As the sun sets on a beautiful chapter of my life spent with Kulturstudier in Buenos Aires, I find myself reflecting on the vibrant tapestry of moments woven into the past few months. The city has not only been a classroom but a captivating canvas where every cobblestone street, every tango rhythm, and every shared mate session tells a unique story. Now, as I bid farewell to this enchanting journey, I’m excited to take you on a virtual tour through the heart of Buenos Aires—sharing the must-do activities, the delectable eats, and the hidden gems that have made this experience unforgettable. Alongside these insights, I’ll also sprinkle in some general tips to navigate and embrace the city’s charm, hoping these recommendations will enrich your future adventures.
Things to do
1. Explore the different barrios
Like I mentioned in the previous blogpost you should really spend time getting to know the different barrios of Buenos Aires. You’ll quickly get to know the barrio around the hostel, Montserrat, so try to explore as much as you can outside of it! Both Palermo and San Telmo are unique and beautiful and you should absolutely explore it as much as you can. Go to the previous blogpost “The different barrios of Buenos Aires” for more information about them.
2. Attend a tango show and/or class
Tango is a huge deal in all of Argentina, but especially in Buenos Aires, where it originated. It’s highly recommended to attend a show and experience the romantic dance. Kulturstudier will also offer you to attend a weekly class which we enjoyed going to. You should go as well!
3. Go to a football match
Football is huge in Argentina, it’s everywhere. The lucky ones were those who stayed here a year ago, while Argentina was playing the world cups, but we’ve still gotten our dose of football. There are plenty of exhilarating matches being played that you should check out! We managed to go to a Boca Juniors match as well as an Argentina match.
4. Day trip to Tigre
Just about an hour away from Buenos Aires is Tigre. A beautiful place with a river flowing through the city. It’s really tranquil and a great getaway from the noisy Buenos Aires.
5. Go climbing
My girlfriend and I are active climbers in Norway, so we had already found a climbing gym in Buenos Aires before we got here and talked to them. We’ve been to the gym V Once Escalada 3+ times a week ever since we got here. The prices are great (as of December 8th $2.600/day) and there’s even a café inside which serves the greatest coffee I’ve had in Buenos Aires. It’s almost worth a visit just for the café. Although you’re not a climber, I recommend you to bring a couple of friends, rent some shoes and climb away. The people there are super-duper-kind and inclusive and you’ll for sure get to practice your Spanish. It’s in the climbing gym we’ve gotten to really know Argentinians.
6. Escape room
During our stay in Buenos Aires by coincidence we became a group of 6 which every Monday went out to eat beef, but we also did other things; for example escape rooms. I believe we’ve done around 10 escape rooms the past months. The franchise Escape Games has centers all around town which all are equally good. I’ve been to a couple of centers around Europe, but they don’t stand a chance with the ones here. The prices are also great and will cost you around $5.000 (as of December 8th) if you bring 5 friends.
7. Paseo La Plaza
In Av. Corrientes, a street which goes through the Obelisco, just a 10-15 minutes walk from the hostel you’ll find something called Paseo La Plaza. It’s a small alleyway which is totally isolated from the bustling streets where you’ll find lovely small restaurants and bars. It’s really cozy and should be visited more than once. It’s recommended to go quite late (10pm or later) on the weekend for the best experience.
8. Reserva Ecológica
In the eastern part of Buenos Aires is what is known as Puerto Madero. It’s essentially a constructed island which is connected to the city with bridges. It houses plenty of restaurants, shops and also a lot of the financemen are there. The greatest part though is the Reserva Ecológica. It’s a gigantic park with free entrance. It’ll take you less than 20 minutes from the hostel, but the park itself is huge and it takes a couple of hours to walk through it all. I recommend renting a bike (talk to the hostel) and bringing it into the park and have a picnic.
9. Go to the boliches
The boliches are the nightclubs. There are so many all over the city and you’ll have a lot of time to explore them. A lot of them have free entry before a certain time, but you’ll have to check for the specific weekend. Keep in mind that the Argentinians don’t go out before 2-3am and party till it closes at around 6am.
10. Kulturstudier things
I could’ve written a much longer list, but I should leave some of the exploration to you as well. My final tips for activities and things to do is to stay informed and active on the channels of Kulturstudier. They invite us to plenty of activities and things to attend which are absolutely worth it! We’ve played football weekly with Argentinians, learned how to prepare mate and a lot more.
Things to eat and drink
1. Boys Coffee & Bar
On the corner of Hipólito Yrigoyen, the street in which the hostel is, there is a café that sells really good and cheap coffee, sweets and breakfast. You can enjoy it there or bring it with you on your way to school as they make it super quickly. Ever since I got here I’ve been there everyday, sometimes more than once. You have to try their alfajor de almendras. It’s become an obsession for a lot of the students and I’ve already found a receipt so that I can make them myself when I go back home.
2. Strange Brewing
I’m quite the beer enthusiast so I’ve gone to quite a few different gastrobars, but this one is by far the best. They brew their own beer and you can see the entire process inside of the bar and it’s all so good. What they serve rotates with time, but the bartenders are really helpful to help you find what you’ll like. They also serve great finger foods to accompany the beers. I posted a review of one of their beers on the app Untappd after I went there for the first time and the owners responded in Norwegian. I found out that half of the owners are norwegian, they therefore sell some beer from the Norwegian brewery Nøgne, but it’s quite expensive.
3. Saint Burger
A couple of minutes walking from the hostel in Av. De Mayo there’s a burger joint called Saint Burger. They serve great burgers, fries and beer at an extremely cheap price. They have outside seating where we sat plenty of times having burgers and beers.
This is a really pretty restaurant that is situated inside of a Japanese temple. It’s about 10 minutes walking from the hostel and they serve magnificent Japanese food. Ramen, gyoza, karaage – whatever you like.
5. The Capital Beer
Literally 2 minutes walking from the hostel there’s a really cozy and nice bar that serves beer for $1.000 (as of December 8th) between 5pm and 8pm everyday. It’s not as fancy as Strange Brewing, but still really good and affordable.
6. Cervecería Untertürkheim
Yet another bar. This ones in San Telmo and it has a very cool vibe. The entire bar is decorated with beer requisites, soccer jerseys and photos. They have a lot of imported beer, especially from Germany. The prices are also good.
7. Mr. Ho
Best Korean food I had while in Buenos Aires. Prices are on the steeper side, but the portions are huge and I’ve often taken it back home to eat for lunch the next day.
8. Enitma Café Reserva Gourmet
Such a lovely café for lazy weekend breakfasts. They serve all sorts of breakfasts, lunches and they have all the lovely sweets Argentina is so famous for. Their coffee is also very good!
9. Atelier Fuerza
This is the best breakfast I’ve eaten in Buenos Aires. They have these breakfast deals for two with a variety of foods, sweets, juices and coffee. More expensive than other places, but for sure worth a visit!
10. D’oro Italian Bar
This is another restaurant close to the hostel, around 10 minutes walking. They serve some of the best Italian food I’ve had outside of Italy and have an amazing set of wines. We celebrated a lot of birthdays here.
1. Get a SUBE-card
You’ll quickly realize that Buenos Aires is an enormous city and that it takes time to get around. Although Uber is huge and cheap in Buenos Aires it can take reeeeally long time to go from A to B by car as there is so much traffic. Getting yourself a SUBE-card to use the collective transport is hence essential. They sell them at most Kioscos all over town and you top them up with money on the stations. I highly advise you to take advantage of the underground system as it’s cheap, fast and reliable. Use Google Maps to help you find what lines to take and when to change!
2. Stay aware
There isn’t a lot of violent crime in Buenos Aires, but pity theft does occur quite often. I’ve been carrying a sling bag on my chest all the time while I’m outside with my valuables and I still have everything I got here with. It’s advised to leave expensive and flashy jewelry at home and to bring a second phone if one gets stolen. Apple products aren’t sold here and are considered really exclusive, so be careful! Also remember to not go alone at night and to keep away from shady areas. Your organizers in Buenos Aires will help you know where not to go. You should also use nothing but Uber (pay in cash) and make sure to not go alone in one at night. I’m not trying to scare you, but just bring awareness as it’s a huge city and like in any other big city it can be dangerous.
3. Money situation
The money situation in Argentina is complicated, really complicated. The inflation is out of this world and prices change everyday. Some of the locals I’ve talked with say that they feel like they’re doing a P.h.d in economics just by living in Argentina. It’s impossible for me to predict what it’ll be like for the ones that come after me, but I highly advise to bring as much USD in cash as you can, preferably in fresh $100 bills. I only brought $900, but I’d bring a lot more if I could. You’ll always be able to get yourself Argentinian pesos without dollars, but it’s time consuming and frustrating as they suddenly are out of cash. With USD you can bring it to an office and immediately exchange it for pesos. You should also be prepared to forget using your debit/credit card – it’s possible, but you’ll be charged more than if you pay in cash. I understand it may seem exhausting, but you’ll quickly get used to it. Make sure to read some about the economical situation before you go, and again, bring USD!!!
4. When to tip
We learned that tipping is expected the hard way on our first day in Argentina, but it’s not always that easy to know when to tip. At restaurants where you’re seated and get served at the table, often more expensive meals, it’s expected to tip 10% of the total. Often the servers will let you know that the “service is not included” which means that you should add 10%, while others don’t. At cafés and other takeout restaurants you’re not expected to tip, but you certainly can. I recommend tipping when in doubt as the amount often is very low.