Ciudad Autonoma de Buenos Aires
|The Autonomous City of Buenos Aires|
From top to the bottom and from left to right: The city centre skyline from the river; 9 de Julio Avenue with El Obelisco; Teatro Colón; Puerto Madero skyline; Floralis Generica in Recoleta; the Caminito in La Boca; el Congreso Nacional and Palermo Skyline.
|- Chief of Government||Mauricio Macri|
|- Senators||María Eugenia Estenssoro, Samuel Cabanchik, Daniel Filmus|
|- City||203 km2 (78.5 sq mi)|
|- Land||203 km2 (78.5 sq mi)|
|- Metro||4,758 km2 (1,837.1 sq mi)|
|Population (2009 est.)|
|- Density||15,005/km2 (38,862.7/sq mi)|
|- Metro Density||2,807.2/km2 (7,270.54/sq mi)|
|HDI (2007)||0.923 – high|
Buenos Aires (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈbwenoˈsaiɾes]) is the capital and largest city of Argentina, currently the second-largest metropolitan area in South America, after São Paulo. It is located on the western shore of the estuary of the Río de la Plata, on the southeastern coast of the South American continent. The city of Buenos Aires is not part of Buenos Aires Province, nor is it its capital; rather, it is an autonomous federal district. Greater Buenos Aires is the third-largest conurbation in Latin America, with a population of around 13 million. Buenos Aires is considered an Alpha World City listed by the Loughborough University group's (GaWC) 2008 inventory.
After the internal conflicts of the 19th century, Buenos Aires was federalised and removed from Buenos Aires Province in 1880. The city limits were enlarged to include the former towns of Belgrano and Flores, which are both now neighbourhoods of the city.
Buenos Aires (English: Fair Winds or Good Air (see Names of Buenos Aires)) was originally named after the sanctuary of "Nostra Signora di Bonaria" (Italian for "Our Lady of Bonaria") in Cagliari, Sardinia. In the 1994 constitution the city became autonomous, hence its formal name: Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires, in English, Autonomous City of Buenos Aires. People from Buenos Aires are referred to as porteños (people of the port).
Seaman Juan Díaz de Solís, navigating in the name of Spain, was the first European to reach the Río de la Plata in 1516. His expedition was cut short when he was killed during an attack by the native Charrúa tribe in what is now Uruguay.
The city of Buenos Aires was first established as Ciudad de Nuestra Señora Santa María del Buen Ayre (literally "City of Our Lady Saint Mary of the Fair Winds") on 2 February 1536 by a Spanish expedition led by Pedro de Mendoza. The settlement founded by Mendoza was located in what is today the San Telmo district of Buenos Aires, south of the city center.
More attacks by the indigenous peoples forced the settlers away, and in 1541 the site was abandoned. A second (and permanent) settlement was established in 1580 by Juan de Garay, who arrived by sailing down the Paraná River from Asunción (now the capital of Paraguay). He dubbed the settlement "Santísima Trinidad" and its port became "Puerto de Santa María de los Buenos Aires."
From its earliest days, Buenos Aires depended primarily on trade. During most of the 17th and 18th centuries, Spain insisted that all trade to Europe pass through Lima, Peru so that taxes could be collected. This scheme frustrated the traders of Buenos Aires, and a thriving contraband industry developed. This also instilled a deep resentment in porteños towards the Spanish authorities.
Sensing these feelings, Charles III of Spain progressively eased the trade restrictions and finally declared Buenos Ayres an open port in the late 1700s. The capture of Porto Bello by British forces also fueled the need to foster commerce via the Atlantic route, to the detriment of Lima-based trade. Charles's placating actions did not have the desired effect, and the porteños, some of them versed in the ideology of the French Revolution, became even more convinced of the need for Independence from Spain.
During the British invasions of the Río de la Plata, British forces attacked Buenos Aires twice, in 1806 and 1807, but were repelled both times by local militias. Ultimately, on 25 May 1810, while Spain was occupied with the Peninsular War and after a week of mostly peaceful demonstrations, the criollo citizens of Buenos Aires successfully ousted the Spanish Viceroy and established a provisional government. 25 May is now celebrated as a national holiday (May Revolution Day). Formal independence from Spain was declared in 1816.
Historically, Buenos Aires has been Argentina's main venue for liberal and free-trade ideas, while many of the provinces, especially to the northwest, advocated a more conservative Catholic approach to political and social issues. Much of the internal tension in Argentina's history, starting with the centralist-federalist conflicts of the 19th century, can be traced back to these contrasting views. In the months immediately following the 25 May Revolution, Buenos Aires sent a number of military envoys to the provinces with the intention of obtaining their approval. Many of these missions ended in violent clashes, and the enterprise fueled the tensions between the capital and the provinces.
In the 19th century the city was blockaded twice by naval forces: by the French from 1838 to 1840, and later by a joint Anglo-French expedition from 1845 to 1848. Both blockades failed to force the city into submission, and the foreign powers eventually desisted from their demands.
During most of the 19th century, the political status of the city remained a sensitive subject. It was already capital of Buenos Aires Province, and between 1853 and 1860 it was the capital of the seceded State of Buenos Aires. The issue was fought out more than once on the battlefield, until the matter was finally settled in 1880 when the city was federalised and became the seat of government, with its Mayor appointed by the President. The Casa Rosada became the seat of the President.
In addition to the wealth generated by the fertile pampas, railroad construction in the second half of the 19th century increased the economic power of Buenos Aires as raw materials flowed into its factories. Buenos Aires became a multicultural city that ranked itself with the major European capitals. The Colón Theater became one of the world's top opera venues. The city's main avenues were built during those years, and the dawn of the 20th century saw the construction of South America's then-tallest buildings and first underground system.
By the 1920s Buenos Aires was a favoured destination for immigrants from Europe, particularly Spain and Italy, as well as from Argentina's provinces and neighbouring countries. Shanty towns (villas miseria) started growing around the city's industrial areas during the 1930s, leading to pervasive social problems which contrasted sharply with Argentina's image as a country of riches. A second construction boom from 1945 to 1980 reshaped downtown and much of the city.
Buenos Aires was the cradle of Peronism: the now-mythologized demonstration of 17 October 1945 took place in Plaza de Mayo. Industrial workers of the Greater Buenos Aires industrial belt have been Peronism's main support base ever since, and Plaza de Mayo became the site for demonstrations and many of the country's political events; on 16 June 1955, however, a splinter faction of the Navy bombed the Plaza de Mayo area, killing 364 civilians (see Bombing of Plaza de Mayo). This was the only time the city was attacked from the air, and the event was followed by a military uprising which deposed President Perón, three months later (see Revolución Libertadora).
In the 1970s the city suffered from the fighting between left-wing revolutionary movements (Montoneros, E.R.P. and F.A.R.) and the right-wing paramilitary group Triple A, supported by Isabel Perón, who became president of Argentina in 1974 after Juan Perón's death.
The military coup of 1976, led by Jorge Rafael Videla, only escalated this conflict; the "Dirty War" resulted in 30,000 desaparecidos (people kidnapped and killed by the military during the years of the junta). The silent marches of their mothers (Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo) are a well-known image of Argentines suffering during those times.
The dictatorship also drew up plans for a network of freeways intended to relieve the city's acute traffic gridlock. The plan, however, called for a seemingly indiscriminate razing of residential areas and, though only three of the eight planned were put up at the time, they were mostly obtrusive raised freeways that continue to blight a number of formerly comfortable neighborhoods to this day.
The city was visited by Pope John Paul II twice: in 1982, due to the outbreak of the Falklands War (Spanish: Guerra de las Malvinas/Guerra del Atlántico Sur), and a second visit in 1987, which gathered crowds never before seen in the city.
On 17 March 1992 a bomb exploded in the Israeli Embassy, killing 29 and injuring 242. Another explosion, on 18 July 1994 destroyed a building housing several Jewish organizations, killing 85 and injuring many more, these incidents marked the beginning of Middle Eastern terrorism to South America.
Following a 1993 agreement, the Argentine Constitution was amended to give Buenos Aires autonomy and rescinding, among other things, the president's right to appoint the city's mayor (as had been the case since 1880). On 30 June 1996, voters in Buenos Aires chose their first elected mayor (Chief of Government).
On 30 December 2004 a fire at the República Cromagnon nightclub killed almost 200 people, one of the greatest non-natural tragedies in Argentine history.
The Executive of the city is held by the Chief of Government ("Jefe de Gobierno"), who is directly elected for a four-year term, together with a Deputy Chief, who presides over the 60-member Legislature.
Each member of the legislature is elected for a four-year term; half of the legislature is renewed every two years. Elections use the D'Hondt method of proportional representation. The Judicial branch is composed of the Supreme Court of Justice (Tribunal Superior de Justicia), the Magistrate's Council (Consejo de la Magistratura), the Public Ministry, and other City Courts.
In legal terms, the city enjoys less autonomy than the provinces. Shortly before the historic, June 30, 1996, city elections, a senior Peronist Senator, Antonio Cafiero, succeeded in limiting the city's autonomy by advancing National Law 24.588, which reserved control of the 25,000-strong Policía Federal (the federally-administered city police), the Port of Buenos Aires, the judiciary system and other faculties to the national government.
Beginning in 2007, the city has embarked on a new decentralization scheme, creating new communes (comunas) managed by elected committees of seven members each.
Article 61 of the 1996 Constitution of the City of Buenos Aires states that "Suffrage is free, equal, secret, universal, compulsory and non-accumulative. Resident aliens enjoy this same right, with its corresponding obligations, on equal terms with Argentine citizens registered in the district, under the terms established by law." 
In 1996, following the 1994 reform of the Argentine Constitution, the city held its first mayoral elections under the new statutes, with the mayor's title formally changed to "Head of Government". The winner was Fernando de la Rúa, who would later become President of Argentina for the period 1999 to 2001.
De la Rúa's successor, Aníbal Ibarra, won two popular elections, but was impeached (and ultimately deposed on 6 March 2006) as a result of the fire at the República Cromagnon nightclub. Jorge Telerman, who had been the acting mayor, was invested with the office. In the 2007 elections, Mauricio Macri won the second-round of voting over Daniel Filmus, taking office on 9 December 2007.
Buenos Aires is represented in the Argentine Senate by three senators (as of December 2007: María Eugenia Estenssoro, Samuel Cabanchik and Daniel Filmus). The people of Buenos Aires also elect 25 national deputies to the Argentine Chamber of Deputies.
In the census of 2001 there were 12,129,819 people residing in the city and 31 surrounding districts, making metro Buenos Aires home to one in three Argentines. The population density in Buenos Aires proper was 13,680 inhabitants per square kilometer (34,800 per mi2), but only about 2,400 per km2 (6,100 per mi2) in the suburbs. The racial makeup of the city is 88.9% White, 7% Mestizo, 2% Asian and 1% Black.
The population of Buenos Aires proper has hovered around 3 million since 1947, due to low birth rates and a slow migration to the suburbs. The surrounding districts have, however, expanded over fivefold (to around 10 million) since then.
The 2001 census showed a relatively aged population: with 17% under the age of fifteen and 22% over sixty, the people of Buenos Aires have an age structure similar to those in most European cities. They are older than Argentines as a whole (of whom 28% were under 15, and 14% over 60).
Two-thirds of the city's residents live in apartment buildings and 30% in single-family homes; 4% live in sub-standard housing. Measured in terms of income, the city's poverty rate was 8.4% in 2007 and, including the metro area, 20.6%. Other studies estimate that 4 million people in the metropolitan Buenos Aires area live in poverty.
The city's resident labor force of 1.2 million in 2001 was mostly employed in the services sector, particularly social services (25%), commerce and tourism (20%) and business and financial services (17%); despite the city's role as Argentina's capital, public administration employed only 6%. Manufacturing still employed 10%.
The city is divided into 48 barrios or, districts, for administrative purposes. The division was originally based on Catholic parroquias (parishes), but has undergone a series of changes since the 1940s. A newer scheme has divided the city into 15 comunas (communes).
The majority of porteños have European origins, with Italian and Spanish descent being the most common, from the Calabrian, Ligurian, Piedmont, Lombardy and Neapolitan regions of Italy and from the Galician, Asturian, and Basque regions of Spain.
Other European origins include German, Greek, Irish, Portuguese, French, Croatian, English and Welsh. In the 1990s there was a small wave of immigration from Romania and Ukraine There is a minority of old criollo stock, dating back to the Spanish colonial days. The Criollo and Spanish-aboriginal (mestizo) population in the city has increased mostly as a result of immigration, from countries such as Bolivia, Peru and Paraguay, since the second half of the 20th century.
The Jewish community in Greater Buenos Aires numbers around 250,000, and is the largest in Latin America. Most are of Northern and Eastern European Ashkenazi origin, primarily Russian, German and Polish Jews, with a significant Sephardic minority, mostly made up of Syrian Jews
The first major East Asian community in Buenos Aires was the Japanese, mainly from Okinawa. Traditionally, Japanese-Argentines were noted as flower growers; in the city proper, there was a Japanese near-monopoly in dry cleaning. Later generations have branched out into all fields of economic activity. Starting in the 1970s there has been an important influx of immigration from China and Korea.
Since 2004 an increasing number of American and British citizens are moving to Buenos Aires, possibly due to the lower cost of living, many of them opening up businesses and some restaurants have become English-speaking favourites.
Most inhabitants are Roman Catholic, though a number of studies over the past few decades suggest that fewer than 20% are actively practicing. Buenos Aires is the seat of a Roman Catholic metropolitan archbishop (the Catholic primate of Argentina), currently Jorge Cardinal Bergoglio. There are Protestant, Orthodox Christian, Muslim, and Jewish minorities.
The limits of Buenos Aires proper are determined in the eastern part and north-east by the Rio de la Plata, in the southern part and southeast by the Riachuelo and to the northwest, west and Southwest by Avenida General Paz, a 24 km (15 mi) long highway that separates the province of Buenos Aires from the 203 km2 that form the city.
The city of Buenos Aires lies in the pampa region, except for some zones like the Buenos Aires Ecological Reserve, the Boca Juniors (football) Club "sports city", Jorge Newbery Airport, the Puerto Madero neighborhood and the main port itself; these were all built on reclaimed land along the coasts of the Rio de la Plata (the world's largest river).
The region was formerly crossed by different creeks and lagoons, some of which were refilled and others tubed. Among the most important creeks are Maldonado, Vega, Medrano, Cildañez and White. In 1908 many creeks were channeled and rectified, as floods were damaging the city's infrastructure. Starting in 1919, most creeks were enclosed. Notably, the Maldonado was tubed in 1954, and currently runs below Juan B. Justo Avenue.
The city has a humid subtropical climate ("Cfa" by Köppen classification). The average year temperature is 17.6 °C (63.7 °F). The city gets 1,147 mm (45 in) of rainfall per year. Rain can be expected at any time of year and hailstorms are not unusual.
The lowest temperature ever recorded in central Buenos Aires (Buenos Aires Central Observatory) was −5.4 °C (22 °F) on 9 July 1918. The highest temperature ever recorded was 43.3 °C (109.9 °F) on 29 January 1957. The last snowfall (see July 2007 Argentine winterstorm) occurred on 9 July 2007 when the entry of a massive polar cold snap made as a result the coldest winter of Argentina in almost thirty years, where severe snowfalls and blizzards hit the country. It was the first major snowfall in the city in almost 89 years (since 22 June 1918).
|Average high °C (°F)||30.4
|Average low °C (°F)||20.4
|Precipitation mm (inches)||119
|Source: The World Meteorological Organization Nov 2006|
|Construction in Buenos Aires|
|Year||Construction permits (m2)||Percent residential|
|1Source: City statistics|
Buenos Aires is the financial, industrial, commercial, and cultural hub of Argentina. Its port is one of the busiest in South America; navigable rivers by way of the Rio de la Plata connect the port to north-east Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay. As a result it serves as the distribution hub for a vast area of the south-eastern region of the continent. Tax collection related to the port has caused many political problems in the past.
The economy in the city proper alone, measured by Gross Geographic Product (adjusted for purchasing power), totalled US$ 84.7 billion (US$ 28,200 per capita) in 2006  and amounts to nearly a quarter of Argentina's as a whole. Metro Buenos Aires, according to one well-quoted study, constitutes the 13th largest economy among the world's cities. The Buenos Aires Human Development Index (0.923 in 1998) is likewise high by international standards.
The city's services sector is diversified and well-developed by international standards, and accounts for 76% of its economy (compared to 59% for all of Argentina's). Advertising, in particular, plays a prominent role in the export of services at home and abroad. The financial, business and real-estate services sector is the largest, however, and contributes to 31% of the city's economy. Finance (about a third of this) in Buenos Aires is especially important to Argentina's banking system, accounting for nearly half the nation's bank deposits and lending. Nearly 300 hotels and another 300 hostels and bed & breakfasts are licensed for Tourism in Buenos Aires, and nearly half the rooms available were in four-star establishments or higher.
Manufacturing is, nevertheless, still prominent in the city's economy (16%) and, concentrated mainly in the southside, it benefits as much from high local purchasing power and a large local supply of skilled labor as it does from its relationship to massive agriculture and industry just outside the city limits themselves. Construction activity in Buenos Aires has historically been among the most dramatic indicators of national economic fortunes (see table at right), and since 2006 around 3 million m² (32 million ft²) of construction has been authorized annually.
To the west of Buenos Aires is the Pampa Húmeda, the most productive agricultural region of Argentina produces wheat, soybeans and corn (as opposed to the dry southern Pampa, mostly used for cattle farming and more recently production of premium Buenos Aires wines). Meat, dairy, grain, tobacco, wool and leather products are processed or manufactured in the Buenos Aires metro area. Other leading industries are automobile manufacturing, oil refining, metalworking, machine building and the production of textiles, chemicals, clothing and beverages.
The city's budget, per Mayor Macri's 2009 proposal, will include US$4.4 billion in revenues and US$4.6 billion in expenditures. The city relies on local income and capital gains taxes for 61% of its revenues, while federal revenue sharing will contribute 11%, property taxes, 9%, and vehicle taxes, 6%. Other revenues include user fees, fines and gambling duties. The city devotes 26% of its budget to education, 22% for health, 17% for public services and infrastructure, 16% for social welfare and culture, 12% in administrative costs and 4% for law enforcement. Buenos Aires maintains low debt levels and its service requires less than 3% of the budget.
Buenos Aires is the site of the Teatro Colón, an internationally-rated opera house. It is closed for renovations until at least 2010. There are several symphony orchestras and choral societies. The city has numerous museums related to history, fine arts, modern arts, decorative arts, popular arts, sacred art, arts and crafts, theatre and popular music, as well as the preserved homes of noted art collectors, writers, composers and artists. The city is home to hundreds of bookstores, public libraries and cultural associations (it is sometimes called "the city of books"), as well as the largest concentration of active theatres in Latin America. It has a world-famous zoo and Botanical Garden, a large number of landscaped parks and squares, as well as churches and places of worship of many denominations, many of which are architecturally noteworthy.
The Buenos Aires International Book Fair Every April in the city is celebrated the Buenos Aires International Book Fair, is one of the top-five book fairs in the world, oriented to the literary community as well as to the general public.
Known as Rioplatense Spanish, Buenos Aires' Spanish (as that of other cities like Rosario and Montevideo, Uruguay) is characterised by voseo, yeísmo and aspiration of s in various contexts. It is heavily influenced by the dialects of Spanish spoken in Andalusia and Murcia. A phonetic study conducted by the Laboratory for Sensory Investigations of CONICET and the University of Toronto showed that the prosody of porteño is closer to the Neapolitan language of Italy than to any other spoken language.
In the early 20th century, Argentina absorbed millions of immigrants, many of them Italians, who spoke mostly in their local dialects (mainly Neapolitan, Sicilian and Genoan). Their adoption of Spanish was gradual, creating a pidgin of Italian dialects and Spanish that was called cocoliche. Its usage declined around the 1950s.
Many Spanish immigrants were from Galicia, and Spaniards are still generically referred to in Argentina as gallegos (Galicians). Galician language, cuisine and culture had a major presence in the city for most of the 20th century. In recent years, descendants of Galician immigrants have led a mini-boom in Celtic music (which also highlighted the Welsh traditions of Patagonia).
Yiddish was commonly heard in Buenos Aires, especially in the Balvanera garment district and in Villa Crespo until the 1960s. Korean and Chinese have become significant since the 1970s. Most of the newer immigrants learn Spanish quickly and assimilate into city life.
The Lunfardo argot originated within the prison population, and in time spread to all porteños. Lunfardo uses words from Italian dialects, from Brazilian Portuguese, from African and Caribbean languages and even from English. Lunfardo employs humorous tricks such as inverting the syllables within a word (vesre). Today, Lunfardo is mostly heard in tango lyrics; the slang of the younger generations has been evolving away from it. See also: Belgranodeutsch.
Tango music was born in the suburbs of Buenos Aires, notably in the brothels of the Junín y Lavalle district and in the arrabales (poorer suburbs). Its sensual dance moves were not seen as respectable until adopted by the Parisian high society in the 1920s, and then all over the world. In Buenos Aires, tango-dancing schools (known as academias) were usually men-only establishments.
Tango consists of a variety of styles that developed in different regions and eras of Argentina and Uruguay as well as in other locations around the world. The dance developed in response to many cultural elements, such as the crowding of the venue and even the fashions in clothing. The styles are mostly danced in either open embrace, where lead and follow connect at arms length, or close embrace, where the lead and follow connect chest-to-chest.
Early tango was known as tango criollo, or simply tango. Today, there are many tango dance styles, including Argentine tango, Uruguayan tango, Ballroom tango (American and International styles), Finnish tango and vintage tangos.
The cinema first appeared in Buenos Aires in 1896. The city has been the centre of the Argentine cinema industry in Argentina for over 100 years since French camera operator Eugene Py directed the pioneering film La Bandera Argentina in 1897. Since then, over 2000 films have been directed and produced within the city, many of them referring to the city in their titles, such as I Was Born in Buenos Aires (1959), Buenas noches, Buenos Aires (1964), and Buenos Aires a la vista (1950). The culture of tango music has been incorporated into many films produced in the city, especially since the 1930s. Many films have starred tango performers such as Hugo del Carril, Tita Merello, Carlos Gardel and Edmundo Rivero.
Buenos Aires architecture is characterized by its eclectic nature, with elements resembling Barcelona, Paris and Madrid. Italian and French influences increased after the declaration of independence at the beginning of the 19th century, though the academic style persisted until the first decades of the 20th century.
Attempts at renovation took place during the second half of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th, when European influences penetrated into the country, reflected by several buildings of Buenos Aires such as the Iglesia Santa Felicitas by Ernesto Bunge; the Palace of Justice, the National Congress, and the Teatro Colón, all of them by Vittorio Meano.
The simplicity of the Rioplatense baroque style can be clearly seen in Buenos Aires through the works of Italian architects such as André Blanqui and Antonio Masella, in the churches of San Ignacio, Nuestra Señora del Pilar, the Cathedral and the Cabildo.
The architecture of the second half of the 20th century continued to reproduce French neoclassic models, such as the headquarters of the Banco de la Nacion Argentina built by Alejandro Bustillo, and the Museo Hispanoamericano de Buenos Aires of Martín Noel. However, since the 1930s the influence of Le Corbusier and European rationalism consolidated in a group of young architects from the University of Tucumán, among whom Amancio Williams stands out. The construction of skyscrapers proliferated in Buenos Aires until the 1950s. Newer modern high-technology buildings by Argentine architects in the last years of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st include the Le Parc Tower by Mario Álvarez, the Torre Fortabat by Sánchez Elía and the Repsol-YPF tower by César Pelli.
Primary education comprises the first two EGB cycles (grades 1–6). Because of the system that was in place until 1995 (7 years of primary school plus 5 or 6 of secondary school), primary schools used to offer grades 1–7. Although most schools have already converted to teach the 8th and 9th grades, others chose to eliminate 7th grade altogether, forcing the students to complete the 3rd cycle in another institution. Nevertheless, most primary schools in the city still adhere to the traditional 7 years primary school. EGB was never put in practice in Buenos Aires.
Secondary education in Argentina is called Polimodal ("polymodal", that is, having multiple modes), since it allows the student to choose his/her orientation. Polimodal is not yet obligatory but its completion is a requirement to enter colleges across the nation. Polimodal is usually 3 years of schooling, although some schools have a fourth year.
Conversely to what happened on primary schools, most secondary schools in Argentina contained grades 8th and 9th, plus Polimodal (old secondary), but then started converting to accept 7th grade students as well, thus allowing them to keep the same classmates for the whole EGB III cycle.
In December 2006 the Chamber of Deputies of the Argentine Congress passed a new National Education Law restoring the old system of primary followed by secondary education, making secondary education obligatory and a right, and increasing the length of compulsory education to 13 years. The government vowed to put the law in effect gradually, starting in 2007.
The University of Buenos Aires, one of the top learning institutions in South America, has produced five Nobel Prize winners and provides taxpayer-funded education for students from all around the globe. Buenos Aires is a major center for psychoanalysis, particularly the Lacanian school.
Buenos Aires is home to several private universities of different quality, such as: Buenos Aires Institute of Technology, CEMA University, Favaloro University, Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina, University of Belgrano, University of Palermo, University of Salvador, and Torcuato di Tella University.
According to the World Travel & Tourism Council, tourism has been growing in the Argentine capital since 2002. In a survey by the travel and tourism publication Travel + Leisure Magazine in 2008, travelers voted Buenos Aires the second most desirable city to visit after Florence, Italy.
Due to the increase in the number of tourists to Buenos Aires and its favourable climate, there are more and more possibilities and activities to suit every tourist on every budget. These include… sporting events, (football matches at the famous Boca stadium) tango tours of all calibre and to suit every audience (including dinner and museum), cultural tours (learn about Eva Peron, the most quaint cafes, museums, become familiar with the vast variety of old and modern architecture), pub crawls in the most popular neighbourhoods of Palermo and San Telmo (ideal for fellow travellers to meet one another).
Buenos Aires is extremely accessible, not only because of the integrated transport system (metro, train and buses), but also because tour operators have caught onto the tourist’s desire to see the city in different mediums – getting around with a downloaded MP3 audio guide, on an organised walking or bike tour, or on a sightseeing bus. English is widely spoken in Buenos Aires, but in the provinces communication can be a bit more difficult so nowadays Spanish lessons and courses of all levels and for varying purposes are readily available to help tourists really make the most of their stay. Since the city has become a top tourist destination, the cost of internal flights has drastically dropped in the last couple of years, and tourists can now enjoy the more remote, northern areas of Argentina for a good price.
Visitors may choose to visit a tango show, an estancia in the Province of Buenos Aires, or enjoy the traditional asado. New tourist circuits have recently evolved, devoted to famous Argentines such as Carlos Gardel, Eva Perón or Jorge Luis Borges. Due to the favorable exchange rate, its shopping centres such as Alto Palermo, Paseo Alcorta, Patio Bullrich, Abasto de Buenos Aires and Galerías Pacífico are frequently visited by tourists. Non-traditional tourist options such as downloadable MP3 tours of Buenos Aires and bike tours have recently gained popularity.
San Telmo is a frequently visited area south of the city, with its cobblestoned streets and buildings from the colonial era that attest to its long history. There are churches, museums, antique shops and "Antique Fairs" ('Ferias de Antigüedades') in historic Dorrego Square, where the streets on weekends are filled with performers such as tango dancers. The city also plays host to musical festivals, some of the largest of which are Quilmes Rock, Creamfields BA and the Buenos Aires Jazz Festival.
Buenos Aires is based on a rectangular grid pattern, save for natural barriers or the relatively rare developments explicitly designed otherwise (notably, the neighbourhood of Parque Chas). The rectangular grid provides for square blocks named manzanas, with a length of roughly 110 meters. Pedestrian zones in the city centre, like Florida Street are partially car-free and always bustling, access provided by bus and the Metro (subte) Line C. Buenos Aires, for the most part, is a very walkable city and the majority of residents in Buenos Aires use public transport.
Two diagonal avenues in the city centre alleviate traffic and provide better access to Plaza de Mayo. Most avenues running into and out of the city centre are one-way and feature six or more lanes, with computer-controlled green waves to speed up traffic outside of peak times.
The city's principal avenues include the 140-metre (459 ft)-wide 9 de Julio Avenue, the over-35 km (22 mi)-long Rivadavia Avenue, and Corrientes Avenue, the main thoroughfare of culture and entertainment.
In the 1940s and 1950s the Avenida General Paz beltway that surrounds the city along its border with Buenos Aires Province and freeways leading to the new international airport and to the northern suburbs heralded a new era in Buenos Aires traffic. Encouraged by pro-automaker policies pursued towards the end of the Perón (1955) and Frondizi administrations (1958–62) in particular, auto sales nationally grew from an average of 30,000 during the 1920–57 era to around 250,000 in the 1970s and over 600,000 in 2008. Today, over 1.8 million vehicles (nearly one-fifth of Argentina's total) are registered in Buenos Aires.
Toll motorways opened in the late 1970s by then-mayor Osvaldo Cacciatore provided fast access to the city centre and are today used by over a million vehicles daily. Cacciatore likewise had financial district streets (roughly one square kilometre in area) closed to private cars during daytime. Most major avenues are, however, gridlocked at peak hours. Following the economic mini-boom of the 1990s, record numbers started commuting by car and congestion increased, as did the time-honored Argentine custom of taking weekends off in the countryside.
Cycling around Buenos Aires is becoming trendy. Several bicycle rental businesses offer excursions for locals and visitors throughout the city, generally accompanied by specialized multilingual guides. The tours include the Southern and Northern Circuits, and themed circuits which include literary, historical and cultural, ecologist and even tango related tours or historical tours. For newcomers biking is not recommended on main arteries and thoroughfares because of the heavy traffic.
Caseros Station of new Line H of the Buenos Aires Underground
Buenos Aires Taxi
Buenos Aires Colectivo
There are over 150 city bus lines called Colectivos, each one managed by an individual company. These compete with each other, and attract exceptionally high use with virtually no public financial support. Their frequency makes them equal to the underground systems of other cities, but buses cover a far wider area than the underground system. Colectivos in Buenos Aires do not have a fixed timetable, but run from 4 to several per hour, depending on the bus line and time of the day. With very cheap tickets and extensive routes, usually no further than four blocks from commuters' residences, the colectivo is the most popular mode of transport around the city. Bus line operators must comply with city regulations on security and pollution control.
Buenos Aires was affected for several years by an acute coin shortage that impacted the economy, banking, and transportation. Coins are still rationed by banks, and a thriving black market has been hoarding to sell coins illegally to retailers. Merchants have been rounding prices up or down according to the amount of change a customer actually has, or bartering, and making up the difference with a menial item.
Argentina's President announced on 4 February 2009 that Buenos Aires would be instituting electronic ticketing for the city's bus system. One of the benefits of this change is that it would help speed passengers on to the bus. People would no longer have to wait to be issued a printed receipt as they each enter the bus. Environmentally this should help reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and nitrogen because buses will not have to idle as long while passengers load, helping improve air quality in the city. The electronic ticket will eliminate the printed receipts thus lowering the amount of littering in the city. The city, in turn, would no longer have to process, collect, count, and transport coinage received in payment of some 11 million trips per day. The new ticketing system was implemented within four months, and the coin shortage eased appreciably.
A fleet of 40,000 black-and-yellow taxis ply the streets at all hours. License controls are not enforced rigorously. There have been numerous reports of organized crime controlling the access of taxis to the city airports and other major destinations.Taxi drivers are known for trying to take advantage from tourists by different manners. Radio-link companies provide reliable and safe service; many such companies provide incentives for frequent users. Low-fare limo services, known as remises, have become popular in recent years.
The Buenos Aires Metro (locally known as subte, from "subterráneo" meaning underground or metro), is a high-yield system providing access to various parts of the city. Opened in 1913, it is the oldest underground system in the Southern Hemisphere and in the Spanish-speaking world. The system has six lines, named by letters (A to E, and H) There are 74 stations, and 52.3 km (32 mi) of route. An expansion program is underway to extend existing lines into the outer neighborhoods and add a new north-south line. Route length is expected to reach 89 km (55 mi) by 2011. Daily ridership on weekdays is 1.7 million and on the increase. Fares are cheap and are in fact cheaper than the city buses. The Buenos Aires Metro has six lines which also have links to the metropolitan train network.
The subway is currently undergoing renovation and expansion
New underground lines are planned and were presented by the Government of the City of Buenos Aires on 26 May 2007. There are currently three lines planned:
Line F would join Constitución Station with Plaza Italia and would have an extension of 7.6 km (4.7 mi). It would be transverse-radial, according to the section, with strong integration with the rest of the network.
Line G would connect the Retiro Station with the Cid Campeador and would have a length of 7.6 km (4.7 mi). It would be radial to connect the axes of high-density residential and commercial areas, and would bring the underground to the northwest of the city.
Line I would run from the Emilio Mitre (Line E) Station to Plaza Italia, a distance of 7.3 km (4.5 mi). It would be the outermost transverse line of the network and would link the neighborhoods of the north, center and south of the city and link with the radial lines far from the city centre.
Buenos Aires had an extensive street railway (tram) system with over 857 km (533 mi) of track, which was dismantled during the 1960s in favor of bus transportation and is now in the process of a slow comeback. The PreMetro or Line E2 is a 7.4 km (4.6 mi) light rail line that connects with Metro Line E at Plaza de los Virreyes station and runs to General Savio and Centro Cívico. It is operated by Metrovías. The official inauguration took place on 27 August 1987. The cost of building and fitting out the line was USD 5.4 million. An additional USD 4.6 million was allocated to the acquisition of a fleet of 25 light rail vehicles.
A new 2 km (1.2 mi) tramway (LRT), Tranvía del Este, runs across the Puerto Madero district. Extensions planned would link the Retiro and La Boca terminal train stations. Other routes are being studied. A Heritage streetcar maintained by tram fans operates on weekends, near the Primera Junta line A metro station in the Caballito neighbourhood.
The Buenos Aires commuter network system is very extensive: every day more than 1.3 million people commute to the Argentine capital. These suburban trains operate between 4 AM and 1 AM. The Buenos Aires railway system also connects the city with long-distance rail to Rosario and Córdoba, among other metropolitan areas. There are three principal stations for both long-distance and local passenger services in the city centre: Plaza Constitucion, Retiro and Once de Septiembre.
The Buenos Aires commuter rail system has seven lines:
The main terminal for long distance buses is Retiro bus station, near Retiro railway station, from where buses depart for all parts of Argentina and for neighbouring countries.
Buenos Aires is also served by a ferry system operated by the company Buquebus that connects the port of Buenos Aires with the main cities of Uruguay, (Colonia del Sacramento, Montevideo and Punta del Este). More than 2.2 million people per year travel between Argentina and Uruguay with Buquebus. One of these ships is a catamaran, which can reach a top speed of about 80 km/h (50 mph), making it the fastest ferry in the world
The Buenos Aires international airport, Ministro Pistarini International Airport, is located in the suburb of Ezeiza and is often called "Ezeiza". The Aeroparque Jorge Newbery airport, located in the Palermo district next to the riverbank, serves only domestic traffic and flights to Montevideo and Punta del Este. A smaller San Fernando Airport serves only general aviation.
Football is a passion for Argentines. Buenos Aires has the highest concentration of football teams of any city in the world (featuring no fewer than 24 professional football teams), with many of its teams playing in the major league. The best-known rivalry is the one between Boca Juniors and River Plate; watching a match between these two teams was deemed one of the "50 sporting things you must do before you die" by The Observer. Other major clubs include San Lorenzo de Almagro, Vélez Sársfield, Huracán and Argentinos Juniors.
Diego Armando Maradona, born in Villa Fiorito, a villa miseria in the Lanús Partido (county) south of Buenos Aires, is widely hailed as one of the greatest football players of all time. Maradona started his career with Argentinos Juniors, later playing for Boca Juniors, the Argentina national football team and others (most notably FC Barcelona in Spain and SSC Napoli in Italy).
Buenos Aires has been a candidate city for the Summer Olympic Games on three occasions: for the 1956 Games, which were lost by a single vote to Melbourne; for the 1968 Summer Olympics, held in Mexico City; and in 2004, when the games were awarded to Athens. However, Buenos Aires hosted the first Pan American Games (1951) and was also host city to several World Championship events: the 1950 and 1990 Basketball World Championships, the 1982 and 2002 Men's Volleyball World Championships and, most remembered, the 1978 FIFA World Cup, won by Argentina on 25 June 1978, when it defeated the Netherlands by 3–1.
Juan Manuel Fangio won 5 Formula One World Driver's Championships, and was only matched by Michael Schumacher, with 7 Championships. The Buenos Aires Oscar Gálvez car-racing track hosted 20 editions of the Formula One Argentine Grand Prix between 1953 and 1998; its discontinuation was due to financial reasons. The track features local categories on most weekends.
Argentines' love for horses can be experienced in several ways: horse racing at the Hipódromo Argentino de Palermo racetrack, polo in the Campo Argentino de Polo (located just across Libertador Avenue from the Hipódromo), and pato, a kind of basketball played on horseback that was declared the national game in 1953.
Buenos Aires native Guillermo Vilas (who was raised in Mar del Plata) was one of the great tennis players of the 1970s and 1980s, and popularized tennis in all of Argentina. He won the ATP Buenos Aires numerous times in the 1970s. Other popular sports in Buenos Aires are golf, basketball, rugby, and field hockey.
Buenos Aires is twinned with the following cities:
Buenos Aires (official name Autonomous City of Buenos Aires, also called Capital Federal ) is the capital of the Argentine Republic. The name means fair winds in Spanish. It is one of the largest cities in Latin America, with a lot of cultural offerings, and is the point of departure for travelling to the rest of the country. Inhabitants of Buenos Aires are called porteños, "people from the port". Buenos Aires is a singular, open and integrating destination that allows the visitor not only to view the city but the opportunity to have an exceptional urban adventure.
The City of Buenos Aires has 48 districts called barrios. The most important and visited are:
The city is geographically contained inside the province of Buenos Aires, but it is politically autonomous. Its coordinates are 34º 36' S, 58º 26' W.
The city extends on a plain covering 19.4 kilometers (12 miles) from north to south and 17.9 kilometers (11 miles) from east to west.
Approximately three million people live in the City of Buenos Aires (the Federal Capital of Argentina with 202 square kilometers equivalent to 78.3 sq miles). The City is divided into 48 districts or barrios. Together with its metropolitan area or Great Buenos Aires (Gran Buenos Aires) this is one of the ten most populated urban centers in the world with over 14 million people. Most of the country's activity is highly concentrated in this single city and its surroundings.
Buenos Aires constantly receives tourists from all over the world and offers a large choice of cultural events, nightlife, restaurants and pubs, so you can expect good services and a wide range of options.
Buenos Aires has also one of the largest homosexual communities in Latin America and there is a liberal attitude towards gay society. The Capital Federal law allows and recognizes legal civil partnership. Following the economic recovery, in recent years there has been an increase in gay-friendly businesses such as real estate, apartment rental, travel agents, language classes, tango classes, bars, restaurants, hotels and guesthouses. Since 2007, the city has seen the arrival of more gay cruise ships, the opening of a gay 5-star hotel and a general increase in gay tourism.
While no longer the dirt-cheap discount destination it was in the first half of the 2000s (some hotel prices have risen by over 100%), visitors from North America and Europe will still find it a bargain. Food costs range from 2-pesos hot dogs and 20-pesos large pizzas to 40 pesos steak dinners at high-end restaurants. Transportation is equally affordable with metro and bus trips for little more than a peso and downtown taxi services starting at 6 pesos. Hotels, as anywhere, vary from cheap hostels to full service five stars that can run into the thousands of pesos.
Flights from Buenos Aires and the rest of Argentina are usually more expensive for foreigners. This can pose a problem for short-term travelers who do not have time to take a bus to places like Iquazu Falls, Bariloche, Ushuaia, etc. These tourists are often advised to find smaller travel companies/agents that can help them find lower prices on lower flights, deals that larger online travel sites would not have access too.
Ricchieri Highway, Km. 22. Tel. +54 5480-6111 - International and some domestic flights use the Ezeiza International Airport (referred to as Aeropuerto Internacional Ministro Pistarini), located in the suburban area named Gran Buenos Aires, about 30-45 minutes from downtown by highway. Planes fly to most countries in South America, the United States, and Europe. Non-stop service to the U.S. is available from Atlanta (Delta), Dallas (AA), Miami (AA), Houston (Continental),New York (AA, United & AR) and Washington, D.C. (United).
Some flights from Aerolíneas Argentinas to Ushuaia leave from Ezeiza during peak season, so check which airport you fly into or leave from.
Qantas flies thrice weekly to Sydney non-stop while there is also a useful Aerolínas Argentinas flight direct to Sydney, with a stop in Auckland and a twice-weekly Malaysian Airlines flight to Kuala Lumpur via Cape Town and Johannesburg. Direct flights to Europe are available with British Airways (with a stop in Sao Paulo) , Lufthansa , Iberia , Air France , Air Comet  and Aerolíneas Argentinas . Also Air Canada flies from Toronto via Santiago. There is a departure tax of $18 USD (about 54 pesos) for all international flights, which can be paid in pesos, US dollars, euros or credit card.
From the airport there are the usual taxis, private cars (remises), buses and minibuses.
Trips on coaches such as Manuel Tienda León  from EZE to Retiro cost 40 pesos (as of October 2008). The coaches leave every half hour - less frequently during evenings. From the Retiro Terminal, a smaller van will deliver you to any downtown address for an additional 5 pesos. Manuel Tienda León also offers transfers between EZE and Aeroparque. Tickets can be purchased from their booth just outside of customs.
Private Driving services to and from the airport are more expensive but trustworthy. Some offer English speaking drivers
Prepaid taxis (remises) from EZE to downtown cost about 120 pesos. They are your simplest and safest transport from the airport. As you exit customs there are booths on either side of the receiving area of the airport. Some of the prepaid remises will provide you with a 20% discount coupon for your airport return. If you manage to hold on to this coupon, dial them directly to come and collect you and save yourself 20%. You must also present the original receipt to receive the discount.
Hailing a non-prepaid taxi is not recommended for tourists, but if you do, be aware that there is a 2 peso toll and a 0.80 peso toll if the driver goes by the autopista (as should be done); the tolls will be added to your fare. You should select a taxi that is dropping someone off. It works out to around 50 to 55 pesos to downtown. You should not do this unless you have some familiarity with Buenos Aires and speak Spanish well.
Pay very close and detailed attention to the taxi driver during the payment process. Most will try to rob you by exchanging the bill you gave with a much smaller denomination quicker than a magician, after which they will notify you of your apparent 'mistake'. One trick is holding on to the bill, asking the driver to acknowledge the amount of pesos you gave.
The cheapest way to get downtown is to take the number 8 bus (formerly number 86). The stop is just outside terminal B arrivals, you need to walk 100 meters. The bus will take almost 2 hours to get to the Mayo square, going straight on Rivadavia Avenue and then on Hipolito Yrigoyen street. It will cost 2 pesos to get downtown. Be ready to have coins to use them on the bus, you can get change at the counters where the airport tax is paid or at any airport shop. This is not advised for someone unfamiliar with the city. Be mindful of your surroundings and avoid the common scam mentioned in Stay safe.
If you are returning to Ezeiza from downtown, be sure to ride the 8 bus that says "AEROPUERTO" as there are several 8 buses that go to other places. The bus stops all along Mayo Avenue and then Rivadavia Avenue. It can take more than two hours to get to the airport from downtown (longer than the trip in from the airport), and the bus can get extremely crowded. If you are at all pressed for time, or short on patience, it is highly recommended that you skip this bus and take a taxi or remise.
Located in the Ave. Rafael Obligado. +54 4576-5300 extension 107/122 (Information: 4576-1111). Most domestic flights use the smaller Jorge Newbery Airport (referred to as Aeroparque), 10 minutes away from the downtown area. You can take a taxi (25 pesos) or bus from there.
There are national railways, but they are scarce. The terminal stations are the same from suburban transportation. From Retiro station you can take the train to the Tigre Delta. There you can do a boat cruise and see the wetland and recreational area of the porteños.
There are some long distance domestic services. Buses are usually faster and more comfortable, but also three times as expensive. There are several main stations in the Buenos Aires area (see below).
Retiro - Córdoba (overnight): departs Mon. & Fri. 20:10, arrives 10:25
Córdoba - Retiro (overnight): departs Thu. & Sun. 16:30, 07:33 (25 pesos - tourist class)
Retiro - Tucumán (overnight): departs Mon. 10:05, arrives 10:40
Tucumán - Retiro (overnight): departs Wed. 18:00, arrives 19:20 (35 pesos - tourist class)
There are four main highways entering the city which connect to suburban areas and other national routes. As with the trains, the bigger and more frequented routes are centered in Buenos Aires, so you will have no problem driving to and from the rest of the country.
Heading to Rosario city, you can travel by highway all the way (north access highway, then route 9). From here you can keep heading north on a good route (Panamericana), or turn right about 150km from Buenos Aires and go to the Mesopotamia region.
To the west, you can drive to the Cuyo region using the north access highway, then route 8.
Traveling out of the city on the west access highway, you can follow routes 7 and 5, which will lead you to the west and southwest, respectively. If you want to visit western Patagonia, route 5 is a good choice.
There are very good services departing from Retiro bus station, covering the whole country. Generally speaking the more expensive the ticket, the more comfortable the bus will be. The most expensive tickets will get you seats that fully recline and you will also be served meals and drinks by an attendant on board.
Almost all the long-distance buses use the huge and well-organised Retiro bus station on the northern edge of the city centre. The buses are mostly modern and the roads not so much; there are frequent services to most parts of the country and international bus services to neighbouring countries. A second bus terminal is situated in the Liniers neighborhood, but it is much smaller and not connected to the subway.
You may catch taxis from Retiro bus station, and the subte (underground) also stops there. There are many local buses that stop outside the station as well.
There are numerous operators. The basement level is for cargo and package services. The ground level holds waiting areas, cafes, shops and services including a barber. On the upper level you find a large number (close to 200) of ticket offices, or boleterias. The upper level is conveniently divided by color into geographic areas for companies which serve the place you want to go, including an international area. Look for the signs.
Cama Suites or Dormi Camas lie completely flat and some have dividing curtains. With these services, the seating arrangement is one seat one side and two seats on the other side. Semi-Cama services are laid out two and two, and do not recline as far. Companies usually have photographs of bus interiors. Make sure the journey you choose has the service you want. Most buses are double decker.
Bus travel times to/from Buenos Aires:
Terminal de Omnibus de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires
To find out which companies are available for a specific destination you can consult the official webpage of the terminal Retiro  and an online information system for buses from Buenos Aires  to the main national and international destinations.
Three companies operate this service.
The services are now coordinated by Buquebus. The ferry tour ship is the slower one, used for Colonia. You may still make a fast trip to Colonia, at a higher price. Certain boats are nicer than others- but for about 36 pesos ($10) you can upgrade to first class both ways- which includes VIP lounge access and a free glass of champagne. Highly recommended on the nicer boats (you can upgrade on board).
From the official city site:
The City is an important destination for the maritime and fluvial cruisers industry of South America. The Benito Quinquela Martín Passenger Terminal, a few blocks away from downtown, at Ramón Castillo street between Avenida de los Inmigrantes and Mayor Luisioni street, has a surface of 7,100 square meters, a boarding room for 1,000 passengers and baggage facilities with capacity for 2,500 suitcases. Additional features include tourist information, handicrafts shops, snack bars as well as the offices for Migration, Customs, Interpol and Prefectura (Coast Guard).
You may also take a boat from nearby Tigre to Nueva Palmira in Uruguay. Trains leave from Retiro Station to Tigre frequently. Boat services to Nueva Palmira also connect to Colonia del Sacramento by bus.
There is also a service from Montevideo-Carmelo-Tigre-Buenos Aires . It costs around 36 pesos($10) one way for the whole shebang. Get the tickets and depart from Tres Cruces in Montevideo. The price includes a bus to Carmelo, boat to Tigre and another bus to the center of Buenos Aires. They often have very good special offers that include some nights in hotels in Buenos Aires.
Grimaldi Lines - Freighter Travel operates a bi-monthly freighter link from Europe to South-America via Africa. Five freighter ships do the rotation and each accepts 12 passengers. The journey lasts about 30 days (60 days for a round trip) and port calls include: Hamburg, Tillbury, Antwerp, Le Havre, Bilbao, Casablanca, Dakar, Banjul, Conakry, Freetown, Salvador de Bahia, Vitoria, Rio de Janeiro, Santos Zarate, Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Paranagua, Santos, Rio de Janeiro, Dakar, Emden and back to Hamburg. Only the stops in Europe and at Buenos Aires permit passengers to either embark or disembark off the freighter. However passengers are allowed to visit the all the port. All the port calls are subject to change depending on the loading and unloading needs of the ship. Tickets for a cabin on a Europe to BA trip start at €1450/pp for a double cabin and €1890 for a single cabin (more expensive luxury cabins are available).
The public transport in Buenos Aires is very good, although crowded during rush hour. The metro (or underground railway, called the "Subte") network is not very large, but reaches most tourist attractions of the city, and there is a large range of bus routes and several suburban railways used by commuters.
Finding your way around is easy. Most of the city grid is divided into equal squares with block numbers in the hundreds. Most streets are one way with the adjacent parallels going the other way, so beware that the bus or taxi won't follow the same route back. If traveling by taxi, you simply need to tell the driver the street and block number, eg. "Santa Fe 2100"; or two intersecting streets, eg. "Corrientes y Callao".
City maps are issued by many different publishers (Guía T, LUMI) and the local tourist authority. They are indispensable for those wanting to use public transportation, since they include all bus routes. Be aware that some maps are bottom up (South on the top of the map). This is true for the maps at the official taxi booth at Ezeiza airport.
Taxis are not the quickest way to move around the more congested parts of the city, especially during rush hour, as traffic jams are common. Still, you will find that taxis are usually rather inexpensive, convenient, and exciting (in a white-knuckled, the roller-coaster-seems-to-have-some-pieces-missing kind of way.)
These days safety of traveling by taxi has improved considerably. For details refer to Stay safe. If you are uncomfortable hailing a taxi on the street you can have your hotel or restaurant call a taxi for you. You should always check the driver´s personal information is legible in the back part of the front seat.
The principal means of public transportation within the city, are the buses (colectivos). They have a cheap maximum fixed price as long as you are moving inside the city borders (1.25 pesos). Tickets can only be bought on the bus, through a machine that accepts coins only.
There are more than one hundred lines, covering the whole city. They work 24 hours a day, the whole year; but run less frequently on holidays and late at night. For each route the bus is painted differently making them easy to distinguish. The best way to figure out the bus system is to buy a Guía "T". It's essentially a little book with a directory of streets, which corresponds to map pages, and has bus listings on the facing page for each map. Once you get your hands on one, it's very easy to figure out, but give yourself fifteen minutes the first few times you use it to plan a route. These can be bought at many kiosks around the city, or subway stations.
Otherwise, visitors who are comfortable with speaking a little Spanish can call 131 toll-free from any phone to help you find which colectivo to take. You just have to tell the corner (or the street and the number) where you're at and the one you want to get to.
On most services, board the bus and tell the driver your destination (or do what Argentines do -- just say "un peso, por favor" meaning you'll be traveling a normal distance and want to pay 1 peso); he will press a button instructing the coin machine to take a certain amount of money for you, which will then appear on the machine as the amount to insert. Step a bit further back into the bus and insert coins into the machine which now knows your destination and has calculated your fare because the driver punched it in. You will receive change and your ticket automatically, collect it at the bottom of the machine.
If you see a little metal knob on the coin machine, it's not for dispensing your ticket like the candy/toy machines in grocery stores in the U.S. ... it's the door to the inside of the machine to change the paper and whatnot. Don't turn it!
You can also use buses to move in and around the suburban area (Gran Buenos Aires), but the fares are higher (up to 2 pesos, depending on the distance and service). The suburban-only lines (you can differentiate them because their line numbers are above 200) have lower standards of comfort, and many of them don't run after 11PM.
The city has a metro network ("subte", short form of "tren subterráneo", which means "underground train"). It is very efficient and you can save a lot of time by using it. It is also very cheap (1.10 pesos for any combination). If you need to be somewhere by 9AM or 9.30AM on a weekday, however, the Subte will be incredibly crowded and depending on where you are catching it from, you may have to miss several trains in a row before there is space for you. Once on board, during peak hours it can get very crowded. Factor this into your timing arrangements to make sure that you make your meeting on time. The subte runs approximately from 5AM to 10PM, except on Sundays, when service starts at 8AM.
Many subte stations have interesting murals, tiles and artwork. Transferring between lines is indicated by combinación signs.
You can buy reusable tickets and add credit on them which can be used for several trips saving you from having to always go to the cashier to purchase individual tickets. Tickets are not swiped upon exiting stations, therefore you may use one magnetic stripe ticket for more than one traveler, as long as it has the required number of fares.
The current network comprises six underground lines, labelled "A" to "E" and "H" which all converge to the downtown area and connect to the main bus and train terminals.
The A line is a destination on its own because of the old wooden carriages. It was built in 1913 making it the the oldest metro system in Latin America, the Southern Hemisphere, and the entire Spanish-speaking world.
In the southeast branch (the E line), the service is extended by a trainway known as premetro, but beware, it goes to some of the least secure places in the city. Premetro is 0.60 pesos, or 0.70 with a Subte Transfer.
The subte and premetro services are under Metrovias S.A. control. You can reach their Customer Service personnel by calling -toll free (within Argentina)- on 0800-555-1616 or by sending a fax to +54 4553-9270. For more information you can visit this links , .
There's a good deal of railway connections to the suburban area laid out in such a way that it resembles a shape of a star. The quality of the service ranges from excellent to very bad, depending of the line; ask before using them at night time.
The main railway terminals are Retiro, Constitución, Once and Federico Lacroze. From all of these you can then use the metro and bus network to get right into the center. The suburban fares are very cheap.
If you are truly adventurous (and have a bit of a death-wish), cars are available to rent in Buenos Aires. There are several things to keep in mind before renting a car in Buenos Aires. First, Buenos Aires is such an excellent city for walking that if something is within 20 or 30 blocks, it is often worth the extra effort to go on foot and get to know the city on a more intimate level. The terrain is flat...get out there and put those legs to work! Second, if you aren't much of a walker, the public transportation system in Buenos Aires is cheap and efficient. It can get you anywhere fast! Third, and perhaps most important, the traffic in Buenos Aires is extremely chaotic. Stoplights, signs, traffic laws...for many porteño drivers, are just suggestions. Picture yourself trying to get several thousand heads of cattle to move down the street and stay inside the lanes, and you have a decent idea of driving in Buenos Aires. The best advice? Take the bus! Otherwise, best of luck to you. Argentina has one of the highest motor vehicle accident mortality rates in the world.
If you are a fan of walking in green open spaces and parks in big cities like Buenos Aires, be sure not to miss a promenade in Palermo, a beautiful area in the eastern part of the city. Here you will not only find open spaces to walk in, but a large lake where you can rent paddle boats and an huge flower garden that's free to enter!
Another great place to walk along and experience Argentine street life in a safe area (during the day only folks - interesting characters emerge here at night!) is El Puerto de Buenos Aires.
La Boca has the Caminito pedestrian street with arts and crafts. There is also a river cruise you can take from there where you can see a huge picturesque metal structure across the river. You can try and catch a rowboat to Avellaneda on the other side of the water for 0.50 pesos, but you will have to try your luck as the rower may not allow you on citing that its dangerous. La Boca is famous for Tango and you can often catch glimpses of Tango dancers practicing in the streets. If you fancy having a picture taking with a tango dancer you can but expect to pay a small fee. In addition to tango, La Boca is famous for its football, and you can take a tour of the La Bombonera Stadium where the buildings are painted in bright colors. The prices for almost everything in La Boca tend to be 2 to 3 times higher compared to the rest of the city. It's very touristy but its touristy for a reason as it is an enjoyable place with some authentic Argentine sights. La Boca is probably best to be enjoyed during the day when the streets are crowded and there are other tourists around, it is generally advised to be avoided at night. There is no subte to La Boca, but many buses go there.
The Cementerio de la Recoleta: This is where all the rich families in Buenos Aires have their final resting places. Expect to see big ornate tombs. Be sure to visit the tomb of Eva Perón, the daughter of an aristocrat who, despite having the most visited tomb in the cemetery, is considered by many to be too "low class" for eternal interment in Recoleta.
The Palermo Viejo district: This is a trendy neighborhood with charming cobblestone streets, bookstores, bars and boutiques; definitely better than the touristic San Telmo area for a nightime excursion. The Plaza Italia station is the closest metro stop.
Tigre Islands: Spend a day just outside the busy city on an island in Tigre. Have an authentic Argentine BBQ, a few beers, enjoy a private swimming pool, rent canoes, play Football or Volleyball, and pretty much enjoy the good life.
Argentina has a renowned football reputation and the sport is big throughout the whole country including of course, Buenos Aires. The capital is the home town of two of the most appreciated football teams in the world, Boca Juniors and River Plate. A game between these two legendary teams is called the "Super Clasico." This is by far the hottest ticket in the city, and it is often necessary to buy tickets well in advance. Also, the Argentine National Team is very, very popular. Tickets to their World Cup Qualifying matches can difficult to come by, involve waiting in very long lines, and should be ordered in advance for more convenience. The Argentinian fans are known for their passion and the songs (which are practically love songs) which they sing to their teams. Even if you are not a huge football fan, going to a game is definitely worth it just to take in the atmosphere and to observe the fans singing and cheering. While this is an experience you don't want to miss while visiting Buenos Aires, it can also be dangerous for tourists to go on their own. Tourists are often advised to go with large, organized groups with bilingual guides. This ensures that you can watch the game in peace and still have a great time.
A trip to Buenos Aires is not complete without some sort of experience of the Tango, the national dance of Argentina. A good place to go and watch some authentic Tango is at the Confiteria Idéal Suipacha 384 (just off of Corrientes, near Calle Florida. However Tango is best experienced not in La Boca and on Calle Florida, but in the Milongas. A milonga is both a place where a Tango dance will take place, as well as a specific type of tango dance. Milongas take place either during the day or late at night. "Matinée Milongas" usually start in the early afternoon and go until 8-10PM. They are popular with tourists who may struggle staying up until 5AM every night. Inside a milongas, you will find many locals who will be more than willing to show you how to dance. The night Milongas officially start at around 11, but don't fill up until around 1:30. They may go on until 5 or 6 in the morning. Some Milongas to note are: Salon Canning, El Beso and Porteňo y Bailarin.
Lessons: You can start learning tango through the group lessons offered at many studios. Some popular schools are at the Centro Bourges Culturel, on the very top floor. It can be very hard to find the actual place as there are some stairs you have to go up, and then you have to go through a museum. Ask the security officer where the "Escuela de Tango"  is. Take note that in the summer time the rooms can get very hot. The Centro is within the Galerias Pacifico, the American-style mall near Calle Florida on San Martin. The best way to learn, even if you do not have a partner, is with private lessons. You can find instructors who charge as little as 50 pesos per hour, all the way up to ones that will charge 368 pesos ($100) per hour. Many of the more 'famous' instructors command a premium price. Be warned if you start taking tango lessons it will seduce and consume your life and you will then be force to make many pilgrimages back to Buenos Aires to dance.
If you don't want to dance be careful of the eye contact you make. Here, you will not see men physically getting up to ask a woman to dance. He will get her attention with his eyes, nod or make a "lets go" move with his head. If she accepts she will nod and smile, and they will both meet on the dance floor. The locals here are very friendly and if you are interested in learning tango, asking a local for instructors is the best bet.
Fiesta Gaucha- Spend a night seeing what it is like to be a real gaucho! Live the life of an Argentine cowboy; ride horses, eat traditional gaucho foods, drink traditional gaucho wines and dance tango like they used to do back in the day. A great way to get out of the city for a day and see another side of Argentine culture. Great for adults, kids, or anybody who ever wanted to be a cowboy when they were younger!
Buenos Aires hosts exhilarating skydiving activities within its clear blue skies. You can experience a 20 minute flight, followed by a 35 seconds freefall and a slow descent of nearly 7 minutes to enjoy a breathtaking view. Discover a unique bird's-eye view of Buenos Aires and its expansive pampas as you dive through 3,000 meters (9,000 feet) of open air. There is no better place to feel the adrenaline of a Tandem Skydiving Jump.
Argentina is renowned for its excellent selection of wine. The most popular being Mendoza which is rated amongst the worlds most popular regions due to its high altitude, volcanic soils and proximity to the Andes Mountains. The terrain seems to complement the European grape varietals with interesting notes not present when produced in other climates, this allows the Argentine wine to be positioned in a league of its own.
The best way to experience and understand the selection of Argentine varietals is a wine tasting, which is offered by quite a few companies and bars around the city.
Check Wine Tour Urbano  for information on wine tasting events. Usually they are organized in Recoleta or Palermo, and consist of several design and fashion stores along a street that open their doors to wineries who want to offer their wines. Very nice atmosphere, sometimes with jazz and classic live musicians playing in the streets.
Argentina is well known for having one of the best polo teams and players in the world. For news on tournaments and where to buy tickets for polo matches, check Asociacion Argentina de Polo at .
Around Buenos Aires there are plenty of Polo schools. Most Polo courses run for a week and include accommodation on site.
In recent years Buenos Aires has became a popular destination for gay travelers. For international gay travelers, the "Paris of the South" has also become the gay capital of South America.
As with any other metropolis, Buenos Aires has plenty of city tours from walking tours, bus tours, bike tours to thematic tours such as political and tango tours. Buenos Aires is friendly destination and tourist will feel secure and free to wander around aimlessly absorbing all the city has to offer. If you are looking for a more in depth or structured way of seeing the city a guided tour is a good way to do this. Most of the tour operators are professional and bilingual and will explain the history as well as the architecture of of the city.
The city of Buenos Aires and its suburban surroundings cover a tremendous expanse of land that cannot be easily and quickly walked, biked or driven. That's what helicopter rides are for. You can discover Buenos Aires from a unique perspective: see the skyline of Puerto Madero's skyscrapers, the grid of concrete streets filled with taxis and colectivos or buses, the tourist attractions including the Obelisco, Casa Rosada, and Cementario Recoleta. Tour the skies above the human traffic on an exciting Helicopter Ride. A different way to explore the city.
You might not think of it as you walk around this big city of skyscrapers, but there is some very good golfing very close by. There are many trips to the golf courses that make it easy and relaxing for tourists to enjoy a day on the green. . Packages include any greens fees, equipment and a caddie who you can blame when you hook that shot into the woods!
MP3 Walking Tours / Audio Guides
Travelers have the option to discover the most interesting neighborhoods of Buenos Aires with their MP3 players as their guides. Downloadable MP3 Walking Tours of Buenos Aires are available to download even prior to the trip. These MP3 tours usually include a map and are a perfect option to walk around interesting places at your own pace.
Buenos Aires is home to one of the biggest Jewish communities in the world and the biggest in South America. There are many sights and activities specifically for Jewish people. There are museums, beautiful synagogues, monuments, barrios and history for all travelers to soak up and enjoy. Tours are given around the city to hit all the major Jewish landmarks. This is a great way to see a different side of Buenos Aires that most people wouldn't think about seeing.
Just outside the city is a great place called Lujan. It is famous for its incredible (although controversial) zoo and its world famous cathedral. Other than that, it is just a great place to go for a day if you want a break from the city. There are tours all the time that can help you get there and show you where to go once you arrive.
Another great place on the outskirts of the city is Tigre. Tigre has a quaint amusement park, a great crafts fair on the weekends, a multi-storied casino, and a beautiful river to walk along. A popular choice is to take a boat ride along the river, ideal on a sunny day. There are many tours that go to Tigre, and it's a great place to get out of the city for a day and get some fresh air. The most popular day to go is Sunday, but there are things to do all week long.
Recently, more urban spas or day spas have flourished, some of them at large hotels such as the Alvear, Hilton, Hyatt among others. Furthermore, some green spas have opened shops and offer a great range of eco-friendly treatments.
Making medical procedures part of your overall vacation package is a growing trend, and since Buenos Aires is relatively affordable for Westerners, it is at the forefront. If you decide to go the medical vacation route, there are a number of firms that have established relationships with local medical clinics who can deliver a total package. Make sure you check out the credentials of the doctors and other healthcare professionals before making your decision; that said, Buenos Aires is home to plenty of well-trained doctors with excellent reputations.
Foreigners have been flocking to Buenos Aires to take advantage of the great deals. For those who come to Argentina, it is essential to know, for themselves and their children, that the country’s education is considered one of the best in Latin America.
Many people interested in learning Spanish choose Argentina as an inexpensive destination to accomplish this. You will hear Argentines refer to Spanish as Castellano more often than Español, which betrays the county's individuality when it comes to the language, though there is logic behind their use of Castellano. Spain has several languages. The dominant language is Castilian or Castellano. Spanish in Buenos Aires is Rioplatense Spanish. The Spanish of Argentina uses the verb form of voseo instead of tú. While the Spanish of Argentina is beautiful, it is slightly unusual sounding to the rest of Latin America. You might also pick up a little of the slang of Buenos Aires known as Lunfardo, and is influenced by several other languages.
There are several options for studying Spanish. You can attend one of several fine schools, study individually with a tutor, or there are social groups where people get together for the purpose of talking in each others languages to improve their skills.
Schools provide a very rigorous schedule, typically, of intense study. Be wise, if you have spent 3 weeks in classes and find yourself getting overwhelmed, a week off will help your brain catch up. There is the occasional student who has been in classes for 6 weeks who's brain is clearly suffering from overload. The schools would rather keep you in class, so it's up to you to pace yourself.
Many very qualified teachers advertise on craig's list , which is more known by foreigners on the Buenos Aires page than locals. Often these teachers have formal education in teaching language and prior or current experience in a school of language.
Employment is available for Spanish-speaking visitors in Buenos Aires. Many foreigners work as translators, or English teachers. There's also a recent trend for technology and recruiting companies hiring English-speaking or bilingual employees.
It is very common for foreigners to work in call-centers. There are companies that provide Customer Care and Technical Support services to many big American and European companies like Microsoft, Verizon, Vodafone, Motorola and others. If you speak just a bit of Spanish you can get this kind of job. It should be noted that wages in callcenters are much less than in countries like the USA, far lower than the difference in the cost of living. In 2007 typical wages were 1/5 of the typical rate for the same work in the USA, while living costs were between 1/3 and 1/2. Many foreigners from "richer countries" find it very hard to survive in Buenos Aires for very long unless they have other funds.
If you wish to work, remember to obtain proper immigration status so as to be able to work legally. It is possible to convert your tourist visa into a work permit, but you need to bring with you a letter of good conduct for your country of residence and a birth certificate. Both documents has to have apostille and a certified translation to Spanish if they are not already in this language. You may find the latest requisites at "Dirección Nacional de Migraciones" . Some employers may still offer you work under less than formal terms, but be reminded that if you accept this sort of employment you may not receive the full benefits that are mandated by law and are actually 'helping' that employer break a good number of local laws.
Shops at Shopping Malls and Supermarkets are usually open from 10:00 to 22:00 hrs, 7 days a week. Non-chain, small stores usually close around 20:00 and stay closed on Saturday afternoons and Sundays except on big avenues and touristic areas. All of the main avenues are full with kiosks and very small convenience stores that stay open 24 hours. You will find no less than 2 for each 100 meters you walk. On the Recoleta area several bookstores and record stores close as late as 2:30AM daily.
The Argentinian currency is the peso. A 100 peso bills are notoriously hard to break-- avoid changing round numbers so you get some change (e.g. when changing money change the amount that will give you 90 pesos instead of 100). Coins are rare and required for buses, so try not to spend them in stores.
Money can be exchanged at Banco de la Nación Argentina at the airport and at any of the cambios along Florida or Lavalle, but, if you have the time, shop around for the best rate at the zone known as "La city". This zone is the banking district of Buenos Aires, and numerous exchange places are located at only meters away from each other. This mean fierce competition and options to check the best rates. In addition to this, in this zone is possible not only to change US Dollars or Euros, but also some other major currencies from Latin America (such as Brazilian reals, Mexican pesos, Colombian pesos, etc.), Canada, Asia (Japanese yens, Chinese renminbi, etc.) and Europe (Swedish krona, Swiss francs, etc.). This can mean a saving of time and money by not having to convert 2 times. Take into consideration that wherever the place you change money, you are always required to present your passport and copies are not acceptable.
Traveller's checks are rarely used and may actually be difficult to exchange, but there is an American Express office at San Martin Plaza. ATMs are your best source of cash.
Banks: Banks open from 10 to 3PM. and only on weekdays. Banelco or "Red Link" ATMs can be found around the city, but banks and ATMs are few and far between in residential neighborhoods like Palermo. Try major roads near metro stations. Fees depend on your hometown bank. Sometimes the machines also dispense dollars for international bank cards that are members of the Cirrus and PLUS networks. Visitors from Brazil can find many Banco Itaú agencies all over the city.
Change: Change is a big problem in Buenos Aires as there is a seeming shortage of coins. The locals give two basic reasons for it. The first being that the metal is worth more than the value of the coin so people sell their coins to scrap metal merchants and all that metal ends up in China, or the other reason is that the metro and bus system requires all trips to be paid for with coins so there is a shortage in a city of 12 million people. Whatever the reason, if you buy an item that costs Ar$4.60, almost always expect ot pay with the correct amount of money. Some shop keepers are said to take advantage of this and hope that the purchaser will simply say 'keep the change'.
Forgery: with special attention to taxi drivers, be on the lookout for forged bank notes being given with your change. Some forged notes are very well done and even have what appears to be a watermark. Get to know the notes and exaclty what they look and feel like, also the water marks. When exiting a taxi, hold up your notes to the light to check them before final exit.
ATM limits and fees
Some ATMs strictly limit withdrawals on foreign cards. You may only be able to get out 300 pesos per transaction or per day, so plan to visit the ATM often or hunt around for a more relaxed limit. The Citibank multipurpose ATMs are currently the only ones allowing withdrawals over 300 pesos per transaction (probably up to the limit of your card). Otherwise, look for ATMs in the Link network. Banco Patagonico has a Limit of 600 Pesos. The Visa Plus network of ATM cards have a lower limit of 320 pesos per withdrawal with U$5-6 fee. Fees vary wildly from nothing to US$5-6. Read the fine print!
There are many artisans' fairs, most notably the weekend Recoleta fair located in the Francia park, near Recoleta cemetery (which is an excellent place for photography) and on Sundays the San Telmo market. In every fair you will find some excellent hand made products as well as some sneaked in industrialized products disguised as "hand made".
Saturdays and Sundays are great days for the outdoor markets, especially in the summer. The Feria Recoleta (in Plaza Francia) is an assortment of all sorts of artisan products, from jewelry to shawls; and Plaza Serrano in Palermo viejo comes alive in the afternoon with more artisan's handiwork and freelance clothes designers. Another nearby Plaza (in Palermo viejo) between Malabia, Armenia, Costa Rica and Nicaragua streets has stalls with items for sale. Plaza Dorrego in San Telmo offers tango and antique products. Defensa street on Sunday from Chile to San Juan comes to life with live performers and vendors. The crowds are thick, so keep an eye on your possessions.
The Último Taller at Jorge L. Borges 1975 (between Soler and Nicaragua streets) sells funky candles and street address plates and markers; there are charming cats, and photos can be etched onto these plates as well. The shop is open Monday to Saturday 10AM-9PM;
Yo Soy Vegetariano
While Argentina may be where the beef is, veggies need not despair in Buenos Aires. No less than a dozen veggie-friendly bistros have popped up in the last few years (notable in Palermo) and many spots popular with tourists offer inventive vegetarian versions of traditional meals. Only the most old school parrillas don't offer at least one or two pasta dishes and pizza is everywhere.
You will want to try asado (beef/steak barbecue) at a parrilla, restaurants specializing in roasted meats. There are expensive parrillas, and more simple and cost effective ones, . The bife de lomo (tenderloin) is unbelievably tender. Jugoso means rare (literally "juicy"), however the Argentine concept of rare is very different from that of someone from the States (perhaps its a tourist thing, but an American ordering rare is likely to get something between medium well and hockey puck). Don't be afraid to order "azul" (blue), you will not get a blue steak, more like an American Medium Rare. If you like your meat bloody it might pay to learn words like "sangre" (blood), or to make statements like "me gusta sangre" (I like blood). Don't be afraid to spend two minutes stressing how rare you want your steak to your waiter- this is something no one talks about in guidebooks but every other American and Brit once you arrive will tell you the same thing.
In Buenos Aires, and in the rest of the country, beef is king, but it's not your only option in this cosmopolitan city. Italian food is pervasive but in neighborhoods like Palermo, pizza joints are seeing heavy competition from sushi, fusion, and even vegetarian bistros. Just about everything can be delivered - including fantastic, gourmet helado (ice cream).
Vegan food is available at these restaurants:
Italian and Spanish food are almost native here, as the cultural heritage heralds in great part from these two countries. Other popular meals are pizzas and empanadas (small pastries stuffed with a combination of cheese and meats). They are a popular home delivery or takeaway/takeout option.
The pizza is excellent in Buenos Aires, due to the Italian immigrant heritage. Pizza comes al molde (cooked in a pan, usually medium to thick crust), a la piedra (baked in a stone oven, usually thin to medium crust), and a la parilla (cooked on a parilla grill, very thin, crispy crust).
One incredible and typical Argentinian kind of "cookie", is the alfajor , which consists of two round sweet biscuits joined together with a sweet jam, generally dulce de leche (milk jam, akin to caramel), covered with chocolate, meringue or something similarly sweet.
Service: do not expect service to be comprable to large cities in Europe or in the USA. Service in Buenos Aires can be slow at best and horrific at worst. Don't expect your waiter to take your drinks order when the menu is delivered and don't expect the menu to arrive quickly. If you want ice in your drink, expect the drink to arrive several minutes before the ice does.
Patience is the key. Argentinians as so accustomed to bad service that they don't bother to complain direclty to the waiter/waitress but moan amongst themselves. Speak out if you feel it is appropriate.
There are a lot of al paso (walk through) places to eat; you eat standing up or in high chairs at the bar. Meals vary from hot-dogs (panchos), beef sausages (chorizos, or its sandwich version choripán), pizzas, milanesas (breaded fried cutlets), etc. Don't forget to indulge in the perennially popular mashed squash - it is delicious and often comes with rice and makes a full meal in itself. It is perfect for vegetarians and vegans to fill up on.
You can go to a huge variety of small restaurants, with cheap and generous servings, most notably the ones owned by Spanish and Italian immigrants. There are also many places which offer foreign meals, mostly Japanese, Chinese, Thai, Arabic, Spanish, and Italian.
The most expensive and luxurious restaurants are found in the Puerto Madero zone, near downtown, heading to the River Plate. But the nicer places in terms of decoration, food and personality are in Buenos_Aires/Palermo.
The main areas to go out are: Puerto Madero,(close to the Casa Rosada). Safe during the day and night. At Recoleta area (close to the famous cemetery) there are also plenty of restaurants, bars and a cinema complex. This area used to be trendy but it is now mainly for tourists. Palermo SoHo and Palermo Hollywood are full of trendy stores, restaurants, and young and trendy bars. Palermo Las Cañitas is another nice area close to the Polo stadium. Also, San Telmo has a very bohemian, and very fun, nightlife scene.
Buenos Aires has a popular cafe culture.
Buenos Aires has a great variety of clubs and discos that are open until late hours (6AM or 7AM) and bars that stay open 24 hours a day. The famous Palermo Barrios (SoHo, Hollywood, Las Cañitas or simply "PalVo") have many hip restaurants that turn into bars as it gets later.
Palermo also houses Zizek Urban Beats Club , which was nominated “Best Party in Buenos Aires” by the nation’s largest newspaper, Clarín. It was established in order to showcase local talent along with international sounds and offers a platform for Argentina’s most unique and innovative DJs and musicians to showcase many different types of urban music including cumbia, hip-hop, dancehall, grime, electro, baile funk, and reggaeton. From its inception in 2006 Zizek has grown into an international phenomenon which has spawned a record label that has put out 6 albums since its SXSW appearance in March, 2008.
Buenos Aires has a tradition of rock concerts going on all the time. Most of the time top international artist include several dates on their tour in Buenos Aires. Football stadiums are a frequently used for the concerts.
You will be able to find a good selection of budget and mid range options as well as more luxurious and expensive hotels. Accommodation is scattered around the city; some places to look include:
There are hundred of apartments, ranging from economy to deluxe, and the prices are very good. AS well as going through an agency keep an eye and an ear out for individuals who rent their upscale apartments by the day, week, or month. Many times these apartments are three times the size of a hotel at half the price.
There is an enormous number (more than 150) of hostels. In the more famous hostels, booking in advance might be necessary, but you'll always find a dorm bed if you need it. There are many budget hotels where you can get your own room for no more than 55 to 75 pesos ($15 or $20) per night. You will not find them advertised on the internet. They can be hard to find, but there are many. Walk down Avenida de Mayo near Café Tortoni. Start from Avenida de Julio (the giant one) and make your way towards the Plaza de Mayo. Look on the small side streets plus or minus two blocks and you will find many of these places.
The InterContinental is on Piedras and Moreno streets, close to the San Telmo and Montserrat areas. Other international-class hotels are the Alvear Palace Hotel (said to be the most luxurious hotel in South America) in Recoleta, the Hilton in Puerto Madero, the Marriott-Plaza, the Sheraton in Retiro, and the Park Hyatt Buenos Aires - Palacio Duhau in Recoleta. There are also many suites-only hotels like the Broadway Suites very close to the Obelisk which have very reasonable rates.
Toll free call. 107
Crime: Many people travel in Buenos Aires without incident, but as with any large city crime is an issue for tourists and residents alike. Conduct yourself intelligently as you would in any large city.
The most frequent incidents of crime involve distraction theft, bag snatching and armed robberies in the street, in taxis and in restaurants. Distraction thefts commonly occur in public areas such as internet cafes, train and bus stations. You should keep a close eye on your personal possessions and bags at all times. In some public spaces you will find that chairs with webbing and clips to clip to your bag or purse to the chair. An aid in avoiding problems is, dress to blend in and avoid carrying lots of items. It safer to travel just the bare necessities in your front pocket.
In a common scam one person sprays something on the victum like hand cream mustard or the like. Another person tries to help the victim. There can be several people at once working in coordination. The object is to distract you from your belongings and in the chaos, steal them. Avoiding confrontation is their object so do the same. Ignore their help, focus your belongings and extracting yourself from the scene.
Another common occurrence is the slitting of handbags in crowded places. Be particularly attentive in popular tourist areas, such as San Telmo. You should avoid carrying large amounts of cash or wearing ostentatious jewellery.
Avoid ever withdrawing money from an ATM at night.
The US, Canadian and English travel advisories report, express kidnappings continue to occur. Victims are grabbed off the street based on their appearance and vulnerability. They are made to withdraw as much money as possible from ATM machines, the victim is usually quickly released unharmed. There have been some foreign victims.
The dangers of hailing a taxi has received lots of press, but is outdated. Since 2005 the government cracked down on illegal Taxis very successfully. Petty crime continues (like taking indirect routes or rarely changing money for counterfeits). Taxicabs that loiter in front of popular tourist destinations like the National Museum are looking for tourists. This may be inopportune for you. Your chance of falling prey to a scam increases in these situations, like having your money exchanged for fake currency. Stopping a cab a block or two away on a typical city street where others locals would do the same is good choice.
Money: Be careful of counterfeit money. There have been occasions where unscrupulous vendors or taxicab drivers have exchanged good bills for bad ones. Characteristics of good currency can be found at the Argentine Central Bank web site at http://www.bcra.gov.ar/.
Spanish in Buenos Aires--people pronounce things differently there. "Calle" and "pollo" sound very different and the double l´s sound like sh´s instead of y´s or j's. The difference in pronunciation probably reflects the influence of Portuguese traders in the port in the 19th century...many of the words that Porteños pronounce differently from the rest of the Spanish-speaking world are pronounced identically to a Portuguese word for the same thing. Much has been written on Spanish language in Buenos Aires. It was influenced by the many Italians who immigrated here as well. If you have studied Spanish you'll find these differences enormous. Also vocabulary differs a lot from Iberian Spanish or other Latin American varieties of Spanish, so may be useful to get an Argentinian dictionary or take some lessons of Argentinian Spanish before getting there. Despite these differences, any person who is fluent in Spanish should have no difficulty navigating through conversations with Porteños or with any other Argentinians. Anyway, most of "Porteños" (inhabitants of Buenos Aires City) speak a little English but it is very easy to find people who are very fluent, especially if you stay near the tourist areas.
Using Credit Cards Credit Card use is not as prevalent in Argentina as it is in the US or Europe. The rules have recently become stricter and you will need a form of ID, like your passport to pay with a card. Your driver's license is not acceptable, although some people MAY accept it. Photocopies, previously usually acceptable, are no longer acceptable for credit and debit card transactions. Also, using a credit card online is not yet very popular, but is gaining popularity, especially in the tourism industry.
Haircuts are available at nice places for around 50 pesos. A luxurious super-stylish hair cut could be anywhere from 75 pesos to 200 but make sure you know what you're getting before you sit down.
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Buenos Aires city is also known as Capital Federal to differentiate the city from the Buenos Aires Province.
Buenos Aires has a mild weather. The average temperature is 17 °C. During the 20th century the temperature has gone up because of the urbanization. The presipitations are 1222.6 mm. per year. Summers are warm and humid. Winters are mild or cold, the maxium medium temperature is 13.7ºC during this season. Temperature rarely reaches 0 °C or below. Fog is frequent.
|Provinces of Argentina|
|Buenos Aires | Buenos Aires Province | Catamarca | Chaco | Chubut | Córdoba | Corrientes | Entre Ríos | Formosa | Jujuy | La Pampa | La Rioja | Mendoza | Misiones | Neuquen | Río Negro | Salta | San Juan | San Luis | Santa Cruz | Santa Fe | Santiago del Estero | Tierra del Fuego, Antarctica, and South Atlantic Islands | Tucumán|