Bewitching Buenos Aires
March and October 2012
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
A must stop for coffee is one of Buenos Aires’
traditional cafes. Our choice is Café Tortoni, which also has a small museum of
We will go by private car or mini-bus to investigate two key Buenos Aires
• 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.
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.
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.
Depart for home.
Note: Itinerary subject to adjustments.
$3,450 (USD) includes seven nights hotel (no single supplement) in a 4-star
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.