A reunion 7 years in the making
My trip to Argentina was long overdue! I was beyond ecstatic to finally be reunited with my friend Melanie, after last seeing her in the UK in 2008. My journey to Argentina consisted of layovers in Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Colombia but I finally made it!
San Telmo Market
On Sundays, San Telmo Market is the place to be. This is a great place to find souvenirs, antiques, leather goods, jewelry, among other novelties. I love markets because I usually find one of a kind accessories. I found 3 pairs of earrings this time around. My favorite thing to buy when I’m traveling is jewelry because it doesn’t take up too much space in my luggage. The market is open (Sundays only) from 11am to 7pm. Keep in mind it can get quite crowded. Comfortable shoes are a must.
Cups used for Mate, also known as yerba mate, which is the traditional caffeinated drink popular in Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Chile, and Southern Brazil.
Plaza de Mayo
Located in the main square of Buenos Aires. This is where you will find La Casa Rosada (the pink house), May pyramid, Buenos Aires Cabildo, and the Metropolitan Cathedral of Buenos Aires. The current pope hails from the Metropolitan Cathedral. The Plaza de Mayo is especially significant because it is where the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo have congregated with signs and pictures of their children who disappeared in the Dirty War during the National Reorganization Process. In this time period, people who held left-wing views were systematically captured, tortured and eventually murdered in secret.
The final resting place of Eva Peron, former First Lady of Argentina who passed away in 1952. Never in my life have I ever seen a cemetery as captivating as the Recoleta Cemetery. It almost seems like a museum for the departed. Each vault is a piece of art complete with statues of various architectural styles ranging from Art Deco to Baroque. The cemetery also has several marble mausoleums. In 2013, CNN listed it as one of the 10 most beautiful cemeteries in the world.
National historic monument and icon of Buenos Aires. It is located in the Plaza de la Republica (Plaza of the Republic). A short walk from the Obelisk, you will see the Eva Peron image on the Social Development Ministry building.
If you’re looking for souvenirs, this is the place to go. There are also a few restaurants which feature live tango dancing. Aside from souvenir shopping, there are also brightly colored homes which make for the perfect photo opportunity.
Looking for fine dining overlooking the water, then Puerto Madero is the place. There is also a boardwalk which is popular with both the locals and tourists alike.
Located in the plaza de las naciones unidas (United Nations Plaza), lies a Giant flower sculpture which is made of steel and aluminum. It was a gift to Buenos Aires from architect Eduardo Catalano in 2002. Its petals close in the evening and open in the morning.
In Argentina, it’s very common that people will not have dinner until after 8pm or later. It’s safe to say after 9pm is when restaurants truly come come to life. Tipping is usually 10% of your bill.
Cabaña las Lilas
You can’t come to Argentina and not have at least one steak. Argentina is known for their beef. Argentina has the world’s second-highest consumption rate of beef, with yearly consumption at 121 lbs per person. There are Parillas (grill) restaurants on almost every corner. This restaurant came highly recommended by my brother in-law, who visited Buenos Aires years ago. It is also listed in the book 1000 places to see before you die. Cabaña is along Puerto Madero. Take advantage of sitting outside because it gives you a great view of the water as well as great people watching. This is the definition of a 5-star dining experience, which of course comes with a price. When your food arrives, the wait staff prepares your plate. Melanie and I shared a steak, Caesar salad, and potatoes with a pitcher of Sangria which cost $140. There are cheaper restaurants which offer similar fare but you’re paying for the experience and the ambiance. I thoroughly enjoyed my meal but due to the delectable complimentary appetizers which were served, by the end of the meal I was stuffed.
This was my introduction to Argentine cuisine. Las cabras is also a parilla which is located in the Palermo Hollywood area of Buenos Aires. Prices are reasonable. I had a steak which came with butternut squash, French fries, rice and provoleta. Provoleta is a type of grilled provolone cheese which is to die for. Everything was delicious. No meal is complete without wine which was served in an adorable penguin, which can also be a great souvenir. I purchased a green one for my mother.
If you didn’t know any better, you might think you were in Italy. There are pizzerias on almost every corner. I happen to love pizza so I was excited about trying Argentine pizza. The first place I tried was Del Pilar because it was down the street from the Recoleta cemetery. I ordered an individual four cheese pizza. It was definitely true to its name because it was just the right size for one person. The crust was thin which I sometimes prefer because it’s not as heavy.
La Continental is also a very popular pizza restaurant. I stopped here one night for a slice of cheese. It was less than $2 a slice which you can’t beat. The pizza was quite tasty and reminiscent of garlic cheese bread.
Lo de Carlitos
Every variety of crepe can be found here. I tend not to eat crepes very often but I was so glad I indulged. I ordered a crepe which had dulce de leche, apples, and whipped cream. It was indulgent, heavenly, luscious, and rich. I could go on and on. It was also one of the cheaper meals I had in Argentina. Each crepe was about $4-5$. Lo de Carlitos has multiple locations so be sure to check them out when you’re in Buenos Aires.
Ice Cream is also wildly popular in Argentina. Fredo is a popular chain which can be found throughout the city. Every flavor imaginable is available. Dulce de leche was my personal favorite.
* Be sure to also try empanadas, alfajores (traditional Argentine pastry), picada ( pictured below ) and churros!
The easiest way to get around is either the bus or the subway. I used the bus multiple times to get across the city. Buenos Aires is also a walkable city so be sure to pack comfortable shoes. Metered taxis are also widely available. Uber is not available in Argentina.
I had an overall spectacular time in Argentina. I was reminded that visiting a place where you have a friend is always better because you get to experience the culture in a more intimate way which is sometimes not always possible when you’re a tourist. I found Argentine people to be very warm and welcoming. Argentine people are also very affectionate so it’s not uncommon to be greeted with a kiss on the cheek upon meeting. When Melanie was saying goodbye to her friends, I lost count of how many times each person kissed the other on the cheek, lol. Buenos Aires has a very European vibe. Many men in Buenos Aires tend to do lots of catcalling which can sometimes be amusing or annoying.
I was also reminded true friendships are not measured by how often you talk or see each other. Melanie and I sometimes talk a few times a month or every other month due to our schedules and the time difference. Even though Melanie and I hadn’t seen each other in 7 years, we picked up right where we left off. Our love for music is what initially connected us but through the years, our common love and respect for each other is what bonds us. It was great being able to sing together like old times.
Thanks for making my trip to Argentina one of the best vacations I’ve ever had!
Stay tuned for my next post about Iguazu Falls!