Senior Women's Travel

Buenos Aires' Diversity

We love this quote from a Buenos Aires travel site: "Buenos Aires is arguably the most European city in America.  Its people are Italian speaking. Spanish who think they are English living in Paris.”   You’ll love Buenos Aires for its sophistication and diversity.

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Bewitching Buenos Aires

March and October 2012

Buenos Aires is an intriguing mix…the most European of South American cities with its grandiose architecture and wide boulevards,  it has always been known as the Paris of South America.  Its rich history of colonization by the English and the Spanish, its fight for independence and super rich inhabitants who were both builders of magnificent estates and city benefactors. These are just some of the factors that  contribute to the crazy quilt of Buenos Aires yesterday.

Buenos Aires now?  It’s a city that has survived its fractious political past and now welcomes millions every year to a vibrant city celebrating its past and racing confidently towards a future that promises both stability and change and tremendous growth. 

Visit Buenos Aires with us for an in depth look at its history, its food, its culture, its people and, of course, TANGO.   We experience tango in its many guises:  Street Tango in La Boca; a professional big-time tango show; tango as the portenos (as the people of Buenos Aries are called) in a milongas, a Tango dance hall where hundreds of people come each night to dance and learn new tango moves.  You may want to take part in the tango lessons. This is certain to be your favorite tango experience.

Street Tango to Big Show Tango

Food…For me, enjoying Argentine steaks at a parilla (grill) is a major reason to visit Buenos Aires.  They are informal, fun places to eat.  Lots of restaurants have open fire grills and rotisseries. We will also visit one of the fourty, bares y cafes notable,  restaurants and bars whose classic historic  interiors are protected by law.  Of course, you will also find many wonderful restaurants of every cuisine that don’t feature the gargantuan meat feasts that Buenos Aries made famous.  Argentine wine is also world class.

Our Itinerary:

Day 1
Arrive in Buenos Aires where there will be a private taxi waiting for you to whisk you to our hotel.  On my January trip to Buenos Aires, I visited eleven hotels before I decided on our boutique hotel in the Recoleta, considered the most exclusive area in Buenos Aires. It boasts luxurious five-star hotels, upscale boutiques and good restaurants.

The venerable Alvear Palace Hotel and the stunning new Park Hyatt, surely one of the most beautiful hotels in the world, are located near our hotel. The Park Hyatt is a former palace with an impressive contemporary art collection. Guests are given cell phones to use as they make their way around the hotel (must be to call for help as you navigate your way around the hotel. We’ll take a look at both hotels and probably have a drink at the lovely Oak Bar in the Park Hyatt.

People usually like to have a low-key first day after a long plane ride, so we will probably decide to investigate our neighborhood and have an early dinner. Early dinner in Buenos Aires means between 7:30 and 8 p.m. The portenos, Buenos Aires’ residents, are night owls, particularly if they tango. Calling it a night at 2 or 3 a.m. is standard.

 

La Boca...tango started here

Day 2
History of Buenos Aires Tour…we delve into the city’s history from colonial days to the present with one of our guides from a tour company founded and run by university graduates. Research is their major company mission. We’ll examine the Evita legend and try to separate fact from fiction.

At 2 p.m. we will take a City Tour (not in a big tourist bus but in a small mini-van) which covers the famous Recoleta cemetery; La Boca, an immigrant neighborhood famous for its houses painted in vivid colors; the San Telmo neighborhood, magnificent mansions; and the amazing steel and aluminum sculpture, Floralis Generica, with its six petals that opens with the sun and closes at dusk.

 

 

Floralis Generica

Day 3
Morning: Visit the San Temlo antique market…street after street of antique stores, plus Sunday booths with lots of typical flea market wares. It’s a fun ambiance with lots of music and street tango.

Afternoon: Tango tour delving into the fascinating history of tango…where and how it started, how it developed, analyzing the current tango frenzy.

Evening: We will see a big-time tango show, hopefully Tanquera which isn’t your typical touristy extravaganza.  It’s an exciting evening.

 

Day 4
Private tour to San Isidro and the Tigre Delta…San Isidro, is a verdant colonial town, with a neo-Gothic cathedral and lovely old houses. In Tigre, we board a tour boat that weaves through the Delta passing houses that can only be reached by boat. Some 3,000 inhabitants live here. A fascinating unique oasis of calm.

Afternoon: Visit downtown Buenos Aires, buzzing with activity - big malls and lots of shopping. I’ll share my shopping finds: a great place to buy leather jackets and coats; a tiny boutique that sells the handiwork of one artisan, unusual hand tooled leather; and a small leather shop that sells cowhide pocketbooks and rugs. All this in a radius of a couple of blocks. And the prices and quality are excellent.

 

Day 5
A must stop for coffee is one of Buenos Aires’ traditional cafes. Our choice is Café Tortoni, which also has a small museum of tango paraphernalia.

We will go by private car or mini-bus to investigate two key Buenos Aires neighborhoods:
• Palermo Viejo…it’s hot with lots of trendy boutiques, art galleries and my two favorite restaurants. One specializes in empanadas and is a storefront with great food; the other is a parilla with the best steak I had in Buenos Aires. We’ll lunch at one of them.
• Porto Madero…the up and coming waterfront area of Buenos Aires. A must stop is the Faena Hotel another gorgeous, exclusive hotel. Their all white restaurant, Le Bistro, is worth a try.

Tonight will be a late night as we investigate two milongas (dance halls where portenos go to tango). The action starts at 11 p.m. and it’s worth staying up to see the traditions of tango - expert dancers and experience the different ambiance of each milonga.

Day 6
Your optional day to do as you wish.

One option…A one-hour hydrofoil ride to Colonia del Sacramento in Uruguay. What you’ll see when you get there is a small colonial town with an interesting historic district. There are also beautiful sandy beaches on the outskirts. I made the trip and recommend it with reservations…I found some of the uphill cobblestone streets difficult to navigate. (Cost not included in tour price.)

Otherwise, you can sample some of Buenos Aires’ many museums. Choices range from European art to Latin American art, from archaeological exhibits to decorative arts. There is a small Eva Peron museum. Or simply have a relaxing day shopping or people-watching at a coffee house.

Day 7
Literary Tour…Argentina has a rich history of literary excellence.  A literary historian will give us a capsule history and a look at where the artists lived.  Buenos Aires has a street largely devoted to bookstores. We’ll stop by a few.

Throughout the week, we will include parts of our Secret Places activities created with Marcela, a native of Buenos Aires who now resides in the United States.  Marcela, the goddaughter of a former first lady of Argentina, travels frequently to her native city.  Her insider tips include outlet shopping, hidden restaurants, special outdoor sites, and more. 

Day 8
Depart for home.

Note: Itinerary subject to adjustments.

Cost
$3,450 (USD) includes seven nights hotel (no single supplement) in a 4-star hotel, breakfast, five dinners, all tours mentioned in itinerary except Optional Day.  Price does not include airfare, transfer to Buenos Aires airport, lunches, drinks, alcoholic beverages, coffee stops, and personal expenses.