Explore Buenos Aires7 days
Your Air New Zealand flight will land you in Buenos Aires late afternoon. You'll have time to settle into your inner-city accommodation, most likely in Monserrat or Palermo, then take a riverside stroll before dinner at a well-reviewed parrilla (steakhouse).
Things to see and do when you first arrive in Buenos Aires
- Walk or taxi to the Puerto Madero waterfront area, where you can stroll the promenade and enjoy views across the Rio de La Plata to Uruguay
- Find a bar for a glass of malbec, Argentina's signature red wine, or Gauchezco Extra Brut (dry sparkling)
- Eat at one of the many restaurants along Avenida Alicia Moreau de Just
- Another dinner option is the 'The Argentine Experience' in Palermo Hollywood, a guided dinner party that introduces you to the classic flavours of Buenos Aires
Use your first day in Buenos Aires to discover the beautiful palaces, parks and monuments of Recoleta, including the famous Recoleta Cemetery. Often referred to as 'Little Paris in Buenos Aires', Recoleta is known for its French-inspired architecture and gardens. If you prefer a guide, an organisation called Buenos Aires Free Walks runs a daily programme of tours - there's no need to book, just show up. Their Recoleta walk leaves from Teatro Colón every morning at 10.30.
Things to see and do in Recoleta:
- Walk along Avenida Alvear, a street lined with majestic residential and commercial buildings
- Enjoy refreshments at the fabulously historic Alvear Palace Hotel or Palacio Duhau Park Hyatt Hotel
- If it's Saturday or Sunday, browse the street fair stalls at Plaza Francia, nicknamed 'feria hippie' in the flower-power 1960s
- Visit the Basilica of Nuestra Senora del Pilar to see the golden Madonna, ornate altars and a small museum of fascinating religious artefacts
- Wander Plaza San Martin, which is surrounded by some of Buenos Aires' most impressive buildings
- Explore extraordinary La Recoleta Cemetery, the resting place for many famous people, including Eva Peron, former presidents, writers and artists
- This evening, catch a performance at the exquisite Teatro Colon - tickets are available from the theatre's website
The oldest neighbourhood in Buenos Aires, San Telmo is full of character. Today you'll explore the cobbled streets, admire the colonial architecture and relax in the shady plazas. Shopping is also on the agenda here, especially if you enjoy antique-hunting.
Things to do in San Telmo:
- Shop for fruit and snacks at Mercado de San Telmo, an indoor market that's open every day
- If today happens to be a Sunday, visit San Telmo's street market - a great place to pick up an antique souvenir
- Browse the antique shops, which are full of collectable items - some of them small enough to fit in your suitcase
- Sip a coffee at Bar Plaza Dorrego, so that you can admire its mosaic tiled floor, dark wood detailing and tango memorabilia
- Plaza Dorrrego is also where you can watch tango dancers performing on small stages
- Call into the Museo Historico Nacional, Argentina's most significant history museum - the building is as impressive as the collections
- Take a guided tour through the ancient tunnels of El Zanjon de Granados
Today you'll leave the city behind and cruise up the Lujan River to Tigre on the Parana Delta. Tigre is a beautiful historic town that was once a paradise for smugglers. There are galleries, restaurants and historic buildings to discover, as well as a bustling food market. Several operators run cruises to Tigre and you can easily book online. At the end of your trip you'll catch the train back to Buenos Aires.
Highlights of a Tigre tour:
- Float along the Costanera Canal, passing the River Plate Stadium and the University of Buenos Aires
- Cruise through the picturesque canals of the delta, one of the largest in the world
- As the boat approaches Tigre you'll see yacht clubs, waterfront houses on stilts, a market, and the home former Argentina president Sarmiento, who encouraged people to live in this area
- Once in Tigre town, find your way to Puerto de Frutos, a market with hundreds of stalls selling everything from furniture to food
- Visit the Museo del Mate - an entire museum devoted to maté, a drink made from the mate yerba shrub
- Other attractions include the Naval Museum and the Tigre Club (Tigre Municipal Museum of Fine Art)
The largest and most chic barrio in Buenos Aires, Palermo is all about food, art, shopping and partying until late. Sub-barrios include Palermo Viejo (Old Palermo), Palermo Soho (arty Palermo), Palermo Hollywood (party Palermo) and Palermo Botanico (natural Palermo).
Things to do in Palermo:
- Take a guided or self-guided tour of the Botanical Gardens - apart from 5,500+ plant species, it's home to a colony of well-cared-for cats
- Browse the boutiques along Gurruchaga, Honduras, and Malabia to pick up some Argentine designer fashion
- Roam the massive Parque Tres de Febrero, which includes a lake, rose garden, Japanese gardens, a Poets Garden and the Buenos Aires Zoo
- Pause in Palermo Hollywood for people watching while you sip a submarino, a hot milky drink with a submerged chunk of chocolate
- Discover furniture and objets d'art at the Museo Nacional de Arte Decorativo
- Watch the sunset from any of the parks that separate Palermo from the river
- Sip cocktails at Isabel, a 70s-style bar in Palermo Soho
Buenos Aires is bike-friendly. Not only is it flat, it has a 130km network of biking lanes and the city government's EcoBici scheme provides free bikes for up to an hour at a time. To use them, you need to register online and download the app. Alternatively you can find a bike tour operator, who will provide bikes as well as a guide.
Tips for a biking day in Buenos Aires:
- Do a self-guided or guided city tour, to find the significant places you might have missed on other days of your holiday
- Discover Reserva Ecologica Costanera Sur, where nature has gone wild; a 7km path for joggers, walkers and cyclists runs around the perimeter of the reserve
- Follow the riverside north to Parque de los Ninos, a 32 acre landscaped park
- Make sure you stop along the way for alfajores (chocolate biscuits with dulce de leche caramel)
Possibly the most famous barrio (neighbourhood) of Buenos Aires, La Boca is historic, colourful and edgy. It was originally a residential area for new migrants, particularly Italians from the city of Genoa. A special and hard-to-miss feature of La Boca is La Bombonera, the city's leading football stadium. If you love the beautiful game, we recommend some online research about how to buy tickets.
Things to do in La Boca:
- Walk through Caminito, a traditional cobblestone alley that's painted in rainbow colours - with any luck, there'll be tango dancers doing their thing in the street
- Buy a few trinkets and enjoy the buskers at Feria de Artesanos Caminito, a lively crafts fair
- Check out the exhibits at Fundación Proa and Museo Bellas Artes de La Boca Benito Quinquela Martín
- Watch football at La Bombonera Stadium - ask your hotel about how to get tickets or buy a package online
- Eat at El Obrero, a traditional Argentine restaurant that counts various superstars among its clientele (Bono, Susan Sarandon, Diego Maradona, Frances Ford Coppola and others) - you'll probably need to book ahead
- Take a selfie in front of Torre Fantasma, a haunted apartment building that looks like a medieval castle
- Catch a tango show or concert at Teatro de la Ribera
At the end of today, you'll make your way to the airport for an after-midnight return flight to New Zealand.
A 90-minute domestic flight from Buenos Aires will take you to Puerto Iguazu, a base for exploring the wonders of Iguazu National Park. Not only is this park a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it's where you'll find Iguazu Falls. One side of the falls is in Argentina, the other side is in Brazil.
Things to do in Puerto Iguazu:
- See the Iguazu Falls, one of the world's greatest natural wonders - there are various lookouts for a range of views
- Go on a river safari or rafting trip to find other sights along the river
- Fly over the falls in a helicopter
- View the falls at night on a moonlight tour with dinner and live music
- See some of South America's most spectacular birds at the Parque das Aves
- Hike through the national park to Garganta del Diablo (Devil's Throat)
- Eat at De La Fonte, a hotel restaurant known for creative food
- Visit Guira Oga, an animal hospital and jungle park for injured wildlife