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Buenos Aires Travel Guide

About Buenos Aires

As the South American capital with the most cosmopolitan credentials, Buenos Aires - also known as Capital Federal or simply BA - is a city gifted in the art of seduction. Suffused with European flavour, but with a strong Latino spirit, it's both refined yet chaotic, self-confident but unpredictable, where evocative tango rhythms fill crumbling colonial plazas and cutting-edge cultural centres integrate with an increasingly diverse food scene and a legendary nightlife that keeps bouncing until dawn.

Spread out on the southwest banks of the River Plate, the city exists as a series of stand-alone neighbourhoods, or barrios, each with its own distinct charm. There's bohemian San Telmo, known for its historic streets and bustling antiques market, or working-class La Boca, home to colourful houses and Argentina's beloved football club. The sparklingly new dockland of Puerto Madero feels far-removed from the old-world elegance of Recoleta or the leafy boulevards of Palermo, where a collection of ultra-hip cafes, boutiques and bars draw in a young, carefree crowd.

Despite its sprawling size, the city is easy to navigate on the Subte underground system, although it can be equally enjoyable to explore the big colonial avenues on foot. Visitors with only a few days can busy about ticking off a long list of must-sees, from photo stops at Plaza de Mayo to eyeballing the towering tombs of Recoleta Cemetery. Yet BA is also a remarkably liveable city, and those with more time can get under its skin by sipping mate in atmospheric cafes, indulging in decadently long asados (traditional barbecues) or interacting with the gregarious Porteños, as the local residents are known.

Whatever side of Buenos Aires appeals, come with an open mind and a sense of adventure and you'll quickly fall under this city's spell.

Key facts

Population:
14,730,000 (2016)
Latitude:
-34.609135
Longitude:
-58.372421

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Casa Calma

In the heart of downtown Buenos Aires, this wellness boutique equips its 17 rooms with jacuzzi tubs and six deluxe rooms have saunas. The vibe throughout is eco-chic, with furniture fashioned from recycled fabrics and floors crafted from sustainable pine. Healthy buffet breakfast, bicycle hire and an honesty bar are among its many attractions.

Faena Hotel

A pioneering design hotel, opulently contemporary Faena has been crafted out of a former grain warehouse along the docks of Puerto Madero. Designed by Philippe Starck, the interior is an eclectic mix of minimalist décor, regal furniture and quirky artefact, with facilities counting a spa, outdoor pool, a state-of-the-art meeting and events space and two stylish restaurants.

Palacio Duhau - Park Hyatt Buenos Aires

A 5-star Park Hyatt property in the affluent downtown Recoleta district, chandeliers and working fireplaces set the tone in this grand palace - first built in 1934 and lovingly restored in 2006. The 165-room hotel commands an impressive array of art in its underground gallery, the Paseo de las Artes Duhau, and facilities include the Ahín Wellness & Spa with its indoor swimming pool, sauna and whirlpool.

Hotel Frossard

This centrally located hotel offers simple, modern facilities in an old, French-style house. Most visitors are attracted by the reasonable prices and ease of access to nearby cultural attractions rather than its specific charm. Offering bed and breakfast, Hotel Frossard is also surrounded by many of the city's finest cafés and restaurants which makes it a worthy budget choice in what can be a pricey city.

Telmo Tango

This friendly San Telmo hostel and bed-and-breakfast is a comfortable option for newcomers to Buenos Aires. Organised trips include outings to football games and sailing from Puerto Madero, and the English-speaking manager is happy to share his tips on the city. The building's top terrace is a nice little spot to catch the sun away from the busy streets. Ask for a room at the front of the building that benefits from a balcony.

Pop Hotel

This budget boutique hotel is located in the emerging neighbourhood of Villa Crespo amid a scattering of trendy cafes, art spaces and new restaurants. The hotel's design is fresh and urban, with 44 air-conditioned rooms boasting plenty of light and fitted with iPod docks and security boxes for laptops. The deluxe rooms offer private balconies and breakfast croissant delivery.