Imagine New York City, Paris, and Rome all in one city. Place this city in an exotic Latin American destination. Surround this city with awe-inspiring landscapes that make up the Earth’s eighth largest country in the world. Populate this “dream come true” country with people full of passion and confidence. This city and country does exist. The city is Buenos Aires and the county is Argentina.
From the minute you step outside the airport, Argentina will lay on the charm by the truckloads. My three-week vacation to Argentina turned into a four-month love affair when I did not show up at the airport to catch my flight back home. My visit to Argentina was a whirlwind romance with my senses running wild at every turn. There was dancing, incredible wine, food, memories to last three lifetimes, and exotic escapades to the end of the world—literally. There was passion, excitement, and laughter. The mere thought of parting was unimaginable. The only other country that made me feel like never wanting to leave was Italy. Then again, Argentina is Italy’s gorgeous cousin.
During my four-month love affair with Argentina, I called a one-bedroom apartment in Belgrano my home base. Located in north central Buenos Aires, Belgrano is a relatively quiet residential neighborhood. Diplomatic residencies and embassies dot the tree-covered streets while high-end apartment buildings mixed with Park Avenue-esque homes make this neighborhood one of the more desirable places to live in Buenos Aires. Public transportation and close proximity to practically everything make life easy without having a car in northern Buenos Aires.
Located east of Belgrano, Palermo is Buenos Aires’ largest neighborhood. You will find the best nightlife, stores, luxury condominiums, art and cultural enclaves, and parks in Palermo. A walk down Avenida Presidente Figueroa Alcorta heading southeast and then northwest on Avenida del Libertador will be a good start to see what Palermo has to offer. Museums, bookstores, and shops will keep you busy while restaurants, cafes, and parks will tempt you to relax, have a bite to eat, and take a siesta.
Although some may consider my next suggestion as a tourist trap, I still consider it a must-see. La Boca is home to Genoese culture, one of the most recognizable football clubs in the world, Boca Juniors, colorful streets, and radical politics. Tango dancers will weave an air of romance while you sip mate or Malbec.
The bohemian spirit is alive and well in Buenos Aires—especially in San Telmo. Located southeast of Recoleta, San Telmo is the oldest neighborhood in Buenos Aires. Everyone will tell you to visit San Telmo on a Sunday. I agree. The Sunday market is a weekly event with a festival atmosphere. Street vendors, tango performances, musicians, and colorful locals make Sundays in San Telmo a spectacle to experience.
If you are vising Argentina for 7-10 days, I would recommend that you stay in Buenos Aires for three and half days. The rest of your itinerary should include exploring the mountain and wine region of Mendoza, glaciers in Patagonia, and the desert lands of Salta and Jujuy. Even though Argentina is the eight largest country in the world with a population of 41 million, just behind India with a population of 1.2 billion, its population density outside of Buenos Aires offers you an opportunity to escape it all.
Buenos Aires is an amalgamation of New York City life and conveniences, Parisian architecture, Italian and Spanish lifestyle in the heart of Latin America. The Argentine countryside is a clash of mountainous landscapes, glaciers, salt flats, with vast, sparsely populated landscapes in between. You will never be the same after you visit Argentina.