk).
Buenos Aires’ famous shopping strip, Calle Florida, is packed with cheap fashion shops, but visitors should be careful of paying over the odds for leather goods. Instead, they should head to Welcome at Calle Marcelo T de Alvear 500.
Palermo Viejo is full of unique boutiques, while fair trade leather products and textiles from local communities are available from Pasion Argentina, Emilio Ravignani 1780, and Tierra Adentro, Arroyo 882.
Ethical South American crafts and textiles can be found at Arte Etnico Argentino, El Salvador 4656 in Palermo Viejo, and art lovers will find great pieces in amongst the masses at La Boca.
The best place to search for antiques and colonial paintings is at the Feria de San Pedro Telmo flea market at Plaza Dorrego on Sundays. The Hippie Fair in front of the Centro Cultural Recoleta is a colourful place to browse for handicrafts, jewellery and artwork at weekends.
You’ll find many shopping malls across Buenos Aires, but two of the most popular are Galerias Pacifico at Calle Florida 737 and Patio Bullrich at Avenida del Libertador.
Shopping hours in Buenos Aires are Monday to Friday 0900-2000 and Saturday 0900-1300, although malls are generally open daily 1000-2200.
San Telmo and La Boca are rammed with great spots for picking up souvenirs. San Telmo is perfect for picking up tango-themed gifts, while La Boca has plenty of shops selling vintage football shirts for both Boca Juniors and the national team.
Purchase tax or VAT, known as IVA (Impuesto de Valor Agregado), stands at 21% and is payable on everything with the exception of medicines and food. Tax-free shopping is available at certain outlets, just look for the 'Tax Free Shopping' logo. On leaving Argentina, receipts should be presented at customs before check-in and the refund collected at a separate kiosk.
Since January 2017, foreign visitors are no longer eligable to pay IVA (VAT) on hotel stays and services. If you pay using a foreign debit or credit card, the reimbursement should be automatic and paid directly into your card's checking account.