Street Art, Antique Markets and the legacy of Evita – first impressions of Buenos Aires

A Backpackers Guide to Three Days in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Finally I’ve started my winter travels for 2019! I flew into Buenos Aires on Christmas Morning and I’ve an ambitious plan to visit four countries over the next two weeks with my friend Sarah.

Then, once she’s left, I’ll head south to Bariloche, Argentina’s lake district for some hiking.

Beautiful evening sky at Puerto Madero, Buenos Aires
Beautiful evening sky at Puerto Madero

The four countries we’re aiming to cover are Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay.

But first three days in Buenos Aires – here’s what we saw.

Day One – Buenos Aires Itinerary

Walking tour of Avenida de Mayo and roaming the cobbled streets and market of San Telmo

Before Sarah arrived I had a day to myself, which I decided to fill with a walking tour of the central district of Buenos Aires. Avenida de Mayo links Casa Rosado, the pink house where the President works, and the Palace of Congress, full of senators.

I met Fernando, the Buenos Aires Free Walking Tours guide, along with around 50 eager tourists, outside the domed Congressional building. It took three hours for us to reach the Pink House, with Fernando explaining plenty of Argentinian history along the way.

He also explained the importance of ‘pañuelos’, the protest headscarves worn by different groups. The right to protest is one taken seriously by Argentinians and everyday there are several protests outside the Pink House. The Mothers of the Disappeared is one such group, who march every Thursday at 3.30pm and have done so for forty years since the military dictatorship that led to 30,000 people being ‘disappeared’.

Later I walked to San Telmo district, characterised by cobbled streets, historic wooden panelled bars and a relaxed atmosphere. The area centres on the covered market. With its plethora of tapas and wine bars and empanadas stalls, the market is a beacon for foodies on Sundays who come to browse the flea market on Plaza Dorrago. Wandering the streets passed a pleasant couple of hours, as I admired street art, buildings and window shopped.

Day Two Buenos Aires Itinerary

Day trip from Buenos Aires for a boat tour in Tigre, the Parana Delta

Tigre is the gateway to the Parana Delta, a network of waterways, canals and rivers that extends for 6,500 miles. The town is an easy 50 minute train trip from Buenos Aires, passing through leafy outer suburbs.

Tigre boat tours are the main draw for visitors, although the Puerto do Frutos market attracts Portenos (residents of Buenos Aires) with its variety of home goods, clothing and jewelry stores.

We chose a ‘lancha’, a small wooden boat as opposed to a catarmaran. The feeling of being close to the water was much better.

The boat tour lasted an hour and followed various waterways giving us a good look at the different types of housing along the riverbanks. They all had their own unique dock, whether small houses or large estates.

Day Three Buenos Aires Itinerary

Street art graffiti tour in Palermo Soho and seeking out Evita’s tomb in Recoleta Cemetery.

Our final day took us to Palermo Soho, a smoothie-guzzling, craft beer drinking, boutique-shopping aficionado’s paradise.

We paid $10 each to join a guided graffiti tour which took us around the neighborhood explaining its history, why street artists have chosen this space and discussing recent politics. The walls we saw didn’t compare to Bristol, where talented street art (rather than graffiti) is ubiquitous and part of the culture, but it was an enjoyable tour.

We couldn’t leave Buenos Aires without seeing the cemetery in Recoleta, an upmarket suburb, where all the upper classes would like to be laid to rest. Evita’s tomb, where she was laid to rest after 20  years, is modest and bears fresh flowers, compared to the crumbling vast tombs that surround her.

For our final night we followed the crowds to the waterfront at Puerto Madero, a redeveloped area full of bars and cafes and locals taking in the Saturday night vibe. Even being one vegan and one vegetarian we managed to find plenty of choice to satisfy our hunger, and washed our meal down with a delicious bottle of Argentinian Malbec.

For my latest photos of my trip, have a look at my Instagram feed by clicking here.

You can also visit my website for more blog posts about my latest trip, UK vanlife tales and general backpacker travel tips.


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