In this post we provide information on how to visit Buenos Aires on a budget, activities in Buenos Aires on a budget, where to stay in Buenos Aires and where to go from Buenos Aires. All costs also included (the exchange rate used here is the ‘blue’ rate: USD $1= 14 ARS (December 2015)).
The beginning of our South American adventures thus began on December 8th, 2015. We had a hotel, booked 2 minutes before our flight to Buenos Aires and….that was it. No prepared itineraries as we thought we would have – one must wonder whether one year of unplanned traveling through Asia had taught us anything or if, on the contrary, we were more confident in our travel skills and knew we would be fine without a plan?
Notes: Pronounciation in Argentina of the “-y” and “-ll” is “-sh”. For example: “Mayo” will be pronounced ma-sho, same with “pollo”, it becomes po-sho
How to get from Ezeiza Airport to center of Buenos Aires
Bus: It was about 200ARS (USD $14) per person to get to downtown Buenos Aires. You can buy your ticket as you exit the airport terminal.
Taxi: For two people, it was almost as expensive to take the bus than to take a taxi. We negotiated the fare to ARS 430 (USD $30) and were headed to our new abode in downtown Buenos Aires.
How To Get Around Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires has great public transportation and taxis are not very expensive.
In order to use public transportation, you need to purchase a Subte card which can then be used on buses and metro. You can purchase a Subte card at any kiosk. From our experience, Subte cards were quite difficult to find. But each kiosk will point you to the one they know is selling them. The Subte card is about ARS 10 and you can refill it as needed. Locals are also very helpful, we did not have Subte cards at the beginning and offered to pay the fare in exchange for them to use their cards. If you are ever in that situation, just ask someone at the stop.
Where To Stay in Buenos Aires – Hotels in Buenos Aires
We stayed in two different areas while in Buenos Aires: avenida Corrientes and Montserrat. Most hostels in South America provide a kitchen to use which was perfect to visit Buenos Aires on a butget.
Homestay Buenos Aires: a bed and breakfast held by Esther and her daughter. The place is clean, quiet and homey. We had a private bedroom with air-conditioning and shared, clean bath. Location was great, close to Subte and many bus lines. We paid USD $30 per night.
In Montserrat, the hostel was cheaper, surrounding food options too but not much animation in the neighborhood and you should be careful at night.
Hotel Magdalena: private room with bathroom, fan, free wi-fi and breakfast (toast and jam). Free water, coffee and tea all day long. There is a computer in the lobby. Free use of kitchen and there is a patio with a grill. We paid ARS 300 per night ( USD $21).
Other recommended neighborhoods in Buenos Aires are the trendy Palermo and artsy San Telmo. More below.
What To Do in Buenos Aires – Activities in Buenos Aires
Visit the different neighborhoods!
Avenida Corrientes, Calle Florida, Puerto Madero, the Obelix: all these places can be visited in a day. On Avenida Corrientes, eat a slice of pizza at Guerrin at their standing counter and come back to catch a night show. Snap a pic of the Obelisco on the way to Calle Florida where you can do some shopping. Stroll through modern Puerto Madero which offers gorgeous sunset views and many upscale dining options.
Palermo: A Trendy neighborhoods with bars, restaurants and street vendors on the weekend.
San Telmo: We loved walking around San Telmo’s cobblestoned streets, sitting down at cafes, browsing through the markets and watching tango dancers while sipping on local brews. It is also Buenos Aires’ oldest barrio.
La Boca: a very colorful neighborhood, filled with street arts and art galleries. We were recommended to go there during the day time and to not linger at night.
Go to La Catedral and enjoy a class of tango or have a drink and enjoy watching people dance: a beautiful place to watch people from any level practice the art of tango. There is a small cover charge on saturday night to support the venue.
Eat at a parilla: Buenos Aires, and all of Argentina is known for their delicious meats and you cannot be in Buenos Aires and not try a parilla (aka barbecue, pronounced pa-ri-sha)! Most restaurants will provide you with a platter of meats: beef, pork, sausages, blood sausages (morilla) and chicken. A tower of meats which you can take home with you if you do not finish. Recommended joint: Don Niceto in Palermo.
Order a half kilo of ice cream: Just kidding, you don’t have to, unless you really want to. Locals love ice-cream! You will never be too far from a “Heladeria” in the city. The original combo: dulce de leche, fraisa and chocolate. You will see many people waiting in line to buy up to 1kg or more to take home.
Where to Go from Buenos Aires
Traveling by bus or flight in Buenos Aires is quite expensive (when buying flight tickets online, make sure you are quoted the foreigner’s price as Argentinians pay a cheaper fare).
From Buenos Aires to Puerto Iguazu for Iguazu Falls – from 18 to 20 hours by bus. Price ranges between 1,300ARS to 1,700ARS (USD $100 – 120) depending on the the type of seat. Checking local flights might be better in some cases – I always suggest to put an alert on Skyscanner.com .
From Buenos Aires to Mendoza – visit the country’s wine region. Bus takes 15 hours, prices range from ARS 1,100 to 1,500 (USD $80-110). Night buses available.
From Buenos Aires to Puerto Madryn to visit the coast and its beaches. Bus takes 18 to 20hrs. Prices range from ARS 1,400 to 1,800 (USD $100-130).
Escape to Uruguay: it is just a boat ride away! Read on for more info from Travel with Pedro.
If you are looking for a week-end gateway, Mar del Plata is a popular destination for Porteños.
What else did you do in Buenos Aires? What would be your recommendations? Share with us, we LOVE to hear from you!
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