Argentina Shopping and nightlife
Shopping in Argentina
From fine wines and leather products, to regional handicrafts and soft alpaca wool clothing, Argentina has some lovely purchases to take home and treasure (or consume, rapidly). Leather goods can be found across the country, and there are some real bargains to be had. Native arts and handicrafts are also easy to come across, and chocolates from Bariloche and wines from Mendoza make particularly welcome gifts.
For an atmospheric shopping experience, visit one of the country's many local ferias (fairs). A huge and lively annual event is La Rural in Buenos Aires, showcasing the best agriculture and livestock the country has to offer, and with craft and produce stalls from regions around the whole country.
Buenos Aires also has some great regular markets. The best place to search for antiques is at the Sunday Feria de San Pedro Telmo flea market at Plaza Dorrego. The Hippie Fair in front of the Centro Cultural Recoleta is a colourful place to browse for handicrafts, jewellery and artwork at weekends. For unique pieces by up-and-coming Buenos Aires designers, head to the clothing boutiques of Palermo, and for cheap and cheerful clothing to top up your holiday wardrobe for a few pesos, the central pedestrianized strip Florida is jam-packed with budget buys. Weekends in riverside Tigre, a 40 minute train ride from Buenos Aires, also see a large market with all kinds of handmade goods.
Beautifully crafted textiles, furniture and clothes are sold by Pasion Argentina (www.pasion-argentina.com.ar), which supports often forgotten indigenous communities. Tierra Adentro in Buenos Aires sells exquisite, fair trade native silver jewellery, textiles and furniture crafted by aboriginals.
Look out for the 'Tax Free' shopping sign which means foreign visitors can claim back the 21% sales tax on any purchases made in the country. See www.globalblue.com. Since January 2017, foreign tourists staying in Argentina will receive a full refund of the VAT paid on hotel services.
Generally Mon-Fri 0900-2000; Sat 0900-1300. Many shops close for a long lunch, and opening hours can be unpredictable.
Nightlife in Argentina
Argentines love to party, and even the smallest of towns in rural areas have late night bars and discos. Nightlife in Buenos Aires is particularly vibrant. Shiny new cocktail bars regularly pop up across the city, and roof terrace gatherings and pool parties are the norm in the spring and summer months.
The city has become a centre for South American clubbing, with a stream of world-famous DJs visiting the solid selection of superclubs. Things rarely get going until gone midnight, and the party keeps pumping well past sunrise.
The country’s older music and dance traditions still stand strong, however. Tango is the traditional music and dance of Argentina, and each night performers showcase this heartfelt art form in clubs across most major cities. Learn and practise the tango at one of the many milongas (tango halls). The San Telmo neighbourhood in Buenos Aires is a great place to experience the historic tango hall, with its many longstanding venues.
If you have the chance, experience an Argentine Peña – a joyous evening filled with live folk music, simple and tasty food and lots of dancing and cheer. Buenos Aires has some great ones on around the time of the annual La Rural agricultural exhibition.